Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PERPETRATORS OF CRIMES SHOULD GET NO AMNESTY

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THE STANDARD COMMENTARY
NAIROBI, KENYA

OCTOBER 21, 2008

Ambiguity in statements made by political leaders on what should be done about the Waki Commission report is cause for concern.

After initial assurances the report on post-election violence would be given due consideration and most of its recommendations implemented, there have been suggestions that it be "approached with caution".

Deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi has said as much, while Assistant minister Ramadhan Kajembe has gone as far as suggesting forgiving those on Waki’s list of suspects to be handed over to an international tribunal.

Two MPs, Budalang’i’s Ababu Namwamba and Lugari’s Cyrus Jirongo have even had the temerity to suggest the report be shelved. This push must be resisted for the sake of justice.

Both President Kibaki and PM Raila Odinga yesterday pledged to use the Waki report to strengthen our institutions. "We have to ensure that those accountable are held accountable," Raila added. Justice Minister Martha Karua says the Government is committed to this end.

COMMITMENT

But with none addressing the question of a tribunal to probe individual actions, there are worries they may not support it.

Kibaki spoke of "justice... tempered with forgiveness" for past injustices. This must not include glossing over atrocities or forgiving perpetrators. Like Dr Kofi Annan, we back Waki’s call for a special tribunal on the post-election violence. "Protecting perpetrators for the sake of peace", we agree, "doesn’t help society."

POLITICIANS OPPOSE KIBAKI'S CALL FOR AMNESTY

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THE STANDARD
OCTOBER 21, 2008

By Beauttah Omanga

Leaders reacted with fury to President Kibaki’s proposal that those implicated in the Waki report be pardoned.

LSK chairman Okong’o Omogeni, lawyers Paul Muite, Wanyiri Kihoro and Harun Ndubi said implementation of the Waki report was a must if the country was to avoid a recurrence of post-election violence.

The lawyers warned that if the Coalition Government failed to make use of the opportunity given by the Waki Commission to set up tribunals to try the suspects, chances were high that the International Court of Justice would take over the matter.

"President Kibaki should be warned that the ICC (International Criminal Court) can make a follow-up of the cases even after he leaves office. The best for him is to implement the report," said Mr Ndubi, a human rights lawyer.

Kenya’s future doomed

Mr Omogeni said Kenya’s future was doomed if the Waki Report was not implemented immediately.

"What connection does a new constitution have to do with crimes committed early in the year?" he asked.

German Ambassador Walter Lindner, who attended the Kenyatta Day celebrations, said it was important for action to be taken against those implicated to address impunity.

"The fact that President Kibaki and two of his key opponents to his throne in last year’s elections were together today (yesterday) addressing a national day from the same podium is a true confirmation of the right direction towards healing for Kenya. However, those who caused bloodshed must face the law," he said.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Richard Onyonka and Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu demanded that those named be prosecuted.

"Kenyans died and the only consolation we can give bereaved families is having those who plotted the chaos prosecuted," said Mr Onyonka.

Mr Waititu said it was wrong for the President to advocate amnesty, saying: "That amnesty should be given after those who killed have admitted they committed offences and then openly apologise."

Whose interest?

Mr Muite, a former Kabete MP, challenged the President to explain on whose interest he was acting.

The leaders petitioned the international community to take over the report and implement it to save Kenyans.

"Our image in the international community will be tarnished if we don’t act now," said Omogeni.

Mr Kihoro, a former Nyeri MP, said the President’s proposal was premature.

"The President has powers to set free prisoners. He should have waited for those suspects to be tried and convicted to invoke Section 35 of the Constitution to extend clemency to those imprisoned," said Kihoro.

But Cabinet ministers Kiraitu Murungi and Najib Balala supported the President and Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s position of forgiveness for the sake of national cohesion.

However, Kiraitu said the Waki Report touched on weighty issues that called for sober handling.

"The issues are too important yet very delicate with the possibility of drawing the nation into danger again," he said.

Balala said: "The issues Waki came up with were of national importance and it is only the Cabinet that will determine the next course of action".

Talking to reporters at Nyayo Stadium after the celebrations, the Tourism minister said there was need for an overhaul of ECK, with all parties having a hand in the appointment of new commissioners.

He said it was necessary to rally Kenyans behind unity and forgiveness.

Onyonka said given that the commissions had been formed to help establish causes and those behind the mayhem and "we must know who were behind the chaos even if they will not necessarily be prosecuted".

He said if blanket amnesty was given to the criminals, it would be difficult to deal with impunity in future.

WAKI: KIBAKI, RAILA STEER CLEAR OF PROPOSED TRIBUNAL

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THE STANDARD
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

By Standard Team

Will the Waki and Kriegler reports be implemented in full?
That was the question on the minds of Kenyans after President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Kenyatta Day speeches.

Kibaki and Raila jointly reaffirmed their commitment to implement the recommendations of the reports. However, the two leaders were not specific over the manner of the implementation of the far-reaching and radical proposals put forth by Justice Philip Waki who headed the Commission investigating Post-Election Violence.

Speaking at Monday’s celebrations to mark the 45th Kenyatta Day, they steered clear of the proposal to form a special tribunal to try the planners, financiers and perpetrators of the violence.


President Kibaki, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Prime Minister Raila Odinga at Monday’s Kenyatta Day celebrations, Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi. They avoided mentioning Waki proposal to form special tribunal for post-poll violence.

The President, PM and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka instead called for forgiveness, restitution and reconciliation.

This casts the full implementation of the Kriegler and Waki reports into doubt and points to the thin line the Government will have to tread in implementing the recommendations, and at the same time keep the country united.

The Cabinet, in its next meeting, will discuss the Waki report. After the report was released on Thursday, most leaders said the recommendations should be implemented in full.

But others have called for caution, saying the recommendations have the potential of pushing the country further into acrimony.

Speaking at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, President Kibaki said: "I’m aware that many Kenyans desire justice for past injustices. But let us keep in mind that although the truth will set us free, justice must be tempered with forgiveness for reconciliation to take root."

Hours earlier, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whom Justice Waki gave the 26 suspects for prosecution on Friday, told BBC’s African Network programme, that forgiveness would entrench impunity.

"It’s important that the Government acts on it. The victims demand justice too," Mr Annan said. "The tendency to protect the perpetrators for the sake of peace, ‘forgive and let’s move on,’ doesn’t help society. Impunity should not be allowed."

The list of suspects is said to include members of Cabinet, MPs and prominent businessmen.

Waki’s report says in case the special tribunal is sabotaged, the suspects be tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Speaking at Kerugoya Stadium during yesterday’s celebrations, Justice Minister Martha Karua said political leaders have no option but to implement the report.

President Kibaki said the findings "will be used to build a stable and cohesive and integrated society whose institutions protect freedom and liberty of every citizen wherever they chose to live or work."

He emphasised: "The Government will use the recommendations from the Kriegler Commission to strengthen our electoral system and those from Waki Commission to build a stable cohesive and integrated society."

Last week, the Cabinet adopted the Kriegler report and constituted a sub-committee headed by Kibaki and Raila to steer the implementation action plan by end of the month.

"Let us prepare as a nation to consider restitution and forgiveness as complementing truth and justice to give our nation a fresh start," the Head of State said.

He added: "The findings of Waki and Kriegler will be reflected in the new constitution. I believe our new constitution is within reach."

Raila recounted the problems that beset the country in January and February, but said the Kriegler and Waki reports had revealed the truth.

Said Raila; "The truth has been told. Let us use the reports to unite the country. I appeal to politicians to preach peace and unity and campaign against tribal divisions."

He went on: "It is pitiable that after 45 years of self rule, we have not achieved the dreams of the founding fathers of this nation.

The PM said joblessness, poverty, inflation and disease remained widespread and the Grand Coalition Government must address the challenges.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said: "More than 45 years after independence, we should not shed any blood. We will not accept any gangs or people to spill Kenyans blood."

He went on: "The truth has been told. In the Rift Valley, leaders have started preaching peace and reconciliation and this should be replicated across Kenya."

Leading Kenyans in celebrating Kenyatta Day — an annual fete in honour of the heroes and heroines who fought for independence — Kibaki and Raila spoke of the need for a new constitution.

In apparent reference to the Electoral Commission of Kenya and the police force, which were recommended for overhaul, the President said: "We must never adopt the practice of tearing down institutions without due regard to what will fill the vacuum they leave."

Kibaki’s parting shot was a rallying call to peace: "I urge you all to seize this moment and come together by fostering peace. Let us work together to give our children and the youth a chance to have a better, peaceful and prosperous future."

TSVANGIRAI PULLS OUT OF SUMMIT OVER PASSPORT

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KENYA TIMES
October 21, 2008
Story by: Xinhua and Agencies

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will not attend a regional summit on Zimbabwe’s political crisis, a party spokesman said, throwing the mediation process into disarray. “He is not going. He was denied a passport,” Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa told a news agency.

The meeting of the heads of state of Angola, Swaziland and Mozambique who form the security committee of the Southern African Development Community is aimed at trying to help Zimbabwe’s political rivals break a deadlock in negotiations on forming a cabinet.

Four days of talks mediated by former South African president Thabo Mbeki last week failed to end the impasse over the allocation of ministries in a new unity government. The MDC’s Chamisa said Tsvangirai was given an emergency travel document on Sunday valid only for Swaziland and not for South Africa which he needs to pass through. “There is no way you can expect him to be in Swaziland when they are making it difficult for him,” Chamisa said.

Zimbabwean Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu dismissed the MDC claim as “a gimmick.”“That’s not true. He has been given a travel document. South Africa is mediating, how can they deny him passage? ”There were signs of failure before the summit opened. The MDC said yesterday events in the past 24 hours had made it extremely difficult to believe in the mediation process to end the deadlock on forming a cabinet.

