Sunday, November 30, 2008

RAILA OPENS UP

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By David Ohito and Isaac Ongiri

Prime Minister Raila Odinga rekindled memories of the bungled December presidential election, his party’s failed stab at the presidency, and the bitter memories of post-election violence.

It was the day Raila, who is grappling with dissent from a section of his party that feels he has gotten too involved in Government affairs, forsook his supporters, and got too close to President Kibaki, appeared to stoke the embers of the Orange wave as witnessed in rallies during the campaigns.

Declaring again his party’s victory was stolen, the PM vowed Orange Democratic Movement would stand, but again had to grapple with complaints by the public over the rising cost of maize meal.

As if in testimony to how things have changed, with Raila at the podium was Justice Minister and Narc-Kenya chairman Martha Karua, who also has her eyes on post-Kibaki presidency. Last year she was one of Kibaki’s defenders, but though standing out in the colours of her party, she spoke kindly of Raila, saying he was her senior in government.

Speaking in retrospective, Raila recalled the confusion and tension that gripped the country at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, as police shoved them around and live coverage banned.

The PM dropped the guard he has maintained, layered in silence, since the signing of the power-sharing deal with President Kibaki in February, and appeared to marshal his party around the Orange’s Maisha Bora dream, even as it remains in the Coalition Government.

The PM, who was tear-gassed at a funeral service for a dozen Kibera youths mowed down by police live bullets in January, yesterday cast a different picture in the heartland of his constituency as he strode in for a thanksgiving ceremony.

"You gave me the ball, I dribbled and at the goal mouth, I saw the goalkeeper was dosing. I shot it right through, but (Electoral Commission Chairman Samuel (Kivuitu) and his linesmen said I was offside."

He then told them the Cabinet had initiated the process that would finish off the ECK, as is currently constituted under Kivuitu, as well as the first steps to a new constitution.

Ringed by four members of ODM Pentagon members, at a time the party is grappling with raging undercurrents over the Waki Report, Raila said those killed in the skirmishes in Kibera were defending themselves.

"They had guns and our youths had stones, blood was pouring and I decided to settle for half a loaf,’’ said the PM, who touched off a sombre mood in a ceremony at the Joseph Kang’ethe grounds. He first asked the audience to stand for a minute of silence in memory of those killed in post-election violence.

Angry youth

He spoke of how his constituents were killed with machetes by an organised gang, which he claimed moved from door to door under police escort.

He recounted the killing of a 12 and 14-year-old children and a woman. He explained the youths who uprooted the railway line that cuts through Kibera were angry and helpless. "Mlisema kama ni mbaya ni mbaya (come what may), and decided to defend yourselves, the world was shocked and (Dr Kofi) Annan and his colleagues were sent to us."

He asked his constituents what their rallying cry was, and they responded: "No Raila, no peace!" It was a contrast to the initial view the PM gave on why the Waki Report must be implemented, putting him on a collision cause with Agriculture Minister William Ruto. Ruto has since changed his mind, to support the implementation of the Waki Report.

ODM feted Raila against the backdrop of simmering differences over the Waki Report, the Mau Forest, and scramble for top party position.

"ODM is organised, strong and united. We have weathered tough times and we will soldier on," Raila told guests at a VIP luncheon earlier at the Bomas of Kenya.

"The Pentagon is here. We want to send a strong message that ODM is strong and looking forward. We cannot be detracted," Raila said, as he thanked guests.

But Pentagon members Charity Ngilu and Najib Balala were absent. "We are in one ODM. We are focused. For now we are not interested in the 2012 General Election," said Ruto.

"It is not true that I held secret meetings with President Kibaki over the Waki Report. The Waki Report is discussed in bars, churches, bus stations, markets and every public place. Why should I hide? That is a fictitious report," Ruto added, as he admonished the local newspaper that carried the story, yesterday.

Talking about power sharing, Raila recounted how it has been a difficult game accepting half a loaf (half the Government), which had caused discord among supporters.

"We went to the polls knowing we would win and take it all. But as you know we were messed up by the referees of the election – the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK)," Raila said.

"In Langa’ta many polling stations lacked voting records, at KICC there was a blackout, and TV stations were switched off," Raila recalled, as he accused ECK of denying ODM its victory.

In an apparent dissatisfaction with the electoral, process he said the commissioners must quit. "We promised jobs, a new constitution, new land laws, and many more. We are discussing these and many will be implemented," Raila assured his constituents.

It was an emotional re-union with his constituents who stood with him even as riots took centre stage in Kibera in January.

Guns and machetes

"Police killed many people here in Kibera. One known officer shot and killed a child, women and provoked the youths who reacted by uprooting the railway line. They were protesting for their rights," Raila said.

"There was bloodshed. Attackers came with guns and machetes but my people were only armed with stones," Raila said.

"In ODM we promised change but when we formed coalition we blended our policies and manifestoes. Yetu ilikuwa ni Kazi ianze na ya PNU Kazi iendelee." (We wanted to begin reforms, but they stood for status quo).

Regional Development Minister Fred Gumo said ODM has a voice in the coalition through the PM. But Lands Minister James Orengo cautioned the coalition was well, save for interference by Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, who he accused driving a wedge between Raila and President Kibaki.

ODM ministers put their coalition colleagues on notice warning that they had no business governing the country if they would not stop the soaring food prices and entrench reforms.

High Prices

The guests included the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende, and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi. Ministers Joe Nyaga, Mohammed Elmi, Paul Otuoma, Martha Karua, Anyang’ Nyong’o, Chris Obure, and Assistant Ministers Bishop Margaret Wanjiru and Joseph Nkaissery and several MPs attended. They came face to face with chants of ODM Unga! ODM Unga!

Raila renewed his stand for comprehensive reforms that would change the political terrain.

Orengo censured his Cabinet colleagues and challenged them not to abdicate their responsibilities, but to fix the prices at affordable rates.

"We have no business being in Government if we can not fix food prices to feed Kenyans," Orengo said.

Mudavadi said the party cannot afford another stolen election and the reform process must be fast tracked.

Karua received a standing ovation when she arrived at the function. She was, however, later jeered when she asked Raila to help get out those who have occupied houses of those who fled.

Karua later told The Standard she was encouraged by the reception she got in Kibera saying that she will visit the whole country to reconcile Kenyans.

WHAT WAKO DID NOT SAY IN HIS REPORT

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By Munaweza Muleji

It is now commonly understood that Justice Waki’s report is a damning reflection on post-independence leadership.

The report illustrates the effects of dodgy political leadership over the past 45 years. It also demonstrates clearly how the rot has spread deep into other aspects of leadership.

What got us into this fine mess? At the outset in 1963, Kenya inherited a colonial system of governance that favoured the colonial masters over indigenous people. It was hoped post-independence government would deconstruct colonial governance and put in place a new system and structure to focus on delivering service to the people.

RENT SEEKERS

Instead, the newly independent state positioned itself as the sole supplier of largesse. It therefore attracted rent seekers who sought to work closely with government and even to join its ranks. Those who indulged at the expense of the nation, often had, or quickly obtained, political ‘cover’. Soon a brisk business of rewarding political support using State resources flourished. Impunity developed firm roots.

Elections, though intended to act as a means of keeping the Government in check, became an opportunity to allow boarding the gravy train. Consequently, with every election, the stakes kept rising. The onset of the multi-party system held out the prospect that the number of competitors for the privilege of political office had exponentially grown. In addition, an elaborate system of political patronage was under threat. The establishment responded by unleashing fear and bloodshed to maintain status quo.

In national discourse, we have tended to pay scant attention to the worldview that underpins what ails Kenya. The turn of phrase employed by political leadership provides a unique window to understanding the ruling paradigm. It is a paradigm that virtually guarantees Kenya’s candidature for a ‘failed state’ status.

The hunter paradigm casts elections as a competition between potentially hostile hordes for the prize of ‘game meat’. The collective wisdom is that once elections are won, it is time to share out the meat. This paradigm pervades leadership behaviour.

It is a paradigm that does not invest in the nation, prioritises self and crony interests, tramples on the interests of the people, loots the nation, colludes with predatory foreigners, disregards public opinion, undermines good governance structures, whips up sentiment under the faÁade of ‘ethnic’ interest, and employs oppressive tactics to prop up its position.

The hunter paradigm perceives political office and other leadership positions as prey, because in this scheme of things, such positions are inextricably linked to resources, privilege and power to plunder. The hunter seeks to be master, dominating and seeking to shape events to fulfil narrow selfish objectives.

The hunter is often adept at camouflage and deception, concealing narrow selfish agenda in nice-sounding, vote-inducing platitudes. Should the need arise, the hunter dulls the senses of the prey, using even bribery.

The hunter paradigm has contributed immensely to the problems that characterise Africa.

We need to ask whether it is this paradigm that drives many of our leaders. We also need to ask ourselves where we are likely to end up as a nation, if we do not change course. We have to do away with the ‘politics of the belly’ and embrace the ‘politics of service’.

The former makes losers of all of us; the latter fulfils the needs of both the people and the leaders. Perhaps what we need, and this is what Waki shied from spelling out in black and white, is a change of leadership paradigm. In many instances this will inevitably require a dramatic, fundamental change of leaders.

STEWARDSHIP

We need leaders who will practice the stewardship, or to extend the analogy, the shepherd paradigm.

Stewardship is about being outstandingly accountable and transparent. These are leaders whose interests are aligned with national ones. These are leaders who do what it takes to build a strong united nation, which they consider to be one team. These are leaders who recognise that they are not indispensable and develop worthy successors. They empower the people. They nurture and invest. They generate and create. They are productive. Their aim is to leave a lasting positive impact in the history of the growth of their nations. They are value-driven. Visionaries who deliver on the action steps required attaining worthy goals. Stewards are unifiers, keenly aware that each and every person is of unique value and worth. They put into practice their belief that all ethnic groups are valuable to the nation. This paradigm demands that leaders position the nation to successfully overcome the challenges of the future.

That is the type of leaders we are looking for. It is the type of leaders the doctor would order for Kenya.

What Waki did not tell us, is that it is an achievable desire. Yes, we will require dramatic, fundamental leadership changes and paradigm shifts, but it is an achievable goal. See what the hunter paradigm has got us into? We need to dump the hunters with their faulty paradigm and hire the shepherds. We can do it, we need to and we should. Pronto.

ODM K MPS AGREE TO PAY TAX

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By Athman Amran and Robert Nyasato

ODM-Kenya MPs have agreed to pay taxes, following in the footsteps of Kangundo MP Johnston Muthama.

All the 18 MPs agreed to have their allowances taxed during the National Delegates Conference (NDC) at the Kasarani Gymnasium, Nairobi, on Saturday.

Muthama, an ODM-Kenya MP, was the first to volunteer to be taxed after majority of legislators opposed the proposal to tax them.

"ODM-Kenya supports the principle of taxation for all Kenyans, including Members of Parliament," a statement from NDC said.

The number of MPs who have volunteered to pay tax has risen to 24.

Last Thursday, Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri and Mathioya MP Clement Muchiri joined five other MPs who asked to be taxed.

Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo and his Tetu counterpart FT Nyammo were also among the first MPs to agree to have their allowances taxed.

At the same time, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has said taxation of MPs’ allowances should be dealt with through an independent body.

Mudavadi said as long as the Parliamentary Service Commission was charged with reviewing MPs’ salaries, taxation would be in vain.

"Hata wewe ukiambiwa ujinyoe mwenyewe utapata ni ngumu (If you are told to shave yourself, you would find it difficult), he said.

Urgent reforms

He called for a separate institution to deal with MPs’ pay packages and taxation, saying it would be a major problem if everybody was left to decide his or her own payment.

The minister said the issue of establishing separate institutions to handle such matters should be factored in the new constitution.

He said it was in order for MPs to pay tax but regretted that Parliament had sealed the fate of legislators’ allowances being taxed this time round.

Mudavadi spoke when Nyaribari Chache MP Robert Monda hosted him at Kirwa Secondary School during a fundraiser, on Friday.

Public Works Minister Chris Obure, Public Health Assistant Minister James Gesami and his Trade counterpart Omingo Magara also addressed the meeting.

They backed Mudavadi’s sentiments but said they would endorse taxation of their allowances on condition that the funds are channelled to their respective Constituency Development Fund kitties.

trickle down

"We are taxed for purposes of development of our communities. I support this move if the money will trickle back to my constituents through CDF and other grassroots initiatives," Monda said

OUR MPS ARE MORE OF CONMEN THAN DEMOCRATS

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By PHILIP OCHIENG
November 29 2008

No, I am not a “democrat”. For nothing is more embarrassing than to be put in the same moral and intellectual brackets as our MPs.

Being half-baked products of the Western classroom, our politicians know only one form of democracy — election.

This defines democracy only by the manner in which the people latch onto their leaders. Because money is crucial to it and the ballot can be manipulated in a hundred ways, their democracy is already leaking from all sides.

But, more importantly, what the elected person does with his mandate is squarely outside our ambit of democracy. Liberal democracy has nothing at all to do with what happens during the five years between one election and another.

In a word, as long as democracy is not tied to any moral, intellectual and professional benchmarks – as long as election is an end in itself — the elected person can commit any crime without a whiff of compunction.

Since the mass is abysmally ignorant of its self-interests, when he returns to the mass five years later to seek re-election, he can make exactly the same cynical promises and yet convince the mass to support him even more enthusiastically.

The electorate is an ass.

I prefer democracy as defined by those who coined that term. To Pericles of Athens, democracy was a political instrument by which the overwhelming majority was implementing a clear providential programme.

The manner in which the plebeians grabbed that power from the aristocracy did not define that democracy. But even an armed revolution could qualify as democratic — not because it was “free and fair” (and all that kind liberal chatter) – but only because the vast majority had taken part in it.

Certainly, what we claim to be “representation” was not part of its democratic content. Democracy was political power being deployed by the broad mass to dictate a new system of disposing of society’s cultural, economic and intellectual goods and services.

To Rousseau, democracy was all the people conflating all their time, ingenuities and other resources in the service of all the people. This was a far cry from our “democracy”, in which, every five years, we waste untold resources — and even slaughter one another – just so as to elect a new set of ravenous parasites.

THUS PARLIAMENT – COLONIALLY IMPOSED ON US AS A democratic panacea – holds the whole nation to permanent and debilitating ransom. It serves no purpose that I know of – except as a means of appointing a new government.

But, during its five-year tenure, MPs and ministers live exactly like lice and bed bugs, sucking blood from Kenyans ceaselessly, ruthlessly and, when accosted, remorselessly.

What do you call a person who gets fatter and fatter everyday without doing any work? A democrat or a conman?

Where millions are perishing from hunger, how do you tolerate a “democrat” who dips long fingers into the starveling’s own meagre savings by manipulating the legislative machine to dictate the “democrat’s” own emoluments, increase his perquisites way beyond the national ability and, when told to pay taxes, reacts like a dog – by biting the hand that feeds him?

Wahome Mutahi once wondered what happens “when hyenas go multi-party”.

In theory, they seek to convince us that Kenya will become even more democratic when they form themselves into a parliamentary opposition. But, no matter how sparkling a theory may be, only praxis can prove its worth.

In democratic practice, we would like to know, for instance, how such indefatigable oppositionist prophets as Ababu Namwamba voted on the question of taxing MPs.
If, during that vote, you did not oppose this legislative robbery of a mass already dehumanised by poverty, then please give us a break.

Hold your tongue for ever about an opposition in Parliament. We have had enough of such hypocrisy.

Instead, we want to know what you, as a young “democrat”, propose for lifting Kenyans out of consumer costs, crime, disease, hunger, ignorance, leisurelessness, nakedness, shelterlessness and the Noachian deluge in which Namwamba’s own Budalang’i people are drowning.

Never again open your mouth to yap about “democracy” and “opposition” until you recognise that democratic governance is defined only by the speed and quality with which the people are being emancipated from these scourges.

Formal opposition may add a morsel to democracy.

But your habit of opposing any and everything that the Government or the other parties may propose — even should a proposition be socially inspired — is known, not as democracy, but as rebellion without cause.

If you do not oppose this conspiracy by Parliament to rob the nation – a crime now openly endorsed by Speaker Kenneth Marende — then what will you be opposing when you become an official opposition?

And how do you expect me to join such a felonious bandwagon?

Submitted by jzee
Posted November 30, 2008 12:16 PM

It is amazing how we manage to elect only the most cynical to lead us.It is time we carried out massive civic education to ensure that our pple are more enlightened about the power they hold as citizens and stirred up a new dawn of nationalism which will empower the voter to discern the wolves and hounds while at the same time reducing apathy and create new hope.

Submitted by Mark_Evans
Posted November 30, 2008 07:28 AM

In some other visionary countries, folks of Philip Ochieng''s brilliance and discernment would be so valuable they'd be real development think-tanks in government; in our part of the world, thieving semi-literates run government while thieving illiterates man the legislature. And the electorate keeps taking himself back to the same election circus after every five years. Representative Democracy, indeed. But at what cost? We need to have our heads examined! Seriously.

Submitted by Observer01
Posted November 30, 2008 06:32 AM

You've caught Namwaba square on this one. Combined with his opposition on Waki Report, Namwaba should just keep very quiet. Bundarangi should start a search for another " Democrat" All the best Ochieng. Enjoy your sunday.

Submitted by Hillaryio
Posted November 30, 2008 04:56 AM

I totally agree with you,Phillip when you say that electorate is an ass. In 2012, these same thieves we call MPs will come to us, line us and hand us 50 bob notes and we shall vote for them and expect democracy to prevail. Instead what we'll see is "democracy" as usual. Infact, most MPs can't even define what democracy really means. It is upon us people to get smart and know how to deal with thieves. That is only if we can get out of our tribalistic shells and elect real leaders other than "my own"

Submitted by jon2xx4
Posted November 30, 2008 02:39 AM

This is BEST article this year so far! I readily concur that this parliament serves no purpose at all other than dipping long fingers into the treasury.

Submitted by obiero76
Posted November 30, 2008 02:12 AM

Thank you sir for putting the fat cats in their place.Who will save this nation and her people good lord?Kenyans are very decent and generous people who are continuously being robbed of the opportunity to exel through corruption by the political elit.Many atimes i shed tears for my motherland.

MILLIONS OF LIVES, BILLIONS OF CASH UNDER THREAT IN THE MAU SAGA

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Reports of independent studies seen by the Sunday Nation say that the Mau complex forms the largest forest cover in Kenya and is equivalent to the size of Mt Kenya and the Aberdares combined.

By Mugumo Munene
November 29 2008

The lives of 5.5 million people who depend on tea, rice and tourism are threatened by destructive human activities in the Mau complex.

The effects of the destruction are already being felt. At Egerton University, six of 17 boreholes have dried up in the past few years, while the main river supplying Lake Nakuru has become season stream.

And the world-famous Maasai-Mara game reserve, which is Kenya’s top tourist destination, is in grave danger due to the encroachment on the Mau complex where the tributaries that flow through the plains originate.

Statistics show that Kenya earned Sh650 million from the Maasai-Mara and Sh513 million from the Lake Nakuru last year.

Both tourist attractions derive their lifeline of water from the Mau forest. The annual indirect tourism revenue from the two conservation areas is estimated at more than Sh5 billion.

Legal excisions were announced in February 2001 by the minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Francis Nyenze. Environmental experts have since criticised the excisions, terming them ill-informed.

Government and Unep records show that the Moi-era excisions and subsequent theft of forest land have led to the destruction of more than 250,000 acres in the past 10 years.

A combined force

Between August and October, this year, a combined force of KWS rangers as well as regular and administration police seized 50 tonnes of timber, 10,000 bags of charcoal and 5,450 cedar posts.

“Such an extensive and ongoing destruction of key natural assets for the country is a matter of national interest,” experts have written in documents seen by the Sunday Nation.

“It presents significant environmental and economic threats and underlines a breakdown of law and order, with ramifications to internal security and conflicts.

“Despite its critical importance for sustaining current and future economic development, the Mau has been affected negatively by extensive illegal, irregular and ill-planned settlements, as well as illegal forest resources extraction.”

According to a member of the Prime Minister’s task force on the Mau, the problems facing forests all over the country today were touched off by the Kenyatta-era policies.

“Kenyatta said: “Turudi mashambani (Let’s return to the farms)” and this placed a premium on land because his government did not explore other options like manufacturing,” added the task force member who requested anonymity because the team is yet to complete its work.

“When Moi came to power, he was under pressure to reward voters and loyalists and Mau was one of the resources available. By the time of excising Mau, donors had frozen aid and the rest of the resources were gone.”

Four sitting MPs

The Sunday Nation has learnt that at least four sitting MPs were involved in the illegal encroachments and, through phantom companies and proxies, they sold land to the unsuspecting public.

The three held senior positions in the provincial administration and the civil service during the Moi administration.It makes it difficult to keep politics out of Mau if these politicians actually acquired land illegally or irregularly and then sold it to unsuspecting squatters,” said another official involved in the on-going investigations.

Related Stories

Mau destruction act of pure folly
Water crisis at Egerton as forest cover disappears
Groups differ on Mau forest evictions
Marende lashes out at dithering by Executive
Task force whisked out of Mau
Involved in excision

“But you also have officials at the ministry of Lands, who were involved in the excisions and who are in office today. You never know who you are dealing with. We are keenly aware of what transpired and there can never be anything like mass evictions.

“The recommendations are going to be far from it. We recognise that there are genuine settlers who were hoodwinked into buying land that had been acquired illegally. That is why the audit is important to help us determine how to deal with each case.”

The Government has established a task force to bare the truth on the matter whose solution has been lost in public political debates with ethnic overtones. The team comprises environmental experts, senior civil servants and community representatives.

Experts and task force members interviewed by the Sunday Nation and reports prepared by conservationists show that rivers flowing from the Mau cross 478 sub-locations with a total population of about 5.5 million.

