Tuesday, July 31, 2012

COURT OF APPEAL SETS ELECTION DATE ON MARCH 4 2013

· 0 comments

FROM LEFT: Appellate Judges Kalpana Rawal, Erastus Githinji, Hannah Okwengu, David Maranga and Martha Koome.

By PAUL OGEMBA
Posted Tuesday, July 31 2012 at 12:25
IN SUMMARY

THE RULINGS:

1. Justice David Maraga: Next polls to be held in March 2013.
2. Justice Kalpana Rawal: Next General Election to be held in March 2013.
3. Justice Hannah Okwengu: Election to be held in March 2013.
4. Justice Erastus Githinji: The next General Election should be held in March 2013.
5. Justice Martha Koome: Elections should be on or before January 15, 2013

The Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court's ruling that the next Kenya General Election will be held in March 2013.

A majority bench ruled that the March 4, 2013 date set out by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) be "adhered to".

Only Justice Martha Koome issued a dissenting ruling. The judge ruled that the polls should be held on or before January 15, 2013.

Justice Koome ruled that Parliament’s life should not exceed a five-year cycle and said the House should be dissolved on November 14, 2012.

She ruled that the High Court misinterpreted the Constitution and the two alternatives given by court were unconstitutional. The judge declared them null and void.

However, four appellate judges ruled that Kenyans will go to the polls in March next year.

Judges Erastus Githinji, Kalpana Rawal, Hannah Okwengu and David Maranga upheld a decision reached by the High Court in January regarding the election date.

Justices Isaac Lenaola, David Majanja and Mumbi Ngugi ruled that the elections will be held in March, 2013 after the expiry of the current Parliament’s term unless the President and the Prime Minister agree in writing to dissolve the Coalition Government.

Following the decision and the failure by the two principals to indicate whether they will dissolve the government, the IEBC went ahead to fix the election date on March 4, 2013.

However, two lobby groups, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) and the Caucus for Women’s Leadership appealed against the High Court ruling claiming that the judges misinterpreted the Constitution.

INTEGRITY BILL READY FOR DEBATE IN AUGUST 2012

· 0 comments

Prof. Githu Muigai


Six critical Bills required for the full implementation of the Constitution are to be enacted in August, Attorney General Githu Muigai has said July 31, 2012.

By BENJAMIN MUINDI
DAILY NATION
July 31 2012

Six critical Bills required for the full implementation of the Constitution are to be enacted in August, Attorney General Githu Muigai has said

The National Intelligence Service Bill, National Security Council Bill, Kenya Defence Forces Bill and Leadership and Integrity Bill were under discussion by the Cabinet Committee on the Implementation of the Constitution, Prof Muigai said in a statement.

Others – The Campaign Financing Bill and the Right to Petition Parliament Bill – are with the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC).

Prof Muigai noted that the Assumption of Office of the President Bill has already been published and is ready to be introduced to Parliament.

The deadline for the enactment of these Bills is August 26.

The Bills are a part of the reforms in administration, security and justice as well as in ethical leadership and integrity enforcement mechanisms by the Constitution.

The National Intelligent Service Bill will replace the National Security Intelligence Service Act and proposes the formation of a Complaints Commission and Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee, among others.

The Leadership and Integrity Bill is hinged on Chapter Six of the Constitution that raises the ethical bar for public officers.

Clause 35 of the Bill states that anybody who does not pass the integrity test shall be barred from holding public office.

“A person seeking to be appointed or elected as a state officer may not be eligible for appointment or to stand for election to such office if that person has, as a State officer, contravened the Leadership and Integrity Code under this Act or while serving as a public officer, has contravened a code of ethics and integrity applicable to that officer, “ it reads.

“Each responsible commission for a state officer shall be responsible for availing information to any selection panel, appointing authority or Parliament, as the case may be regarding the compliance or otherwise, with the Leadership and Integrity Code under this Act by person seeking appointment or election to a state office.”

The Bill gives the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission powers to bar any person from seeking elected or appointed office if they have contravened the law.

“The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the responsible commission may, on application by any person, issue a certificate to that person or any other interested person or institution, confirming that a particular state officer is compliant or not compliant with some or all of the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution or this Act, “ reads clause 43(1) of the Bill.

Prof Muigai’s statement came as the International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) petitioned Parliament to take a new approach to building democracy in Kenya and renewed commitment to the Constitution.

“The coming session of Parliament is very decisive as they are expected to go to the home stretch of fully implementing the Constitution as provided for by clear deadlines it has set out,” ICPC said.

“This is not only for the sake of the General Elections, but for the benefit of the ordinary Kenyans who have been yearning for reforms and in particular, social justice.”

“We are alive to the progress that has been made in furtherance of democratic political and economic reforms based on the Constitution.”

However, ICPC said, the reforms are far from building respect for constitutional values and the rule of law.
“Parliament is obliged and must lead by example in the constitutional implementation.”

Sunday, July 29, 2012

DETAILS OF JM KARIUKI'S MURDER AS DISCLOSED BY THE DAILY NATION IN MARCH 2000

· 0 comments

JM KARIUKI

Michael Mundia Kamau
5:21pm Jul 29 2012

Details of JM Kariuki's 1975 murder, as disclosed for the first time in the year 2000, by the Nation Media Group

Details of JM Kariuki's 1975 murder, as disclosed for the first time in the year 2000, by a three part feature published in the "Daily Nation" newspapers of 2nd, 3rd & 4th March 2000. Sections of the three part feature reproduced verbatim below:

Cover of the "Daily Nation" of Thursday, 2nd March 2000:

Startling new evidence about the murder of charismatic politician J.M. Kariuki is revealed by the Nation today.

The populist MP was interrogated at the Kingsway House headquarters of Special Branch, exactly 25 years ago today, after being framed for a series of bombings in the capital. JM was also questioned about secret bank accounts he had allegedly opened and the supposed disappearance of funds donated by foreign countries to the National Youth Service which he had headed and to former Mau Mau fighters.

He was shot in the arm by the then head of the GSU (General Service Unit), Ben Gethi, during a bitter exchange with one of his captors, President Kenyatta's personal bodyguard, the Nation has discovered.

Then he was dragged out and driven to the Ngong forest where his body was found by a herdsman.

The Nation also reveals that JM was threatened by a powerful son of President Kenyatta, Mr. Peter Muigai, two months before his murder.

Pages 9, 10 & 11 of the "Daily Nation" of Thursday, 2nd March 2000:

Who fired the shots that killed Josiah Mwangi Kariuki (JM) Kariuki? New evidence shows that the first bullet was fired by General Service Unit Commandant Ben Gethi in a Nairobi building and that it was not intended to kill and didn't kill him. The fatal shot was not fired until the fiery Nyandarua North legislator was driven behind Ngong Hills by men assigned by President Kenyatta's bodyguard, Senior Superintendent of Police Arthur Wanyoike Thungu.

By early 1975, somebody had decided that Josiah Mwangi Kariuki - popularly known as JM - had to be eliminated.

President Jomo Kenyatta was old and ailing. JM was believed to have his eyes on the presidency. Besides, JM had a dashing style and struck a powerful chord with the masses. It earned him bitter enemies in Kenyatta's State House.

Not only did the dapper Nyandarua North MP give generously to charity, but his speeches were increasingly populist. He was known to have given the princely sum of KSh 80,000 to a public cause at a time when the President's highest known donation was KSh 3,000 to the Jomo Kenyatta College of Agriculture at Juja.

His repeated attacks on the establishment did not help matters. On the 10th anniversary of Kenya's independence (1973), Mzee (Jomo Kenyatta) joyfully extolled the country's achievements while JM remarked elsewhere that Kenya had become a country of 10 millionaires and ten million beggars.