“There have been developments in the past 24 hours that make it incredibly difficult for the MDC to have confidence in the current mediation process. Their faith and hope in the current mediation process and its ability to deliver a solution to the people of Zimbabwe is now called into question,” the MDC said in a statement. Tsvangirai said on Sunday that he believed the parties would finalize a power-sharing deal at the meeting.

EX-BOTSWANA LEADER WINS $5 MILLION FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE

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KENYA TIMES
October 21, 2008
Xinhua and Agencies

Botswana’s former President Festus Mogae has won a $5m (£2.8m) prize to encourage good governance in Africa. He stepped down in April after serving two terms in office. Botswana is one of Africa’s most stable countries - it has never had a coup and has had regular multi-party elections since independence in 1966.

Announcing the prize, ex-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also commended Mr Mogae for his action to tackle the Aids pandemic which has ravaged the country. The Ibrahim Prize - the most valuable individual annual prize in the world - was set up by Sudan-born telecoms entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim.

As well as the $5m prize, Mr Mogae also gets $200,000 a year for the rest of his life. Botswana is rich in diamonds but unlike other resource-rich countries in Africa, this has not become a source of conflict. Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano won the inaugural prize last year. Before assuming the presidency, Mogae had been part and parcel of the management of Botswana’s economy for decades.

This economy has been hailed as a model of excellence, achieving high growth rates, recording impressive budget surpluses and maintaining huge foreign reserves when other countries are plagued by insurmountable debt. However, this immaculate achievement at a macro-economic level has for a long time been accompanied by high levels of unemployment, unacceptable levels of poverty and gross inequalities.

Over-reliance on diamonds National prosperity has co-existed with deprivation for significant sections of the population. When Mogae assumed the reigns of power in 1998, the country had just adopted a long-term vision which promised to change radically the economic landscape by 2016, when the country would be celebrating 50 years of independence.

KENYA CABINET DIFFERS SHARPLY OVER WAKI TEAM REPORT

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KENYA TIMES
October 21, 2008
By Edwin Mutai

PRESIDENT Mwai Kibaki’s Kenyatta Day message to Kenyans to consider restitution and forgiveness for the perpetrators of post-election violence elicited mixed reactions from leaders across the political divide.

Two cabinet ministers differed with the President saying the perpetrators of the violence should be prosecuted in line with the recommendations of the Waki report.

Lands minister James Orengo warned against attempts to scuttle the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into post-election Violence and maintained that those implicated should face prosecution. Orengo’s sentiments were echoed by his Justice counterpart Martha Karua who called for immediate implementation of the Waki report to end the culture of impunity which continues to haunt the country.

Addressing the Press at Nyayo Stadium after the Kenyatta Day celebrations yesterday, ministers Najib Balala, Kiraitu Murungi and Yusuf Haji called for utmost care in handling the Waki report to save the country from sliding back to anarchy.

"We are dealing with a very delicate matter and as you know the country is still in a state of cease fire. We must be very careful in the manner we implement the report. We can implement the same an latter tear apart communities. We must be very responsible in balancing issues of justice and political stability in Kenya," Kiraitu said.

Elsewhere, two legislators from North Eastern Province have called for caution and sobriety in implementing the recommendation of the Commission of Inquiry into the Post Election Violence as it was likely to re-ignite ethnic clashes.

Livestock Development Assistant Minister Aden Barre Dualle and Nominated MP Sophia Abdi Noor said that the prosecution of leaders who are said to have masterminded the mayhem would jeopardise the healing process and scuttle the reconciliation initiated by the national accord. And Kenyans in Diaspora added their voice to the debate by challenging the government to implement the Waki report in order to end the culture of impunity.

Kenya Movement for Democracy and Justice (KMDJ) hailed the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) and called for speedy implementation of the report to avert recurrence of violence. KMDJ’s sentiments were echoed by a local lobby group, Kikuyu for Change Movement which said the Waki and Kriegler reports have the capacity to reconcile the country.

In statements released to the press yesterday, the organisations said both the Waki and Kriegler reports have the capacity to reform the country’s institutions to avert recurrence of violence. At the same time, they challenged the government to achieve its pledge of delivering the new constitution within one year as promised.

LET US GO EASY ON THE WAKI REPORT, KIBAKI URGES

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KENYA TIMES
October 21, 2008
By Obadiah Ayoti

As the Waki report on post-election violence continues to elicit mixed reactions, President Mwai Kibaki used his Kenyatta Day speech yesterday to preach peace, reconciliation and forgiveness, thus making a slight departure from his earlier stand that perpetrators of election violence must face the full force of the law.Said Kibaki: "I am aware that many Kenyans desire justice for past injustices. But let us also keep in mind that although the truth will set us free, justice must be tempered with forgiveness for reconciliation to take root."

And on the other end, Prime Minister Raila Odinga who had previously expressed a desire for forgiveness and amnesty for perpetrators of the said violence seemed to favour retributive justice where suspected perpetrators have to face the full force of the law.

Addressing the nation on the same Kenyatta Day platform with President Kibaki, Raila said this of the Waki and Kriegler reports: "None of the commissions’ findings is really new to us. They merely confirmed in, sometimes in very painful graphic detail what we know happened and has been happening. We know where things have gone wrong."

He continued: "But being agreed on what has gone wrong is not enough. The challenge now is to amend that. First we have to ensure that those accountable are held accountable, and that reparation is made. Kenyans will not stop demanding justice—justice that will end decades of impunity where powerful cliques have been at liberty to use the country as their plaything. The government is committed to implementing the both Kriegler and Waki reports in full."

These new positions held by the two principal leaders of the grand coalition government apparently betray the underlying ideological differences in the government formed after a power-sharing deal was signed between the two.

Kibaki’s words and demeanour hinted at the possibility of granting amnesty to the perpetrators of post-election violence contained in the Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence (CIPEV) for the sake of reconciliation.

And Raila, who all along has been crusading for the release of youths held in connection with the violence that rocked the country soon after the announcement of the controversial presidential election results, said the Waki report should be implemented in full in order to bring lasting peace and unity in the country.

Speaking at Nyayo Stadium during Kenyatta Day celebrations yesterday, Kibaki said although Kenyans were keen to see that justice is done to past injustices, there was need to embrace forgiveness in order to reconcile the country.

But Raila seemed to hold a different position on the matter, insisting that peace, unity and harmony would remain a mirage unless the Waki and Kriegler reports are acted upon in line with the wishes of Kenyans. Said he: "We need to implement the Waki and Kriegler reports in order to unite Kenyans and bring peace. We now know the truth and it will set us free."

On his part, Kibaki warned that truth and justice would be detrimental to the national healing and reconciliation and instead vouched for restitution and forgiveness. Said he: "Let us therefore prepare as a nation to consider restitution and forgiveness as complementing truth and justice in order to give our nation a fresh start."

However, the President reiterated that the government would use recommendations from the Independent Review Commission (IREC) and CIPEV to undertake institutional reforms to make them command the confidence of Kenyans."My government will use the recommendations of the Kriegler Commission to strengthen our electoral system and those from the Waki Commission to build a stable, cohesive and integrated society whose institutions protect the freedom and rights citizens wherever they chose to live and work," observed Kibaki.

But Kibaki lashed out at those calling for the disbandment of the embattled Samuel Kivuitu led Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) as recommended by Kriegler report saying the move was ill-advised. "If institutions are weak, we should strengthen them. And if those managing them are not capable, we can change them. But we must never adopt the practice of tearing down institutions without due regard to what will fill the vacuum they leave," noted the head of State.

The Prime Minister has been leading a group of leaders rooting for the disbandment of ECK, accusing its commissioners of bungling last year’s presidential elections results, lading to a wave of violence that led the country to the brink of the precipice.

And as the President and the Premier appeared to pull in slightly different directions, ministers and MPs allied to either of them reacted differently to the explosive Waki report. (see separate story on page 3).

And Raila lashed out at the police force which has been accused in the Waki report of crimes of commission and omission, saying its performance was below par.

Said he: "Although the police are obliged to protect the citizens and their property, they are not carrying out their duties as required. There is urgent need for reforms in the police force to improve efficiency in service delivery." On the new constitutional dispensation, Raila urged Parliament to pass the two ad hoc constitutional bills before the end of the year in order pave way for the much anticipated comprehensive reforms.

The two bills expected to be debated in the House are the Constitution of Kenya Review Bill (2008) and the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill (2008) to provide a road map for the new constitution.

Raila’s sentiments were echoed by Kibaki who expressed optimism that the constitution was ‘within reach’ now that there was a grand coalition government in place which makes it easy to reach at a consensus.

"I believe our new constitution is within reach. The grand coalition government together with the people of Kenya have the capacity and will to develop a political consensus on a win-win constitutional settlement," added Kibaki.

He asked MPs to take advantage of the grand coalition government to deliver the new document to Kenyans which has been a mirage for the past two decades. "Indeed I believe that this is an opportunity for the grand coalition government to seal its place in our nation’s history by providing future generations with a legacy of a sound and durable constitutional and legal framework," said the head of State.

On the rising cost of food, Kibaki directed the ministries of Agriculture, Finance and Special Programmes to import maize and purchase grain from farmers to boost the country’s food reserve. "This maize will be distributed to National Cereals and Produce Board depots in the badly affected areas and sold at affordable prices or distributed as relief food to the worst hit communities so that all Kenyans will have food to eat," said Kibaki.

In the long-term, the president said the government would provide farm inputs at affordable prices, implement livestock diseases control measures, extend credit facilitates to farmers and assist in marketing Kenyan products. On the escalating cost of oil, he directed the ministries of Energy and Finance to reduce some taxes on energy production to cushion Kenyans against high cost of oil.