“People who live within 5km from the forest depend on it, partially or totally, for firewood, grazing and medicinal plants,” said an expert who declined to be identified by name for fear of raising political temperatures.

Mau is the largest of Kenya’s five water towers, the others being Mt Kenya, Aberdares, Cherangani Hills and Mt Elgon.

The Mau complex forms part of the upper sources of all but one main rivers on the west side of the Rift Valley, including Nzoia, Yala, Nyando, Sondu, Mara, Ewaso Ngiro, Naishi, Makalia, Nderit, Njoro, Molo and Kerio.

Through these rivers, the Mau feeds major lakes that include Victoria, Turkana, Baringo, Nakuru and Natron. The silt coming from upstream is robbing the highlands of fertile soil and filling the lakes.

Independent studies

Reports of independent studies seen by the Sunday Nation say that the complex forms the largest forest cover in Kenya and is equivalent to the size of Mt Kenya and the Aberdares combined.

One expert the Sunday Nation spoke to estimates that the market value of goods and services generated annually in the complex’s tea, tourism and energy sectors alone is in the region of Sh20 billion.

The estimate does not reflect provisional services such as water supply to urban areas (Bomet, Egerton University, Elburgon, Eldama Ravine, Kericho, Molo, Nakuru, Narok, and Njoro) or support to rural livelihoods, in particular in the Lake Victoria basin outside the tea growing areas or the potential to generate electricity from the rivers flowing out of the Mau, the expert said.

The Sondu Miriu hydropower project, with an electricity generation capacity of 60 megawatts has been recently completed on the Sondu, whose water flows from the south-west Mau forest reserve.

An extension

The project is financed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation at a cost of Sh15 billion ($238 million). An extension, known as the Sang’oro hydropower scheme, is currently under implementation. The estimated investment will be Sh3.4 billion ($54 million).

Further downstream, the Magwagwa multipurpose dam with an anticipated capacity of 94.6 megawatts, has also been proposed.
The estimated potential hydropower generation in the Mau complex catchment represents 57 per cent of the current total electricity generation capacity in Kenya, expert estimates show.

Related Stories

Mau destruction act of pure folly
Water crisis at Egerton as forest cover disappears
Groups differ on Mau forest evictions
Marende lashes out at dithering by Executive
Task force whisked out of Mau
The Mau also provides a lifeline to the climates in an estimated two-thirds of the tea-producing areas in the Kericho, Kisii and Nandi highlands as well as the Cherangany Hills and Mt Elgon. The 2007 sale value of tea from western Kenya is estimated at Sh12.4 billion.

In the region, the tea sector provides jobs to 50,000 people and a livelihood to 75,000 small scale farmers effectively supporting some 645,000 dependents.

Another beneficiary of the Mau complex is the rice grown with water from Rivers Yala and Nyando.


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Submitted by oshi
Posted November 30, 2008 11:56 AM


Waheshimiwa tuwapendao for the sake of our future generation and the future of our dear country that we love most, we beg on our knees and toes for you guys to act as human beings and patriots of your own country. Muheshimiwa Orengo this is where leadership is measured. Let's all sit and watch on how badly off you can let us down on this one!Mau forest is a FOREST, not some hotel in Nairobi for sale. So act and act now!

Submitted by ray~mo
Posted November 30, 2008 07:32 AM

It will be in the best interests of everyone that the Mau is conserved. What should be done and ought to have been done is that people leaving there be relocated with immediate effect. As Professor Wangari Maathai said "nature can be so unforgiving," but Kenyan leaders never learn.

Submitted by wuod_aketch
Posted November 30, 2008 03:59 AM

Little education can be dangerous - most politicians lack education. They often tend to cut the branches that we are sitting on.

Submitted by mimbaz
Posted November 30, 2008 02:20 AM

Are the politician listening?...Are we listening?

Submitted by syindumyaki
Posted November 30, 2008 01:38 AM

Hon Orengo, have you rolled out a plan to relocate these legal/illegal occupants of mau forest? thats the one and only solution we have right now. Its URGENT, No further debates! You can deal with the other issues of who sold to who and who allocated to whom and who issued title deed to whom later, thru a commission of enquiry!

Submitted by gitaunation
Posted November 29, 2008 11:48 PM

Water from the Mau flows to a predominantly ODM stronghold. Their leaders are for its destrucion. Ruto thinks the forest should be destroyed. When the forest is gone, will Ruto lead them into re-planting the trees again?

Submitted by SJ502
Posted November 29, 2008 10:30 PM

A catastrophe in the making right before our eyes. BigQ: Why are we dilly dallying? Minister Orengo should use the same zeal he did over Grand Regency and expose the Land ministry's staff involved. Meanwhile for the Big 4 MPs KACA does some heavy arm-twisting...works all the time. No sacred cows here, its 5.5 Million people against pure human greed!

GENTLEMEN, THIS IS NOT REALLY ABOUT THE SKIN, IS IT?

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By MUTUMA MATHIU
November 29 2008

The doubling of the price of posho in just months and the (artificial?) maize shortage created by political corruption and wrong-headed policies, all harking back to the dark days of Kanu thievery and incompetence, point to the price that this country has paid, and will continue to pay, in the name of politics.

It is also the kind of situation which calls for tribal wisdom and so I will relate a story given to me this week by cultural advisor and school chum, Mr Koome Marangu.

In his village of Kioru in Murugi, Mr Marangu explained, up in the mountains of Imenti, there lived a hunter and his trusty mongrel.

Dog and master had a good, fruitful working relationship. Like our politicians, they worked together. They would hunt as partners and once the kill was made, the dog would be taken care of.

OF COURSE HE WOULD NOT GET THE choice cuts, but it could count on the hooves, the inedible parts of the head and so on while the human got the really good meat.

But the mongrel was happy with his job, it was interesting, he got to travel to distant bushes and meet different animals. And the pay, well, a dog could live on it.

One day, dog and master went out hunting and caught a particularly juicy buck. It was fat and beautiful and took all the strength of the mongrel’s jaws to hold it down, awaiting his master.

The master duly came, finished off the prey and carried it off back to the village, his faithful dog, proud and exhilarated, at his heels.

But on arrival, something strange happened. A large pack of men came to congratulate the hunter on his good job. They stayed to help with the slaughter.

The dog watched from the sidelines, occasionally rising to wag his tail and grin in appreciation of the proceedings. His stomach was, however, on fire. He had used too much energy to fell the prey and he was hungry.

But the hunter appeared to have forgotten his partner: He gave the intestines to one of the villagers, the liver and the other delicacies went to his own hut.

The dog watched with rising panic as all the scraps were shared out, then the villager hoisted the rest of the carcass and took it to his own hut. He came back and offered the hooves to a villager.

At this point the dog was on his feet, alarm quickly turning to fury. Only the skin was left and as the hunter, with the help of his villager friends prepared to ready it for curing, the mongrel swung into action.

Quick and agile, he snatched the skin between his jaws and took off like an arrow. A gaggle of villagers grabbed various weapons — simis, axes, rungus, large sticks and spears — and shot off after him.

The dog ran and ran. He barrelled past the village of Kamurita, down gorges, forded rivers shied and up deep valleys. At Katheri, ten miles away, he looked back.

The strong pack runners was hot on his tail. More miles down the road at Kianthumbi, the dog was beginning to weaken.

He took another cautious look back and the villagers were now gaining on him. He grabbed up the skin and off he went again. He ran and ran for hours in the hot sun.

At Kaing’inyo, weary and fed up, the pursuers no more than 30 paces behind, he put down the skin and turned to face the villagers. “Arume, tibwakugata [Gentlemen, this is not about the skin, is it?],” he told them.
The doubling of the price of posho in just months and the (artificial?) maize shortage created by political corruption and wrong-headed policies, all harking back to the dark days of Kanu thievery and incompetence, point to the price that this country has paid, and will continue to pay, in the name of politics.

It is also the kind of situation which calls for tribal wisdom and so I will relate a story given to me this week by cultural advisor and school chum, Mr Koome Marangu.

In his village of Kioru in Murugi, Mr Marangu explained, up in the mountains of Imenti, there lived a hunter and his trusty mongrel.

Dog and master had a good, fruitful working relationship. Like our politicians, they worked together. They would hunt as partners and once the kill was made, the dog would be taken care of.

OF COURSE HE WOULD NOT GET THE choice cuts, but it could count on the hooves, the inedible parts of the head and so on while the human got the really good meat.

But the mongrel was happy with his job, it was interesting, he got to travel to distant bushes and meet different animals. And the pay, well, a dog could live on it.

One day, dog and master went out hunting and caught a particularly juicy buck. It was fat and beautiful and took all the strength of the mongrel’s jaws to hold it down, awaiting his master.

The master duly came, finished off the prey and carried it off back to the village, his faithful dog, proud and exhilarated, at his heels.

But on arrival, something strange happened. A large pack of men came to congratulate the hunter on his good job. They stayed to help with the slaughter.

The dog watched from the sidelines, occasionally rising to wag his tail and grin in appreciation of the proceedings. His stomach was, however, on fire. He had used too much energy to fell the prey and he was hungry.

But the hunter appeared to have forgotten his partner: He gave the intestines to one of the villagers, the liver and the other delicacies went to his own hut.

The dog watched with rising panic as all the scraps were shared out, then the villager hoisted the rest of the carcass and took it to his own hut. He came back and offered the hooves to a villager.

At this point the dog was on his feet, alarm quickly turning to fury. Only the skin was left and as the hunter, with the help of his villager friends prepared to ready it for curing, the mongrel swung into action.

Quick and agile, he snatched the skin between his jaws and took off like an arrow. A gaggle of villagers grabbed various weapons — simis, axes, rungus, large sticks and spears — and shot off after him.

The dog ran and ran. He barrelled past the village of Kamurita, down gorges, forded rivers shied and up deep valleys. At Katheri, ten miles away, he looked back.

The strong pack runners was hot on his tail. More miles down the road at Kianthumbi, the dog was beginning to weaken.

He took another cautious look back and the villagers were now gaining on him. He grabbed up the skin and off he went again. He ran and ran for hours in the hot sun.

At Kaing’inyo, weary and fed up, the pursuers no more than 30 paces behind, he put down the skin and turned to face the villagers. “Arume, tibwakugata [Gentlemen, this is not about the skin, is it?],” he told them.

COMMENTS
Submitted by ray~mo
Posted November 30, 2008 07:55 AM

It's not about politics because politics is the science of government but there is no iota of science in all these. This is just people whose avarice prevents them from seeing where they are taking Kenyans. It's the bane of Kenya and hopefully one day, one day, it will be over.

Submitted by Observer01
Posted November 30, 2008 06:18 AM

We are not completely helpless. Kenyans know where they are comming from and where they are going. We've got a good case of revolution to sweep away all rot, corruption and impunity. A few couragious leaders like Raila will hold the bull by the horns and we will take the kicks. I am fron Central Provice and Raila already gotten my vote. I do not cordone impunity.

Submitted by rkg
Posted November 30, 2008 02:09 AM

The current crop of MP’s is mandated to run the country to the best of their ability. The electorate do not mind MP’s stealing from the government, or womanise. They will not loose votes because they are corrupt , led their constituents in destroying forests or impregnated a school girl. I suggest that a percentage of an MP’s salary comes from the taxes paid by their constituents.

