Saturday, September 27, 2008



September 27, 2008
By Kenneth Kwama

Fed up with seeing the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) commissioners pose for cameras after gusting away taxpayers’ money? You are not alone.

Their abhorrence of public opinion, combined with the ambivalence with which chairman Samuel Kivuitu treats serious issues, is setting a bad precedent for heads of other crucial public institutions.

It is surprising that even after the Kriegler Commission recommendations, the ECK has decided to stay put. Among the team’s verdict was that the elections, particularly presidential, were not rigged.

This could have given the ECK a false reprieve, but the commissioners need to be told the country is agreed they must go. For how can one explain their belligerence and continued stay in office after the last Gallup poll where majority of Kenyans said the ECK is devoid of integrity?

This brings us to the next issue which Kriegler’s report was silent about and is a potential minefield — the funding and conduct of presidential campaigns.

The fact that Kriegler avoided the issue, which almost brought the country on its knees, does not make sense.

It is clear the current system does not encourage integrity in presidential elections. The cost and nature of these campaigns are turning presidential candidates into loose cannons. For example, last year’s election was the first in which nomination of a presidential candidate by province became significant.

‘Fat cats’ and ethnic interests

This is one of the worst leadership recruitment systems in Africa.

In many ways, a candidate nominated in such a manner could be pushed and blackmailed into dealing with partisan interests. In our case, these are often tribal and commercial.

The most pernicious aspect of such stretched-out system is the obscene cost of presidential campaigns.

Billions of shillings are spent out of pressure to court ‘fat cats’ and please ethnic interests. Politicians are forced to make promises that make thieves look like angels. They are pushed to cut deals that result into Goldenberg and Anglo-leasing type scandals.

Conservative estimates indicate major political parties could have gobbled up close to Sh5 billion to sell their presidential candidates. We may never know if they spent more because our electoral laws do not provide for that.

In the face of present financial pressures, it is difficult to imagine any candidate can emerge from an election free of obligation to reward ‘special interests’.

The quest to eliminate financial scandals and stop communities from blackmailing leaders to obtain favours is enough incentive to reform presidential elections.

It may not be easy, but it should command urgent consideration.



September 27, 2008
The Standard Editorial
Nairobi, Kenya

The tumultuous event of the fortnight was the verdict by the Kriegler Commission the December General Election was "irretrievably polluted’’.

It jars the ear and claws the heart but that was not its mandate.

If we elect to learn from the flaws and extent of manipulation of the poll through ballot stuffing, bribery, intimidation, and executive interferences, then we could be out of the woods.

If we chose not to instal the necessary constitutional vanguards against the shambolic and fatally defective national exercise, then the killings, displacements and dispossessions will be repeated. That is what the former UN Secretary General Dr Kofi Annan and South Africa’s retired judge, Justice Johann Kriegler, who chaired the Independent Review Commission, warned us against.

Much as the verdict rekindled the bitter memories of the flawed elections and subsequent outrage and violence, at best we should accept it as the counsel that would salvage the nation.

By the leading contenders agreeing to share power, albeit reluctantly, was in itself a concession we were on the precipice.

The National Accord and Reconciliation Act was itself a result of sacrifice.

We would not have revisited the Kriegler verdict; despite the fact that we, too, have problems with such sweeping conclusions as that there was no evidence of rigging at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

This is despite the claim on the dark day by the disgraced Electoral Commission chairman Samuel Kivuitu the results were being cooked behind his back and he had lost touch with key election officials. Days later he again was on TV ranting alterations were being made to vital poll documents behind his back.

By preaching fire and brimstone

There was also the security menace, harassment of journalists, ban on live coverage, and curiously the hurried swearing-in of the incumbent.

It was not lost to the nation that after 2005 virtually all the commissioners owed their positions to the President.

It is incontestable State machinery was used to whip support for the incumbent as was evidence in the truckloads of ‘executive’ freebies during the campaigns.

The larger Orange, too, had its share of blame with claims in areas where voter turnout was as high as 95 per cent, there was a likelihood even the dead voted. There were also accusations it laid the ground for confrontation by preaching fire and brimstone.

It is against this background that we take issue with politicians; some of whom have been linked to revenge attacks, asking one party to apologise for disputing the poll.

It is insensitive, looking at our blood-soaked footprints for one party to claim victory and demand apology from the other. Kenyans have no doubt come through what took place during the poll. We plucked a rotten fruit off the flawed election.

It is iniquitous for the other party to the electoral dispute to fight back with the claim it, too, won. Not that we should gag them. But rather we should be careful we do not walk the nation back to the dark season. The passions are still raw, the anger still runs deep.

We would rather let our leaders who chose to reunite and reconcile the nation to carry on. That is the price we must all pay, knowing that one day, as history hardly fails to unmask the truth, we shall know what exactly happened and who did what. The most urgent business of the day, even as we pray for justice, is to first make sure we have a country.



The Standard
Nairobi, Kenya
September 27, 2008

By Saturday Standard Team

Beneath the Orange Democratic Movement’s victory in Bomet and Sotik by-elections lies a cultural revolution among the Kalenjin.

The assault on culture and tradition makes up for the harsher judgement last week’s election was just a replay of the emerging politics of dynasty and skewed sense of continuity. It manifests itself also in the fact that the community has the youngest age-profile when it comes to MPs.

The victory of Mrs Beatrice Kones in Bomet and Dr Joyce Laboso Abonyo in neighbouring Sotik, with more than 10,000 vote margin in both places, hands the Kalenjin half of the seats held by elected women MPs. The by-elections ensured the replacement of a female MP who died with another of her gender (and bloodline) and another to replace her husband.

Thus, from the 15 elected women MPs the Tenth Parliament began with, now there is one more. What also stands out is the fact that except for one, all the other six are on their first term.

Something else stands out – of the seven Kalenjin MPs (including the two waiting to be sworn-in) – four have PhDs. These are Higher Education Minister Dr Sally Kosgey, Sports Minister Prof Hellen Jepkemoi Sambili, Eldoret East MP Prof Margaret Kamar and Dr Joyce Laboso.

The community often perceived to not only as warrior-like but one torpedoed by the machismo, not only replaced the late Kipkalya Kones with his first wife, but and Lorna Laboso with her sister Joyce, and also made a first. Today, of its seven sub-tribes, five have an elected woman MP. Only the Pokot and the Sabaot have no women MP.

There are two each from the top two most populous groups – the Kipsigis and the Nandi. Dr Kosgey, who is Aldai MP and Eldoret South MP Peris Chepchumba Simam, a former high school teacher, are Nandi.

From the Kipsigis are Mrs Kones, the first Kalenjin woman to be elected to Parliament replace her husband, and Dr Joyce Laboso, who took over from her late sister, Lorna. Both lost husband and sister in a plane crash, paving the way for the Thursday by-elections.

Marakwet East MP Mrs Linah Chebii Kilimo who became the first Kalenjin woman to be appointed to the Cabinet in 2003 after the National Rainbow Coalition whitewashed Kanu in 2002, is from the Marakwet sub-group.

Married outside the constituency

Prof Kamar, the soil scientist who once headed Moi University’s Chepkoilel Campus, belongs to the Elgeiyo, while Prof Sambili, who is the Mogotio MP hails from the Tugen sub-tribe. Unlike all the others who ran and won on ODM ticket, Prof Sambili who was Egerton University’s head of postgraduate programmes took up the United Democratic Movement ticket after she lost the race for ODM’s endorsement at the nomination.

Interestingly, Dr Kosgey taught Prof Sambili history in Nakuru High School. Now they are Cabinet colleagues.

Three of Rift Valley women MPs have a distinct background. Though Dr Kosgey, a former University of Nairobi lecturer, High Commissioner and Head of Public Service initially, was reportedly betrothed to a man from the Coast, she had a smooth sail on her first try in Nandiland.

She was elected on the platform of her rich past and it mattered not what locals would say of girls married outside the constituency. Marital status was not even a factor.

Dr Laboso first had to overcome the hurdle placed on her way to Parliament by tradition. She is married to a man originally from Nyakach, Kadiang’a. It was not an easy feat as her opponents, including a sitting MP from a neighbouring constituency, mounted a hate campaign against her.

Some even printed posters with her portrait and the name ‘Abonyo’ to support their claim she was inappropriate. First, because she had been married off, and two, she was being ‘imposed’ on them by the Prime Minister and ODM leader Raila Odinga, who represents a Nairobi constituency but was born in Nyanza.

Prof Sambili won in a largely ODM zone even though she had to battle claims she was a wolf in sheep’s skin, since her husband, Dr Edward Sambili, was then as he is now a Permanent Secretary in the Kibaki administration.

During her days on the campaign blitz, her husband kept off, as she literally fought her way. She also had to battle hate campaign claim she was a Kanu mole, because of her husband’s strong ties to the former regime.

Debunk myths

The same community that voted out Mr Nicholas Biwott, to whom she is listed as the third wife by the multilingual free-content online encyclopaedia – Wikipedea, curiously elected Prof Kamar, a former member of the East African Community Parliament.

Curiously, her campaign on ODM ticket suffered a slight jolt when the helicopter she was using was claimed to be the same on the self-styled ‘Total Man’ was using. In the heat of the campaigns that was a ticket to defeat because Biwott was not only running on a Kanu ticket, but was also campaigning for President Kibaki’s re-election. But again to the amazement of the community, one of the people trying to unseat him in Keiyo South was Kamar’s brother.