At the same time, Kibaki said he has set up an economic task force comprising of officials from the ministries of Finance, Planning and Central Bank of Kenya to monitor the global financial crisis. According to the President, the task force would advise the government on how to strengthen capital markets and guard against manipulation of prices of equities and bonds on the stock market which impacts negatively on investors.

"The task force will draw up ma strategy that will ensure continued access to affordable credit by individuals, small business owners, farmers and industries," added Kibaki. The president said plans are at an advanced stage to create a 24-hour economy so as to create jobs for the youths. "It is estimated that 800, 000 young people are entering the job market each year. We must make sure they have access to decent jobs and self employment opportunities," said Kibaki.

The function was attended by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, ministers Kiraitu Murungi, John Michuki, Wycliffe Oparanya, Yusuf Haji, Najib Balala, Prof George Saitoti, Joseph Nyaga among others.

IS THE EAC COMMON MARKET PROTOCOL STILL A MIRAGE?

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By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya

October 21, 2008

According to a press release from the EAC Secretariat last week, another round of negotiations on the Common Market Protocol was held in Kampala, Uganda in October 2008. As usual, it was attended by the same task force that has been doing the rounds in the region’s capitals.

At the Kampala meeting, it was evident that East Africans were yearning for the Common Market because they were already implementing many aspects of it. Under it, they would be assured of freedom of movement, goods and services. The ongoing negotiations are expected to lead to the conclusion of the Common Market by December 2008.

So far the three rounds of the negotiations have reached a substantial consensus on key issues governing free movement of persons, goods and capital as well as the right of establishment and residence which are considered main pillars of a Common Market.

At Kampala, the committee revisited outstanding issues of right of establishment, residence and free movement of services that had been referred for consultations in the Partner States during the Bujumbura round then considered transport, economic and monetary policies, competition and other common rules.

Finally, the task force agreed to embark on what needed to be done to liberalise trade in the Community and requested the Secretariat to engage the services of national consultants to undertake country studies. The national consultants are expected to identify restrictions to the free movement of services in the region and draw up a programme for the elimination of the restrictions.

Regarding the right of residence, the task force reaffirmed that Partner States would undertake to guarantee the right of residence to nationals of the Partner States who have been admitted in their territories in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol. They further provided that the right of residence would apply to spouses and dependants of workers or self employed persons entitled to the freedoms provided in the Protocol.

The task force agreed that the enjoyment of the right of residence shall be guided by public policy, public security or public health; and that, in the event of a Partner State imposing such limitations, shall be obliged to notify other Partner States. The task force noted that the rules governing the application of the right of residence would form an integral part of the Common Market Protocol.

On transport policy, the task force agreed that the goal would be the promotion and development of a reliable, safe and competitive transport infrastructure system for the Community’s economic progress.
Partner States would harmonize their transport systems expand their networks and maintain such infrastructure within their boundaries. They would eliminate non-tariff and related barriers in order to reduce the cost of doing business in the region.

Under the harmonization and mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications, the task force proposed that Partner States would undertake to harmonize their curricula, examinations, standards, certificates and accreditations of educational and training institutions and undertake to mutually recognize academic and professional certificates of citizens of the Partner States.

Partner States would recognize the relevant experience obtained, credentials and qualifications granted in another Partner State for the purposes of undertaking any economic activity in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol. The task force proposed that Partner States would issue directives and co-ordinate the provisions laid down by their respective laws and regulations in the implementation of the Protocol provisions.

Partner States would co-ordinate and harmonize their economic policies and activities for the proper functioning of the Common Market. They would submit periodic progress reports on performance of their national economies to facilitate close co-ordination of economic policies and adherence to the macroeconomic convergence criteria. They would harmonize their financial policies and regulatory frameworks to ensure efficiency and stability of their systems as well as smooth operations of their payments systems.

Partner States would harmonize their tax policies and laws to remove tax distortions and facilitate free movement of goods, services and capital and promote investments within the Community. Subsequently, an appropriate framework would be established for the transition from the Common Market to the Monetary Union.

During the four rounds of the negotiations, the task force has succeeded in indicating firm commitment of the Partner States to establish the Common Market, negotiated balanced safeguards that would take care of the interests of all the parties in Common Market.

It remains to be seen how the task force will maintain this spirit as it proceeds to consider the institutional and legal framework for the Common Market which have significant implications on sovereignty.

jerryokungu@gmail.com
www.africanewsonline.blogspot.com

THE WAKI REPORT, THE SURVIVAL OF THE NATIONAL ACCORD AND KENYA AS A NATION STATE!

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By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
October 21, 2008

Kenyans have unprecedented capacity to debate issues of public interest especially if they are of a political nature. This trait was more evident when the Kriegler and Waki Commission reports that investigated election fraud and the violence that followed were released. In a matter of hours, the media was awash with all shades of opinions and interpretations.

In the case of the Waki Report, what was baffling was the capacity of our expats and intellectuals to rush with opinions on a 525 page document! How did they read, digest and analyze this big document in so short a time? There are two interpretations to this; either they were pressured by media houses to rush through the document for scoops or; most of these expats were idlers with nothing better to do and therefore a document of this nature was a godsend to while away time.

The Waki report as it stands now poses many challenges to the establishment. But before I proceed with my contribution, let me take this early opportunity to join millions of Kenya in giving credit to Justice Philip Waki for a job well done. Under the circumstances, no other team could have done a better job despite tantrums being thrown about by hired guns masquerading as legal expats.

The Waki team had a well defined term of reference; to investigate the circumstances and causes of the post election violence, identify planners, sponsors, perpetrators and executors of the mayhem in all parts of the country. They were also required to provide the way forward and recommend deterrent measures to curb such excesses in the future. In their four month assignment; they did just that.

They traversed the country, met people who had gone through the harrowing ordeals, interviewed victims, examined remains and body parts of dead victims, talked to rape and sodomy victims and even summoned state security agents to tell their story why such a catastrophe was allowed to take place.

They called every person they thought could shed light of the tragic event. Some highly placed people obliged. Others declined. Among those that declined were former president Daniel arap Moi and his successor Mwai Kibaki.

Based on the evidence gathered, a number of what sounded like rumors in the pre-election period were confirmed as fact. Yes indeed there were two types of violence; some premeditated and ethnic in nature while others were spontaneous and political. Most premeditated violence occurred in the Rift Valley where land disputes between the Kalenjins, Kikuyus and Kisiis have been thorny since independence. This was also the case in the Coast region.

In Nyanza, the mayhem was spontaneous and political in nature driving the youth to vent their anger on any symbol of an oppressive system. In the process they destroyed and looted public and private property alike. As they did this, the State agents unleashed state terror and shot at least 400 fleeing unarmed youths; some at close range from their backs.

The Waki report captures the highlights of this atrocity. It details the burning of a Kikuyu filled church in Eldoret town by Kalenjin youths. It talks of the 3000 Administration Police deployed throughout the country to rig elections for PNU. It talks of police in uniform raping and mutilating the private parts of helpless women already in refugee camps. It details how protectors unleashed terror on their victims. This was the tragedy that Waki dealt with.

In dealing with premeditated massacres, the Waki report not only details how some of these atrocities were planned and executed in private homes in Rift Valley; but it also details how the Naivasha and Nakuru reprisal massacres were planned at State House in Nairobi where top government officials and top politicians from Central Province hired the services of an outlawed Mungiki sect to carry out the killings of non Kikuyus in Naivasha and Nakuru.

Now that the Waki Report has been presented to the Head of State and the Prime Minister; now that the confidential list of masterminds and known executors has been handed over to the United Nations in New York, how do we deal with the report?
Whichever way one would like to look at it; Philip Waki has tied the hands of the government. The Kibaki government has been placed between a rock and a hard place.
The main import of the Waki report is to deal with impunity of a political nature once and for all. It wants to set a precedent that if you organize killings for political purpose, you must pay dearly for it.

The handing over of the list of suspected criminals to the UN meant only one thing; to give Kenya a chance to set up its own international tribunal and try these criminals at home or risk the same names being hunted down and shipped out to The Hague for the ICC trials.

The reason the international tribunal should try these cases is to provide unbiased judicial process to give the suspects a chance to clear their names or plead guilty. It will also remove the usual Kenyan style of crying foul when caught committing crimes claiming that their tribes are being targeted.

Whichever way one would look at it; it will surely test the survival of the coalition to its limits with suspects putting up a spirited fight both legal and propaganda to save their skins. If we go through this and survive as a nation; we shall have emerged a stronger nation. It is a necessary baptism of fire we must go through with commitment, open mind and determination.

jerryokungu@gmail.com
www.africanews.blogspot.com

AHMEDNASIR ADBULAHI EXCELS IN OVERATING HIS INTELLECT!

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By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
October 21, 2008

The other week, lawyer Ahmednasir Abdulahi, former LSK chairman attacked the LSK for demanding Justice Gicheru’s indictment and rubbished Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula’s Foreign Policy. All these privileged articles in the Standard threw caution and civility to the wind. The sheer emotive outbursts were definitely over the top yet they were published for all Kenyans to read.

This week, the learned lawyer had another opportunity to pour vitriol and mud at Justice Philip Waki; and what was Waki’s crime against Ahmednasir to warrant such scathing attacks? It was because Waki happened to have produced a 500 page document on post election violence that traumatized Kenyans early this year.

What appeared to irk the lawyer were the contents of the report that appeared to have pinpointed the culprits of the mayhem- not ordinary Kenyans but the high and mighty that normally would be premium clients for the good lawyer.

Just listen to this: ” As a member of the legal team that appeared for two clients before the Commission of Inquiry into post election violence, I find the 529 page report the work of pseudo legal fiction and a poor one at that. What is amazing is the superficial surmise of the report, the doggy sources of the purported evidence relied on, the breath-taking disregard for due process and mendacity that drips from every line of report.”