The first danger signal to JM came a few days before Christmas 1974. JM was playing darts over a drink at Nakuru's Stags Head Hotel with Mark Mwithaga, his long-time friend and MP for Nakuru Town, when Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Muigai Kenyatta and Nakuru Mayor Mburu Gichua walked in. They strode right up to the two and one of them barked at JM: "You have brought trouble here from Nyandarua. Be warned: This is Nakuru and we can finish you at any time!"

Mwithaga recalls their deep surprise. "Muigai and Gichua never even bothered to say hallo to us. They just lectured JM and left. We were very, very shocked". Muigai, President Kenyatta's eldest son by his first marriage, was a key member of the Kiambu political mafia.

If JM wished to dismiss the Stags Head encounter as an isolated incident, he was in for a surprise.

In January 1975, a well-connected Assistant Minister asked JM out for lunch at the Norfolk Hotel to "discuss a worrying matter". At the mmeeting, the Assistant Minister spoke of a secret meeting by a politically influential group which had decided that JM must be eliminated. The conspirators, said the Assistant Minister, hoped to convince President Kenyatta that JM was organising a citizens' revolt against the government.

They had shown Mzee selective extracts from JM's speeches. And although Kenyatta had not approved their plan, the conspirators believed they had sufficiently poisoned his mind. The friend advised JM to seel audience with the President and give him his side of the story. One hurdle stood in JM's way. The leading anti-JM conspirators also happened to be the gate-keepers of Kenyatta's State House.

JM's youngest wife, Terry Wanjiru, recalls her husband's fruitless attempts to see the President in his final years. A chance presented itself at the wedding of Attorney-General Charles Njonjo on November 18, 1972. Cutting through the throng of dignataries, JM walked over to Mzee and gave him a warm handshake. An excited Kenyatta replied "You're so lost JM. These days you don't come to say hallo to me!" To which JM replied, "Mzee, I have always wanted to come to see you but your men have been blocking me". "Is that so?" was Kenyatta's reply and he promised to look into the matter.

By early 1975 nothing had changed. JM was still unwelcome at State House yet he was increasingly desperate to meet Kenyatta. Driving home to Gilgil in early February 1975, JM came across Njenga Karume, the Nominated MP and inflential chairman of the powerful tribal organisation GEMA (Gikuyu Embu Meru Association), near Naivasha.

JM flagged down Karume and the two chatted by the roadside. Karume, now the MP for Kiambaa, recalls: "JM looked disturbed. He was not the confident man I knew. He began by thanking me for having stood by him in 1974 when a powerful clique wanted GEMA to campaign against him in the 1974 elections. Then he told me of the plot against his life and his difficulties in reaching Kenyatta". Karume sympathised with JM's predicament and promised to secure him an appointment with the President.

Time was running out fast. By early February, JM's enemies had laid down a scheme to "sort out" their problem. They resolved to stage a series of events that would turn the public against JM and at the same time convince Kenyatta that JM was a boil that had to be lanced.

A shadowy movement calling itself Maskini Liberation Organisation was formed as part of the propaganda campaign. Since JM presented himself as the "voice of the poor" the public would readily identify the movement's violent activities with him. Leaflets allegedly issued by the movement were printed and distributed in different towns. They bore the names of JM, Charles Rubia and five others as trustees of the Maskini Liberation Organisation, all of them "outsiders" to the tight clique around Kenyatta.

Suddenly a spate of bomb hoaxes hit Nairobi. Anonymous calls would be made to police and newspaper offices that a bomb was about to go off. In the second week of February, a bomb exploded at the Starlight Discotheque on the edges of the city centre. There were no fatalities but the message was clear: Not all bomb alarms were false. Someone called the Central Police Station claiming that Maskini was behind the discotheque blast and there would be another bomb at the Tour Information Office, next to Hilton Hotel. A bomb went off there two hours later.

In Parliament that week, Embu East MP Njagi Mbarire asked the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs Daniel arap Moi to confirm or deny the existence of the Maskini Liberation Organisation. Moi declined to answer the question, citing ongoing investigations.

Kamukunji MP Maina Wanjigi ventured that the VP was being non-commital because Maskini Liberation Organisation was the creation of government operatives. The conspirators were growing impatient. They met secretly at Nakuru's Midland Hotel on Wednesday, February 26, 1975, and again at State House, Nakuru, the following day. The JM matter, it was decided, had to be settled that weekend.

Mzee Kenyatta had travelled to Gatundu for the weekend when the two Nakuru meetings took place. Evidence would later emerge that Kenyatta's chief bodyguard, Wanyoike Thungu, attended the Midland Hotel meeting and arranged the discussion at State House. JM, meanwhile, was becoming apprehensive. His doctor advised him to take a few days rest against stress.

A friend called Elizabeth Koinange booked the two of them onto an OTC (Overseas Trading Company) bus bound for Mombasa on Friday, February 28. At the last minute a friend, Isaac Macharia, dissuaded the MP from going to the Coast.. He was lucky. A bomb exploded in the bus he would have taken, killing 27 people and injuring 100 others.

The plotters' February 27 meeting at State House, Nakuru, had resolved that JM be put on a 24-hour surveillance until the "job" was done. A friend who had borrowed the MP's car noticed that he was being trailed by a well-known police reservist, Patrick Shaw, in a white Volvo.

He reported the incident but JM had more pressing matters to think about. The next day GSU Commandant Ben Gethi, who had had been a close friend of JM, had called to alert him of a plan to implicate him in the city bombings and have him jailed without trial. Gethi pressed him to meet the country's security chiefs and explain his innocence. But the MP was adamant that.

Witnesses later quoted him as saying: "Why should I explain my innocence before anybody has openly accused me? I will wait until they arrest me and I'll prove my innocence". Within two hours, Gethi was on the line again. He told JM that he had thought over the matter and convinced that JM's best option was to informally meet the security team "in a friendly atmosphere". Gethi promised to be at the meeting to ensure JM's security.

JM finally caved in to the GSU chief's pressure when the two men met at the International Casino the next day. The meeting was set for Sunday, March 2. That was the day JM would disappear, later to be found dead murdered in the Ngong Hills forest. That Sunday morning Gethi visited JM at home. It was a rather unusual visit, as the Parliamentary Probe Committee later noted, but Gethi insisted that it "was just a normal call to a friend's house".

Investigations now show that Gethi had taken to JM a pistol he had promised him, to guarantee his safety during the Security Committee meeting. Witnesses testified that Gethi's visit was so secretive that he entered JM's bedroom instead of waiting for his host to be woken up.

At midday JM went to the Ngong Racecourse, where he and Gethi had a brief chat. Later in the evening he popped in at the Hilton. Gethi would deny before the Parliamentary Probe Committe that the two of them met, but witnesses said they had seen him in the company of reservist Patrick Shaw.

Witnesses have told the Nation that several things happened at the Hilton while JM was away. At around 5 p.m. Patrick Shaw and a Mr. Young, also a police reservist, chased away all parking boys who usually hang around outside the hotel. Some taxi drivers were also asked to leave. It has also emerged that then CID head Ignatius Nderi and then deputy director of the National Youth Service Waruhiu Itote were seen briefly at the Hilton with the two men.

One of them was Pius Kibathi, a trained policeman who never joined the force, and the other Councillor John Mutung'u of Olkejuado County Council. JM arrived at the Hilton's Coffee House at about quarter to seven. He was about to settle down with a friend when Gethi suddenly appeared. He excused himself and walked away with the GSU boss. Apparently Gethi had not to find JM with anybody else. On noting the dilemma on Gethi's face, JM quickly excused himself as he told Macharia: "By the way, Gethi and I were to meet, let me have some minutes with him".