The women MPs with the humblest of background are Mrs Kones, who was a grassroots education officer, and Mrs Kilimo, who was a bank clerk.

The Marakwet, a conservative Kalenjin sub-tribe, still grappling with cattle rustling and female circumcision, elected Kilimo.

It is this bloodless cultural coup that could soon be subject of research and study not just among feminists but students of sociology, anthropology, law, and political science.

Focus will be on the underlying factors that transformed one community to dispatch seven women when such a populous provinces as Nyanza has zero. Central just two – Justice Minister Martha Karua, who is on her third term, and first-time MP and Minister Esther Mathenge – who incidentally is in charge of Gender.

Nyanza was the first in 1969 to give Kenya her first elected woman MP – Mrs Grace Akech Onyango. The community has elected two other women – writer Mrs Grace Ogot and Dr Pheobe Asiyo.

The Kamba, through Mrs Nyiva Mwendwa, gave us the first woman minister, are still trying with one of its political giants being Water Minister Mrs Charity Ngilu. They also have Mrs Wavinya Ndeti, the Kathiani MP and an Assistant Minister.

Dr Laboso and Mrs Kones’ triumph rekindle memories of 1974 when the Kalenjin got its first woman MP, Philomena Chelagat Mutai, then a 24-year-old student at the University of Nairobi.

She rose to prominence because though not bearded, her fiery tongue and critical but sharp mind saw her join the so-called group of "Seven Bearded Sisters" that kept the Kanu regime on its toes.

Friday, September 26, 2008



September 26, 2008
Daily Nation

By Alphayo Otieno in Kansas City, USA

Kenyans abroad now have a reason to smile following President Kibaki’s announcement in New York supporting dual citizenship.

This is a matter many hold close to their hearts considering the great troubles they take to remain abroad.

Some American citizens, sensing the desperation of many illegal immigrants wanting to remain in the US, are now ‘hawking’ marriages of convenience.

The most willing husbands are those of African-American descent and the Latin Americans emigrants. Some of them hardly speak any English.

"The encounter with the ‘husbands’ happens in the most unexpected of places. When you go out to a discotheque in the heart of Washington DC," said one woman who sought anonymity, "these guys keenly monitor your every move, especially if they sense you are not American."

"The catch is that they will furtively approach you and then ask if you want a husband," she says.

"Need husband (sic) for US$12,000?" they will ask in broken English.

It is common to hear of Kenyans hoping from one state to the other looking for a husband to marry. This is because some of the states have beaten the husband-seekers in their own game.

Because the women are in so much haste to beat the Federal Officers breathing down their necks because of expired visas.

In the mouse and cat game, some of the Kenyans women are arrested and deported as happened to the sister of a prominent MP recently.

Take Mary Wafula, for instance. When she first went to the US four years ago, she was meant to be there for at least six months. The I-94 card pinned on her passport allowed her to stay in the US for a period not exceeding six months.

Today she is a permanent resident of the US, with a Green Card and a social security number, which allow to her to work and live there legally.

The Green Card — officially known as a permanent resident card — is without doubt a most valuable document.

"It has not been an easy ride for me," Mary confides, sipping a Pepsi soda during her break at a home for the elderly where she is a nursing assistant.

"I had to get an American to marry me," she says. "I didn’t care whether I was in love. I was paying for the service. All I wanted was someone on whose back I could ride on to grant me the privilege to change my status."

Mary says at first her spouse did not know her intentions but she was cautious not to let the cat out of the bag until she was through with the rigorous immigration processes.

There were times, she says the woman in her mid-30s, when her African-American "spouse" would demand money from her and she had no option but to yield.

"I bought him drugs occasionally because he smokes weed a lot and also took care of his drinking bills. When he lacked fuel in his car, it was my duty to buy."

Mary thinks it was her obedience that got her the privileges of living in the US, as legally protected immigrant.

Elsewhere, Eric Kimani, now a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) says he feared the reprisals of a fake marriage and opted to feign love with an American woman for the sake of "papers".

"I had no option but to divorce the hell as soon as my green card hit the mailbox. It was a matter of patience, but there were times when I thought the world would harsh on me in this foreign land," he says.

Kimani says he was not happy in the union at all.

"I was often feeling a bit suffocated in the marriage but had no option, for if I walked out of it, I would find myself out of status and that would mean I return to Kenya," he says.

To secure employment in the US, one requires a social security number. Students are given such numbers because they are allowed to work part-time, but that does not grant them the permission to live and work there indefinitely.

In 2005, the American Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents initiated an investigation dubbed ‘Operation True Lies’, probing marriage fraud that involved Horry and Dillon County residents and Kenyans living in Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and Georgia.

Many illegal aliens were reported to have fled the US for fear of arrest and possible deportation.

Reports from the ICE indicate that some 13 "fake" marriages were unearthed, with the oldest dating back to September 1997.

The couples had stated on legal documents that they were living together as husband and wife when they were not, and no intentions of doing so.

The fraudulent marriages are still very much around, and allow Kenyans and other immigrants in the US to secure indefinite stay there – for a fee.

American citizens receive US$2,000 (Sh150,000) to enter into fake marriages with Kenyans or other nationalities.

A Russian woman recently advertised online seeking "Green Card marriage" and promising to pay $15,000 (Sh1million) with the caveat: "Strictly platonic business offer, no sex."

Naturally, the announcement caught the attention of American immigration.

The woman and her American husband were arrested last December for what federal prosecutors alleged was a sham marriage.

This is reported to be the first criminal case of its kind in which people allegedly used the Internet to engineer a sham marriage for a Green Card.

But it does not mean those seeking fake "marriage" mates more discreetly are out of harm’s way –Kenyans included.

"The prevailing social order has not been too kind to the Kenyan woman in the Diaspora," says a Kenyan professor at Rice University in the US.

It is for this reason that most of them turn to these marriages of convenience.



By Lucy Oriang'
Daily Nation
Nairobi, Kenya

September 26 2008 at 19:43

New leadership mantra that promises two for the price of one.
Women are the most loyal of voters and will faithfully do as they are told.

LEST YOU FORGET, THERE has been a UN meeting in New York this week to discuss progress on the Millennium Development Goals.

You could call them markers that set out targets that will lead to justice and fairness — and, even better still, ensure that we remain sane and secure.

Something will give if we continue on our merry way, ignoring the needs of the poor and the disadvantaged. Perhaps that is why 150 leaders chose to attend.

Whether they were ready for inspection is another matter altogether. The city of skyscrapers can be a very enticing attraction for those seeking a reprieve from cloak-and-dagger politics at home.

We have had the privilege of being represented there by President Kibaki and the First Lady. Some critics have asked silly questions such as why the First Lady was allowed to sit smack in the middle of the official delegation, as if she needs anyone’s permission to accompany her husband to such events.

They have obviously not kept up with the new leadership mantra that promises two for the price of one. It is the way of the world, at least in terms of protocol, and they had better get used to it.

Michelle Obama took that role very seriously indeed when she introduced her husband at the National Democratic Convention that endorsed him as the party’s presidential candidate in the November poll.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s wife Sarah did the honours at that party’s crisis conference earlier this week.

Let’s try to keep up with international trends and practices, if you please, especially when we seem to have such serious trouble with principles and commitments in a part of the world where politicians are the be-all and end-all of power.

MDGs are all very well, but the battle for survival in the top seat can be such an all-consuming preoccupation that the political corps have little energy left to worry about the unknown woman in an unknown village 900km away from the centre of power.

It can get truly insulting at times. Even illegal occupants of the endangered Mau forest have proved more “sexy” as a tool of hostage politics in the Bomet and Sotik by-elections than the rights of women and girls. What do we have to do to get noticed around here?

There are those who might grumble that there is too much conferencing and globe-trotting in development circles, but it is hard to argue with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s explanation for the New York meet, “… to push the world to keep its promises to women’’.

NOW THERE’S A GOOD REASON TO host a talk shop with a galaxy of leaders in attendance. But it also exposes the soft underbelly of organisations such as the UN. Human beings are fickle creatures.

I can see where the carrot might be useful, but nothing will move in some of these places if the stick is not in sight. What next, when all the moaning and groaning is over?

Holding leaders to account for ensuring women are treated fairly and justly is not a luxury, as United Nations Development Fund for Women executive director Ines Alberdi put it at the conference.

There are two key planks to achieving this, according to Alberdi: more women in decision-making positions in politics, business and the public service; and putting women’s needs at the centre of public policy.

Life should be so simple. The question at the top of this article is the title of a Unifem progress report for 2008/2009. It should be compulsory reading for Kenyan leaders across the board, even more so for political party leaders.

If memory serves me right, all the major political parties spoke of 50 per cent representation of women in their structures in the run-up to the General Election, or at the very least 30 per cent. I would love to hear from any party that achieved that objective. In Parliament, we managed a paltry 21 out of 210.



Thursday, 25th September, 2008

By Vision reporter

TENS of thousands of people have been displaced in the DR Congo as a result of recent attacks by LRA rebels, according to the UN-run Radio Okapi.

The radio yesterday said Caritas, a Catholic NGO, had registered 75,000 displaced people in Dungu by Wednesday and the influx continued unabated.

“All the displaced are staying with host families,” the radio reported, adding that the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs had appealed for urgent assistance to address the crisis.

The displacement follows attacks on several villages in the Dungu area on September 17 and 18. The rebels looted and burnt down hundreds of houses, killed about eight people and abducted at least 90 school children.