Ahmednasir cannot be allowed to get away with this misguided arrogance and abuse of his privileged position as a columnist with a local newspaper and one of the many lawyers that appeared at the Waki Commission. There are a few things this pseudo intellectual must disclose to Kenyans to render this debate meaningful. He must tell Kenyans who his two clients were and why he appeared for them at the time he did! All Kenyans know is that Waki’s report has omitted the names of suspects into the 2007 post election fiasco. Their names are already in New York. Not even President Kibaki knows them.

Secondly, Ahmednasir was not the only learned lawyer to have appeared at the Commission on behalf of individuals. His decision to carry early defense submissions through the press smirks of indiscipline and scare mongering. You cannot start defending your clients of all places through the press, before they are charged in a court of law no matter how bright a lawyer you are!

Third, most intelligent Kenyans know where Ahmednasir is coming from. He has a personal vendetta with any lawyer or judge who happens to be smarter than him. He suffers from what we in the communication discipline call the Snob Appeal Syndrome(SAS).Victims of this syndrome suffer attacks at two opposite levels. They will aspire to be what they are not or have not attained until they attain it. If they don’t, they develop a phobia for those who have attained what has eluded his kind.

Many Kenyans know Justice Philip Waki from three levels; as a judge who was highly respected until his fellow judge Justice Ringera, Ahmednasir Abdulahi, Kiraitu Murungi and co. decided to tarnish his name along with others. When Waki was suspended from the bench pending the Akiwumi tribunal, Ahmednasir Abdulahi was one of the lawyers that celebrated. He was the LSK Chairman at the time. He was a true believer in Murungi’s surgery of the judiciary at the time. And for his efforts, he was appointed the Chairman of the Oversight Board of KACC that was to be headed by his bosom friend Justice Ringera! And who was instrumental in appointing Ahmednasir to Chair Ringera’s Board? Kiraitu Murungi!

The lawyer has the audacity to term Waki’s report a “pseudo legal fiction and a poor one at that”. May be he is right but one thing we do know; Abdulahi has no basis or intellectual capacity to decide for Kenyans what is pseudo legal fiction or not. Moreover, Kenyans have their yardstick of grading legal expats and intellectuals. Certainly Ahmednasir has his clientele that may adore him in private but in public ranking as a brilliant lawyer; he doesn’t exist.

He calls traumatized Kenyans who suffered pain, violent rapes, sodomy and even death “doggy sources of purported evidence”. I hope to God if the lawyer would debase these victims from Rift Valley, Nyanza, Central and Western Provinces if they happened to have come from North Eastern Province where his kinsmen live.
Ahmednasir continues to ridicule Waki by alleging that the report reads like “a well calculated act of legal skullduggery. And that it is a narrative clothed with a veneer of a national calling, but all too familiar, designed to settle scores, Kenyan style.”

Perhaps more than anything else that the lawyer has said in this article; this is the one paragraph that gives him away. It is the one paragraph that proves that the lawyer is an intellectual dwarf, full of himself and thinks very highly of himself at the expense of any other lawyer in this country. When he talks of an act of legal skullduggery, his mind races to see cheep revenge! Legal skullduggery, we remember only too well when he was the Narc cheer leader in the early days when Kiraitu and Ringera were on a mission to replace judges in the judiciary with their own men. For this reason, he thinks Philip Waki is out to seek cheap revenge for what they did to him in 2003.

Ahmednasir would have loved to sit at hearings that were held in camera purposely to protect witnesses in order to accept the report. He fools himself that the testimonies of such witnesses are only known to Commissioners to date. Yet that is precisely the point. Had Ahmednasir had a half a brain of a village farmer he would have waited for his two undisclosed clients to be charged in a court of law, a locally constituted tribunal or at The Hague then demand to interrogate the witnesses based on evidence gathered by the Waki Commission.

However the good lawyer has decided to rubbish the testimonies he was not privy to through the press!

In his conclusions, Ahmednasir Abdulahi is demanding the resignation of Waki from the Bench on the grounds that Waki has no faith in our judicial system simply because he recommended the setting up of a tribunal. On this score, I suspect that the good lawyer’s logic is in reverse gear.

It would appear like he is the only stranger in Jerusalem who still has faith in Kenya’s judicial system. He has forgotten that even Kenya’s Head of State had to look for Kriegler from South Africa to investigate election fraud. He has forgotten that for Kenyans to stop fighting, Kofi Annan, Graca Machel and Benjamin Mkapa had to be brought in. He has forgotten that the Waki Commission like the Kriegler Commission was the direct product of the National Accord now entrenched in our constitution.

If the good lawyer has gripes with Waki’s recommendation; it is because he wants to prove to his private clients that he is a sharp lawyer capable of derailing the trials. On this score, he is wide off the mark. Maligning Philip Waki will not stop River Nile from flowing in to the Red Sea.

jerryokungu@gmail.com
www.africanews.com

HITTING A WALL IN IMMIGRATION IN AMERICAN CAMPAIGNS

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Washington Post
By Thomas Wenski
October 20, 2008

As the presidential election heads into its final days, the issue of immigration remains largely unaddressed. It was not examined during the debates and is not high on either candidate's list of talking points. Congress has left the issue on the table. Sadly, this congressional reluctance has created a policy vacuum that has widened America's political divisions and left us with an inconsistent, ineffective and, in many cases, inhumane national policy.

The failure of comprehensive immigration reform last year, when Congress bowed to a vocal minority, unleashed a torrent of initiatives designed to demonstrate that the U.S. government can enforce our laws and secure our borders. In truth, intermittent work site raids, increased local law enforcement involvement and the creation of a wall along parts of our southern border, among other efforts, have done little to address the challenges presented by illegal immigration.

The most visible of these initiatives has been the work site raids in cities and towns across the nation. While these enforcement actions meet the political need to show government's law enforcement capabilities, they have had minimal effect on the number of undocumented workers in the United States.

Instead, they have caused dislocation and disruption in immigrant communities and victimized permanent U.S. residents and citizens, including children. The sweeping nature of these raids -- sometimes involving hundreds of law enforcement personnel with weapons -- has made it difficult for those arrested to secure basic due-process legal rights, including access to counsel. Some families have been split up indefinitely.

The involvement of local law enforcement in immigration enforcement, most prominently in Arizona and parts of the South, has greatly harmed the trust between immigrant neighborhoods and law enforcement and has diverted police from the work of apprehending criminals. The border wall and an unprecedented immigration enforcement buildup along our southern border have failed to deter new entrants to the United States and have discouraged immigrants from leaving.

Perhaps most damaging are the adverse, long-term effects these policies have had on immigrant communities. The overriding emotion many immigrants feel is fear. Not only do legal immigrants worry that a loved one may be swept away in a work site raid or after a knock at the door at home, they are fearful for their own futures -- and the futures of their children -- in the United States. This is not the way to encourage integration and responsible citizenship.

While some organizations that oppose immigration are delighted by this and hope such an atmosphere will lead to a mass exodus of illegal and legal immigrants, they are likely to be disappointed. What they do not acknowledge is that 70 percent of the undocumented have lived in this country for five years or longer and have no home to return to. These people identify themselves more as Americans than anything else and would rather live here in the shadows than take their U.S.-citizen children back to a place they do not know.

Opponents like to argue that our economy does not need the work of immigrants, now or in the future. Again, they are wrong. The Labor Department predicts that in the years ahead, despite the current economic slowdown, a shortage of low-skilled labor will exist in several important industries, for some beginning as early as 2010. As baby boomers begin retiring, immigrants will help support them by paying billions into the Social Security system.

To many elected officials, immigration has become the new "third rail" of American politics. Refraining from addressing this pressing domestic issue, however, will elevate tensions in states and localities, further alienate immigrants and their communities, and tacitly affirm the acceptance of a hidden and permanent underclass in our country.

The silver lining of this dark cloud upon our immigrant history is that it demonstrates that an enforcement-only approach to illegal immigration is ineffective and contrary to our national interests. A new administration and new Congress will be forced to act -- this time in a broad and balanced manner. Otherwise, the American people will be left pondering a wall and wondering why it is not working.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

FEAR AND LOATHING OVER ECONOMY SPREADS

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By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer
OCTOBER 16, 2008

WASHINGTON

Fear and loathing is spreading as signs mount that the economy is in danger of losing its balance.

And a fresh batch of economic reports due out Thursday is likely to show more problems for the already stumbling economy.

Industrial production is expected to have dropped in September, underscoring the plight of troubled auto makers as well as manufacturers of furniture, construction materials and other goods that have been hard hit by the collapse of the housing market.

The number of new people signing up for unemployment benefits last week may dip slightly but is still expected to top 400,000, a level that usually points to an ailing labor market.

Consumer prices probably will nudge up in September, but will be up sharply over the past year, further pinching Americans already smarting from dwindling nest eggs and sinking home values.

"Given the likely drawn-out nature of the prospective adjustments in housing and financial markets, I see the most probable scenario as one in which the performance of the economy remains subpar well into next year and then gradually improves in late 2009 and 2010," Donald Kohn, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, concluded Wednesday evening.

Worries about the economy sent the Dow Jones industrials down a staggering 733 points earlier Wednesday, erasing any hopes that the convulsions that have shaken Wall Street for a month were over.

The selling spree carried over to Asia, where stocks fell sharply in early trading Thursday. Japan's key stock index plummeted more than 10 percent, South Korean shares shed 7 percent, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was down 6 percent.

The plunge in stocks put the nation's economic anxiety front-and-center as the two major presidential candidates, Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain, squared off in their final debate Wednesday night in Hempstead, N.Y.