A hotel security man, Mr. Fred Sing'ombe, saw JM and Gethi enter a Peugeot station wagon behind the hotel. JM's white Mercedes Benz, Registration Number KPE 143, was left in front of the Hilton Hotel, where the family found it when the MP disappeared.

His movements from the hotel have for years been a mystery, even to the House Select Committee. But the Nation has now established that the two men went to the Special Branch headquarters at Kingsway House in Muindi Mbingu Street. Gethi and JM entered the building through a back entrance and headed for the office of a senior Special Branch officer.

In the room were the senior officer himself, Kenyatta security chief Wanyoike Thungu, the NYS's Itote, CID director Nderi and reservist Patrick Shaw. JM was apprehensive to see Thungu in the meeting. The two had never had time for each other ever since JM worked as Kenyatta's private secretary in the early 1960s. He also knew of Thungu's roles in the Nakuru meetings which plotted against him.

At Kingsway House, Gethi left JM to be questioned by Nderi and Shaw on the bombings. The MP, says a senior retired policeman, answered all the allegations raised by Nderi and Shaw until the two appeared satisfied that he had nothing to do with the bombings. Thungu, who remained silent, then took over the questioning. He wanted to know why JM had been "going around the country insulting Kenyatta". JM denied that he had ever insulted Kenyatta and that all he had talked about was social justice for all Kenyans, which was quite in line with Kenyatta's beliefs.

Thungu then touched on a raw nerve. He asked JM to account for some money he allegedly received for schorlarships while serving as a private secretary to Kenyatta. He also referred to money issued as compensation to Mau Mau fighters who had lost their land during the independence struggle, which was handled by JM when he was an assistant minister for Agriculture with special duties. Itote, who had worked closely with JM at the NYS (National Youth Service), talked of money from the Chinese Government which JM had allegedly received on behalf of the service.

The exchange between JM and Thungu became heated. Thungu, says an impeccable source, lost his temper and punched JM viciously in the mouth, knocking out three of his teeth. JM's body found at the City Mortuary eight days later had three lower teeth missing.

Instinctively, the bleeding JM reached for a pistol in his pocket, the same gun he had been given by Gethi that morning. But Gethi, the only person in the room who knew JM had a gun, was quicker on the draw. He whipped out his service revolver and shot JM in the upper right hand arm to protect Thungu.

As JM collapsed in a pool of blood, Thungu phoned a senior politician to inform of what happened. It is not known what the senior politician said. However, evidence received by the JM Probe Committee and later corroborated by Gethi in a confession to JM's sister many years later, stated that after the telephone call, Thungu called three men who had been waiting in another room (the three were named in other circumstances by the Probe Committee).

He ordered them to handcuff JM and take him to a car downstairs. They had been brought to Kingsway House by Nderi to give evidence on JM's alleged involvement in the city bombings. The vehicle into which a bleeding and wailing JM was bundled belonged to a councillor, John Mutung'u of Ngong ward, the area in which JM's bullet-ridden body was discovered by two Maasai elders the following morning. Councillor Mutung'u was later summoned by the Parliamentary Probe Committe and asked to bring with him his car, a green Peugeot station wagon with a red inscription: "Meat Park".

In it's final report, the JM Probe Committe recommended that Councillor Mutung'u be investigated alongside Thungu, the Minister of State Mbiyu Koinange, his bodyguard Peter Karanja, Nakuru Mayor Mburu Gichua, then Nyandarua District Commissioner Stanley Thuo, NYS deputy director Waruhiu Itote and JM's rival in the 1974 General Election, one Evan Ngugi. A member of the JM Probe Committe who talked to the Nation disclosed that it suspected that Mbiyu Koinange was the person Thungu talked to on the telephone after JM had been shot.

The MPs established that Thungu had driven to Nairobi from Nakuru by a discreet route on the afternoon of March 2. Questioned by the committee, Thungu insisted that he spent March 2 with the President at Gatundu. The President, of course, couldn't be summoned to verify this. A confidential witness testified before the Probe Committee that Gethi remained alone at Kingway House until past midnight, chain smoking and talking on a police radio.

Before his death on September 12, 1994, Gethi confessed to JM's sister, Rahab Mwaniki, that he had taken JM to Nderi and Shaw, for questioning on the bombs. He said he had left JM with the two senior police officers and returned much later to find a Mr. Pius Kibathi and two other men dragging a bleeding and groaning JM to a vehicle behind Kingsway House. But other sources say Gethi never left Kingsway House until JM had been taken away..

In his memoirs "A Love Affair with the Sun", Sir Michael Blundell, a well-connected former politician and businessman, said one some of the cartridges recovered from the place where JM's body was found in Ngong were fired from a pistol belonging to a presidential guard he did not name. The House Committee established that two different pistols were used to kill JM. Clearly, he was shot at different places, first at Kingsway House and later at the Ngong Hills scene of murder.

The guns were either a .38 Walther or a .38 Mann, both of which also happened to be the pistols used by members of the GSU Recce Company. Officers in the Recce Company are used for special duties, the main one being providing escort to the President and visiting heads of state. Probe Committee members believed that JM's murder was a foregone conclusion and would have taken place even if Thungu had not provoked the shooting at Kingsway House.

"How Kenyatta doctored the report", as appearing on page 13 of the "Daily Nation" of Thursday, 2nd March 2000:

June 3, 1975, was a day of great expectation - and suffocating tension. The committe investigating JM's murder had completed its work and a report was due to be tabled in Parliament. Mr. Elijah Mwangale, the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee, was in conference with his 13 members in Room 7 on the first floor of Parliament Buildings. They were going over the details of the 38-page report when word came through the Clerk's office that the committee was required at State House, Nairobi.

Three copies of the report had been done. Mr. Mwangale took one with him. The other two were each put in the "custody" of former Butere MP Martin Shikuku and former Wajir East MP, the late Diriye Amin. Their instructions were simple: They were not to leave the precincts of Parliament until the afternoon session of the House was over.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mwangale left for State House with a few members of his committee. They included former Starehe MP Charles Rubia and former Lurambi North MP Burudi Nabwera. The two MPs with the other copies were "policed" by other MPs. All the windows of Room 7 were locked inside and the keys taken from the sergeant-at-arms and kept in the custody of the two MPs. Were all these precautions necessary?

Suspicions were high. Attempts to sabotage efforts to table the report could not be ruled out. Every so often the custodian MPs took turns to visit Room 7 to confirm the copies were still intact. The tension was aggravated at 2.30 p.m. when the afternoon session of the House started without any word on when the Mwangale team would return.

Meanwhile, at State House, Mr. Mwangale and his team were facing Mzee Kenyatta and had been asked one question: Why were the names of Cabinet Minister Mbiyu Koinange and that of the president's bodyguard, Senior Supt of Police Arthur Wanyoike wa Thungu, in the report?

Rubia: "Kama ni hivyo Mzee, tunaweza kuondoa hayo majina alafu tuipeleke bunge" ("If that is the case Mzee we can delete the two names and thereafter we table it in Parliament").

Kenyatta: "Kama ni hivyo sawa sawa"! ("If that is the case it is alright").

Mzee Kenyatta gave Mr Mwangale a green pen. He made him delete the two names and sign against each deletion.

Back in Parliament, Mr. Shikuku and Mr. Diriye entered the Chamber with their copies clutched under their arms. Without warning Mr. Mwangale and his team entered the Chamber, eliciting sighs of relief, foot-thumping and loud cheers. Mr. Mwangale tabled the report minus the two names.