A demonstration against the continued LRA attacks yesterday turned violent, as hundreds of protesters stormed the residence of the peace-keepers in Dungu, looted it and set on fire one of the UN vehicles.

“The demonstrators then moved to the office of the local administration. They were repulsed by the Police, which had to fire in the air to disperse the crowd,” Radio Okapi reported.

According to the local chief, the population feels abandoned in the face of the LRA violence. People, he said, complained that no action had been taken to try and rescue the children abducted in the recent raids.

Earlier, on Monday, another 2,000 demonstrators marched in the streets of Isiro, another Congolese town, protesting the LRA incursions.

“Students, teachers, medical staff, traders and civil servants all came out onto the streets to demonstrate their fury against the Ugandan rebels,” the radio said.

It added that the demonstration paralysed all activities in the town.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon assured President Yoweri Museveni in New York yesterday that “the UN peace mission in the DRC is being strenghtened and will take action against Kony”, according to a press release by State House.

The UN Secretary General was responding to concerns raised by Museveni that Kony should not be allowed to continue enjoying the comfort and sanctuary of the DRC.

“If the DRC government could not act, it would be up to the UN, which is responsible for maintaining international peace and security, to take action because Kony is a threat to international peace,” the President told the UN Secretary General.



26th September, 2008

South Africa’s parliament on Thursday elected Kgalema Motlanthe, deputy leader of the ruling ANC, as interim president of a country gripped by the worst political crisis since the end of apartheid.

Motlanthe, overwhelmingly elected in a secret ballot, replaces Thabo Mbeki, who resigned on Sunday after nine years in power. Mbeki was invited for the swearing-in ceremony but declined the invite according to the Parliament's protocol office.

The ANC withdrew its backing for Mbeki after a judge suggested he had interfered in a graft case against his arch-rival, party leader Jacob Zuma, who is widely expected to become president in a general election next year.

Almost one-third of South Africa’s cabinet stepped down on Tuesday out of loyalty to Mbeki, who presided over South Africa’s longest period of economic growth.

Motlanthe said the new government would not change economic policy but would intensify efforts to create more jobs.

“In a turbulent global economy, we will remain true to the policies that have kept South Africa steady, and that have ensured sustained growth,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery, after parliament elected him interim president.

Motlanthe, a quiet spoken leftist intellectual and ally of Zuma, faces huge challenges including slowing economic growth and high inflation. Officials said on Thursday consumer inflation hit its highest level since before the end of apartheid in August, at 13.7 percent.

Reflecting the ANC’s dominance of parliament, Motlanthe won 269 votes from members of parliament, compared to 50 for the candidate of the opposition Democratic Alliance. ANC parliamentarians greeted the announcement of the vote with cheers and clapping.

The upheaval in the ANC, climax of a power struggle between Mbeki and Zuma, has raised concerns of instability in Africa’s biggest economy and a possible split in the formerly monolithic ruling party.

“The ANC for some time has spoken about the need to maintain the (economic) policies that have been in place, so as things stand now, one shouldn’t necessarily expect a major policy change,” said Leon Myburgh, sub-Saharan specialist at Citigroup.

“Motlanthe himself of course has always been a bit of a quiet, behind the scenes figure, so the next few months will be interesting to monitor him, and what he says and his actions.”

In a sign of the wounds, parliamentary officials said Mbeki would not attend Motlanthe’s swearing-in later on Thursday despite being invited.

It was not immediately clear when Motlanthe would name his new cabinet although investors are keenly watching to see if highly-respected finance minister Trevor Manuel will be reappointed.

Motlanthe, a former mine union leader and anti-apartheid soldier, is widely respected by both radical leftists and business tycoons within the African National Congress.

He will try to heal the worst rifts in the history of the party because of the battle between Mbeki and Zuma, which has overshadowed pressing issues such as widespread poverty and crime and an AIDS epidemic ravaging millions.

Radical policy changes under Motlanthe in the short transitional period are unlikely but foreign investors eager for stability and a continuity of economic policy will be watching closely for clues on whether the ANC will change course.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008



Kenya Times
Nairobi, Kenya
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

THE turmoil the country faced early this year precipitated by a vastly flawed presidential election, should have taught politicians a big lesson. A lesson that hopefully was going to change their political mode of operation. However, going by events of the last three months, nothing seems to have changed. In fact the political mood as displayed by the political class is as if a general election is just around the corner.

The succession scuffles have escalated especially in the conglomeration of parties – the Party of National Unity – where the war of words about who should succeed President Mwai Kibaki come 2012 is deafening. The same struggle is evident in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) over the number two position to the party leader Raila Odinga. Leaders, particularly from Rift Valley, are aggressively rooting for William Ruto to replace Deputy Premier Musalia Mudavadi who is the declared and presumptive second in command to Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

While the ambition among leaders of different parties that form PNU and those in ODM is understandable in view of the fact hat every party leader aspires to capture the highest seat in the land, it is important that politicians should not lose sight of the reality regarding the election emotions that ran high after the disputed presidential poll. These emotions are still fresh among millions of Kenyans. Can leaders kindly tone down their politicking. The General Election was held nine months ago.

Although a dispute arose and the international community stepped in to help resolve it, a coalition was formed and the two principals--President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga--have strenuously pledged that the coalition will work and succeed. Indeed all the symptoms of a working coalition are evident. The success of this working coalition is what every Kenyan and friends of Kenya continue to pray for. It is, therefore, a little disturbing that so much valuable time is being expended by our politicians campaigning to succeed current holders of executive power so early.

We still have a whole four years before another general election is called unless of course the coalition fails. It is tragic that none of the political leaders, it seems, is alert enough to recall the kind of violent political convulsions this country experienced in the first two months of this year. It was all as a result of political rivalry. Yet what is happening right now is pure campaign to succeed leaders who are still in office for the next four years. It makes little political sense. The timing of the current canvassing is ill-advised.

For now it is more prudent the political class to save Kenyans the trouble and concentrate on healing the wounds inflicted on many communities following the post-election violence. Thousands of Kenyans are still in IDP camps. Thousands others have temporarily been resettled and even hundreds of thousands are experiencing the pangs of hunger in such areas as Turkana, Samburu, West Pokot and North Eastern Province. These are situations that need the attention of our leaders to save them from the famine agony.

Still there are many other areas that need attention like in education, rehabilitation of our infrastructure, unemployment and the rising crime wave. Already one organisation--Strategic Public Relations and Research Ltd.--has shown that Kenyans are dissatisfied with the government’s performance over issues to do with dehumanising poverty, corruption, tribalism, unemployment, and economy. Kenyans are getting uncomfortable about the performance of elected leaders. This public discomfort is going to lead to the discomfiture in four years of many MPs who do not seem to take public opinion in this matter seriously.



Kenya Times
Nairobi, Kenya
September 23, 2008
Story by: Emmanuel Onyango

THE performance of the coalition government over the last six months earned poor ratings on economic development, the war against corwruption and availability of jobs, a new survey says. Levels of corruption increased from 67 per cent to 76 per cent and more disturbing is the issue of tribalism and ethnicity in employment. The survey paints a gloomy future for the country, with a majority of Kenyans plunging into poverty at an alarming rate.

According to the scorecard, Kenyans consider the coalition government to be a "necessary evil" cobbled together to restore normalcy in governance, but is not necessarily pro-poor. According to respondents interviewed, the Grand Coalition is bloated and its maintenance is too costly on the burdened taxpayers.The respondents also feel that lack of opposition places the citizens’ interest at the mercy of politicians.

Kenyans, the survey revealed, are pessimistic that not much difference would be achieved by the grand coalition in terms of improving the living standards of citizens. "The Grand Coalition is seen as an option to ending the post-election violence but not a team that can work together for the good of the masses," the scorecard states."People noted that the government had not done enough to ensure equitable distribution of national resources. Some said foreigners have been given preferential treatment especially in land allocation at the expense of locals," the scorecard adds.

The 5,000 Kenyans sampled in the scorecard reckon that the hyped 7 per cent economic development in 2007 has yet to be realised by the average citizens. Further, the government is accused of sitting on the sidelines as the state of roads deteriorates prices of essential goods skyrocket and unemployment soars. Concern was also raised over the bloated government saying it would eat up whatever economic gains expected this year. The government was also indicted for being elitist, with 89 per cent of respondents saying that participation of the public in publicly funded development initiatives and decision-making remained low.

The police force was criticised over delayed service delivery, bribery, unlawful arrests and harassment. The prevalence of corruption in police stations increased from 51 per cent last year to 60 per cent in 2008, with bribery emerging as the most common for of corruption encountered. Complaints about delays in service delivery at police stations shot up by 45 per cent while those about corruption increased by 9 per cent. Those complaining about unlawful arrests and harassment rose from 5 to 15 per cent.The survey was conducted in 21 districts in the all eight provinces. This is the second scorecard on government performance. The first one was released in the run up to last year’s election.

Scorecard 2 was launched yesterday by Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) vice chairman Hassan Omar at a Nairobi hotel. The survey was conducted by Community Aid International (CAI). In the scorecard, Kenyans are pessimistic about the government’s resolve to fight corruption, with the magnitude of corruption increasing from 67 per cent to 76 per cent.Perceptions on prevalence of tribalism have almost doubled to 75 per cent compared to last year. Most respondents said ethnic affiliation rated highly at 67 per cent in the provision of employment regardless of academic qualification.