McCain used the debate to accuse Obama of waging class warfare by advocating tax increases designed to "spread the wealth around." The Democrat denied it, and countered that he favors tax reductions for 95 percent of all Americans.

Wednesday's daylong stock market sell-off came as retailers reported the biggest drop in sales in three years and as a Federal Reserve snapshot showed Americans are spending less and manufacturing is slowing around the country.

Piling up losses in a rough final hour of trading, the Dow ended the day down nearly 8 percent — its steepest drop since one week after Black Monday in 1987. The Dow has wiped out all but about 127 points of its record-shattering 936-point gain on Monday of this week.

Earlier this week, after governments around the world announced plans to use trillions of dollars to prop up banks, including a U.S. plan to buy about $250 billion in bank stocks, the market had appeared to be turning around — or at least calming down.

Instead, relentless selling gave the Dow its 20th triple-digit swing in the past 23 trading sessions, an unprecedented run of volatility. The Dow has finished higher on only one day this month. The loss of 733 points is the second-worst ever for the average, topped only by a 778-point decline Sept. 29.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke have expressed confidence that the government's radical efforts to stabilize the financial system and induce banks to lend again will eventually help the economy.

But Bernanke warned that even if the financial markets level off, the nation will not snap back to economic health quickly.

"Stabilization of the financial markets is a critical first step, but even if they stabilize as we hope they will, broader economic recovery will not happen right away," Bernanke told the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday. He left the door open to further interest rate reductions.

President Bush plans to speak on the financial crisis early Friday — before the markets open — at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters across from the White House. Officials said the speech wasn't intended to put forward new policy actions, but rather would be used by the president to give the nation a more detailed explanation of what the government is doing — and why — to combat the crisis.

Some analysts believe the economy jolted into reverse in the recently ended third quarter, while others predict it will shrink later this year or early next. The classic definition of a recession is back-to-back quarters of shrinking economic activity.

Two gloomy economic reports on Wednesday showed that the debate at this point is merely semantic.

The Fed's snapshot of business conditions around the nation, known as the Beige Book, showed economic activity weakening across all of the Fed's 12 regional districts. Consumer spending — which accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity — slumped in most Fed regions. Manufacturing also slowed in most areas.

As shoppers cut back, retail sales dropped sharply in September. The 1.2 percent decline was the biggest in three years.

Leaders of the world's top economic powers, the Group of Eight, said they would meet "in the near future" for a global summit to tackle the financial crisis. The group comprises the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Russia.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the meeting could be held as soon as next month. He said the discussions should include not only the world's richest nations but also major emerging economies such as China and India.

"I believe there is scope for agreement in the next few days that we will have an international meeting to take common action ... for very large and very radical changes," Brown told reporters before a meeting with other European Union leaders for talks in Brussels on the financial crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy also called for a G-8 meeting.

Merkel said reform was needed so that "something like this can never happen again," while Sarkozy said the meeting should be held in New York, "where everything started."

The current financial crisis began more than a year ago in the United States when lax lending standards on certain home mortgages came home to roost. Foreclosures skyrocketed, mortgage securities soured and financial companies racked up huge losses.

MCCAIN LOSES THE LAST DEBATE TO OBAMA

· 1 comments

Roger Simon
Wed Oct 15, 2008

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Debates should not be confused with trips to Lourdes: Few miracles are dispensed.

John McCain needed a miracle in his final debate with Barack Obama on Wednesday night, a miracle that would wipe away McCain’s deficit in the polls and re-energize his flagging campaign.

He did not get one. The clouds did not part. Heavenly choirs were not heard. Instead, the American public heard angry attacks from McCain.

Sometimes McCain attacked directly, and sometimes he attacked sarcastically, but he never stopped attacking. And he never rattled Obama. Obama answered every attack and kept his cool.

How cool? Obama was so cool that after 90 minutes under blazing TV lights, an ice cube wouldn’t have melted on his forehead.

McCain attacked him on everything from wanting to raise the taxes of Joe the Plumber - - now the most famous plumber in America and at serious risk of becoming so wealthy his taxes will go up no matter who wins - - to not traveling enough.

“I admire so much Sen. Obama’s eloquence,” McCain sneered. “Sen. Obama, who has never traveled south of our border.” (This from a man whose running mate got her first passport last year.)

But McCain didn’t just attack, he also defended, including defending those people who attend his rallies and the rallies of Sarah Palin who have shouted nasty and threatening things when Obama’s name is mentioned.

“Let me say categorically that I am proud of the people who come to my rallies,” McCain said. “I am not going to stand for anybody saying that the people who come to our rallies are anything other than patriotic citizens.”

Obama responded to all this — what else? — coolly.

“I don’t mind being attacked for the next three weeks,” Obama said. “What the American people can’t afford is four more years of failed economic policies.”

He never got off his game plan. He never got shook up.

The biggest impact of the three presidential debates for Obama was not anything said or not said. It was impressionistic: Obama simply did not appear to be the scary “other” that McCain needs him to be. “When people suggest that I pal around with terrorists, then we are not talking about issues,” Obama said smoothly.

For McCain, the biggest impact of the debates was visual: In the first debate he refused to look at Obama, in the second debate McCain appeared to careen around the stage and in this last debate McCain would scribble furiously with his Sharpie as Obama was talking or else smirk in response to what Obama was saying.

Moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS often asked provocative questions that sometimes did not get provocative responses. When Schieffer asked each man why the country would be better off if his running mate became president rather than the other guy’s running mate, Obama said Joe Biden “shares my core values.” John McCain said Sarah Palin is a “reformer” and “she has united our party.”

And McCain’s desire to keep his party united behind him — because who else is? — was very much on his mind, dipping deep into conservative Republican talking points. McCain repeatedly accused Obama of “wanting to spread the wealth” around, which doesn’t seem like all that bad an idea to people who aren’t wealthy.

But there was one place McCain would not go: He did not bring up the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It is a line McCain seems determined not to cross, even though some in his party are urging him to do so.

What McCain really needed is what he still needs: for Obama to make some huge gaffe, something that makes Obama look like the riskier choice between the two.

But Obama made no such gaffes Wednesday night.

“The biggest risk we could take right now is to adopt the same failed policies and same failed politics that we’ve seen for the last eight years,” Obama said.

The race is not over. It would be wrong to write McCain off. After all, there is still almost three weeks to go. And in politics, anything can happen.

It usually doesn’t, however.
mccaim

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CABINET VERDICT: ECK CHIEFS MAY BE SACKED

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By NATION Team
October 14 2008

The Electoral Commission may be disbanded following a Cabinet decision to fully implement the Kriegler report. A 10-member team led by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga was given two weeks to draw an implementation plan. The committee will include the eight Kofi Annan peace mediators.

The Cabinet gave the President and the Premier the go-ahead to fully implement the recommendations of the Independent Review Commission headed by South African retired judge, Mr Justice Johann Kriegler, whose verdict was that the ECK should be overhauled.

Integrity
The report stated that ECK should be radically reformed, or a new electoral management body be created “with a new name, image and ethos.”

Other members of the Kibaki-Raila committee are deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi and Cabinet colleagues William Ruto, James Orengo, Dr Sally Kosgei, Martha Karua, Mutula Kilonzo, Prof Sam Ongeri and Moses Wetang’ula.

They were members of the negotiating team under former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, which brokered the peace accord that saved Kenya from sliding to anarchy and civil war. Sources at the Cabinet meeting chaired by the President at State House indicated that the decision to overhaul ECK was initially opposed by some ministers.
Sources said a number of minsters said ECK reforms should be carried out during the forthcoming review of the Constitution.

“The Cabinet underlined the importance of providing the way forward on the report and the need to address the issues that came up under agenda 4 of the Serena talks,” a statement from Presidential Press Service said.

It added: “The Cabinet also agreed on the need to have a united approach in the implementation of the changes recommended to Kenya’s electoral process due to the importance of electoral reforms in the prosperity of the country.”

Tax-payers will have to pay nearly Sh500 million to former MPs as the Cabinet also endorsed retirement benefits for those who served from 1963 to 2002.

The President and Mr Odinga were picked to lead the crucial committee due to their position as principals in the coalition government, while other members were drawn from the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee that negotiated an end to two months of post-election violence following the dispute over presidential poll results.

The 10-member committee will prepare an action plan of the Kriegler commission’s recommendations. The committee is to complete its report within 14 days.

The Kriegler report is to be tabled in Parliament today and copies given to all MPs, PPS reported.

Overseas trip

Mr Ruto did not attend Tuesday's meeting as he is on an overseas trip. Acting Finance Minister John Michuki and Children and Gender’s Esther Murugi are on similar trips.

Tuesday’s session was said to have been stormy with some ODM-K and PNU members coming out in defence of ECK
However, sources said, it was later unanimously agreed that the Kriegler team made specific recommendations and which should be implemented for the good of the country.

“It was agreed that for last year’s elections to be a lesson to everybody and to avoid witch-hunt, the Kriegler report must be implemented in full,” a source said.

Over 1,200 Kenyans were killed and about 350,000 displaced in election violence sparked by the announcement of disputed presidential results on December 30, last year.

The Kibaki-led committee is expected to come up with modalities of implementing recommendations of the Kriegler report, that would lead to radical electoral reforms. The team will start its work immediately.

In its report presented to President Kibaki on September 17, the Kriegler team called for a lean policy-making and supervisory board known as the Electoral Management Board (EMB) to run the country’s poll process.

“Whatever the decisions to be made concerning the electoral system and other aspects of the electoral process, one thing is sure; the ECK’s internal management processes deserve a thorough overhaul,” says the report.

The team recommended that the new electoral body be made up of between three and nine Commissioners appointed by the President and approved by Parliament. Currently, the ECK has 22 members, including the chairperson, all appointed by the President.