"How JM fell foul of Kenyatta clique and became an obstacle", as appearing on pages 8 & 27 of the "Daily Nation" of Friday, 3rd March 2000:

To understand the animosity between JM Kariuki and President Kenyatta's bodyguard, Arthur Wanyoike Thungu, is partly to unravel the motives of the killing which nearly brought down Mzee's government.

Wanyoike was among the top security men gathered to question the Nyandarua Naorth MP at the Kingsway House Special Branch headquarters on Sunday March 2, 1975, the day JM disappeared and was later found murdered. It was he who had drawn JM into a bad-tempered argument over missing foreign funds. The exchange resulted in the MP being shot on the arm by Ben Gethi, the GSU commandant.

But what united different people in Kenyatta's court against Josiah Mwangi Kariuki? What traits of his character set them so firmly against a man, who, like them, was a former Mau Mau detainee and a veteran of the freedom struggle? The Nation's investigations show that JM left a trail of of bitter and powerful enemies wherever he worked.

His first job in independent Kenya was as a private secretary in charge of political affairs in the office of Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta, later President of the new Republic, between 1962 and 1964. Kenyatta had first heard about JM while in prison.

The young freedom crusader, who was detained between 1953 and 1960, had made a name as a spokesman for victims of colonial oppression, even in prison. On his release in 1960, JM visited Kenyatta, who was still in detention at Maralal. The two men hit it off instantly. JM then left the country for Oxford University and returned to become Kenyatta's private secretary.

Mzee trusted JM so much that all delicate missions, like securing overseas training for the President's security men, were handled by him. Kenyatta also used JM secretly to negotiate for compensation to victims of the Mau Mau liberation war.

Thungu had two reasons to dislike JM for life; one was personal and the other communal. Kenyatta's security when JM became his private secretary was dominated by men like Thungu, who hailed from the President's Gatundu village. Many of these had been youthwingers of Mzee's Kenya African Union (KAU) party, (Kenya African National Union's) KANU's predecessor, before Kenyatta's imprisonment in 1952.

JM was strongly opposed to Kenyatta's choice of bodyguards, none of whom had proper police training or formal education. He proposed that a National Youth Service be set up to absorb the former KAU youth and Mau Mau fighters for vocational training. Over the question of Kenyatta's security, he found stauch allies in then newly-appointed director of Police Intelligence, Bernard Hinga, who would later become the police commissioner, and the head of the Prime Minister's Escort Guard, Sir Alex Pearson.

At the intervention of the three officers, Kenyatta dropped the idea of taking all his former youthwingers as bodyguards but refused to be separated with a few from his Ichaweri neighbourhood. He instructed that they be sent overseas for training. Thungu was among those selected few. He never forgot that he had narrowly missed the chop. For that he would never forgive JM.

But JM had an even bigger problem, He came from Nyeri District. Kenyatta's State House was largely a Gatundu-Kiambu affair. JM was a stranger. A palace campaign was launched to discredit JM in the eyes of Kenyatta. Matters were not helped by the fact that JM was openly ambitious and pushy. Slowly, Kenyatta began to mistrust JM.

In "Politics of Independence of Kenya", historian Keith Kyle recounts an incident where Kenyatta sent JM to secure six training slots for his bodyguards in Israel. However, he turned to Dr. Gikonyo Kiano, who was not a State House employee, to decide who would have the scholarships. So vicious was the anti-JM campaign at State House that a young woman he was in love with and for whom he had paid half dowry as dissuaded from marrying him. The girl was later married to a member of Kenyatta's security who is today a Cabinet Minister.

In early 1964, Kenyatta was finally prevailed upon to drop JM as his private secretary and to scrap the job altogether. JM was moved to the newly-formed National Youth Service (NYS), the same place he had wanted to dump Thungu and company.

As National Leader of the NYS, JM toured the country, overseeing recruitments and inspecting project sites. But a new set of trouble awaited him. The NYS Act ranked the force's National Leader together with Service Commanders, allowing JM to sit in national security meetings. The Kiambu clique that had hounded him out of State House were uneasy with this situation. They resolved to strip him of this new post as well.

JM played right into their hands when one day in 1968 he entered Parliament in full NYS uniform. He was then MP for Aberdares Constituency, later renamed Nyandarua North. Immediately JM entered the Chamber, a Cabinet minister prompted by Attorney-General Charles Njonjo asked the Speaker whether it was in order for JM to enter the House in forces uniform. Speaker Hunphrey Slade ruled there was nothing wrong with it as long as the uniform did not include a cap.

The matter didn't end there. Some ministers took it to the Cabinet and complained to Kenyatta that JM had gone to the House in uniform to rival the Commander-in-Chief, the only person known to have entered the Chamber in military uniform. A few weeks later, JM was sacked as NYS National Leader and the post scrapped.

Yet Kenyatta still had a soft spot for his former secretary. He appointed JM an assistant minister in the ministry of agriculture, with Special Duties. This vague post meant he could rival his own minister. JM's role in the ministry of agriculture soon got him on a collison course with the Cabinet member in charge, Bruce Mackenzie, and his friend Njonjo.

In early 1969, JM took advantage of the minister's absence from the country and sacked by notice two expatriate directors of agriculture and five other senior expatriates in the ministry. Mackenzie cancelled his trip and flew back home in a rage. He immediately raised the matter at a Cabinet meeting. Kenyatta supported JM, arguing that he had the powers of a minister and was covered by the rule of collective responsibility. The Cabinet couldn't disown the decision.

Mackenzie and Njonjo never forgave JM. Kenyatta later transferred JM from the ministry of agriculture to the ministry of Tourism and Wildlife.

The 1969 General Election gave JM a chance to demonstrate his organisational capabilities and the respect he commanded among colleagues. By now JM had set his sights high. At a victory party JM hosted for his supporters and friends after the 1969 elections, he confided in them that he would be going for "big things". It was the beginning of the increasingly radical JM projected through word and deed, snipping at the Kenyatta government at every opportunity.

Speaking during a student graduation at Highridge Teachers College in early 1970, he said that the Kenya Government had betrayed the vision of the freedom fighters. Colonial white settlers had only been replaced by black settlers. He told a stunned crowd: "I believe firmly that substituting Kamau for Smith, Odongo for Jones and Kiplagat for Keith won't solve what the gallant fighters of our uhuru (freedom) considered an imposed and undesirable social justice". A few weeks later he received a standing ovation at Nairobi University when he declared: "It takes more than a National Anthem to create a nation".

Later he hopped to Uganda's Makerere University and declared Kenya's policy on African Socialism a hoax. JM was now the man to watch. A GEMA delegation called on Kenyatta to complain about the MP. But Kenyatta dismissed their worries, saying JM was "just a young inexperienced bull that doesn't know from which side to mount a cow".

But clearly others did not think so. A scheme was put in place to slow JM by denying him permits to hold or address meetings. The restriction was extended even to innocuous gatherings like family parties. A birthday party he had scheduled for March 21, 1971, aws cancelled at the eleventh hour by the State. And on January 1, 1972, a huge rally he had organised to be attended by a number of cabinet ministers and MPs was cancelled at the last minute. An incensed JM later told Parliament: "This anti-JM campaign is now bordering on stupidity".

Denied a chance to speak outside Parliament, JM turned to the House to air his views. The then deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Munyua Waiyaki, recalls: "JM would call and ask me not to miss Parliament as he was preparing a bombshell. He particularly liked the days when I was in the Chair as he knew I wouldn't deny him a chance to say whatever he wanted". JM's other strategy was to give generously to development projects. The contributions aroused suspicion that he was being externally funded by foreigners who preferred him as a future president of Kenya.