The perception of tribalism in employment and public offices was highest in Rift Valley Province, while Central Province had the highest number of respondents who felt tribalism in employment and public offices had decreased. Half of those interviewed or 41 per cent were of the opinion that national identity cards have been used to discriminate against people from certain ethnic communities, thereby contributing greatly to the promotion of tribalism.Respondents were equally dissatisfied with the pace at which the judiciary handles court cases. They also doubted the effectiveness of the judiciary to uphold human rights and were sharply divided on the role of Chief Justice Evan Gicheru in the post-election violence. Some blame him for swearing-in President Kibaki.

One respondent in Machakos said : "The swearing-in was done so fast as if it was a private thing, it left people with a lot of doubts. The CJ was not mandated to do it after all the rigging, but anyway they had to do it because unrest had already began in the country".When asked about the performance of the Electoral Commission in the 2007 presidential election 67 per cent of the respondents rated it poorly with 51 per cent saying they totally distrust ECK to perform its duty with integrity in the future."Most participants said that the election results were flawed citing delays in the release of presidential results in some areas and conflicting figures being released by the ECK against the figures documented at the grassroots level" says the scorecard."

The announcement provoked and added to existing feelings of unfairness and discrimination perpetrated by the previous governments."Respondents also criticised ECK chairman Samuel Kivuitu for announcing a presidential winner in the disputed election and attributed the violence that erupted to his conduct. A respondent said: "What the ECK did in December took us years back. Kenyans have lost confidence in the ECK and secondly the act eroded the sense of democracy in the country."

A rare applause was, however, given to the government for making efforts to increase women’s participation in public affairs. Criticism was, however, levelled against the state for not ensuring gender equality in land matters. The respondents cited failure by the government to enact laws to safeguard women’s right to inheritance.Praise was given to the way the government provided basic services to IDPs. Pessimism, however, reigns over the government’s ability to provide long-lasting solution to the security issues that IDPs are likely to face once they return to their homes.

While launching the scorecard, KNCHR vice-chairman Hassan Omar fingered the Ministry of Internal Security and Provincial Administration as the greatest stumbling block in human rights reforms. "The greatest stumbling block to reforms in the country is the police and provincial administration. They are excessive, arbitrary and a relic of the colonial system", said Omar.Others present at the launch were Joseph Kwaka and Flora Okoth of Community Aid International and Ceasar Kwaka of Strategic PR.



Kenya Times
Nairobi, Kenya
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Story by: Hassan Kulundu

The Independent Review Commission (IREC) appointed to probe what might have gone wrong when handling last year’s general election results has presented its report and many Kenyans are still not amused by its findings. I am infact baffled by the Commission’s report which was presented by its chairman Johann Kriegler. And despite getting the endorsement of former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan who described it as ‘wise and bold,’ the report honestly falls short of intelligent expectations and critics should not be blamed for poking holes in it.

But when confronted by a barrage of criticism after he said he could not tell who between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga won or lost last year’s presidential elections despite months of countrywide interviews and audit of electoral documents, Kriegler challenged Kenyans to review his report with their minds and not their hearts. In essence, Kriegler wants those criticising his report to do so with reason and not emotion.

To this end, I want to take up Kriegler’s challenge and make an intelligent critique of his report, and in so doing, I wish to cite British philosopher Bertrand Russell who asked: “Is there any knowledge that is so certain that no reasonable man would doubt it?” Applied to Kriegler’s report, the question would then be; is this report so sacrosanct that no reasonable Kenyan who knows what happened between December 27 and 30, 2007 could doubt it? To answer the foregoing question, I submit that the first criteria of acknowledging the integrity of a report such as Kriegler’s is to look at the competence of people who did the job.

I don’t doubt the professional ability of Kriegler’s team as members of the legal profession. But the question I put forward is; were the right people given the right job to do? Here I have my reasonable doubts if at all people of Kriegler’s profession were the right ones to perform the enormous task of unraveling the truth behind what many Kenyans feel was one of the most blatant electoral frauds in recent history.

There is a misconception in Kenya that lawyers are omniscient (all knowing) and that is why they are given leading roles in constitutional making and even entrusted with complex tasks like conducting investigations in commission of inquiry. But what many Kenyans fail to understand is that the kind of training lawyers undergo does not prepare them to seek knowledge beyond that assumed by their profession.

If Kenyans cared to seek to understand the philosophy behind lawyering, they would be clever enough in future to pursue a proper division of labour when dealing with certain matters of catholic importance. In this regard, the task of probing what went wrong in last year’s elections required people who are trained to seek knowledge beyond the obvious, people not contented with appearances. It required people capable of seeking new knowledge through an intelligent synthesis of ideas and people capable of constructing a chain of self-evident truths through a rational calculus of probabilities.

But judging with the benefit of hindsight, I must say that lawyers are not trained for the kind of task that Kriegler’s team plunged itself into and I am sorry to say that the commission did not have the right professionals for the task. Kriegler and his team could be excellent lawyers, but I doubt if they make excellent investigators and that is why the whole exercise looked like one where football coaches were recruited to handle the economic meltdown on Wall Street.

First and foremost, it must be understood that a commission of inquiry is not necessarily adversarial or litigatory since nobody is on trial. But in the IREC case, we see people who would most likely apply their litigation skills as lawyers to a task that requires application of logical skills in propositional calculus. I say so because lawyers are trained to deal with facts available to them and anything not known and available to a lawyer is irrelevant.

In this way, lawyers tend to think in a straight jacket and that’s why, for example, they easily commit an epistemic fallacy when they argue that there can be no murder where there is no dead body. Such a fallacy only makes sense to a lawyer, but not to a logical epistemologist. I have cited the foregoing analogy because I want to challenge Kriegler’s assertion that there was no rigging or alteration of poll results by the Electoral Commission of Kenya merely because his team did not find any evidence to that effect.

This was a team dealing with oral testimonies and documents availed to them by the very discredited electoral officials and that is why it required a much more critical mind than a lawyer’s to decipher the truth. I have read in the preamble of the report the methodology used by the team to verify the authenticity of the documents they reviewed and that used to cross-examine the oral testimonies from the people who appeared before the commission in order to determine prejudiced testimonies from honest ones.

But while such a methodology works for lawyers, it is not sufficient for investigators. On this score, I wish to remind Kriegler that there is knowledge beyond the reach of man’s five senses, and go ahead to pose: “If a large branch falls off a tree in the middle of the Amazon but there is nobody to see it fall or hear the sound of its fall, would it be correct to deny that it did not fall?” Hence, Kriegler gave Kenyans a report that sounds like a typical judge’s ruling in a trial where the prosecution failed because it could not meet its burden of proof in line with conventional rules of evidence.

And since he was dealing with circumstantial evidence, Kriegler expected to see a situation where the incriminating facts point conclusively to the guilt of the accused persons and not compatible with any reasonable hypothesis pointing to their innocence. It therefore appears that certain potentially culpable people telegraphed Kriegler’s way of thinking and availed to him facts that would exonerate them from any electoral malpractice.

Apart from the epistemological weaknesses in Kriegler’s report, I have read and listened to the oral defence of it and found the report to be weak in areas it had no reason to be weak but strong in irrelevant ones. For example, the bulk of the report is nothing but a lamentation over how weak Kenya’s electoral system is. But Kenyans don’t need to be reminded over and over how weak their electoral process is; they already know that since they dealt with this issue comprehensively during the deliberations at Bomas during the aborted constitutional review process.

What Kenyans wanted to know is a verdict that would effortlessly enable them pin-point what went wrong during the tallying of 2007 presidential election results and who was responsible for it. It served no purpose for Kriegler to present a catalogue of obvious mistakes and weaknesses and go ahead to blame institutions without citing the people who were incharge of those institutions. Ballot papers don’t count themselves, its people who count them and these people have names.

Hence if there were errors in counting, certain people must have made those errors and Kriegler would have done a better job by naming those people since nothing in his terms of reference prohibits him from doing so. We cannot forget that Kenyans used the same electoral system in 2002 and during the 2005 referendum and got the mathematics right. What happened this time round Mr Kriegler? In taking the path he did and his terms of reference notwithstanding, Kriegler ended up committing the informal fallacy known as ignoratio elenchi (ignorance of refutation).

This fallacy is a result of failing to keep to the point in an argument and is also called ‘irrelevant conclusion or missing the point.’ Such a failure of relevance is essentially a failure to keep closely enough to the issue under discussion. For example, during a criminal trial, the prosecutor may display the victim’s bloody shirt and argue convincingly that murder is a horrible crime instead of demonstrating that the defendant is guilty of murder.

Hence it is one thing to show that a murder was gruesome but another thing altogether to prove that so and so committed the murder. And of all people Mr Kriegler must be assumed to know this. In this regard, Kriegler’s team ended up with an irrelevant conclusion because Kenyans expected to be told who committed the electoral fraud and not to be reminded of why they should get their math right.

But despite its incurable weaknesses, Kriegler’s report succeeds in enabling Kenyans make a very legitimate inference. Kriegler said that the conduct of the 2007 elections was so materially defective that it is impossible to establish true or reliable results for the presidential elections. With such a verdict, logic tells you that benefits of a flawed process are illegitimate and what Kriegler shied away from saying is that Mwai Kibaki is a beneficiary of a flawed process.



Kenya Times
Nairobi, Kenya
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Story by: Okello Kajoji

IT is difficult to say whether African countries are truly breaking new grounds in pursuit of better practices and values for their people. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and its Peer Review Mechanisms provided some key cornerstones towards the realisation of good governance, sustainable human development. Kenya has been among only a handful of countries which signed up for peer review. It can be said that when Kenya did this in 2003, the country was adjudged the most upbeat.