Submitted by kenmare69
Posted November 29, 2008 10:52 PM

A few major differences between the pirates ruling in the Gulf of Aden and those ruling Kenya is that, our pirates are not anonymous to the open world, they hardly work for their loot, and don’t risk a limb like their Somali counterparts do. They also craft the law and know how to apply it to an infernal intent. Surely, there must be a way of liberating ourselves from these undead marauders, even if the opportunity is 4 years away. Let’s begin by thinking and acting as Kenyans, and not as damp tribal cocoons. That’ll be a winning strategy.

Submitted by muyanga
Posted November 29, 2008 10:50 PM

For sure it is not about the skin, these guys are precisely after our lives. But I can only squarely blame the hunter.

Submitted by SJ502
Posted November 29, 2008 09:17 PM

Looks like there is no way we will ever eliminate politicians’ greed ....we can only hope to contain it. Too many people are just plain greedy by nature. Unfortunately, just like the serial city mugger who comes in expensive cars and gifts to ask for our daughter’s hand in marriage, greed and corruption in high place will see this society over the cliff soon.

OBAMA HATERS IN LAST DITCH EFFORT TO DERAIL HIS PRESIDENCY

· 2 comments

By KEVIN J KELLEY in New York
November 29 2008

Barack Obama’s most unyielding detractors have launched a last-gasp effort to deny him the US presidency by reviving the discredited claim that he was born in Kenya.

This small contingent of conservative activists is focusing on the Electoral College, the body that actually selects a US president. Its 538 members are to meet in their respective state capitals on December 15 for what will almost certainly be a formal confirmation of Mr Obama’s popular-vote victory on November 4.

But several states lack laws binding their Electoral College members to vote for the candidate to whom they are ostensibly pledged. Anti-Obama organisers are thus contacting individual electors in some of these states to urge them to act on the claim that he does not meet the constitutional requirement that a president be a “natural-born” US citizen.

Birth certificate

In response to such charges, the Obama campaign weeks ago posted on the internet a copy of his birth certificate. It affirms that he was born in the state of Hawaii.

His hardest-core detractors have questioned the authenticity of the document, however, and are continuing to contend, with no credible evidence, that he may have been born in Kenya.

As a related tactic, a lawsuit has been filed in California with the aim of preventing that state’s Electoral College members from casting their votes for Obama on December 15. “Questions” about his birth place are cited in the suit.

Another legal filing arguing that he may have been born in Kenya is due to undergo what will probably be pro-forma review by the US supreme court on December 8. The suit was earlier rejected by a federal judge in the state of Pennsylvania.

The improbable attempt to short-circuit Obama’s election highlights the refusal of a small minority of Americans to accept the voters’ verdict of November 4. This seemingly desperate effort also calls attention to one of the peculiarities of the US presidential election process.

The vote for president is not truly a national election, but rather a series of contests in the 50 states. What matters, according to the US constitution, is not the nationwide popular vote tally, but rather the allocation of votes among the 538 members of the Electoral College.

Americans technically vote for a set of electors pledged to a particular candidate — and not directly for the candidate. In 48 of the states, the candidate with the largest share of the popular vote is awarded all of the state’s electors.

Electors are distributed in accordance with the states’ relative populations. Thus, California has the most electors, 55, while thinly populated states have as few as 3 electors.

The Electoral College is one of the legacies of African enslavement. It gave disproportionate power to southern states that denied black people the right to vote.

These slave-holding states were permitted to count a slave as three-fifths of a human being for the purpose of apportionment of the Electoral College.

Popular vote

On three occasions in US history — most recently in the contest in 2000 between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Albert Gore — the winner of the national popular vote did not become president because he did not receive a majority within the Electoral College.

And in about six presidential elections, at least one member of the Electoral College did not vote for the candidate to whom he or she was pledged. This phenomenon of “unfaithful electors” has never influenced the outcome of a presidential race.

Even in the highly unlikely event that more than one elector were to prove unfaithful on December 15, Obama would still win a large majority in the Electoral College. On the basis of the states’ tally on November 4, he was awarded 365 electoral votes to Sen John McCain’s 173.

Submitted by prohtuya
Posted November 30, 2008 12:29 PM

its called throwing anything and all that you got.spanners,pliers,bolts...just may be one will work. i highly doubt if they can succeed.doesnt hold any water coz he wont have come all this way only to be denied what the Americans want,obama!!

Submitted by Hillaryio
Posted November 30, 2008 08:05 AM

Absolute rubbish!

Submitted by steveb777
Posted November 30, 2008 04:51 AM

Get your facts strait. Obama did NOT show his Birth certificate. He showed a (digitally altered) "Certificate of Live Birth" that does not prove, state or claim that he was born in Hawaii. His sister was born in Indonesia and has the very same type of Hawaiian Certificate. I'll support him for president, but I want to know the truth of his background.

Submitted by allen80303
Posted November 30, 2008 04:06 AM

This article is factually incorrect. First of all, the Electoral College was put in place in 1785 before anyone even contemplated southern states being added to the union or slaves voting. In fact, it was in place even before women of any color could vote.

Submitted by hinnis
Posted November 29, 2008 11:31 PM

It is not a matter of hating Obama, it is a matter of law. Under our Constitution, only a natural born citizen may be President. No one has seen Obama's birth certificate; he has only posted an "alleged" copy of a certification of live birth on his website. Rather than submit a certified copy of his birth certificate to the court, Obama spends thousands of dollars and fights these multiple lawsuits (some all the way to the Supreme Court). He could stop all of this speculation immediately, if he had nothing to hide.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A PRESIDENT NAMED OBAMA CHANGES THE NAME GAME

· 1 comments

By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press Writer
Nov 29, 2008

NEW YORK – Zenas Ackah has heard it all his life: What kind of name is that? You must not be from here. You must be foreign. Actually, no. Born in the United States, the 22-year-old college senior with the Greek first name and the Ghanian last name grew up in Philadelphia.

But Ackah is hopeful that change is coming, that the idea of an "American" name will expand beyond monikers like Tom and Harry and Sally and Jane and Smith and Jones. He figures he's got a strong weapon on his side — for at least the next four years, when people look to the most powerful American in the country, the "uber-American" if you will, they'll be looking at President Barack Hussein Obama.

"I think it will help people understand that people in America aren't just John, Jack, Mary," Ackah said. "They're Zenas and Barack."

Obama's name gave him his share of trouble during the campaign. He acknowledged its unfamiliarity to most Americans, and there were times when supporters of his opponent made a point of using his middle name, which was seen as an attempt to cast doubt on his background and faith.

But the next four years will ensure that his name is no longer unfamiliar.

People have already named their infants after him.

The more people hear it, the more mainstream it becomes, said Don Nilsen, a professor of English linguistics at Arizona State University and co-president of the American Name Society.

"Who is more American than the president of the United States?" he said. "There's no question it will have a ripple effect, because of the power of the position."

Names traditionally considered "American" tend to be "British-sounding stuff," said Cleveland Evans, professor of psychology at Bellevue University in Nebraska. "We are still basically an English-culture country. We really are still in many ways at our base an Anglo-Saxon culture."

He and Nilsen pointed out that immigrants have long had a history of changing their names to fit in more with the United States, or have even had others change it for them.

Obama, born in Hawaii and named after his Kenyan father, went by Barry for some years before deciding to use his full first name.

Ackah can understand. He still finds the comments about his name irritating, along with the assumptions people make upon hearing a name they're not familiar with.

"People start talking down to you because they think you're foreign," he said.

Electing someone named Barack Obama president reflects a shift in attitudes about names that's been going on in American society for the past few decades, says Laura Wattenberg, a name expert and author who runs the blog The Baby Name Wizard.

"As a group, American parents are naming much more creatively and are striving to be distinctive with the names they pick," she said, pointing out that shift started in the 1960s when Obama was born and has only accelerated in the last 25 years or so.

So while certain names may be more popular and prevalent than others, it's not by much, she said. In 2007, Jacob was the most popular name for boys. But Wattenberg pointed out that only 1 percent of boys were given that name.

In contrast, a century ago, 7.5 percent of parents chose the top name, John.

A president named Obama could break down the perception "that there is such a thing as a 'normal' name," said Wattenberg.

"It's a powerful symbol of breaking down barriers where it wasn't that long ago where kids with a non-English name would go to school and teachers would routinely change it. The president having a non-English name is a sign that we're not squeezing everyone into that box," she said.

WHY BRAZILIANS HAVE TO WAIT LONGER TO GET THEIR OBAMA

· 0 comments

DAILY NATION
NAIROBI, KENYA

By PETER MWAURA
November 28 2008

Writing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on October 28, the Daily Nation’s Elias Makori reported that President Kibaki was due to visit the country and Venezuela to strengthen trade ties between Kenya and Latin America.

If and when our President visits him, President Luiz Inacio da Silva of Brazil is expected to talk about his country’s prowess in such things as agribusiness, generic drugs, sugar plantations and biofuels, to say nothing of coffee and football.

This will not be mere big talk. Brazil is the leading economic power in South America, and the fifth largest country in the world. It is more than three times the size of Sudan, Africa’s largest country, and nearly 15 times the size of Kenya. It has more blacks than any other country in the world, except Nigeria.

Brazil is a worthy trading and political partner for Kenya, and President Kibaki’s visit will be a smart move.

During their table talk, da Silva is likely to tell President Kibaki that it is Brazil, not the US, that was the first white-dominated country to have a black president in 1909. His name was Nilo Pecanha.

But he will not concern himself with the details of that historic first, such as the fact that Pecanha obtained the post by accident when he was the vice-president. He took over when President Affonso Penna died in June 1909 after ruling for only about a year.

In the tête-à-tête, da Silva will probably give the old line about racial democracy and harmony in his country. Brazilians have successfully used the line for years.

In the 1950s, the United Nations commissioned a series of studies on Brazil in an attempt to learn how the country achieved its “racial democracy” when other societies such as the US were experiencing strife in race relations.

But statistics show that the racial democracy in Brazil is a myth.

Skin pigmentation is still used to delineate social hierarchy. Black Brazilians — they are the majority — are discriminated against at every sphere of life. They suffer, among other ills, little access to education, landlessness, high infant mortality, discrimination in employment and police brutality.

As a result, many Brazilians of obvious African descent who want to better their socio-economic lives have to “whiten” themselves. The much-vaunted racial democracy only operates to exclude non-Whites.

Da Silva is also unlikely to tell President Kibaki that his country was built on African slave labour, and that Brazil should pay reparations for nearly 400 years of unpaid African labour.
Not surprisingly, Brazil was the last country in the world to abolish slavery in 1888.
In the more than three centuries of Portuguese colonisation, Brazil imported 4 million slaves to work for about 700,000 Portuguese settlers. Brazil was arguably the largest slave economy in human history.

Without the cheap African labour, the country would have stagnated economically. As early as April 1843, politician Bernado Pereira de Vasconcelos told the Brazilian senate: “Africa is civilising America”.