JM countered the rumours by saying that it was not how much money he had but how generous he was at heart that mattered. But the suspicions grew, as JM had no known sources of income to support the large sums he gave away.

At the time he died, his known businesses included a shareholding in the Rift Valley Trading Agencies, which he co-owned with Vice-President Moi and Moi's brother-in-law Eric Bomett. He also owned a tour company with Israeli businessman Ernest Kahane, a mining company with his brother-in-law Harun Muturi and two restaurants in the city. Many thought those investments could not finance JM's private race horses and his ostentatious casino gambling habit.

It was whispered that the Chinese were behind JM's seemingly endless resources. But his widow Terry denies that JM had any forign backer. "For all the time I lived with him, he never held a secret bank account. In any case, the government had the machinery to uncover such an account had it existed", she says.

JM's political enemies went on the offensive in the 1974 General Election. All his campaign meetings, except one, were cancelled. He was virtually banned from visiting his constituency during the campaigns. In the meantime, Nakuru's Mayor, Mburu Gichua had camped in Nyandarua North with instructions to ensure that JM didn't go back to Parliament. To the great chagrin of his detractors, JM retained the seat with three times more votes than the combined total of his opponents.

During the swearing-in of the new Parliament in November 1974, MPs gave JM a standing ovation. It rivalled the applause they had just given Kenyatta, who was in the Chamber. It was about this time that secret meetings began in Nakuru and in the city on how to stop JM. Taped speeches of his addresses were played to Kenyatta but Mzee was not alarmed. He only suggested that the MP should be warned to change his ways. According to the the Nakuru Town MP, Mr. Mark Mwithaga, the Stae House clique that wanted JM eliminated were themselves interested in keeping a hold on the presidency after Kenyatta. Which is why they held meetings in Nakuru and resolved that JM must die on March 2.

ROBERT OUKO WAS KILLED IN "OPERATION BIKINI SUCCESSION": WEEKLY TOPIC NEWSPAPER OF UGANDA 6 SEPTEMBER 1991

· 0 comments

Dr. John Robert Ouko

Michael Mundia Kamau
5:29pm Jul 29 2012

Minister killed in "Operation Bikini succession", the inside story by a correspondent in Nairobi, as published in the "Weekly Topic" newspaper of Uganda of 6th September 1991 (Reproduced verbatim)

Through errors of omissions and commission the late Kenya's minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Dr. Robert John Ouko caused his murder on February 12, 1990.

Ouko's problems are said to have started in 1983 when he fell out with Hezekiah Oyugi the then Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President in charge of Internal Security and Provincial Administration. Oyugi was then a Provincial Commissioner in Moi's home province of Rift Valley and was said to enjoy powers beyond even his boss, Permanent Secretary J. Mathenge whom the former later succeeded.

Having been business associates in a number of commercial ventures, Ouko and Oyugi parted ways. The immediate consequence was the demotion of Ouko from the glamourous Foreign Office to an obscure Labour Ministry in October 1983. Ouko's relegation was due to advice from Oyugi, who is the only personality from Nyanza who enjoys Moi's total confidence.

In the next four-and-a-half years, Ouko was kept "on his toes". He shuffled around in every reshuffle to ministries of labour, industry and economic planning - an average of a new ministry every 18 months. Meanwhile, Oyugi and his mentor were busy looking for a replacement in Ouko's Kisumu Rural Constituency.

The only man who was ready to challenge Ouko anytime and anywhere was Joab Henry Onyango Omino, a popular former civil servant and a successful businessman-cum-sports administrator. Moi and Oyugi were not ready to back Omino since the latter had the "undesired" qualities of being popular and principled. But while Ouko was unpopular on the domestic front, internationally he had as a career diplomat, cultivated a likeable image and had many useful friends. It was on these friends that his temporary political survival and also his eventual demise would hinge.

Thatcher's role

As a family friend of the Thatcher's, Ouko saw his only hope on the assistance of Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, who had unlimited sway over the Moi government. So, when the election campaigns began and he saw his political coffin being made, Ouko flew to Britain and spent a night as the guest of Dennis and Margaret Thatcher in their country home.. The purpose of the visit was to prevail upon Moi to return Ouko. The "Iron Lady", having her own imperialist designs in Kenya, went beyond what Bob Ouko had asked for.

Her country having propelled Moi to presidency and her, personally, having sustained him, Thatcher was once again shopping for Moi's successor, as the Kenyan dictator is said to suffer from acute leukemia and cancer of the throat. Maggie was also aware that Moi was going to fire his Vice President Mwai Kibaki. She, therefore, not only asked Moi to rig Ouko to parliament, but also to appoint him (Ouko) the Vice President.

Moi complied only partly with the directive. He indeed rigged Ouko back to parliament despite Omino's landslide victory. As for the number Two slot, the Kenyan President had his own scheme. He was paving a succession path to the presidency for his nephew and long time manager of Moi's personal estate, Nicholas Kiprono arap Biwott. Instead, Ouko was handed back the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

The Number two post went into the hands of Josephat Njuguna Karanja, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, who had recently been imposed upon the people of Mathare as their Member of Parliament. Karanja's tenure as the VP was shortlived as he was removed in very humiliating manner only twelve months later. George Kinuthia Muthengi Saitoti, an associate professor of topology and former chairman of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Nairobi was appointed to take over the vice presidency.

Maggie Thatcher and her mentor Ronald Reagan (and later Reagan's successor George Bush) were not amused by Moi's refusal to take their orders. They were also not comfortable with Moi's continued association and reward for people who massively looted public coffers of billions of dollars. Whenever Moi sent Ouko on the numerous begging missions to solicit more aid, the donors showed concern about the diversion of the aid money to foreign secret accounts in Europe.

Among the leading looters were Biwott; Saitoti ( who had headed the treasury since 1983); Eric Kotut, the Governor of Central Bank of Kenya (CBK); Kipng'eno arap Ng'eny, the Managing Director of Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (KPTC); Arthur Magugu, once the Minister for Finance; Bethwel Kiplagat, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Benjamin Kipkorir, Chairman Kenya Commercial Bank; Sam Ongeri, Minister for Technical Training; Mark Too (Moi's son who is Deputy Chairman, Lonrho) and Hezekiah Oyugi, sarcastically known as "the Governor".

As at the end of 1988, estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed that more than US $4 billion was held in overseas accounts by Kenyans. Other sources indicated that in the first half of the year 1988, alone, US $175 million was siphoned out of Kenya into foreign accounts. Ouko confronted Moi the facts and that was his error number one. Moi was not amused by this hard evidence. This was in October 1989. Order was immediately issued that Ouko be shadowed round-the-clock.

The Washington 'debacle'

Things came to a climax when Moi and his team including Ouko visited the US on January 1990. The main purpose of the visit was to persuade President Bush to prevail upon the Congress not to suspend aid to Kenya. The Congress and a number of donor agencies had threatened to freeze assistance to Kenya due to Kenya's well known record gross violation of human rights, diversion of aid money to individuals' foreign accounts, corruption and lack of accountability in the government.

While in Washington, Moi and his delegation met three congressmen Donald Tayne, Tonny Hall, and Paul Simon in an attempt to persuade them to convince the Congress not to block a US $60 million military aid Moi was soliciting from the US. They also held talks with high-ranking officials of the World Bank and IMF. The talks, however, did not bear much fruit and only ended in Moi being given stiffer conditions to fulfill before any assistance could come forth.

meeting with the US Assistant Secretary of State in charge of African Affairs, Michael Cohen was equally fruitless. Interpreting his president's public humiliation as a failure on his (Ouko's) part as a Foreign Affairs Minister, Ouko used his experience in the world of diplomacy to try and arrange a face-saving private meeting between Moi and Bush.