A coalition of progressive political forces had come together spearheaded by Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga and removed what was largely perceived to be a more inward looking and autocratic government. Thus when Kenya signed up for the Peer Review Mechanism, there was considerable hope that we had at least found a trajectory which would catapult us to realise much higher goals.

The assumption was that the peer review mechanism would provide an opportunity for all stakeholders in government, in civil society and in the corporate sector to reflect on the problems of governance in Kenya, both within state and non-state institutions and systems. The African Peer Review Mechanism was expected to become a catalyst for policy enhancement and change.

Kenya to its credit presented clear, time-bound commitments on key governance and socio-economic development priorities in the short-term, including the identification of key carrying us beyond the sort of situation which Kenyans plunged into when flawed elections provided reason for bloodletting to a scale never imagined in this country. There was hope that with best practices embraced, a new beam of hope for all would be realised.

But nearly five years after pledging to embark on far reaching reforms, things would appear to have stalled. Perceptions report after perception report give impression that reforms which were necessary to improve our lot are not being taken as fast as was expected. Poverty continues to brutalise Kenyans. In fact the dangers of absolute poverty was exposed during the election related violence which exploded in this country early this year.

Slums continue to expand at alarming rate, unemployment rate is hardly at the rate the government had promised Kenyans five years ago and there is no evidence that things will be better soon. In Kenya poverty has been rising with the number of people classified as poor rising from 11.3million in 1990 to over 15million today. There are also very high levels of inequality between provinces and between urban and rural areas.

The rural to urban migration figures attest to the need to tackle rural poverty as a first step to check poverty. The effects of poverty and inequality are severest among the landless, subsistence farmers, unskilled workers, women-headed households and pastoralists in arid and semi-arid lands. Naturally the There is no way vision 2030 will be realised against such high poverty index.

Crime will likely continue to soar as unemployment continue to be the number one challenge facing young people. Creating a nation at peace and in harmony with itself is being challenged by ethnicity. The NEPAD provisions were very clear and what is more, easy enough to implement but we have not seen adequate political will at necessary levels to turn around things and get back to the course we had anticipated. There are a number of areas in policy making where resolute action by the authorities will greatly improve governance and until this happens, there is no reason for Kenyans to be upbeat about the future.



By David Ohito
The Standard
Nairobi, Kenya

September 23,2008

The Krigeler report appears to unite politicians on minimum reforms. The only difference is in approach. The Standard writer David Ohito interviewed Senior Counsel Paul Muite. Here are the excerpts:

QUESTION: The Kriegler report proposes reform of electoral laws and the Judiciary. Comment.

ANSWER: The ECK and the Judiciary must be reformed as part of a minimum reforms package ahead of, and concurrently with, comprehensive review of the Constitution. Without reforming the ECK now, who will conduct the referendum to usher in the new constitution? Without reforming the Judiciary, who will adjudicate on any disputes on the referendum? Kriegler is saying what some of us have been agitating for since the 90s, namely a complete overhaul of the electoral laws and field in the context of a new constitution.

QUESTION: Kofi Annan wants the Kriegler Report implemented as part of reforms. Comment.

ANSWER: I agree, but it is not going to be easy. There are many conflicting personal interests across the political divide and few genuine reformers.

QUESTION: There is a new push for minimum reforms package ahead of comprehensive Constitutional reforms. What is your take?

ANSWER: We have no choice. That is the way to go. We should opt for a lean professional ECK of nine commissioners recruited on the basis of competence, ability, relevant qualifications, experience and integrity. The recruitment should take into account the regional diversity of the Kenyan people and gender. Parliament must vet and approve the appointments. Judicial reforms must focus on how those to be appointed judges are identified. The current situation where all the members of the Judicial Service Commission are hand picked by the President is an example of the imperial presidency, which is at the core of Kenya’s rot.

QUESTION: Kriegler warned of another bloodbath in 2012 unless we act. Do you agree?

ANSWER: I agree entirely. Kenyans forget fast! The underlying fundamentals for chaos must be addressed even as we repeatedly say it must never happen again. We must adopt the concurrent principles of minimum reforms and comprehensive review of the Constitution.

QUESTION: Should we disband ECK and replace it?

ANSWER: Yes indeed, and today, not tomorrow, via the minimum reform Package and for the reasons stated above.

QUESTION: Comment on the public confidence and independence of ECK.

ANSWER: Zero. Kibaki was wrong and unfair in hand picking commissioners in violation of the 1997 IPPG’s gentleman’s agreement on the argument that the Constitution gave him power to do so. Yes it did, but this was the Constitution that had been violated to create the imperial presidency and the replacement of which Kenyans had shed blood in 1990-91 and1997 to achieve.



The Standard
Nairobi, Kenya
September 23, 2008

By David Ohito

The reform bells are ringing across the country again. They have been triggered by reports of the tragedy that befell Kenya in January and February.

The Independent Review Commission chairman, Justice (rtd) Johann Kriegler put it straight, loud and clear — "fix the mess or the mess returns to haunt you".

"Before you know it will be 2012 and it is going to be another repeat of an election year where each time you are beset by pain and suffering instead of joy," Kriegler said when he handed over his commission’s report to the President last week.

"Elections should be about the people of Kenya, a statement to the leadership. Elections should be an expression of national solidarity, a joint step towards the future of the country, not an occasion to kill one another over land or historical injustices," Kriegler added.

From Parliament to the Judiciary, land matters to Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), the country is awash with calls for minimum reforms with politicians and lawyers arguing it is time we embraced it ahead of the comprehensive constitutional reforms.

From the push for new land laws, review of constituency boundaries to crucial piecemeal amendments in the Judiciary and electoral laws and Parliament, the mood is set.

Legal framework

The new constitutional review attempts are on hold because two crucial Bills that would midwife the process are stuck on the racks of Parliament, which is on recess until October 7.

The Bills are Constitution of Kenya (amendment) Bill 2008 and The Constitution of Kenya Review Bill 2008.

Already Justice Minister Martha Karua has opposed the constituency boundary review, arguing it should be packaged with Constitutional reforms. It means two months have been lost in terms of setting up structures for the review process.

The mediation agreement proposed that a new Constitution be realised within 12 months from the date of legislation of the legal framework by Parliament.

Without the legal framework, the process cannot commence. It reflects lack of sustained political will to conclude Constitutional review.

Parliament itself has undergone considerable reforms, but still needs its own calendar and powers to approve public sector appointments. At least there is live coverage of part of the proceedings.

For the first time, MPs will be able to scrutinise the budget proposals and make amendments. It will no longer be exclusively the function of the Finance Minister or the Executive to draw the budget.

Some of the Standing Orders — the new rules and regulations of Parliament — take effect when it reconvenes and House Speaker Kenneth Marende says MPs will undergo transitional training of the new rules until they master them before adoption.

Parliament must be reformed to be the true representation of the people’s dreams and aspirations and for the just governance of society.

Historical injustices

Senior counsel and former Kabete MP Paul Muite says the land issue remains complex in Coast, Central and Rift Valley provinces, which must be addressed and resolved.

"Land questions must have a large measure of consensus. It is not possible to take complicated land issues to a referendum. The contents of that which is to be subjected to a referendum need consensus. And consensus needs time, patience, skill and plenty of give and take. People must listen to the concerns of those involved," Muite argues.

"There are many historical injustices, some dating back to the mid 19th Century when the British colonisers grabbed land and dispossessed owners in Rift Valley and Central provinces. The land issue alone, if not resolved, has the potential to delay the realisation of a new Constitution or derail it altogether," Muite says.

Lands Minister James Orengo says secure land rights are universally critical for peace, stability and economic development.

"Land rights must be embedded in the Constitution. The Cabinet will discuss the proposed Land Policy. We have not had a policy since independence," Orengo said.

"Land reforms must be anchored in the Constitution and we must set out a comprehensive mechanism for resolving historical land injustices," Orengo says.

On calling for the electoral reforms, the experts argue acceptability of an election depends on the extent to which the public feels the officially announced results accurately reflects the verdict of voters on candidates and parties.

Law weaknesses and inconsistencies in Kenya’s legal framework and management system for elections need urgent and radical attention.

Kriegler found ECK lacking necessary independence and functional capacity to discharge its constitutional mandate because of weaknesses in its manner of appointment, composition and management system.

Lean ECK

Experts say Kenyans want a lean professional ECK, with six to nine commissioners, a policy-making body and supervisory board selected in a transparent and inclusive process, interacting with a properly structured professional secretariat.

The new electoral body would manage recruitment of new voters, the election and post-election procedures and advise government, Parliament and stakeholders on desirable changes to electoral law.

"It is imprudent to have one organ charged with policy formulation and its execution or implementation," Muite says.

Like Kriegler says, "Kenyans must agree on a system which puts to rest the continuous discussion about a new electoral system."

Central Imenti MP Gitobu Imanyara says "with commitment and goodwill from leadership, Parliament can be able to set a time for a new Constitution".

"The dilemma is that the business of the House is still determined by the Government and if it slows pace, a new Constitution would be delayed," Imanyara, who is a lawyer, says.

"The mood of the country is ready for a new Constitution. I pray that Justice Minister remains focused and energetic about delivering it," Imanyara adds.

Kenyans, Muite said, must decide whether they want to retain a Presidential System or go for a Parliamentary one.