Another Brazilian politician, Cunha Matos, believed that the country would still be populated by Indians living under barbarous conditions if Africans did not come to bolster the Portuguese settlers. Brazil was just a claw-hold until the importation of large numbers of Africans.

But da Silva will not tell his Kenyan guest that the very continued existence of the Portuguese settlers in Brazil depended on the African slaves.

There are many other home truths, mostly rooted in Brazilian history, folklore and culture, that da Silva is unlikely to talk about.

For example, he is unlikely to talk about the Afro-Brazilian women, who have been a part of Brazilian popular culture for centuries.
During the slave era, the sexy mulata (a person of mixed African and European descent) was the female with whom white Brazilian boys were expected to have their first sexual experience, according to famed Brazilian writer-cum-anthropologist Gilberto Freyre.

And as another writer puts it, one of the results of the use of the black female for satisfaction was that Brazil exploded in a spree of miscegenation and racial mixture the extent of which is probably unknown in history.

Certainly, President da Silva will avoid using the old Brazilian expression, e um Africa (It’s an Africa).

Brazilians use the expression to describe anything that is difficult to overcome — a feat. The expression conjures up old images of the “Dark Continent”.

Da Silva may fear that the expression will offend his African guest. In Brazil, old stereotypes about Africa are very much alive.

This is why African-Brazilians will have to wait for a very long time before they have their own Obama.

Submitted by majojoes
Posted November 29, 2008 05:16 AM

What makes Obama totaly different from Nilo Peçanha is that Obama is a son of a Black father whom he has actualy trassed to kogelo and proud of it, while Nilo was even ashamed of being a mullato and could not identify which part of africa he decended. He,the 7th president of Brazil was more of a whiteman than black. I hope when our president visits President Lula he will pass our condolences for the landslide that led to death of about 86 people in Santa Catarina this week.

WE WILL JUST HAVE TO GO, SAYS ECK BOSS

· 0 comments

DAILY NATION
NAIROBI

By DAVID MUGONYI and BERNARD NAMUNANE
November 28 2008

The Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman on Friday gave the clearest indication that his team was ready to go home.

It follows Thursday’s announcement by the Cabinet that an interim and independent team will be formed to spearhead electoral reforms.

Mr Samuel Kivuitu said it was obvious that the Government was determined to get rid of his team of commissioners and there was little they could do.

“We will just have to go… In Africa when you are not wanted by those in power you can just be removed irrespective of the law,” a dejected Mr Kivuitu said.

He added: “There is nothing you can do if the decision is being taken by the big people… I know nobody cares about your rights if you are not wanted.”

Mr Kivuitu said the commissioners had not committed any crime to be hounded out of office “like dogs”.

His remarks seem to indicate that the commissioners have given up the fight to keep their jobs.

The ECK chief spoke as the Saturday Nation learnt that a Bill providing for the commission’s dissolution was already with the Government printer.

Sources said the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill has been given priority alongside the Waki report as issues that Parliament must debate and dispose of before MPs break for the Christmas recess.

A twin Bill – Constitution of Kenya Review Bill – that is to give Kenyans a new Constitution by June next year has already been passed by Parliament and is awaiting Presidential assent.

Gone to court

However, Mr Kivuitu said his team had not met to decide on the way forward because they were not “desperate”.

Cabinet approved plans to disband the ECK on Thursday when it agreed to create of an interim body to take over.

The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) will spearhead reforms on elections and give confidence to the constitutional review referendum.

This happened as House Speaker Kenneth Marende ruled that courts cannot stop Parliament from making a law that could see the Kivuitu team sacked.

Mr Marende said the doctrine of separation of powers among the three arms of Government – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary – called for non-interference.

The commissioners had gone to court to stop the Government from disbanding ECK and sending them home and had obtained temporary orders barring the Government from taking any action against the commission.

However, yesterday Mr Kivuitu dismissed claims that they had gone to court to block Parliament from making law.
He said the commissioners went to court to seek an interpretation of the law on whether it was right for the commissioners to be removed from office in the manner proposed despite the Constitution laying down the ground on how they can be removed.

Section 41 of the Constitution states that the commissioners can only be removed from office through a tribunal appointed by the President. Or alternatively, they can voluntarily resign.

“The court was to tell us what is the position of our rights, as created by the Constitution… we were not blocking anybody,” the electoral commission chief added.

He said anyone could go to the courts to seek an interpretation of the law as that was the duty of the Judiciary.

But an angry Mr Kivuitu questioned why the Government was hounding them out of office “like dogs”. He said the Justice Johann Kriegler commission was not a court of law that found the commissioners guilty of any wrongdoing.

“We are entitled to ask questions because we have not been found guilty of any crime and that is why we went to court to get an interpretation,” Mr Kivuitu added.

However, he said he had always wanted to retire from his position and accepted the re-appointment ahead of last year’s elections reluctantly.

And, former Kabete MP Paul Muite has faulted the Cabinet for approving proposals to create interim bodies to take over from institutions for 15 months.

Mr Muite said the Government should reform the institutions like the ECK permanently instead of subjecting Parliament to constitutional amendments to create temporary bodies.

He asked: “Why are we amending the Constitution to create interim bodies?”

Mr Muite asked what would happen if the country does not have a new constitution within the 15 months. He said it was expensive and rigorous to have interim entities in place.

Mr Muite also questioned what type of electoral system the Cabinet approved when there were no proposals for a parliamentary or presidential or a hybrid system of Government.

Apart from an Interim Independent Electoral Commission, the Cabinet accepted proposals to create Interim Independent Boundaries Commission and an Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court.

The three have up to 15 months or three months following the enactment of a new constitution.

Submitted by pkasoa
Posted November 29, 2008 09:25 AM

Kivuitu team should just humbly step a side inorder for Kenya to renew their confidence with the local institutions especially the ECK. Not forgetting we need another body to spearhead the constitutional review referendum.

Submitted by aphrax
Posted November 29, 2008 08:35 AM

Kivuitu and the team are already late why do it now,i was once proud of you but then you let me down and to make it worse still in the office ...I believe consience and guilty must be over whelming your toughness to stay put....

Submitted by ronns
Posted November 29, 2008 06:18 AM

If it's sympathy mr kivuitu is looking for you are getting none. if it was my decision you would be long gone. do us a favour and resign. the only people i feel sorry for are your juniors who had no part in that fatal move you made. we have not forgotten. go home quietly and be thankful the law is not coming for you.

Submitted by Thiankolu
Posted November 29, 2008 02:30 AM

Poor Kivuitu. While I share your views on the Constitution, and there is very authoritative precedent in favour of your interpretation, you can only fault yourself. Whether or not last year's election was rigged, it is incontrovertible that you handled it in a manner falling far below the standard anticipated in the Constitution. If you take responsibility for that, everything else will just fall in place.

Submitted by wuod_aketch
Posted November 29, 2008 12:55 AM

Kiviutu is lucky that he is in Africa consequently he should stop complaining. His fate would have been worse had he been doing the shoddy job that led to the death of over 1000 Kenyans in a developed country.

Submitted by omicahnoirere
Posted November 29, 2008 12:39 AM

To many kenyans, The Current ECK was composed of Old Incompetent individuals who warshipped power and money.Kivuitu you have been in that office long enough to know that people get old and young brains is readily available to quisition your intentions. since when kenyans have to wait for 4 days to know who won prez post? That where you and Oggies failed .

WE WILL JUST HAVE TO GO, SAYS ECK BOSS

· 0 comments

DAILY NATION

By DAVID MUGONYI and BERNARD NAMUNANE
November 28 2008

The Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman on Friday gave the clearest indication that his team was ready to go home.

It follows Thursday’s announcement by the Cabinet that an interim and independent team will be formed to spearhead electoral reforms.

Mr Samuel Kivuitu said it was obvious that the Government was determined to get rid of his team of commissioners and there was little they could do.

“We will just have to go… In Africa when you are not wanted by those in power you can just be removed irrespective of the law,” a dejected Mr Kivuitu said.

He added: “There is nothing you can do if the decision is being taken by the big people… I know nobody cares about your rights if you are not wanted.”

Mr Kivuitu said the commissioners had not committed any crime to be hounded out of office “like dogs”.

His remarks seem to indicate that the commissioners have given up the fight to keep their jobs.

The ECK chief spoke as the Saturday Nation learnt that a Bill providing for the commission’s dissolution was already with the Government printer.

Sources said the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill has been given priority alongside the Waki report as issues that Parliament must debate and dispose of before MPs break for the Christmas recess.

A twin Bill – Constitution of Kenya Review Bill – that is to give Kenyans a new Constitution by June next year has already been passed by Parliament and is awaiting Presidential assent.

Gone to court

However, Mr Kivuitu said his team had not met to decide on the way forward because they were not “desperate”.

Cabinet approved plans to disband the ECK on Thursday when it agreed to create of an interim body to take over.

The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) will spearhead reforms on elections and give confidence to the constitutional review referendum.

This happened as House Speaker Kenneth Marende ruled that courts cannot stop Parliament from making a law that could see the Kivuitu team sacked.

Mr Marende said the doctrine of separation of powers among the three arms of Government – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary – called for non-interference.

The commissioners had gone to court to stop the Government from disbanding ECK and sending them home and had obtained temporary orders barring the Government from taking any action against the commission.

However, yesterday Mr Kivuitu dismissed claims that they had gone to court to block Parliament from making law.

Submitted by pkasoa
Posted November 29, 2008 09:25 AM

Kivuitu team should just humbly step a side inorder for Kenya to renew their confidence with the local institutions especially the ECK. Not forgetting we need another body to spearhead the constitutional review referendum.

Submitted by aphrax
Posted November 29, 2008 08:35 AM

Kivuitu and the team are already late why do it now,i was once proud of you but then you let me down and to make it worse still in the office ...I believe consience and guilty must be over whelming your toughness to stay put....

Submitted by ronns
Posted November 29, 2008 06:18 AM

If it's sympathy mr kivuitu is looking for you are getting none. if it was my decision you would be long gone. do us a favour and resign. the only people i feel sorry for are your juniors who had no part in that fatal move you made. we have not forgotten. go home quietly and be thankful the law is not coming for you.

Submitted by Thiankolu
Posted November 29, 2008 02:30 AM

Poor Kivuitu. While I share your views on the Constitution, and there is very authoritative precedent in favour of your interpretation, you can only fault yourself. Whether or not last year's election was rigged, it is incontrovertible that you handled it in a manner falling far below the standard anticipated in the Constitution. If you take responsibility for that, everything else will just fall in place.

Submitted by wuod_aketch
Posted November 29, 2008 12:55 AM

Kiviutu is lucky that he is in Africa consequently he should stop complaining. His fate would have been worse had he been doing the shoddy job that led to the death of over 1000 Kenyans in a developed country.

Submitted by omicahnoirere
Posted November 29, 2008 12:39 AM

To many kenyans, The Current ECK was composed of Old Incompetent individuals who warshipped power and money.Kivuitu you have been in that office long enough to know that people get old and young brains is readily available to quisition your intentions. since when kenyans have to wait for 4 days to know who won prez post? That where you and Oggies failed .