In such a meeting, nobody would know whatever transpired between the two Heads of State, and would believe whatever is reported. He, therefore, secured an audience with the US Secretary of State James Baker and managed to persuade the latter to prevail upon President Bush. Ouko was, thus, invited to meet Bush.

The three - Bush, Baker and Ouko - are said to have met for forty minutes before President Bush agreed to grant Moi an audience, in the presence of Baker and Ouko. The meeting took only ten minutes, according to reports..

During the ten minute talks, Moi is reported to have been given a number of conditions for continued assistance, including putting someone with knowledge of economics in charge of Treasury as opposed to topologist Saitoti; democratization of Kenya's politics; release of all political prisoners and improvement of Human Rights record; making Ouko his Vice President as well as ensuring that money smuggled out of Kenya was brought back. Moi was not particularly pleased with the apparent rapport between Bush and Ouko.

After the meeting, Moi addressed a news conference, where he was in-undated with a barrage of what he considered "embarassing" questions like torture of suspects at Nyayo House, mass imprisonment on trumped-up political charges, street shooting by the police, discrimination of ethnic Somali Kenyans, persecution of the clergy and rampant corruption. Moi had no ready answers to these questions.

Once again, in a bid to save his boss from public embarassment, Ouko intervened time and again to "elaborate on His Excellency's self explanatory answer" and articulately, albeit untruthfully, answered the questions. The journalists in attendance were impressed by Ouko's articulate interventions and, as is typical with American scribes, some remarked that ought to have been the president. That was Ouko's mistake number two. Moi could not hide his rage. To be upstaged twice in half a day was not something he was accustomed to. Ouko's other detractors, chiefly Biwott and Oyugi, did not waste away this opportunity.

After that Press Conference of February 2, 1990 Biwott is said to have even sarcastically addressed Ouko as "Your Excellency the President". Moi on his part emotionally declared that he did not want even to set eyes on Ouko and that he would not travel with his foreign minister in the same plane. Ouko was, thus, left in Washington.

Worried by the inexplicable behaviour of his President Ouko took the next flight and arrived in Nairobi two days later, only a few minutes after Moi's arrival. He infact found Moi still being entertained at the airport and asked his escorts who had come to the airport to meet him to show him where Moi was being entertained ("Kenya Times", October 23, 1990 page 18). That was Ouko's third blunder.

Nyanza exile

The following day, February 5, 1990, Ouko went to State House, Nairobi, understandably to plead with Moi to forgive him whatever sins he (Ouko) might have committed. His worry was even more compounded by the fact that upon his arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport, his passport was impounded "for adjustment". Instead of forgiving him, Moi ordered his Foreign minister to go to his Nyanza home and never to appear in Nairobi unless and until called back by Moi personally. Ouko left State House a shaken and confused man and extremely worried.

From State House he went to his office along Harambee Avenue via his lawyers, Oraro and Rachier Advocates. From his office, he is reported to have taken his confidential file , bid his staff "Kwaheri ya kuonana" and left. He was convinced that he was going to be relieved of his ministerial post.

The same day in the evening, Ouko, his wife and two youngest children went to Moi's Woodley residence, along Kabarnet Road. He was of the illusion that on seeing his two young children, Moi the "lover of children" Moi have pity. The mission badly aborted and Moi was uncompromising in his decision to send Ouko to Nyanza.

Ouko is said to have been silent all the way as he drove his family back from Woodley to his Loresho Home. On arrival at Loresho, he found his driver and one of his security escorts waiting. One of the security escorts, George Otieno, had already been withdrawn. The other two, including driver, Joseph Yogo Otieno were under instruction to leave him as soon as (Ouko) arrives at his home in Nyanza (Nyahera or Koru).

On February 6, 1990 a meeting chaired by Biwott and attended by Saitoti, Kotut, Kipng'eno arap Ng'eny, Noah Too, Frederick Koskei (Saitoti's Aide de Camp) and Bethwel Kiplagat was held at Midwest Hotel, Kericho. It was at this meeting where the decision to deal with the 'Ouko problem' was taken. Noah Too was appointed to head the project. Moi was briefed about the meeting at his Woodley house on February 8 or 9 (Our informant could not get the exact date) in the evening around 9 p.m.

Another meeting was held at Nyayo House, Nairobi, 24th Floor on Saturday February 11, 1990 where specific tasks were assigned. It was at this stage that Oyugi, Julius Kobia (the PC Nyanza), John Anguka (the DC Nakuru) and Philip Kilonzo (Commissioner of Police) were indoctrinated into the conspiracy, which had been codenamed "Operation Bikini Succession" - Bikini being Biwott's initials (BIwott, KIprono, NIcholas).

Ouko, meanwhile went to the official residence of Peter Lagat, the Kericho District Commisioner, who is close kin of Biwott's on February 9 to ask Lagat to plead with Biwott to save Ouko's neck. He had arrived at the Kericho DC's house at 7.25 a.m. Lagat phoned Biwott who told him to leave Ouko's matter alone.

Ouko's worries multiplied as his earlier attempts to have Oyugi plead with Moi for him had only drawn the remark: "If you have collided with Nyayo, 'shauri yako'. I give you only two days". On Saturday February 10, 1990, while officiating at a function organized by Lions Club held at Kisumu's Imperial Hotel, Ouko attempted to "apologise" publicly by narrating how His Excellency had "articulately" answered Kenya's critics.

Ouko was not a keen church goer. But on Sunday February 11, 1990, he surprised his family when he went with them to AIC Koru church and even asked for special prayers after volunteering to preach. During the week, Ouko had tried to get help from people like Kibaki and Dalmas Otieno, but they were not of much help. He, therefore, decided to fall back on Oyugi - this time asking the latter to provide him with a GK vehicle for his escape. Oyugi promised to oblige - and he indeed came in a white GK mercedes ! Ouko's mistake number 4 and 5.

Closing In

By Monday February 12, 1990 Ouko was properly isolated and focused on. By the directive from Managing Director Ng'eny, telephone links with Ouko's Nyahera and Koru home had been cut. His security escort had long been withdrawn and all his movements were closely monitored. Biwott and Kobia had been spotted together in Kisumu that Monday afternoon while Noah arap Too, Frederick Koskei and other high ranking security personnel were seen at Kapkelion in a white Subaru (KTN 865), light blue Volkswagen Kombi (KQC 039) and green Audi (KQC 041). Between 3 and 4 a.m. on Tuesday February 13, a white Mercedes Benz car from the Nyanza PC's office pulled at the gate of Ouko's Koru home. The occupants introduced themselves as Security Intelligence officers who had been sent to call Ouko as the president wanted to see him urgently.

Within less than 2 minutes there were more than 15 men in GSU uniform at the minister's gate and all security personnel attached to Ouko had been whisked away. They were severely warned not to "talk". The only person the abductors forgot to lock up was Ouko's housegirl, Sebina Were who was sleeping in one of rooms in the main house. She was woken up by an unusual bang as the abductors dragged Ouko away. She rushed out, only in time to see the white car moving out of the main gate.

As he was confronted, Ouko asked his captors, who had told him Moi wanted to see him, for time to change from his pyjamas. Back in his bedroom Ouko wrote down the names of his captors, who included Oyugi, Biwott, Kobia, Koskei and Noah Too. He folded the note and put it behind a wall picture.