Hybrid system

The hybrid system in any form has inherent potential for conflict. The examples have been many in the six months of the coalition.

"Despite the best efforts by both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to work together sharing executive authority, strains and stresses are obvious. There are those who have not accepted the reality of shared executive authority," Muite says.

Muite and Imanyara warn that the debate on the structure of Government, Presidential, Parliamentary, or a hybrid system too might take much longer than anticipated.

Marende says, "Kriegler has fired the warning salvo. We must embark on reforms or we perish."

The completion of the comprehensive review is crucial to resolving the underlying causes of the 2007 post-election violence, which were identified as the land question, ethnicity, poverty, and inequitable distribution of wealth.



One day Kenyans will know the truth about 2007 Election

The Standard
Nairobi, Kenya
September 23, 2008

By Dennis Onyango

I was waiting for a train at a station in Berlin when I read the news that the commission investigating the 2007 General Election had concluded that it was impossible to know the winner.

I sat there, at the cold station, asking myself questions. Kenya is a modern nation, which boasts as one of the intellectual powerhouses in Africa, with a huge population of young, educated people waiting for a chance to serve their country.

Is that the same nation that spends billions of shillings on elections, goes to the polls with all modern equipment like desktop computers, laptops, mobile and satellite phones, and then comes out without results?

As if that is not bad enough, everyone, from the ECK to the intelligence, security and civil service officials, the people who run the political system, say they too don’t know the results.

They are as ignorant as the citizens, but they earn the salaries all the same.

Where else has that happened? Even in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe was intelligent enough to accept that his opponent at the polls, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the first round, but not by the required margin. So Mugabe created a second round, and then made it impossible for the opponent to participate in it.

At the station, I board the train to what used to be Leipzig in East Germany or the German Democratic Republic. I have always been convinced that what happened with our polls was the work of the State, or a faction of the State. So I am glad I’m going to Leipzig, because I am a keen student of things to do with use and misuse of State power.

In Leipzig, I am going to watch a permanent exhibition going on at what used to be the headquarters of the East German Ministry of State Security.

I am talking about the dreaded Stasi, which was the omnipresent East German police and intelligence agency, whose terror is the subject of awe to date, decades after it fell.

When Stasi reigned, wives spied on their husbands and husbands on wives. Letters disappeared in post offices, students’ compositions disappeared from classrooms as teachers submitted such work to the police, if the student sounded too radical or Western in his or her thinking. Of course, people were murdered and people disappeared.

But all that time, it was impossible to find one person who would admit that he or she spied on others for the Stasi.

Spying was always something that went on in society, committed by nobody in particular.

When the Berlin Wall fell

Inside the exhibition at the former Stasi headquarters, people have been showing up to put the pieces together, look into the files that were left behind and literally apply scotch tape on pieces of shredded paper to reconstruct what somebody tried to destroy when the Berlin Wall fell.

The similarities with the Kenyan election fiasco struck me. It dawned on me that the human spirit and the human desire to know the truth, assign responsibility and blame always triumphs. It may take 10 years, 100, or more. But in the end, human beings always get to the bottom of the matter.

Somewhere within the civil service, the intelligence, the security agencies and the presidency, there is always somebody who knows the truth of what happened. It does not matter whether you are dealing with the GDR or with the Kenyan elections.

Whenever systems go haywire, somewhere within, there is somebody who gave the wrong orders or who obeyed orders he should not have. Such people always hide under the power of the State, anonymity, the hope that people will forget or the arrogance of "what can they do? We are in power".

Happy feeling

As I leave the Stasi police headquarters, I get the happy feeling that the truth always comes out in the end.

In the end, those who looked so protected, so clever and so invincible, turn out to have been mere mortals.

Some of the once powerful Stasi men are now taxi drivers, having been exposed for the torturers they were. That exposure came not from their admission, but from the people’s relentless search for the truth.

Some of those once powerful Stasi officers, once discovered, have been stripped of the pension they were to live on for the rest of their lives.

A number of them have to live with the guilt once responsibility was traced back to them, many more still live with the fear of being discovered and the shame of knowing that records have revealed they drilled cameras into bedrooms of their friends with whom they had regular lunches.

The truth always comes out and one day, Kenyans, too, will know the truth — not just about the 2007 polls, but also about the other painful experiences the nation has gone through and which have been swept under the carpet.

Somewhere within the system, there is somebody who gave the orders and another who obeyed.



September 22 2008

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama undergoes three days of preparation this week for a crucial foreign policy clash with John McCain in the first debate of the general election campaign.

Aides say it will be an opportunity for Mr Obama to demonstrate proficiency in an area where polls have shown voters give the edge to McCain, a 26-year Washington veteran who promotes his ties to leaders around the world.

Mr Obama will head to Florida to prepare for Friday’s event at the University of Mississippi.

If Obama can hold his own on foreign policy, it could ease those worries, aides said Sunday as they tried to lower expectations for the first-term Illinois senator, a powerful speaker but an uneven performer in multiple debates during the Democratic primaries.

Instead, senior Obama adviser Robert Gibbs said it is McCain who needs to meet expectations.

“John McCain has boasted throughout the campaign about his decades of Washington foreign policy experience and what an advantage that would be for him,” Mr Gibbs said. “This debate offers him major home-court advantage and anything short of a game-changing event will be a key missed opportunity for him.”

While Obama is cloistered in Tampa, Florida, veteran Washington lawyer Greg Craig will play the role of McCain in the debate preparations.

Mr Craig was a member of President Clinton’s defence team during the impeachment proceedings.

In 2004, he was a stand-in for President Bush when Democratic nominee John Kerry prepared for his debates.

Mr Craig also has advised both Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on foreign policy. The bulk of Obama’s time in Florida will be devoted to the debates, but he’s also likely to hold some campaign events in the area.

Polls show a tight race in Florida. McCain won the state during the GOP primaries but Mr Obama didn’t compete there because of Democratic Party sanctions against Florida because it held its nominating contest too early in the season.

Mr Obama and McCain are scheduled to debate three times between Friday and October 15, sandwiched around one matchup between their running mates, Senator Joe Biden and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Presidential debate

But the opening presidential debate traditionally sets the tone for voters and it’s often difficult for a candidate to overcome a poor performance.

Meanwhile, Mr Obama on Monday called the $700 billion price tag for a financial market bailout “staggering” and said the final product must protect US taxpayers and include a commitment to new regulatory reforms.

At a rally in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, Mr Obama laid the blame for the Wall Street crisis on Republican economic policies favored by Mr McCain.

“We’re now seeing the disastrous consequences of this philosophy all around us – on Wall Street as well as Main Street,” Mr Obama told the crowd estimated at about 20,000.

Negotiations over the unprecedented $700 billion bailout opened on Sunday between Congress and the administration of President George W. Bush.



September 22 2008 at 18:28

ANC leader Jacob Zuma said on Monday that the decision to ask President Thabo Mbeki to resign as president of the country was one of the most difficult in the history of the ruling party.

Zuma, in his first public remarks after Mbeki’s resignation, told a news conference in Johannesburg that the decision was taken to help South Africa move forward.

Mr Zuma added that South Africa’s economic policies will remain stable and unchanged.

“Our economic policies will remain stable, progressive and unchanged as decided upon in previous ANC national conferences,” Mr Zuma told a news conference.

Zuma said the party will announce its candidate to replace Mr Mbeki until a national election next year at an appropriate time, adding that he was sure ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe would be up to the task if chosen.

Earlier, other sources said Parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete, 59 was to be given the job.

Parliament will elect a new president on Thursday, he chief whip for opposition Democratic Alliance said on Monday.

“The election will take place ... on Thursday,” Ian Davidson told Reuters after meeting with the ANC’s chief whip and officials from other political parties.

Meanwhile, the removal of Mr Mbeki has raised questions over the future of the ANC and its ability to lead the country.

Mr Mbeki, who presided over South Africa’s longest period of economic growth, said in a televised address on Sunday he had tendered his resignation after the ANC asked him to quit before the end of his term next year.

The ANC made its request eight days after a judge threw out corruption charges against party leader Jacob Zuma, suggesting there was high-level political meddling in the case.

News of Mbeki’s departure helped push South Africa’s rand weaker in overnight trading although traders said the political moves would not affect the currency much in the short term.

In the most dramatic political crisis since apartheid ended in 1994, the ANC announced on Saturday it had recalled Mr Mbeki before his term ends. He agreed to step down a few hours later.

The move exposed the worst internal crisis in the history of the African National Congress and increased the chance it could split before next year’s election, which Zuma is expected to win because of the party’s electoral dominance.

It shows the growing strength of the ANC’s more radical wing, which may hurt Zuma’s efforts to reassure foreign investors that left-leaning allies will not force him to steer the country away from pro-business policies.

The precedent could also be a dangerous one for Zuma himself if he fails to fulfil the hopes of his allies on the left.

“Labour and the left is in a stronger position then when it was six months ago,” said Nic Borain, political consultant to HSBC Securities. “This victorious triumphalism hurts the country. It is bad for business.”

ANC militants led the charge against Mbeki after a judge threw out graft charges against Zuma and suggested there was high-level political meddling in the case.
ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe repeatedly said during the announcement the decision to recall Mr Mbeki, who lost the ANC leadership to Zuma in December, was made by consensus and was designed to ensure political stability.

While the move vindicated Mr Zuma, it may have caused irreparable damage to the ANC and deprived him of the chance to take over Africa’s biggest economy backed by a united party after a transitional government.