LEADERS IN WAKI LIST TO LOSE CABINET POSTS

· 0 comments

DAILY NATION
NAIROBI

By DAVID MUGONYI
November 27 2008

Politicians named in the Waki list will have to quit their Cabinet posts and those found guilty of election violence offences barred from ever running for public office if proposals tabled before the Cabinet are approved.

Sources who have seen the proposals prepared by a team headed by Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua, on Thursday said this was the only way to end impunity and stop politicians from using their communities to cause violence every election year.

Doom for politicians

If adopted, the proposals could spell doom for politicians whose names appear in the Waki list, which was handed over to former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in a sealed envelope.

The list of six Cabinet ministers and five MPs is to be handed over to the International Criminal Court at The Hague if a local tribunal is not set up to try them by March 1.

A law to create the tribunal is expected to have been signed by December 17, according to the timetable set out in the Waki report on post-election violence.

After Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, ministers agreed that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga lead a 10-member committee that will start the implementation of the Waki report.

The formation of the committee means that the Government backs a local tribunal. It also emerged that the Cabinet agreed to try and beat the December 17 deadline for passing the law to form the tribunal.

The Cabinet also approved plans to disband the Electoral Commission of Kenya when it agreed to create an interim body to take over the functions of the team led by Mr Samuel Kivuitu.

A statement from the Presidential Press Services said the Cabinet had approved a move to create an Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), which will spearhead reforms on elections and give confidence to the referendum on the constitution expected next year.

On the Waki report, the Cabinet committee headed by President Kibaki and Mr Odinga will prepare a work-plan on how the report is to be implemented.

Other members of the committee are Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and ministers Karua, James Orengo, Moses Wetang’ula, Sally Kosgei, Sam Ongeri, Ruto and Mutula Kilonzo — all members of the Serena negotiating team. The committee will prepare its report and present it to Cabinet.

Sources said the Waki report could be discussed again before being forwarded to Parliament.

Local tribunal

The Government has until December 17 to start the process of setting up a local tribunal to investigate suspects or else the Waki envelope will handed over to the International Criminal Court.

Although the Waki report had split the Cabinet, ministers now back its full implementation. Mr Ruto, who was initially critical of the report, changed his position last weekend and supported its implementation.

At one point, he threatened to quit ODM if the Prime Minister continued to push for full implementation of the report.

In line with reforms in electoral laws, the Cabinet also approved plans to create an Interim Boundaries Review Commission, which will demarcate constituency boundaries.
The meeting also adopted the Kriegler report, which investigated last December’s presidential election results that are believed to have sparked the post-election violence in which 1,133 people were killed and over 300,000 displaced from their homes.

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Sources told the Nation that the guidelines by Ms Karua also propose that the Cabinet makes tough political decisions to end impunity by stopping politicians who manipulate their communities to cause violence for political reasons.

It is understood that Ms Karua warned that the country was sitting on a time-bomb and cannot guarantee the rule of law and security unless decisive steps are taken against those who organised the violence.

The Justice minister is also said to have proposed that the implementation of the report be guided by the spirit and letter of the National Accord that created the Grand Coalition on February 28, ending the two months of post-election violence.

Ms Karua said that the reforms required would not be possible without support from the Government, Parliament and political parties.

In her guidelines, Ms Karua has proposed that some of the recommendations by the Waki Commission be implemented through the constitutional review process and others through the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

Contentious reforms will be implemented through comprehensive review of the Constitution.

The sub-committee to be led by the President will work with the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General’s office to prioritise the reforms required in the implementation of the report.

Sources further told the Nation that the guidelines also propose the immediate merger between the regular and the Administration Police forces.

Professional officer

The new force, it is recommended, should be led by a professional police officer. Currently, the force is led by a Major-General from the Kenya Army.

Ms Karua also proposes the creation of an Independent Police Conduct Authority in line with the Waki recommendations. The authority will have legislative powers and authority to investigate police conduct.

The Cabinet also approved plans to import five million bags of maize to boost the strategic food reserve. At the same time, the National Cereals and Produce Board will release 700,000 bags of maize to millers in the next three weeks to cushion Kenyans from rising maize flour prices.

A 2kg-packet of maize flour has been retailing at between Sh95 and Sh98 after falling from a high of Sh120 last week. Last December the same packet cost Sh48.

Sources said debate on rising flour prices was stormy with Cabinet ministers Chirau Mwakwere, George Saitoti, William ole Ntimama and John Michuki questioning what was happening.

Food riots

It is understood that the ministers said the country cannot afford to have food riots with Mr Mwakwere claiming there were up to five ships in the high seas with tons of maize destined for Kenya.

And in Parliament, House Speaker Kenneth Marende ruled that courts cannot stop Parliament from making a law that could pave the way for the sacking of the Electoral Commission of Kenya.

Submitted by ombwengi
Posted November 29, 2008 04:52 AM

If the ECK did what they were supposed to do, we could not be having this Waki commission and report.The election was stollen and everybody knows that is what caused the violence.Impunity started with those who stole the election.Did you expect Kenyans to sit down and say "praise the lord" our voting right has been violated? Without clean elections, it will be happenning every four years.The hague has no solution for Kenya,the kenyans alone do.

Submitted by jmax01
Posted November 28, 2008 09:34 PM

How long shall we hear about the waki report? the recomendation in this report will be implimented partially late 2011 and early 2012 just like any other recommendation. politics, politics is a dirty game but why play the dirty game on wanjiku, why?????

Submitted by ProfessorElimu
Posted November 28, 2008 08:11 PM

We need a peoples revolution in this country and that will come through a young leader who will satand up to these wazees hoodwinking the common mwananchi who buys maize flour at 120kshs...

Submitted by masaa
Posted November 28, 2008 07:11 PM

This is what makes me feel ashamed to be associated with being Kenyan, or indeed African. I am still under my own remedy to Kenya's problems in that only the youthful citizens will steer us from where we all are craving to come from. I dream of days in the future where footage of Marende calling taxation 'philanthropy' will be played in classrooms counrywide to warn and educate about abuse of power and such like. The status quo has to come to an end, and kenya needs real change from its youthful generation. In desperate need of REVOLUTION!!

Submitted by nani_ngombe
Posted November 28, 2008 07:07 PM

Hey Revolutionists: Attention To Early Warning Signs (ATEWS). Those are the crucial five words in almost any mission. Profiling the way this Grand Coalition handled the resettlement issue, Goldenberg, Anglo-Leasing, Grand Regency, Waki Report, Kriegler Report, The ECK etc...and now the Tax story...Don't you think these guys are slowly and gradually turning into hardcore civilian dictators? Or is it just me?

Submitted by natnyoiks
Posted November 28, 2008 06:08 PM

There must be something terribly wrong with our politicians and the so called leaders while in truth, they are not. what we have is a bunch of inconsiderate people who care less for the people but continue to impoverish kenyans in the name of committes and commissions. Nats Njoroge

Submitted by syindumyaki
Posted November 28, 2008 05:42 PM

I dont trust our MP's to work on this matter with the diligence it deserves. Its time we kenyans spoke with one vioce. the civil society, media houses,professional associations etc. there is no one to check the excesses of the legislature, this guys can pass any law. Time to say no!

Submitted by mxjnprr
Posted November 28, 2008 04:51 PM

Na hii komiti ni ya nini? I thought good Waki set the deadline by which the process should start. Waki knew what he was doing. Goldenberg took the system 12 years not to be concluded. You can't subvert the Waki report!

Submitted by Menzawajuma
Posted November 28, 2008 02:24 PM

How can a committee be formed to implement the findings of another committee. This is a wastage of time and money. The truth is, the Waki report will never be implemented. If the cause of the election violence is what you and me think but are afraid of saying it, then even the president himself will not implement it. Hague is weak,, and can only succeed if the politicians, who are accused of the killings, agree to co-operate with it. After all, domestic laws take precedence over international laws. Menza Sebastian

Submitted by Kennan
Posted November 28, 2008 02:23 PM

We can complain till the cows come home, but as long as we the ordinary Kenyans do nothing about our political leaders, they will continue to abuse our intelligence. Ever heard of conflict of interest? How can these guys deliberate objectively on issues affecting them and their collegues? Look at how they pay themselves to know how it will end. We the Kenyan people need to rise up against such impunity!!

Submitted by thecreature
Posted November 28, 2008 01:24 PM

I agree with kkbondo... only a revolution by Kenyan youth can save our country. These crooked 'leaders' must never divide us by tribe again. That is what keeps them in power. All Kenyan youths should seriously start plans for a people's revolution!

Submitted by fantom
Posted November 28, 2008 01:16 PM

I totally agree with the post above, Why on earth do we have government officials in the committee who could be victim of the report. I cant claim that I understand how this commission will work, but based on history, I smell some conspiracy. As a Kenyan, I would be glad if we settle domestic issues at home but I welcome the EXCEPTION anytime. Justice for all.

Submitted by kkbondo
Posted November 28, 2008 12:50 PM

Its sad that our leaders are still debating what should have been passed long time ago! We need only one thing in Kenya - Revolution by young and committed citizens.

Submitted by brubben
Posted November 28, 2008 12:24 PM

If what i'm reading in this article is right, then be prepared.We've been on this road several times,its nothing new!They r trying to hood-wink the people!All in the name of avoiding the hague!We should demand an overhaul of the whole government!we r tired of this old politics!

Submitted by TheBoss
Posted November 28, 2008 11:07 AM

This is a joke! It can only be a dream in Kenya. There will be another Commission formed to look into the recommendations of this tribunal to see if these cronies should be sacked! I can only curse all these fellows to suffer this and future lifetimes!

Submitted by ikiplagat
Posted November 28, 2008 11:04 AM

we just live in a country of circus! someone steals elections and precipitates violence...then the waki thing says that the violence was financed.Africa will never do anything right...extinction is the only solution for us

Submitted by wmakora
Posted November 28, 2008 11:04 AM

It is good the Cabinet has moved at long last. Let the next step be bolder, clearer and more assuring. Then the Constitutional Review should follow on hot heels. Let no document be used as a tool to sttle scores, as Ruto, thereby, feared. That will work against the expectations of the studious masses. Otherwise, our confidence is waning.

Submitted by lord of the rings
Posted November 28, 2008 11:00 AM

A local tribunal will be subverted,that one is as sure as daylight.these pepople ought to be hauled to the Hague asap

Submitted by narano
Posted November 28, 2008 10:52 AM

I really pitty the political class in this country. Two, i wonder, have they understood the Waki Report. They will form committtees and whatever, but the good judge knwew better. The report has a golden Ring that all kenyans should cheer about. That famous self implementation clause. These delaying tricks wont work bwana president and PM. This political jokes wont hold against the Waki Report. Why on earth should the President and the PM ever be in the committee. The noose can only be getting ever tighter for the criminals and thats our justice.