The report has also recommended the introduction of performance contracts for the ECK secretariat staff.

It adds that the bureaucratic procedures in the commission and the unwieldy committee structures interfered with staff selection, recruitment, training and deployment.

“Certainly, the tallying staff at the national tallying centre either had not received adequate training or, if they had, did not quite do as they had been instructed,” says the report.

The Kriegler team says that the ECK is not financially independent and has recommended that the electoral body’s expenses be charged to the Consolidated Fund.

The team said it was expensive to run the current ECK and that it costs Kenyans Sh19.3 billion to finance the entire electoral cycle of which Sh500 million is paid out to commissioners as salaries over the five years.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet heeded calls by former MPs and approved the retirement benefits for those who served from 1963 to 2002 by way of a one-off payment.

The former lawmakers have been complaining that they served at a time when salaries for MPs were peanuts, that they enjoyed very little allowances and that they were now living as paupers despite some of them having fought for independence or served the country diligently.

A number of them, they say, died out of poverty.

On Tuesday, the former MPs said they were demanding at least Sh450 million in pension for having served Kenyans at different times.

Among the 20 former MPs who addressed a news conference in Nairobi was Mr Eric Cheserek, who served between 1969 and 1974.
The former MPs want to be paid at least Sh500,000 each.On Tuesday, the Cabinet also directed the minister for Special Programmes, Dr Naomi Shaban, to ensure food was distributed “more” efficiently to people facing severe food shortages in parts of the country.

Mr Michuki was told to closely monitor the current global financial crisis and its likely short and long term consequences on the economy.

This follows financial crisis in the US that has spiralled to other parts of the world and threatened Kenya’s export market

COMMENTS:
Submitted by kodero
Posted October 15, 2008 08:11 AM

This would be an important step in the journey toward reforming key institutions of governance, which is long overdue. Statesmanship and not brinkmanship should inform the process. This had better be clean. Kenya cannot afford another false start.

Submitted by thecreature
Posted October 15, 2008 08:02 AM

It really saddens me that PNU and ODM-K MPs are still this narrow-minded. They benefited from Kivuitu's mischief. Period. Surely, they don't expect that Kenyans are idiots to ever go to the polls with Kivuitu as chairman? It is time for these two parties to devise a different game plan, if stolen elections is the basis for their political survival. Kivuitu is past tense. Plan on how a new ECK can be compromised because Kivuitu cannot be salvaged.

Submitted by SJ502
Posted October 15, 2008 07:01 AM

To effectively police the deteriorating global financial sector (the only way now), the country's Finance ministry requires a Mminister working in full capacity...not acting. Either confirm Michuki or appoint one immediately.

OBAMA COULD WIN 364 ELECTORAL VOTES

· 0 comments

Julianna Goldman
Bloomberg
October 15 2008

Barack Obama is likely to pick up 364 Electoral College votes, far surpassing the 270needed to claim the presidency, by winning battleground states including Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Colorado, online traders say.

Bettors on the Dublin-based Intrade's political futures market believe Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, will prevail in all the states won by party nominee John Kerry in 2004, in addition to picking up other previously Republican strongholds such as Nevada and Missouri. Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, would pick up 174 Electoral votes, winning states such as Texas, Indiana and West Virginia.

As the economic crisis dominates the presidential campaign, Obama, an Illinois senator, has surged in national polls over McCain. Obama has opened a 10 percentage-point lead over McCain, 53 percent to 43 percent, among likely voters nationally in a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken Oct. 8-11. That's up from a 4 point lead in a Post-ABC poll taken at the end of September.

Still, the presidency will be decided state-by-state --with the candidate who wins the Electoral College, where votes are distributed by winner take all in most states. The two exceptions are Maine and Nebraska, whose votes are apportioned by congressional district.

Obama Expands Lead

Futures contracts at Intrade, a unit of Dublin-based Trade Exchange Network Co., show a number of the states that Democrats lost four years ago favoring Obama by at least 2-to-1 margins including Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. Though Obama's chances are less in Missouri and North Carolina, bettors say both are leaning Obama and have factored the states' combined 26 Electoral College votes into the total.

Contract prices on Intrade reflect the odds of a candidate winning and are all-or-nothing wagers. A contract showing a 50 percent chance a candidate will win Ohio, for example, would cost $5 and would pay $10. If the candidate doesn't win, it would settle at zero.

By that measure, Obama's chances of winning the Nov. 4 election are 77.7 percent, according to the latest futures contract price on Intrade at 4:00 p.m. Dublin time.

Such markets have been more accurate than polls in past elections. In part, that's because people are placing money on what they expect to happen as opposed to what they would like to happen and who they plan to support.

WAS MINISTER WILLIAM RUTO SERIOUS OR JUST MISCHIEVOUS?

· 0 comments

DAILY NATION
NAIROBI, KENYA
OCTOBER 13 2008

By Macharia Gaitho

Proposed move aims to disenfranchise Kenyans

AGRICULTURE MINISTER William Ruto’s proposal for a new system in which the president is elected by Parliament is not just based on naivety or ignorance. It is pure mischief, and very a dangerous threat for the cornerstone of our democracy has always been election of a president by the people.

From the time Kenya became a Republic in 1964 when Mzee Jomo Kenyatta assumed the presidency, citizens have had the constitutional right to directly vote for their head of state and government. Maybe the rights have often been violated; but the abortion of democracy during the Kenyatta and Moi regimes – from the days of ‘‘unopposed’’ presidential election on to the enactment of single-party rule – did not take away the entrenched constitutional right.

The multi-party campaign was waged through blood, sweat and tears so that Kenyans could regain those inalienable rights to choose their leaders. It was not just about the right to belong to a political party of choice or to vote for a party of choice, but ultimately to vote directly and determine which person gets the onerous responsibility of Group Kenya Chief Executive Officer.

This is not a right and responsibility to be trifled with. What Mr Ruto is proposing is that that sacred duty be taken away from you, me and every other Kenyan, and given to him and some 221 other individuals. The proposal aims to disenfranchise Kenyans and hand over the right to elect a president to some exclusive little members’ club.

Now, this is not to show disrespect to the institution of Parliament, but the fact is our parliamentarians have demonstrated time and time again that they cannot be trusted with power. If they are given the sole right to determine who becomes president, then they will be no better than the Somali pirates on the Indian Ocean who make a living from ransom paid to secure freedom for hijacked ships.

Our MPs have already become notorious for immorally voting themselves packages that make them the best-paid legislators in the world. If they are given the right to determine who gets to occupy State House, they will increase their ill-gotten wealth tenfold. Parliament will become a loud market, a veritable Gikomba auction house where the presidency will be on sale, not just in five-year election cycles, but permanently throughout the year.

It is notable, in fact, that Mr Ruto cited South Africa as an example. If the system he proposes is adopted, Kenyans could see a president forced out mid-term by his political party or by Parliament. What happened in South Africa was a travesty.
President Thabo Mbeki was forced to relinquish his seat, not because he was guilty of some impeachable offence, but simply because his chief rival, Jacob Zuma, took control of the majority ANC and wanted to teach him a lesson.

COMMENTS:

Submitted by Wanjiku98
Posted October 14, 2008 11:08 PM

jaukakathevillager, you sound like a stealing priest who when caught cautions the faithfuls againist judging him. I did not say that Ruto is full of blood. I simply said his constituency was the worst hit by the clashes. He should solve that first. Neither did i say anyone is inferior unless they feel that way. You are as inferior as you feel. Chant on about inferiority and superiority. Excuse me.

Submitted by kiambidm
Posted October 14, 2008 08:40 PM

Thank you. Kenyans should not allow corrupt lowbrows with ill-gotten money to literally buy their way to the presidency. It is dangerous for Kenya and democracy.

Submitted by bialosni
Posted October 14, 2008 07:49 PM

Rutto has a constitutional right just like any other Kenyan to speak his mind. To suggest that parliament elect the president is neither stupid, naïve or dangerous. Indeed what is practiced in majority of the democracies across the world. Those who do not understand what parliamentary system entails should seek advice instead of pouring uneducated opinion in the media. Since the so called hybrid system has failed us we have to choose between the presidential system or parliamentary/cabinet system with all their shortcomings. We cannot have our cake and eat it.

Submitted by Kibutu Kiiru
Posted October 14, 2008 06:33 PM

Something things are better unsaid. Kenyans are yet to heal from what they experienced at the beginning of the year and especially in Ruto's constituency. If Ruto is never haunted by this, then he remains with very few if any elements of human virtues. He was just a young loyalist feeding on the royal crumbs when the fight for multi-party system was on. He cannot understand what people underwent. Hon. Ruto work hard in the ministry and help your constituents heal. God should put you on the Damascus road like he did to Saul.

Submitted by tintins
Posted October 14, 2008 06:22 PM

Ruto is serious and i understand him. If i could determine my salary and allowances i would have his courage.I want to propose one, just one Kenyan, who is willing to run for an elective presidency and is willing to cut the mp's salaries to come up now.Just like Obama is beating odds, a new direction is what we need.hope is what kenyans need.Mr Gaitho save the space and devote this column for that search. You'll have served your country better. where is your patriotism when you spread their vernom.God save Kenya.

Submitted by jaukakathevillager
Posted October 14, 2008 05:12 PM

Wanjiku, Unforgiving spirit and the spirit of murder are the same.Whether Ruto's hands are full of blood or not is not a big deal.The big deal is whether Kenyans are ready to forgive each other and coexist peacefully.The law was made for man, not man for law.All tribes have an inalienable right to stay in KENYA and to have a say on the affairs of this beautiful bloodstained nation.No tribe is superior or inferior jowa!