Missing genitals

Ouko was driven straight to Nakuru with a brief stop at Kericho, at Shell Petrol Station along the Kericho-Nakuru highway just opposite Kericho Police Station. One motorist who knew Ouko saw him and went greet him. He was immediately chased away but after he had gone close enough to notice that the minister was handcuffed. This man later wrote an "anonymous" letter to Ouko's Koru address, giving a clue as to how the New Scotland Yard detectives would trace him.

Ouko was reportedly killed at Nakuru with a pistol shot after intensive torture. His naked body was later dumped at Nakuru mortuary, with genitals missing. By a twist of fate, a nurse at Nakuru General Hospital, who was a family friend of the Oukos recognised the body and telephoned Christobel, Ouko's wife. Mrs. Ouko immediately began enquiring from the government about the whereabouts of her husband. Alerted by this enquiry the murderers rushed to the mortuary and removed the body.

They sprayed it with highly corrosive chemicals and then flew it in a Police Airwing helicopter for dumping at Got Alila, a few kilometers from the late minister's home where they "discovered" it two days later. The dumping of the body was done on Wednesday February 14 and the spot remained guarded by GSU personnel until Friday February 16 at 12.30 p.m. when an announcement was made through public address system at the scene that Ouko's remains had been found.

When this writer visited the scene at 3.00 p.m. he found the police had cordoned the spot and people, including the press, were kept about 20 metres away from the spot. No vegetation was burnt at the spot where the body was found despite the fact that the body was burnt beyond recognition.

As Commissioner Kilonzo, Oyugi and Too collected the remains on a stretcher, Oyugi personally lit fire on the spot where the body had been found. Nobody understood the significance of this act but our guess is that the Nyanza butcher wanted to burn the grass and vegetation around that spot to sell the story that Ouko had shot himself and burnt himself there.

Two days later, Oyugi issued a what he termed the preliminary findings of police investigations which tended to suggest that Ouko had committed suicide. What followed were massive demonstrations demanding that the truth be told. The government, through Moi himself, promised that "no stone would be left unturned" to bring the culprits to book.

Troons fears

Moi asked the British government to send him detectives from the New Scotland Yard hoping this would lull the people as he bought time for emotions to cool down. Troon (John) the leader of the team and his two colleagues began their work conscientiously briefing the press at every stage. The government was not impressed. Within two weeks of the detectives' work, the state ordered the Scotland Yard sleuths not to issue any more press statements. Later, Troon felt he could not proceed further without interviewing Biwott.

On three occasions when they had appointments with the Energy minister, Biwott simply failed to turn up. Meanwhile, through the British High Commission, Kenya was asking Mrs. Thatcher to prevail upon the New Scotland sleuths to write their report without mentioning "sensitive" personalities. Mrs. Thatcher is reported to have been reluctant to help in this, fearing the consequences should the British people know. After several attempts to interview the 'Kabarak Syndicate' failed the British detectives saw no option other than packing their bags and returning home. Troon refused to come to Nairobi to deliver his incomplete report unless he was guaranteed of his security as it was rumored both in Nairobi and London that the "Kabarak Syndicate" was planning for him an "accident" the Kenya style.

As soon as the report was delivered to Attorney General Mathew Guy Muli, the government announced that the report was not to be made public. This was a 180-degree turn from the earlier assurances that the government had nothing to hide and would make the entire report public. To appease people – or so the Nairobi regime deludes itself - Moi has appointed a Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the "mysterious disappearance and subsequent death" of minister Ouko. Another attempt at diverting people's attention from the truth behind Ouko's murder was the arrest and torture of Ouko's younger brother, Barrack Easton Mbajah, a former District Commissioner for allegedly murdering his brother.

Ouko it would therefore seem fell victim to the bloodthirsty murderers of the Nairobi regime.

Source of story: The "Weekly Topic" newspaper of Uganda of 6th September 1991

IEBC MUST RESOLVE TENDER CONTROVERSY OR RISK LOSING HARD-EARNED CREDIBILITY

· 0 comments

IEBC Chairman Isaak Hassan launching the new election boundaries

By KITHURE KINDIKI
SUNDAY NATION
Posted Saturday, July 28 2012

When hitherto “peaceful” Kenya descended into an orgy of primitive violence after the last General Election, there was consensus that, besides the Judiciary, the other state agency that brought us to the despicable national shame was the electoral commission.

Through reckless, insensitive and alarmist remarks, the Samuel Kivuitu-led commission arguably generated raw material for chaos.

As part of the Kofi Annan-brokered deal, the commission was wound up and an interim one created. The interim body was to be replaced last year by the now highly regarded Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) led by respected and conscientious lawyer Issack Hassan. The rest of the IEBC commissioners are men and women of repute and accomplishment, having been appointed after a rigorous vetting process. Despite flying high in the credibility cloud, the IEBC has, however, lately made three mistakes that could impair its esteem in the eyes of the public.

First, the statement attributed to the commission when it was advocating an election date not earlier than December 2012 to the effect that “the commission is not ready” to hold polls before then was uncalled-for and unsettling.

Given the hopes that Kenyans have in the Hassan team, this statement brought worrying thoughts on what would happen if, for example, the coalition government collapsed before December or some other developments necessitated a general election before December. Secondly, the commission was recently rebuffed by Parliament and public opinion for asking for “too much money” to conduct elections.
Third, the commission is now embroiled in an untidy procurement row relating to the award of a lucrative Sh3.9 billion Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) tender.

The tender will see the supply of 9,750 BVR kits through which the commission expects to register 16.4 million voters in a fresh exercise which will see it do away with the current manual registers. Thus the goods being supplied through this tender are crucial to a free and fair election that the country so much craves as the antidote to the post-2007 election mess.

By far, it is this last issue that threatens to undermine the credibility the IEBC enjoys from Kenyans. How the commission deals with this matter is extremely crucial. The questions being raised around this tender are not trivial. Four issues so far stick out and the commission must deal with the claims.

One, the Indian company that first won the tender before a fallout in the commission that led to a cancellation alleges that it was struck out for declining to give a Sh30 million bribe. To be fair to the IEBC, the bribery claim is directed against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The other three issues, however, fall directly at the commission’s doorstep. The first of these is the claim that the identity of the company proposed to get the tender is in doubt. While the IEBC continues to refer to the company as Africa Symphony, the company’s director, Mr Rajender Singh Sachdeva, says the company is officially registered as Systems Integrations Limited, but its business name is Symphony. This is suspicious.

Then there are claims that the company — or its progenitor — was blacklisted in 1994 by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee for shoddy performance. It is also claimed that the company’s liquidity and experience are doubtful.

Its ability to handle the magnitude of tasks that will come with the tender and its capacity to deliver on the specific BVR requirements has been questioned. Interestingly, the company admits that it has no capacity and will have to depend on the capabilities of its “German partner” should it win the tender.

Finally and even more disastrous if found to be true, the so-called Africa Symphony company is allegedly associated with politically connected individuals and wheeler dealers.
The matter of this tender, if not handled candidly, strongly and convincingly has the capacity of ruining IEBC’s track record.

Prof Kindiki is a lawyer and scholar specialising in international law. Gitau Warigi’s column resumes next week

DONT WRITE CHEAP BOOKS TO SETTLE POLITICAL SCORES

· 0 comments

Prof.Makau Mutua

By MAKAU MUTUA
SUNDAY NATION
Posted Saturday,
July 28 2012

It’s an attempted take-down of Raila Odinga and his political machine by a disgruntled former employee who was fired

They say you should get out of the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat. And you shouldn’t throw stones if you live in a glass house.