Submitted by bnkirwa
Posted November 28, 2008 10:49 AM

we are longing to see the implementation,but the two principals still owe kenyans an explanation on who was behind the stir at kicc on december 03/2007

Submitted by paulo1981
Posted November 28, 2008 09:43 AM

For many who know Kenya's political and administrative or governance culture, there is nothing so far worth mentioning or raising eyebrows to. How many tribunals' and commissions of inquiries' documents and findings are sealed in cans and shelved in a freezer system infested with cobwebs even?

Submitted by wakandoma
Posted November 28, 2008 01:43 AM

I don't get it. Why do we have a committee entirely made up of ministers while they might be included in the waki report? Shouldn' it be made up of an independent body? Or am I the only one seeing the irony in this joke. Yet again the government of the people figures out a way to fool the masses 'it serves'

Submitted by Daniel08
Posted November 27, 2008 11:55 PM

I strongly believe criminal should not be allowed to hold any sort of public office. All Mp’s should be subject to a background check without exception, prior to clearance by the election commission so as to vie in any elections. This would sort the problem from the root, and avoid scrupulous people getting into parliament or causing election violence as witnessed (not just ministers). Nominations should also be subject to similar procedures. It is time we get accountable people, with the interest of Kenyans at heart in public office and parliament. Kenyans deserve this at a minimum.

PARLIAMENT IS SURE ROAD TO GRAVY TRAIN

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THE STANDARD
NAIROBI, KENYA

By Patrick Wachira and Athman Amran

If the road to riches were a footpath, Parliament is the highway to the gravy train.

MPs’ perks are more impressive than those of many legislators in the developed world.

This is almost tragic in a country with starving people and an ailing economy.

With their salary and allowances reaching the Sh850,000 scale, plus a Sh3.6 million car grant, MPs lead plush lives that many can only dream of.

The emoluments include Sh200,000 basic salary, Sh75,000 minimum commuted mileage allowance, Sh30,000 extraneous allowance to "take care of unexpected expenses in the line of duty", Sh60,000 entertainment allowance, Sh70,000 house allowance and a monthly car maintenance allowance of Sh247,000.

The mileage is calculated at Sh115 a kilometre to visit their constituency, never mind that majority spend most of their time savouring the finer aspects of city life. There is also a Sh2,000 allowance for paying for a gym, in spite of the modern gym at Continental House (part of Parliament Buildings), which features a sauna and Jacuzzi.

More allowances

Further, they get Sh336,000 as vehicle fixed cost allowance, a monthly committee meeting attendance allowance of Sh40,000 and Sh50,000 constituency allowance. There is also Sh10 million loan, interest free, to buy a house.

Much as the MPs say the hike in their allowances was a result of a tribunal report by former Chief Justice Majid Cockar, who chaired a tribunal that reviewed the salary and emoluments, the increments cannot be justified.

And if going to the august House is an enterprise, then the Kenya National Assembly should take the prize for entrepreneurship. While MPs don’t want their more than Sh800,000 to be taxed, the lowest earning civil servant, who now has a starting salary of Sh7,829, after a recent increment, has to pay tax or face the law.

The lowest paid teacher in the public sector earns about Sh11,180 a month while the highest paid, the chief principal, earns around Sh36,690. The lowest paid nurse gets Sh11,518 a month.

In the police force, constables get Sh11,010 as basic starting salary a month, while superintendents get Sh23,165 a month.

SUN SETS FOR KIVUITU TEAM

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THE STANDARD
NAIROBI, KENYA
By Standard on Saturday Reporter

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have set off an electoral and constitutional reform roadmap that could culminate in the realisation of elusive dreams.

The sounds of the upcoming reforms are in the air, and at the end of the process the Cabinet kicked off on Thursday Kenya would have risen from the ashes of post-election chaos.

The proposed electoral order could include a choice by Kenyans between a presidential system as is the case now, or a parliamentary system, with an executive prime minister and a ceremonial president. It also entails a national review of all electoral constituencies by an independent body to be set up.

The highlights include pulling the rug underneath the feet of the Electoral Commission, which has deflected accusations it mismanaged the last election and sought refuge in court, through replacement with an interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIECK). Its key task would be to overhaul electoral laws and supervise a referendum on the proposed electoral and governance documents.

The roadmap rolled out by the Cabinet has its sights on the future too. In case there would be disagreements on sections of the new electoral laws and the Constitution itself, two separate and distinct courts are proposed to arbitrate.

The Presidential Press Service despatch on the landmark decisions of the Grand Coalition Cabinet meeting that also sought to push forward the implementation of the recommendations of the Waki and Kriegler Commissions, said IIECK would "spearhead reforms on elections and give confidence to the constitutional review referendum".

Roadmap

The Cabinet took the initial steps on the road that would end up, if all goes according to the script agreed to by the two major blocs represented in the unity government, to:

• Legislating a fixed date of elections.

• Adoption of a new electoral system.

• Creation of a new register of voters.

• Enactment of an elections law consolidating all laws on elections

• Creation of a permanent observer group.

• Creation of an Interim Boundaries Review Commission to review all boundaries to establish optimal administrative and electoral units.

Already the image of a nation getting back its foothold, and stamping its spirit of resilience on the African continent is taking shape.

But not only did the Cabinet set the country on the path to confronting the bitter truth of the bungled December presidential elections at the end of which an authoritative commission declared it was impossible to tell who won.

It also began the process through which the powers pro-reformists have over the years blamed for turning Harambee House into the citadel of imperial presidency, such as using the authority to pick election date as a secret weapon, would be trimmed.

Execution

The 12-step roadmap to a new electoral order, and constitutional order reads like fast tracking of the processes that never took off, including the uncontested aspects of the proposed constitution that fell on the face in the November 2005 referendum.

The other highlights in the Cabinet approval list, which now await execution through a constitutional review path, are:

• Creation of an interim constitutional court to deal with disputes related to constitutional review.

• Establishment of an electoral dispute resolution court.

• Enactment of anti-hate speech legislation.
• Enactment of an elections law consolidating all laws on elections.
• Enactment of an electoral commission Act, setting out the functions, management and structure of the ECK.

• Creation of a permanent observer group

KIBAKI SIGNS JUSTICE AND TRUTH COMMISSION INTO LAW

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THE STANDARD
NAIROBI, KENYA
By Alex Ndegwa

President Kibaki has given the green light to establish a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission to probe gross human rights violations.

This sets the stage for Kenyans to publicly confront the atrocities that have threatened the national fabric.

The forum will provide an opportunity to bring closure to the nation’s painful past that boiled over earlier this year and pushed the country to the brink.

The commission is mandated to investigate the root causes of the post-election violence in which over 1,300 people were killed, over 350,000 displaced and property worth billions of shillings destroyed.

On Friday, Kibaki signed into law the Act to provide for the establishment, powers and functions of the commission, according to the Presidential Press Service.

The commission will assess human rights abuses since independence, including the post-election violence that ended with the February 28 peace accord. It will work two years.

It will have nine commissioners—six Kenyans and three foreigners—appointed by the team of Eminent African Personalities headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The team mediated the power-sharing deal that hauled the country out of the crippling post-poll crisis.

The Parliamentary Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs chaired by Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohammed rallied Parliament to amend the Bill to disallow amnesty for gross violations of human rights

Consequently, those found guilty of genocide, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and other human rights violations will not be eligible for pardon.

But the law permits amnesty for perpetrators of economic crimes and grand corruption who surrender their ill-gotten wealth through restitution. The law has been opposed by the civil society on grounds that it is full of inconsistencies.

In press adverts last month, the group argued the controversial amnesty clause and ambiguities in definitions of crimes the law seeks to address would create a loophole suspects would use to escape prosecution.

But Annan, who chaired the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Talks that gave birth to TJRC as an instrument to deal with past crimes, ruled out amnesty for suspects named in the Waki Report.

The amended law has provisions for victims’ rights. Victims will be consulted on amnesty because the law requires the commission to consider victims’ "reasonable objections to amnesty".

Safeguard

In response to calls to safeguard the country’s sovereignty, local commissioners will dominate the panel to substantially reduce international influence on the commission.

This however means the domestic Selection Panel process becomes more crucial to the success of the commission. The chairperson will now be elected by the commissioners rather than appointed by the president as earlier proposed. The new law subjects the choices of the Panel of eminent African Personalities to the approval of both Parliament and the President.

To strengthen the commission’s capacity to investigate the police, the law was amended thus:

"The police shall, on request being made by the commission, provide the commission with such service and assistance as may be required by the commission."

The team will also consider the reports of the relevant commissions of inquiry such as the Akiwumi report on 90s tribal clashes and the Waki report on post-election violence.

It will make recommendations of the implementation of the reports.

Given the Waki report recommends against amnesty for all but minor offenders, it is unlikely that those found guilty of serious crimes will get amnesty.

The Commission can apply for an extension of up to six months beyond the two years allotted.

To empower the commission, anyone who disobeys its direction of the commission with a jail-term of up to two years or a Sh200, 000 fine.

The provisions of the Official Secrets Act shall not apply to any matter that is the subject of inquiry of the Commission to stop State operatives from hiding under its blanket cover.

This helps assure that the Commission will get access to government document. The findings of the Commission will all be made public.

Friday, November 21, 2008

INTERNATIONAL PRESS FREEDOM INDEX 2008

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By Reporters Without Borders
OCTOBER 22, 2008

ONLY PEACE PROTECTS FREEDOMS IN POST 9/11 WORLD

Some African leaders have understood the advantages their countries could
derive from press freedom. Others have behaved like despots again this
year. The continent's best-placed countries continue by and large to be
the
same, with Namibia (23rd), Mali (31st), Cape Verde (36th) and Mauritius
(47th) coming in the top 50. Some countries that were sorely tried by
years
of war or dictatorship are emerging from the depths to which they were
plunged by violence. They include Liberia (51st), where some police
officers still behave with deplorable brutality, and Togo (53rd), which
is
managing to adhere to acceptable democratic standards.

In democracies such as Botswana (66th) and Benin (70th), the climate
between the government and the press often deteriorates, preventing these
countries from attaining the positions they would otherwise deserve,
given
their overall political situation.

Senegal (86th) has fallen again in the ranking because of the
government's
stubborn refusal to amend the press law and the often outrageous
behaviour
of some of Dakar's newspapers. Senegalese journalists were imprisoned
again
this year. The bad surprise came from Mauritania (105th), where
legislative
reforms were clearly inadequate and the political culture continues to be
marked by former President Ould Taya's police-state practices.

There is no point in having a diverse and often insolent press unless you
tolerate it without resorting to the security forces or an easily
influenced legal system. In Central African Republic (85th), Burundi
(94th)
and Guinea (99th), for example, the least political unrest can send
journalists to prison or at least the police station.

This year's black spots in Africa were Kenya (97th), which fell 19 places
as a result of post-electoral violence, and above all Niger (130th),
which
fell 41 places after a very trying year for journalists in Niamey and
elsewhere. Reporting on the Tuareg uprising in the north of the country
has
become an absolute taboo for the government, especially in the run-up to
the 2009 presidential election.

The African countries near the bottom of the ranking are also the same
ones
as usual. They include Gambia (137th), Democratic Republic of Congo
(148th)
and Zimbabwe (151st), where independent journalism requires courage,
determination and an ability to put up with violence and injustice.