Submitted by Wanjiku98
Posted October 14, 2008 04:32 PM

Ruto, You got alot of money, you got power to summon mps in RV in your mother tongue, you got a ministry and you have five seconds of fame courtesy of the press. What else don't you have?. Think about the blood soaked Eldoret North and get off our backs.Your constituency is as red as crimson. We reserve the right to elected all of you.

Submitted by sumimasen
Posted October 14, 2008 04:29 PM

Mr. Gaitho am a little baffled by the tone and anger of your analysis of Hon Rutos sugestion. The country may most likely very soon go on a referendum on weather we adopt parliamentary or presidential system. In this circumstances what really is naive or ignorant about Rutos suggestion ?President Kenyatta you refer to was first a PM under a queen, instead of replacing the queen with a president elected along the lines of what ruto is suggesting he decided to be both , the effect, Kenya almost went under last year.

Submitted by SJ502
Posted October 14, 2008 04:21 PM

Easier to manipulate 200 than 5 Million plus voters. This is what constitutes genius in my country. Why the media even bothers to cover such mediocrity is a mystery. It’s the kind of cheap debate primary school kids engage in during a hot afternoon when the teacher calls off to go pick-up a cheque.

Submitted by arwaclem
Posted October 14, 2008 04:15 PM

Hon Ruto merely made his own proposition and those vilifying him are missing the point,4 mr Gaitho's claims are quite incongruous!, You cant claim that our MPs cannot be trusted with power and we continue to elect them to represent us. In any case what trust can you put on voters with their votes and empty stomachs? We should always be prepared to change and move with ‘Cheese’. Otherwise the now popular phrase of “I don’t Know /can’t tell who won “ will continue for God knows how long!

Submitted by iawe
Posted October 14, 2008 03:55 PM

jassheme, you ask 'who voted for the current tenant at the house on hill?' The answer is I did together with the millions of other Kenyans. As for Ruto's mischevious statement, I wish to repeat what I said yesterday that he must stop running his mouth and instead concentate on ensuring that his ministry is formulating appropriate food policies for Kenya. The business of electing the president is OURS the PEOPLE. Tutu in SA has also called for south africans to given the opportunity to elect their president.

Submitted by gathoni
Posted October 14, 2008 03:32 PM

Ruto is what i´d call a complete lowbrow, all our "leaders"included and despite the fact that most are learned - jassaya there´s nothing positive in Ruto´s statement. We need humane, patriotic, law respecting, civilized leaders...the ones we choose are none of these.

Submitted by Benmwa
Posted October 14, 2008 02:01 PM

I used to love Mr. Ruto for evrything that he did when he was in KANU. Late, the love started diminishing when he started portraying his greed for power. Today, with every mention of his name, I see a greedy man who would go to any extremes just to have what he wanted. The likes of Ruto are what we do not need in this country, let alone in the cabnet if Kenyan politics is to ever be respected.

Submitted by jassayya
Posted October 14, 2008 01:54 PM

Mr. Gaitho, why is Ruto's perspective 'dangerous'? Is it simply because it is said by Ruto or is it because it does not make sense? In my view, the Presidency in Kenya is too expensive for a poor nation like ours to afford - and it epitomises greed, tribal hegemony and corruption. If this is democracy,then I dont want it. I struggle to find anything positive that any of the 3 Kenyan Presidents so far has done to Kenyans. We must redefine what this term 'democracy' means because it hasnt worked - at least not through an all-mighty presidency

Submitted by jassayya
Posted October 14, 2008 01:54 PM

Mr. Gaitho, why is Ruto's perspective 'dangerous'? Is it simply because it is said by Ruto or is it because it does not make sense? In my view, the Presidency in Kenya is too expensive for a poor nation like ours to afford - and it epitomises greed, tribal hegemony and corruption. If this is democracy,then I dont want it. I struggle to find anything positive that any of the 3 Kenyan Presidents so far has done to Kenyans. We must redefine what this term 'democracy' means because it hasnt worked - at least not through an all-mighty presidency

Submitted by scanfish
Posted October 14, 2008 01:25 PM

What is the sense in MPs electing a President? Why not just have an Executive Prime Minister as head of Govt appointed from the party with most MPs? However, for this to happen, you must have equitable representation in Parliamentary seats unlike the case now where some constituencies have 10000 voters while others have from 80000 to 250000. Democracy is one man, one vote and this must be applied, not one man 10 votes like in some RV ODM zones.

Submitted by quak
Posted October 14, 2008 12:26 PM

We can endure the greed and vices of one individual (the president). But when these vices unite in those we chose to represent us, then all is lost. Better presidential tyranny than the imbecility of parliament, for one represents the darkness of one mans soul, whereas the the other represents the moral and spiritual death of us all.

Submitted by MUINGAH
Posted October 14, 2008 11:18 AM

I wonder why can't our leaders be original? Why propose to us other systems of which some are dangerous and politically unhealthy like the South African one where revenge finds it way to the top leadership of the country unabated. I think a system where the top leader be it a president or premier with controlled powers (by the parliament and an independent judiciary) would be adequate for Kenya and Kenyans at large. Ruto should be honest with himself and Kenyans.

Submitted by stevendungu
Posted October 14, 2008 11:09 AM

mr Rutos' greedy arithemetics are based on what and how he managed to become a minister together with other ODM fellows; ie through blood shed and loss of properties, he have since realised that not even Raila can be used to climb up there, it is the will of God through people of Kenya--Shame on you Ruto!

Submitted by Joseph_A
Posted October 14, 2008 10:56 AM

Its realy boring to hear time and again that our MPs are money-hungry, power-hungry and all sort of cynical descriptions...pray why do Kenyans elect such learders? Mr. Gaitho your write up is full of insinuations and innuendos against Zuma. Give the guy a break. OK. Who elecetd Kenyatta to be President of Kenya in 1964? Talking of democracy? Who won 2007 elections if you think there was a winner? If you think you are perfect why cant you run for a parliamentary seat so that an example of a good MP can for once be seen?,

Submitted by Chepslei
Posted October 14, 2008 10:36 AM

Rutto is very serious,there is no meaning of us voting"exercising our rights" and at the end the electoral body says it is not sure who is the winner. The better is to give the mandate to the mps as there will be less rigging and tribalism as experienced in the 2007 general elections. Otherwise we will always be fighting in the name of exercising your voting right.

Submitted by muteule
Posted October 14, 2008 10:30 AM

Pray tell. What difference is there between your typical Kenyan voter and your typical MP? Both are bigoted and venal. No election for president occurs in Kenya, what you have is 'civil war carried ou t by other means.' Let us allow Ruto and others to share their views freely. We are biased. The GEMA elite have an interest in a form of government that taps into their large electorate.

Submitted by wanjohij
Posted October 14, 2008 09:31 AM

Like any other kenyan Ruto has a constitutional right to speak out his views, However, on this particular issue, Ruto has left many people surprised and even questioning his credibility as a leader! its crazy to imagine that Ruto wants the rights to vote a president by almost 15 million people reduced to 222 people!! Maybe the allegations about Rutos involvent in rift valley violence early this year could be true, with this kind of comments he can do anything!!

Submitted by kiambidm
Posted October 14, 2008 09:17 AM

Thanks, Gaitho. You put it lucidly. Kenya: Zero step forward, 10 backwards We cannot allow the world's headlines to read this way about Kenya.

Submitted by agosi
Posted October 14, 2008 08:58 AM

Well, Jasheme sums it up simply and clearly. Need we say more?

Submitted by Hillaryio
Posted October 14, 2008 07:35 AM

Did he just hav a nightmare and decided to go and talk trash, or is this what he has been discussing all along with his ODM buddies? Does he really know what he is talking about? This is not naivety, it is way beyond naivety. I hope his political advisors are not the same guys taking care of his cattles in his stolen farms. You think we forgot what you did when you were the secretary general of Kanu during those days? Stop seeing things, Mr. Ruto and take care of Agriculture!

Submitted by scanfish
Posted October 14, 2008 07:12 AM

Ruto's proposal is the same daft nonsense that derailed the Bomas Draft and will never see the light of day, so why propose it now? I suspect it is meant to derail Kalonzo Musyoka's Presidential ambitions after belatedly realising that Kalonzo, with the backing of PNU, may have the numbers to ascend to the Presidency, especially now that Raila is not guaranteed to have the same support he got from ODM in 2007. They will not also not accept to have constituency boundary review as this would advantage Central Kenya, a vital cog in Kalonzo's alliance.

Submitted by kodero
Posted October 14, 2008 06:45 AM

All options should be on the table as we craft a new constitution. What is clear is direct presidential elections has not served Kenya well in the past. Is this reasonable and sufficient ground to change it? What are the short, medium and longer term implications to our emerging democracy and to the republic? What would be an appropriate legitimate method of identifying the president as we move forward towards political federation in the EAC?

Submitted by GitaaNyasani
Posted October 14, 2008 02:45 AM

Democracy as I understand it is the rule by (majority) the people. The people exercise their power directly by electing their leaders (presidential system) or through their agents who assemble (parliament) to carry out the will of the people. Broadly speaking, democracy constitutes of elements like diversity (pluralism), conducting elections under a free and fair electoral system, limiting the powers of a government while ensuring that the rights of the citizens and of the minority are guaranteed. Whether any parliament really pursues the will of the people is a question for debate.

Submitted by jasheme
Posted October 14, 2008 02:28 AM

Hey man,relax! You rant and rave as if Ruto has committed treason. When you condemn MPs for their greed, (and indeed they are greedy) just remember that the president is one of them. As for ODMs preference for the presidential system, you are being typical selectively amnesic. Just go and read the submissions made by the DP chairman to the Ghai constitutional review team in 2002 and the system of government 'Krnyans' would have preferred. And while we are at it, who elected the current tenant at the house on the hill?