Mr Mbeki, who took over from Nelson Mandela as president in 1999, said he remained a loyal ANC member and respected the party’s decision but repeated that he did not influence the prosecution in the case of Zuma, his rival.

Recipe for civil war

Mbeki’s brother, Moeletsi Mbeki, a political analyst who has been a tough critic of Mbeki, was quoted in a newspaper as saying the ANC’s purge was a “recipe for civil war” that set a dangerous precedent.

Uncertainty may deepen if Mbeki supporters split from the ANC and contest elections as a breakaway party in 2009, as media reports suggest they will.

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, Deputy Defence Minister Mluleki George and other Mbeki loyalists are planning to start a new party and organisers will meet this week to discuss the move, South Africa’s Sunday Times reported.

“The threat of a breakaway party is now significant. Its implications would be grave,” said Razia Khan, regional head of research Africa at Standard Chartered.

And, South Africa’s influence overseas could be dented by the loss of Mbeki, who has successfully mediated an end to a number of African conflicts and acted as a broker between rich industrialised nations and the developing world.

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka would have been the next in line after Mbeki’s resignation to take the post.

At the weekend, Zuma supporters, appeared to favour Ms Mbete, the speaker of parliament for the top post. But, the ANC plans to name Mr Motlanthe as president until next year’s election.



September 15 2008

Democrat Barack Obama went after White House rival John McCain’s core belief in honour and integrity Monday with a new ad accusing the Republican of stooping to deception, sleaze and lies.

The 30-second television spot quoted Mr McCain as saying during his failed bid for the Republican nomination in 2000: “I will not take the low road to the highest office in this land.”

It then cited an array of media commentaries damning McCain’s own ad onslaught on Obama as being “truly vile,” larded with “dishonest smears” and amounting to the “most disgraceful, dishonourable campaign” yet.

“After voting with (President George W.) Bush 90 per cent of the time, proposing the same disastrous economic policies, it seems deception is all he has left,” the Illinois senator’s ad concluded.

It was a stinging attack on the Vietnam War hero who prizes his own honour and, in 2000, lost the Republican nomination to Bush after a hate-filled campaign leading up the year’s South Carolina primary.

Last week, in one intensely controversial ad, the McCain campaign accused Obama of wanting to teach sex education to kindergarten-aged children.

The bill he voted for

In reality, the bill he voted for as an Illinois lawmaker mandated warnings for young children about sexual predators.

The Democratic National Committee meanwhile launched a new “online counter” and web page to chronicle the “lies and distortions” of McCain and his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

DNC spokesman Damien LaVera cited at least 51 instances of non-partisan organizations crying foul over attacks on Obama from McCain and Palin.

“John McCain’s decision to run one of the most dishonest and dishonorable presidential campaigns in history is one more reason to reject his promise of more of the same failed policies and broken politics,” he said.

Palin is now accused of saying she visited Alaskan troops inside an Iraqi war zone when it emerged her trip was to an Iraq-Kuwait border post.

She is also taking heat for repeatedly saying she blocked a notorious multi-million dollar project to build a bridge to a sparsely-inhabited island in her state, when she initially backed it.



Daily Nation
Nairobi, Kenya

September 22 2008

Judge Kriegler did not say there was no rigging; he said is that it was impossible to verify exactly where and how the rigging occurred.
Those taking comfort in the findings of the report are totally misplaced because nowhere does it put the seal of legitimacy on President Kibaki.
Suspicion that an election is rigged is one thing; providing incontrovertible evidence that would stand the test of proof is quite another.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta over the weekend led a group of Central Kenya MPs in praising the Kriegler Report.

Their take was that the Commission of Inquiry chaired by South African judge Johann Kriegler had established that there was no rigging at the 2007 elections, and therefore those who resorted to violent protests should apologise.

Across the divide, however, another group of leaders is very unhappy with Kriegler.

They feel that the Independent Review Commission went out of its way to reach a pre-determined conclusion.

To them, that the elections were rigged is obvious, and therefore the Kriegler team must have had some ulterior motive in ignoring all the evidence provided to establish that the election was stolen.

Both sets of reactions display a very predictable pattern of Kenyan politics — seeing only what we want to see.

For Mr Kenyatta and company, the Kriegler Report is supposed to stand as proof that President Kibaki was indeed the legitimately elected president.

For those crying foul, the Kriegler Report amounts to Prime Minister Raila Odinga being robbed twice.

What both groups deliberately fail to recognise is that the Report is not what they say it is.

They interpret it only from the tunnel vision mode where they see only what they want to see and ignore anything that might be inconvenient to their analysis.

The stark truth is that Judge Kriegler did not say there was no rigging. What he said is that it was impossible to verify exactly where and how the rigging occurred.

This is because the election was so badly mismanaged that neither a recount nor a re-tallying could establish the actual result.

In saying that the claims of rigging could not be verified, Judge Kriegler was not saying that President Kibaki was the winner. Neither was he saying that Mr Odinga was the loser. He was simply stating that we will never know.

Those taking comfort in the findings of the report are totally misplaced because nowhere does it put the seal of legitimacy on President Kibaki.

Just as misplaced are those unhappy that Kriegler did not declare Mr Odinga the rightful winner of the presidential election.

Again, it falls on the burden of proof. Suspicion that an election is rigged is one thing. Providing incontrovertible evidence that would stand the test of proof is quite another.

It obviously would not do at the equivalent of a judicial hearing to present as evidence suspicion, rumour, and figures cooked up by political activists to conform to a set position.

One of the things I find interesting is that the Kriegler team gave little weight to those from both PNU and ODM who appeared before the it purporting to provide expert statistical analysis of how their candidate either won or was rigged out.
Also appearing before the Commission were all sorts of supposedly independent experts, including a clutch of foreign scholars, who deluged the inquiry with data and engaged in their own academic disputes until Judge Kriegler advised them to take their quarrels to other fora.

All the mountain of data presented seems to have been largely ignored.

This is probably because the inquiry decided that all the numbers were cooked to support specific political positions, rather than the conclusions being drawn from the data.

Anyway, the position now is that we do not know who won the presidential elections.

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga, sharing power after the electoral deadlock, have both publicly accepted Kriegler’s verdict.

What they are accepting is not the issue of whether there was rigging or not, but that neither of them can claim legitimacy.

So, in all fairness, the fairest declaration from Electoral Commission boss Samuel Kivuitu and his band of merry bunglers would have been a no result; and a fresh presidential election.

And if President Kibaki’s re-election was fraudulent and Mr Odinga’s claim was also fraudulent, then the two lacked the legitimacy to negotiate a sweetheart power-sharing deal.

This makes this whole Grand Coalition arrangement both fraudulent and illegitimate.

But then woolly-headed idealism must often give way to some practical realities. Only a fool would have argued for a repeat poll at a time when the country faced disintegration.

The fight for leadership between two obdurate claimants spilled out into the streets and farms and a great deal of blood was shed before sanity prevailed again.

That was the best that could be done in those circumstances, but let us never forget that sharing power was not an end in itself. It was at best a temporary solution designed to cool tempers.

We have been warned by Justice Kriegler and chief mediator Kofi Annan that unless we move to cure all the defects in our social, economic and political systems that gave rise to the carnage witnessed, then we are merely enjoying the lull before the storm.

If we go into the 2012 elections not having resolved the long-term issues identified under the so-called Agenda 4, we will face an explosion even worse than what we just came out of.

Monday, September 22, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
September 21, 2008

Suppose the NRM of Uganda decided to recall its president from the presidency for whatever reasons, what would have been the consequences? Suppose PNU of Kenya decided to sack its president or the ruling party in Addis Ababa recalled its prime minister the way the ANC of South Africa has recalled Mbeki, what would be the outcome? Would Robert Mugabe vacate office if today ZANU-PF decided to recall him and replace him with another ZANU- PF party member? I can bet my last dollar that there would be turmoil in these countries.

The ouster of Thabo Mbeki in South Africa has many lessons for Africa. One such lesson is that in the five years that Nelson Mandela ruled that country, he ensured strong institutional structures for the ANC and organs of government were in place. The culture of putting the party above individuals was established. If this party supremacy was not in place, Mbeki would probably have ignored the calls for his resignation. He would probably have unleashed goons to hound those elements like Jacob Zuma and company out of town.

The mere fact that a high court judge in South Africa could pass judgment unfavorable to Thabo Mbeki, a sitting president was proof enough that there is a degree of judiciary independence in South Africa; something quite rare in many African states.

The irony of Mbeki’s ouster, hardly a week since Mugabe showered him with praise as a true son of Africa just goes to show how leaders can lead dual lives. On the outside, Mbeki was a diplomat and a mediator per excellence shuttling between Harare and South Sudan to settle political conflicts in Zimbabwe and Uganda. Yet in South Africa, he was never viewed in those terms. To some ANC members, he was seen as a conniver who undermined the political process by influencing unnecessary criminal charges against his rivals. Could this be a good case of a prophet never being accepted in his own home?

Now that Mbeki is out of power, it may be the time to dig deep and find out who Mbeki really was.

Watching breaking news on international networks on Mbeki, I was amazed at how little of him was know by the international press. Whether it was BBC, SKY NEWS or Aljazeera, Mbeki’s biography was rather scanty. It merely consisted of his joining the ANC at the age of 14, running into exile five years later, remaining in Europe for 28 years and his 9 years as President that included his views on HIV and AIDS, his fights with Zuma and his role in the Zimbabwe negotiations. Surely, Mbeki must have accomplished more to warrant more in depth coverage at the most crucial moment in his life.