Finally, the gigantic posters to the glory of President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema throughout "Africa's Kuwait" say it all about the media
situation in
Equatorial Guinea (156th). But the continent's most abused country is yet
again Eritrea (173rd), last in the ranking for the second year running.
President Issaias Afeworki clings to his deliberate choice of cruelty to
the many journalists held incommunicado since 2001, and despotism as his
method of governing a country whose citizens continue to flee into
exile."

Democracies embroiled in wars outside their own territory, such as the
United States or Israel, fall further in the ranking every year while
several emerging countries, especially in Africa and the Caribbean, give
better and better guarantees for media freedom.

It is not economic prosperity but peace that guarantees press freedom.
That is the main lesson to be drawn from the world press freedom index that
Reporters Without Borders compiles every year and from the 2008 edition,
released today. Another conclusion from the index - in which the bottom
three rungs are again occupied by the "infernal trio" of
Turkmenistan(171st), North Korea (172nd) and Eritrea (173rd) - is that the international community's conduct towards authoritarian regimes such as
Cuba (169th) and China (167th) is not effective enough to yield results.

"The post-9/11 world is now clearly drawn," Reporters Without Borders
said."Destabilised and on the defensive, the leading democracies are gradually
eroding the space for freedoms. The economically most powerful
dictatorships arrogantly proclaim their authoritarianism, exploiting the
international community's divisions and the ravages of the wars carried
outin the name of the fight against terrorism. Religious and political
taboos are taking greater hold by the year in countries that used to be
advancing down the road of freedom."

"The world's closed countries, governed by the worst press freedom
predators, continue to muzzle their media at will, with complete
impunity,while organisations such as the UN lose all authority over their
members,"Reporters Without Borders added. "In contrast with this generalised
decline, there are economically weak countries that nonetheless guarantee
their population the right to disagree with the government and to say so
publicly."

War and peace

Two aspects stand out in the index, which covers the 12 months to 1
September 2008. One is Europe's preeminence. Aside from New Zealand and
Canada, the first 20 positions are held by European countries. The other
is the very respectable ranking achieved by certain Central American and
Caribbean countries. Jamaica and Costa Rica are in 21st and 22nd
positions,rubbing shoulders with Hungary (23rd). Just a few position below them are
Surinam (26th) and Trinidad and Tobago (27th). These small Caribbean
countries have done much better than France (35th), which has fallen
again this year, this time by four places, and Spain (36th) and Italy (44th),
countries held back again by political or mafia violence. Namibia (23rd),
alarge and now peaceful southern African country that came first in
Africa,ahead of Ghana (31st), was just one point short of joining the top 20.

The economic disparities among the top 20 are immense. Iceland's per
capita GDP is 10 times Jamaica's. What they have in common is a parliamentary
democratic system, and not being involved in any war.

This is not the case with the United States (36th domestically and 119th
outside its own territory) and Israel (46th domestically and 149th
outside its own territory), whose armed forces killed a Palestinian journalist
for the first time since 2003. A resumption of fighting also affected Georgia
(120th) and Niger, which fell sharply from 95th in 2007 to 130th this
year.

Although they have democratic political systems, these countries are
embroiled in low or high intensity conflicts and their journalists,
exposed to the dangers of combat or repression, are easy prey. The recent
provisional release of Moussa Kaka, the Niger correspondent of RFI and
Reporters Without Borders, after 384 days in prison in Niamey and
cameraman Sami al-Haj's release after six years in the hell of Guantanamo serve as reminders that wars sweep away not only lives but also, and above all,freedom.

Under fire from belligerents or intrusive governments

Countries that have become embroiled in very violent conflicts after
failing to resolve serious political problems, such as Iraq (158th),
Pakistan (152nd), Afghanistan (156th) and Somalia (153rd), continue to be
highly dangerous "black zones" for the press, places where
journalists are targets for murder, kidnapping, arbitrary arrest or death threats everyday. They may come under fire from the parties at war. They may be
accused of taking sides. Any excuse will do to get rid of "trouble-makers"
and "spies." Such is the case in the Palestinian Territories (163rd),
especially the Gaza Strip, where the situation got much worse after Hamas
seized power. At the same time, in Sri Lanka (165th), where there is an
elected government, the press has to face violence that is only too often
organised by the state.

Bringing up the rear are the dictatorships - some disguised, some not -
where dissidents and pro-reform journalists manage to open cracks in the
walls that enclose them. The year of the Olympics in the new Asian power,
China (167th), was the year that Hu Jia and many other dissidents and
journalists were jailed. But it also provided opportunities to those
liberal media that are trying gradually to free themselves of the
country's still pervasive police control. Being a journalist in Beijing or Shanghai
or in Iran (166th), Uzbekistan (162nd) and Zimbabwe (151st) - is a high
risk exercise involving endless frustration and constant police and
judicial harassment. In Burma (170th), run by a xenophobic and inflexible
junta, journalists and intellectuals, even foreign ones, have for years
been viewed as enemies by the regime, and they pay the price.

Unchanging hells

In Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's Tunisia (143rd), Muammar Gaddafi's Libya
(160rd), Alexander Lukashenko's Belarus (154th), Bashar el-Assad's
Syria(159e) and Teodoro Obiang Nguema's Equatorial Guinea (156th), the
leader's ubiquitous portrait on the streets and front pages of the newspapers is
enough to dispel any doubt about the lack of press freedom. Other
dictatorships do without a personality cult but are just as suffocating.
Nothing is possible in Laos (164th) or Saudi Arabia (161st) if it does not accord with government policy.

Finally, North Korea and Turkmenistan are unchanging hells in which the
population is cut off from the world and is subjected to propaganda
worthy of a bygone age. And in Eritrea (173rd), which has come last for the
second year running, President Issaias Afeworki and his small clan of paranoid
nationalists continue to run Africa's youngest country like a vast open
prison.

The international community, including the European Union, endlessly
repeats that the only solution continues to be "dialogue." But
dialogue has clearly had little success and even the most authoritarian governments
are still able to ignore remonstrations without risking any repercussions
other than the inconsequential displeasure of the occasional diplomat.

Dangers of corruption and political hatred

The other disease that eats away at democracies and makes them lose
ground in the ranking is corruption. The bad example of Bulgaria (59th), still
last in Europe, serves as a reminder that universal suffrage, media
pluralism and some constitutional guarantees are not enough to ensure
effective press freedom. The climate must also favour the flow of
information and expression of opinions. The social and political tensions
in Peru (108th) and Kenya (97th), the media politicisation in Madagascar
(94th) and Bolivia (115th) and the violence against investigative
journalists in Brazil (82nd) are all examples of the kinds of poison that
blight emerging democracies. And the existence of people who break the
law to get rich and who punish inquisitive journalists with impunity is a
scourge that keeps several "great countries" - such as Nigeria
(131st),Mexico (140th) and India (118th) - in shameful positions.

Certain would-be "great countries" deliberately behave in a manner
that is brutal, unfair or just disturbing. The examples include Venezuela
(113th),where President Hugo Chávez's personality and decrees are often crushing,
and the Putin-Medvedev duo's Russia (141st), where state and opposition
media are strictly controlled and journalists such as Anna Politkovskaya
are killed each year by "unidentified" gunmen who often turn out to
have close links with the Kremlin's security services.

Resisting the taboos

The ranking's "soft underbelly" also includes countries that
waver between repression and liberalisation, where the taboos are still inviolable and
the press laws hark back to another era. In Gabon (110th), Cameroon
(129th), Morocco (122nd), Oman (123rd), Cambodia (126th), Jordan (128th)
and Malaysia (132nd), for example, it is strictly forbidden to report
anything that reflects badly on the president or monarch, or their family
and close associates. Journalists are routinely sent to prison in Senegal
(86th) and Algeria (121st) under repressive legislation that violates the
democratic standards advocated by the UN.

Online repression also exposes these tenacious taboos. In Egypt (146th),
demonstrations launched online shook the capital and alarmed the
government, which now regards every Internet user as a potential danger.
The use of Internet filtering is growing by the year and the most
repressive governments do not hesitate to jail bloggers. While China
still leads the "Internet black hole" ranking worldwide, deploying
considerabletechnical resources to control Internet users, Syria (159th) is the Middle-East champion in cyber-repression. Internet surveillance is so
thorough there that even the least criticism posted online is sooner or
later followed by arrest.

Only a few countries have risen significantly in the ranking. Lebanon
(66th), for example, has climbed back to a more logical position after
the end of the bomb attacks on influential journalists of recent years. Haiti
(73rd) continues its slow rise, as do Argentina (68th) and Maldives
(104th). But the democratic transition has halted in Mauritania (105th),
preventing it from continuing its rise, while the slender gains of the
past few years in Chad (133rd) and Sudan (135th) were swept away by the
overnight censorship.
Some African leaders have understood the advantages their countries could
derive from press freedom. Others have behaved like despots again this
year. The continent's best-placed countries continue by and large to be
the same, with Namibia (23rd), Mali (31st), Cape Verde (36th) and Mauritius
(47th) coming in the top 50. Some countries that were sorely tried by
years of war or dictatorship are emerging from the depths to which they were
plunged by violence. They include Liberia (51st), where some police
officers still behave with deplorable brutality, and Togo (53rd), which
is managing to adhere to acceptable democratic standards.

In democracies such as Botswana (66th) and Benin (70th), the climate
between the government and the press often deteriorates, preventing these
countries from attaining the positions they would otherwise deserve,
given their overall political situation.

Senegal (86th) has fallen again in the ranking because of the
government's stubborn refusal to amend the press law and the often outrageous behaviour of some of Dakar's newspapers. Senegalese journalists were imprisoned again this year. The bad surprise came from Mauritania (105th), where
legislativereforms were clearly inadequate and the political culture continues to be marked by former President Ould Taya's police-state practices.

There is no point in having a diverse and often insolent press unless you
tolerate it without resorting to the security forces or an easily
influenced legal system. In Central African Republic (85th), Burundi
(94th)and Guinea (99th), for example, the least political unrest can send
journalists to prison or at least the police station.

This year's black spots in Africa were Kenya (97th), which fell 19 places
as a result of post-electoral violence, and above all Niger (130th),
which fell 41 places after a very trying year for journalists in Niamey and
elsewhere. Reporting on the Tuareg uprising in the north of the country
has become an absolute taboo for the government, especially in the run-up to
the 2009 presidential election.

The African countries near the bottom of the ranking are also the same
ones as usual. They include Gambia (137th), Democratic Republic of Congo
(148th)and Zimbabwe (151st), where independent journalism requires courage,
determination and an ability to put up with violence and injustice.
Finally, the gigantic posters to the glory of President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema throughout "Africa's Kuwait" say it all about the media
situation in Equatorial Guinea (156th). But the continent's most abused country is yet again Eritrea (173rd), last in the ranking for the second year running.
President Issaias Afeworki clings to his deliberate choice of cruelty to
the many journalists held incommunicado since 2001, and despotism as his
method of governing a country whose citizens continue to flee into exile.