Submitted by Jossseph
Posted October 14, 2008 12:36 AM

Who elected people like William Ruto to parliament? My God! those people obviously did not know what kind of person he is or maybe they knew and didn't care. He obviously knows he will never be voted for the presidency and thats why he is trying to use the back door to the top seat, ngumu!

Submitted by obelix27
Posted October 14, 2008 12:33 AM

Mr. Ruto must have been in a deep trance, or just plain stupid! Who is he again? Where did he go to school? and most importantly, what century is he living in? Mr. Ruto, a word of advise, during one of your dreams, you should summon the gods to reveal to you something called "contitutional law process" I really do hate ignorance! People like Mr. Ruto keep taking Kenya two steps back every minute, Oh! pliz Lord, don't ever let Ruto mess around with the Kenyan constitution.

FEW TEARS FOR DEPORTED CORSI THE OBAMA HATER

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THE STANDARD
NAIROBI, KENYA
OCTOBER 15 2008

Nancy Mburu

Jerome Corsi, author and conservative activist, has an added feather in his cap — he is persona non-grata in Kenya. Maybe that’s what you get when you defend your political ideals too zealously. Corsi is sure a political animal, but he met other animals on Kenyan soil.

The poor man’s woes might make a plot for a good book one day now that humans are known to capitalise on each other’s misfortunes. Corsi is no exception given the timeliness of his bestsellers, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, and his 2004 book on John Kerry, Unfit for Command. Both say some pretty unflattering things about Democrat presidential candidates.

Well, the chickens have come home to roost: Welcome to Africa’s realpolitik, Dr Corsi.

While some are seething with rage at the Government’s seeming crude treatment of the right-wing writer, the incident has provided comic relief for many Africans in the Diaspora. Corsi is now the butt of derisive jokes, with some, on those notoriously unregulated Kenyan blogs, suggesting unprintable ways to deal with the controversial author. The same bloggers are also threatening violence if the election is ‘rigged’ (meaning if Obama loses)! Trust Kenyans to solve problems the ‘Kenyan way’.

Honesty is the best policy. But not always. Corsi had earlier told the New York Times his motive for writing the book: "The goal is to defeat Obama. I don’t want Obama to be in office."

And despite all the hullaballoo about denying him the right to freedom of expression, Obama-obsessed African immigrants in the West are rationalising the Government’s action.

"Ignorant Republican (sic). Thought he could lecture Kenyans on what is good for them," Joe Mark, an immigrant from Liberia, spits, toothpick in the mouth. His co-workers scream with laughter. Joe is a green card holder who works as a forklift driver in one of the factories hard hit by the US economic crisis. Like many immigrants, he is not eligible to vote in the November 4 election. But he hopes Obama will win so he can fulfill his pledge to uplift the lives of blue-collar workers, where the majority of immigrants fall. Obama is believed to have stronger economic policies than Senator John McCain, needed to rescue the world’s tottering giant.

Kamande, a cashier in a beauty store, joins in: "We came to America in search of a better life. We have families to support back home but jobs are no longer assured. Our wages are based on an hourly basis but the hours have reduced. What will become of us if we have ‘more of the same’?" he poses, referring to the Democrats’ standard reference to McCain’s candidacy.

Odhiambo, popularly known as Odhis, jokes that it is only in Africa where the authorities can quickly allege a violation of the law and mete out instant justice on the offending individual. Corsi was accused of "illegally engaging in business activities" and quickly hauled on the next plane back home without being given a chance to engage an immigration lawyer to argue his case.

"The man should have stuck to his original plan to watch Kenya ’s famed wildlife, rather than try to play wise guy," smirks Susan, a nurse in Baltimore city. She believes a Kenyan would face a similar fate in the US if they tried to engage in such unpopular activities. "Americans deport foreigners at the slightest excuse of a real or imagined threat to their national security."

Susan argues that perhaps Corsi had heard that in Africa anything goes. "That will teach him a lesson not to take us so much for granted next time."

Njambi, an accountant, feels that Corsi was trying open up healing wounds of the post-election violence, by linking Obama and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to the clashes.

But there are those, of course, who believe in behavioural psychology theories on man’s inherent goodness. Curiously, Americans are not in this category. They simply do not care about Corsi’s ordeal in the ‘Dark Continent’. They are preoccupied with more pressing problems.

Corsi’s saga has received near non-existent media coverage in the US. There was only a fleeting video clip of the author being kicked out of Kenya under CNN’s satirical show, ‘It happened, but not on our show’, an equivalent of KTN’s ‘News Shot’. The presenter was later caught on camera shaking with laughter.

Tough luck for Corsi.

Julian, another immigrant, cannot understand why Corsi chose to launch his book in Kenya . "He had some nerve. Did he know what he was up against? That he was on Obama’s ancestral land and that the Immigration minister, hailing from Nyanza, is automatically presumed to be Obama’s cousin?" he asks with a shake of the head.

LSK'S CHALLENGE ON KENYA'S CJ RAISES MAJOR ISSUES

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THE STANDARD EDITORIAL
NAIROBI, KENYA
OCTOBER 15 2008

Having demanded a robust case — or none at all — for the removal of Chief Justice Evan Gicheru, we read the petition presented to President Kibaki through the Justice Minister with interest.

The document, signed by Law Society of Kenya secretary and chief executive Betty Nyabuto, covers much of the administrative grousing we have heard and accuses Gicheru of "subverting the Constitution", "perverting the cause of justice" and "improper management of judicial funds".

The absence of detail to many of the charges makes it difficult to determine the merits of the LSK’s arguments. We take it, however, the allegations are not made lightly and the legal fraternity has reason to believe answers are forthcoming. Whether a tribunal is needed, though, we can’t say.

The last tribunal appointed to consider a CJ’s conduct, in 2003, planned to probe claims Bernard Chunga, an former prosecutor, had tortured people; been corrupt; and interfered with other judges’ work. Before that, expatriate CJ Alan Hancox was felled in 1993 over "political bias" and allowing the erosion of judicial independence.

RESPONSE

We remind LSK and readers of this because we remain convinced the removal of a CJ is not a matter to consider lightly. President Kibaki’s response (and indeed that of the CJ once he receives a copy of the petition) are keenly awaited. They could help shape thinking on whether a new constitution must be explicit on what ‘misbehaviour’ by the CJ warrants referral to a tribunal.

ARE JUSTICE EVANS GICHERU'S DAYS AS CJ NUMBERED?

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THE STANDARD
NAIROBI, KENYA
OCTOBER 15 2008

By Lucianne Limo

Will President Kibaki appoint a tribunal to inquire into the conduct of Chief Justice Evan Gicheru? This is the million-dollar question after the Law Society of Kenya formally petitioned the President for the appointment of a tribunal to investigate the head of the Judiciary.

The President has the option of ignoring the petition. But if he were persuaded that the lawyers have sufficient reason to have the CJ investigated, he would appoint a five-man tribunal headed by the Speaker of the National Assembly to look into the myriad allegations against him.

If a tribunal were set up, it would be the second time in five years at the prompting of the lawyers’ umbrella body that boasts of a membership of more than 6,000. The CJ would have to step aside if a tribunal is appointed to investigate the allegations of misconduct. He would, however, resume his duties if the tribunal exonerates him of the accusations.

In February 2003, the President appointed a tribunal to investigate then Chief Justice Bernard Chunga on allegations he protected corrupt judicial officers, intimidated fellow judges, interfered with judicial procedures, and misappropriated public property. Chunga resigned before the tribunal could sit in 2003.

The LSK council, in the petition submitted to the President through Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua, raises questions about the conduct, integrity and independence of the Chief Justice and his ability to exercise his duties.

The petition, signed on behalf of the LSK council by Mrs Betty Nyabuto, was received by Karua’s office on Thursday, last week. The LSK confirmed yesterday the petition had reached the President.

The LSK alleges the Chief Justice is "subverting the Constitution of Kenya in breach of the oath of office of the Chief Justice". LSK claims the CJ is overburdening the Court of Appeal judges by failing and/or ignoring to sit in Bench of the Court of Appeal.

The CJ, LSK claims, failed to uphold the independence and integrity of the Judiciary and the office of the CJ by selectively and arbitrarily transferring judicial officers without reasonable notice. "There are situations where judges are transferred and not allowed to finish part-heard matters, thus interfering with case management leading to backlog," stated the petition.

The Society alleges the Chief Justice has failed to institute a proper and efficient human resource component within the Judiciary, thus occasioning unnecessary constraints.

When contacted, the acting Judiciary public relations officer Nick Ndeda said they have not received the petition against the CJ, although it had not been copied to him.

Yesterday, Senior Counsel Paul Muite said the Constitution allows the President to assess the merit of the allegations and make a decision on the matter.
Section 62 (7) of the Constitution gives the President powers upon receiving a petition questioning the conduct of a judge to appoint a tribunal to investigate claims.

Among the allegations, was also the LSK claiming the CJ had assigned a Government vehicle to his son. Gicheru is also alleged to have sat as a judge in a case in which he was named as the respondent, contrary to principles of natural justice. This doctrine does not allow a judge to sit in a case where he is enjoined.

Lawyers are also angered by Gicheru’s failure to deliver judgement and rulings within the stipulated 42 days. They cited a court case HCCC 12/06 Royal Media Services vs. Telkom-Kenya Ltd and 13 others, where the CJ gave judgement after three years.

Gicheru is alleged to have abused the Judiciary resources by commissioning several committees and not implemented their recommendations. These allegations, even those where proof may be wanting, casts doubt on the CJ’s integrity. As a judge, and leader of the Bench, he is expected to be beyond reproach, "Like Caesar’s wife".

In 2003, Gicheru presided over a team that recommended a purge of the Judiciary. Some of the judges the Gicheru team found to have been of questioned integrity either resigned or were brought before tribunals.