Perhaps Mbeki’s fall from grace was largely due to his aloofness from his people inside South Africa and the rest of the continent. Having been in exile for nearly three decades in Europe perhaps shaped his world view in such a way that he was alienated from his people, the majority black South Africans.

This stiffness was quite evident even at the AU Summits where he limited his conversations to just a few heads of state he considered important. At the AU meetings, he would readily consult with Obasanjo, Mubarak, the Algerian President and Abdulahi Wade of Senegal. These were the big five that shaped the principles and policies of NEPAD and the APRM. Later on, the control of NEPAD and its continued stay in South Africa became a bone of contention between him and Abdulahi Wade of Senegal. It is not known if he had any time for Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.

Now that Mbeki is on his way out, he will most probably be replaced by Jacob Zuma, a man more known for his dancing and womanizing moves than his intellect. But again that is what politics is all about. It is about an individual having his way with his people. Street interviews with South Africans soon after news broke out that Mbeki was resigning were quite revealing. More people preferred Zuma to Mbeki any time despite the former’s known weaknesses.

However, watching Mbeki’s farewell speech on BBC on Sunday night, I got the impression that despite his faults and mistakes, Thabo Mbeki has bequeathed to Africa a rare legacy; of being a true democrat who left the scene with dignity when his time came. He proved a true opposite of the continent’s dictators who will cling to power even if it means destroying their countries.



By Jerry Okungu
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
September 22, 2008

It is becoming a familiar song. The Kriegler report has rekindled the pre election debates. Experts and non-experts have found fodder ground to stretch our imagination to the limit.

Uhuru Kenyatta has become the choir master of one wing of the debate. He and his followers have chosen to misinterpret the Kriegler report and repeat the lie as many times as possible to make the lie look like truth.

I claim ignorance of the report because I have not received a copy. I hope to God Mheshimiwa Uhuru Kenyatta has read the entire report and therefore his inflammatory utterances are based on solid facts. As for me, all I have are excerpts from newspapers that seem to tell me a different story unless I’m daft enough not to understand the obvious.

What I have been reading in the Standard, Daily Nation and Kenya Times is that the Kriegler Report found no winner in last year’s presidential elections. According to that report, whether it was Kibaki or Raila, Kenyans will never know. I assume that they reached that conclusion based on impossibly jumbled if not intentionally distorted records the ECK availed to them.

If my memory serves me right, all along it was not Kibaki who personally rigged the elections for himself. The election results were messed up by the Electoral Commissioners who were in charge at the polling stations all the way to the KICC. If they messed it beyond recognition, how did they come with a clear winner? If Kivuitu confessed soon after that he did not know who won the elections; it is the one admission that has been vindicated by the Kriegler Commission.

Suppose Kriegler came up with the verdict that the results were rigged in favor of PNU, would Uhuru Kenyatta have called the ECK and PNU to apologize? Why are some national leaders getting more and more illogical by the day? Isn’t this the kind of self-righteous attitude that cannot help in the healing process? Can Uhuru tell Kenyans why his PNU got 43 MPs against ODM’s 100 seats? With his 14 KANU MPs, the combined seats could hardly reach 60. Where did the other votes come from to elect a PNU president?

Kenyans have hurt enough due to the elections of last year. Leaders who have no new ideas yet were fingered to have bought machetes and ferried militias to hot spots to kill and maim in the name of their tribes have no business polluting the political atmosphere further.

On another note, why is Uhuru Kenyatta latching on the Kriegler report at a time when Martha Karua has set her car that has no reverse gear in motion in Gatundu constituency? If Uhuru wants to run for President in four years’ time, he had better start mending fences with all communities all over the Republic. The place to start with is to convince Karua and Saitoti that he is a better candidate. Another thing; let him avoid like a plague any attempt by the sitting president to anoint him the heir to the throne like Moi did to him in 2002. It cost him the presidency.
If he thinks his few followers in Kiambu will give him the presidency or even the premiership, he has a surprise coming for him.

The 2012 elections will most probably be better managed. As a presidential candidate, if he wants to be nominated by PNU then he should be ready to fight for nomination the way ODM and ODM K did in 2007. The idea of running from competitive nomination process in order to get a free ticket to the general elections will not do. In PNU, he must be ready to face George Saitoti and any other aspirant who will emerge from the woodworks. If ODMK joins forces with PNU then Uhuru Kenyatta must be prepared to face Kalonzo Musyoka or any other presidential aspirant who will have joined the PNU bandwagon.

Again, if Uhuru Kenyatta really wants to be president, let him stop holding old grudges against his imaginary enemies. He must rise above parochial pettiness that cannot help this country to heal.

Finally, let Uhuru Kenyatta and his friends never think for one moment that Kenyans owe them anything. They have not forgotten what happened in last year’s elections. Their grievances were real and true, being factual notwithstanding because truth has no validity in law; fact has!



The Standard
Nairobi, Kenya
September 22, 2008

Competitive politics to day is very much hinged on opinion polls. This is very much so especially for strategizing and campaigning.

The polls provide the public with an opportunity to express themselves before casting their vote, express their levels of satisfaction with the government after they have voted, guiding political parties on political preferences and providing a back – up to media reports. Success of opinion polls depends on inter-alia sampling, choices of opinion items (indicators), data collection techniques and the actual data classification, presentation and analysis.

As a general rule, samples picked for polling must be a representative of the universe otherwise the finding will not be externally valid: That is, they cannot apply to those subjects in the universe who were not represented in the sample. Secondly, items chosen for polling must have epistemic correspondence to the concept being studied.

That means each item/indicator selected should appear to have a definite relationship to the attitude being measured.

Otherwise the study ends up with an opinion that is not reproducible (The final response/outcome is not predictable). Finally, data editing, classification, presentation and analysis should be done by professionals following the professional ethics of research. Therefore the biggest test opinion polls are faced with is that of validity. A classic example in which an opinion poll failed the validity test is that of the study conducted prior to the 1948 USA presidential election. It was predicted that Republican Thomas E. Dewey would emerge victorious. This in return influenced the media who declared before the votes where counted that Dewey had won the elections.

After actual official vote count, it finally turned out that the 31st president of the United States of America was Harry Truman. This truth came out after newspapers carried headlines such as "Dewey Defeats Truman." This error could have been caused by one or several of the following factors: Sampling, choice of opinion indicators, researcher bias, timing and rate of polling.

It is in this background that I mirror the following two issues of the recent Gallup polling on the professionalism of polling: Firstly, the sampling. The Gallup study picked a "representative sample of 2,200 across all provinces in Kenya".

This is perfect until one asks the basis of representation in this particular study. This justifies the reason why any consumers of the Gallup study findings should conclude that with a postulation that the opinion expressed in the said study should, first and foremost, be seen as an opinion of the 2,200 Kenyans interviewed – unless it is established beyond doubt that the sample picked is a representative of the Kenya population who have a potential of forming an opinion on the issues covered in the study.

In the case of Kenya for an opinion (especially on politics) from a sample to be externally valid, it must capture key variables such as ethnicity, age, education level, gender, social status and residence (rural/urban). These variables cut across the Kenya voter. One would be assuming external validity in these findings if the young and the old, the male and female, the educated and the illiterate, the rural and the urban, those with high social status and those with low social status in Kenya were well represented in the sample.

Secondly, there is the issue of choice of indicators. As a general rule, unless one is rating, an opinion scale should have multiple indexes to be used in locating the opinion of the respondent on an issue.

For example a question "Do you believe the election was honest?" cannot be used to measure opinion. Rather, certain key indicators should be identified and used to measure the respondents’ opinion on the honesty of the electoral process of 2007.

In this case the researchers should have asked the important question of what constitutes honest and how the respondents would be able to differentiate between honesty and dishonesty? Above all items used for polling should have epistemic correspondence to the concept being studied. Under the item mediation for example the Gallup study asked the following questions:

Do you approve or disapprove of Kofi Annan’s efforts in forming a coalition government?

Do you approve or disapprove of UN efforts to stop the violence in Kenya after the election?

Do you approve or disapprove of US efforts to stop the violence in Kenya after the election?

I believe that the formation of the coalition government, the role role of the UN and the US in stopping the violence should have been separate, each with a set of indicators for measuring the Kenyan opinion on their success or failure/acceptance or rejection.

Interesting, though, the following items were in the Gallup study:

1. Do you think there was one ethnic group that was responsible for/behind the post-election violence or the responsibility should be shared by more than one ethnic group? Which one?

2. I am going to read a statement. Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with it. In the future, I can coexist peacefully in my city or local community with all Kenyans, regardless of their ethnicity or tribal affiliation.

As for the first item, it is a psychological fact that such question appeals directly to the self-serving bias of the respondent. A bias in which human beings tend to see themselves better than those of the out-group and therefore, automatically associate bad things with the out-group and good things with the in-group.

The second item is likely to yield misleading responses as it does not measure the actual social distance between groups: It does not separate overt behaviour from covert behaviour. For example a respondent simply saying that in future he/she can coexist peacefully with another Kenyan from a different ethnic group does not in psychological terms mean that there is no conflict.

Human beings are known to share physical space without overt conflict but inwardly are in conflict. So, the presence of a trigger event like incitement will make that which has for long been covert, overt. Gallup can find tips on measuring social distance from the Emory Bogardus’ Social desistance scale.