But you must lie in the bed you make, even if it’s made of thorns. Methinks these truisms probably apply to the “man with the same name twice”. That’s why I’ve decided to do an intellectual audit of Miguna Miguna and his book – Peeling Back the Mask.

Let me state the bottom line upfront. Mr Miguna is merely a lawyer, not an intellectual. That’s why his book shouldn’t be read as a labour of the intellect. It’s not a work of theory, or good political science. It’s a gossipy political screed.

I laboured mightily to get through Mr Miguna’s book. That’s because it’s carelessly written.

It’s too long for no reason – it’s 614 pages, but I believe Mr Miguna could easily have condensed it into 200 pages if he was disciplined. There’s too much wasted verbiage, repetition, and bad organisation. The problem is that Mr Miguna wrote the book in a hurried huff. That’s why Peeling Back the Mask doesn’t fit into any known genre of writing.

It’s not really a memoir, as Mr Miguna claims. A memoir is an autobiographical literary genre. But Mr Miguna’s book is rather a “political expose”. One might best describe it as a tawdry “scandal sheet” meant primarily to bring Prime Minister Raila Odinga down.

Most importantly, the book lacks intellectual integrity. It reads like a fireplace chat with a narrator who worked in the corridors of power. Mr Miguna fails to grasp that Kenya is a post-colonial state that has yet to cohere as a nation. No one can truly appreciate the near-collapse of the state in 2008 – and the coalition government – without this overarching theoretical architecture.

Shockingly, the book makes no pretence to reference scholarly works on Kenya, or establish an analytical frame. One wonders whether Mr Miguna has read – and understood – any serious books on Kenyan political history. There’s no evidence of any scholarly research. That’s why the book often sounds like a hatchet job by Mr Odinga’s political opponents.

But there’s more. I was particularly struck – even dumbfounded – by the crudity of Mr Miguna’s language.

Language should be a friend, not the enemy, of the writer. But Mr Miguna easily turns this wisdom on its head. There’s too much gratuitous violence in the book. It’s an epithet-ridden tome that’s jarring to the civilised ear.

Mr Miguna refers to somebody as Raila’s “dog”. There isn’t a more despicable name that one Kenyan can call another.

Nobody deserves such an unthinkable slur. In fact, no human being does. But that’s Mr Miguna for you – his mouth and pen are ungoverned by any moral code of conduct.

The book is nothing but vendetta. It’s an attempted take-down of Mr Odinga and his political machine.

But it’s written by a disgruntled former employee who was unceremoniously fired.

After he was sacked, Mr Miguna sounded like a “jilted lover”.

He confessed that he “loved” Mr Odinga and couldn’t understand how he could’ve been shown the door.

This is either hubris, or an unhealthy obsession with Mr Odinga.

None of us is indispensable in our jobs. Mr Miguna acted as though he had “a right” to the job. I think he forgot that he was just one of the many cogs in Mr Odinga’s political organisation. He conflated himself with “his master”. That’s why he can’t let go.

I’ve seen lame attempts in the press to christen Mr Miguna as a whistleblower.

That word shouldn’t be thrown around like dirty water. Mr Miguna is the farthest thing from a whistleblower.

The term refers to an employee who “blows the whistle” on his superiors while still on the job, or resigns in protest to “spill the beans”.

It doesn’t – and can’t – refer to an employee who attacks his boss out of pique because he’s been sacked.

An employee who only talks after the sack lacks courage, or moral integrity. Such an employee would’ve continued to serve loyally – in spite of his boss’ misconduct – had he not been given the boot.

There are disingenuous attempts to equate former anti-graft czar John Githongo to Mr Miguna. That’s baloney.

Mr Githongo wasn’t fired – he quit to protest at corruption. He was a true whistleblower.

He had no personal animus or vendetta against President Mwai Kibaki or any of the ministers implicated in Anglo Leasing.

He never – even in private – used primitive and crude language to dehumanise them.

In contrast, Mr Miguna has such personal bile against Mr Odinga and his close aides that it’s impossible for him to be objective.

He’s blinded by fury. That’s because he left a comfortable middle class life in Canada only to see his dreams of a high-flying political career in Kenya go up in smoke.

I wrote last week that Mr Miguna had a right to write his so-called “memoirs.” I still do.

In fact, I encourage Kenyans – especially those who have shaped the character and nature of the Kenyan state and society at the highest levels – to write their own memoirs.

But I urge they do so as objectively as possible – and without pique.

Don’t write cheap books to settle political scores with opponents.

Seek help from real writers or editors to avoid inflicting pain on the reader.

Mr Miguna fails on all these counts. That’s why I grade his book a “D.”

Makau Mutua is Dean and SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC.

MIGUNA SHOULD SPARE US THIS ARROGANCE

· 0 comments

Philip Ochieng'

By PHILIP OCHIENG
SUNDAY NATION
Posted Saturday,
July 28 2012

The science of psychology suggests that there is no such thing as absolute mental sanity. This should follow, at any rate, from the fact that every natural phenomenon is a double-edged self-contradiction.

That is probably why, despite our high level of specific intelligence, every human being suffers from one delusion or another.

Megalomania — the delusion of self-importance — is among the most common of all such conditions that Brian Masters describes in his illuminating book The Evil That Men Do. It was what pursued Amin, Bokassa, Bush II, Franco, De Gaulle, Hitler, Lon Nol, Marcos, Mobutu, Napoleon, Stalin, Thatcher and others with such fury.

The term megalomania is composed of megalo and mania. The Latin mania refers to a mental state characterised by uncontrolled excitement or euphoria and often violence.

A mania is an obsession, fixation or preoccupation with, for instance, money, sex, power or war — all driven by deep-seated and morbid egotism.

In Kenya, many link kleptomania with the Moi and Kibaki regimes. For the functionaries steal big. That is why kleptomaniacs can also be called megalomaniacs. The Greek megalo or mega — means big, bloated, grandiose and exaggerated, especially in the pursuit of power, characterised — on gaining it — with a streak of sadism.

Thus, even without reading Miguna Miguna’s book, Peeling Back The Mask, those with television sets will have seen for themselves — and to their utter horror and dismay — a man powerfully consumed by his own genius, a man full to overflowing with his own greatness, a man whose ego only a psychiatrist can fathom.

That is why Kenyans should be grateful that Mr Miguna is no longer in the service of anybody so close to ultimate power as Raila Odinga.

For the probability of Mr Odinga romping to State with Mr Miguna in his retinue was very great. I shudder violently at the mere thought of it.

Had Mr Miguna reached State House, would even Cabinet Ministers have escaped his wrath — his chest-thumping bigness, his bloated heroics, his devil-may-care oral fisticuffs, the know-it-all conceit with which he dares even President Kibaki? Mr Miguna is probably acutely intelligent and highly skilled.

But it takes the inordinate haughtiness for him to be the one announcing it to the world.

It reminds us of the character in Kenneth Grahame’s satitical novel The Wind in the Willows: Of all the great intellects of our world, none knows half as much as the Great Mister Toad! I know people in that office — like Salim Lone and the son of Clem Lubembe — who are at least equally intelligent and skilled.

A critic with any sense of proportion would have known much better than to stand in the agora to proclaim to the whole world that he was the only one who ever did anything worth doing in that office.

Habitual self-praise is often but the fig leaf with which to cover the inadequacies of one’s intellectual genitals. But it seems extremely difficult for our hero to work with others, listen to their views and — for the sake of harmony — occasionally yield to their suggestions.

Imposing one’s own ideas on one’s colleagues is just incompatible with the democracy that we desperately need.

Nor is the habit of sending to newspaper offices very badly written articles with the instruction to the editors that they are not to remove even a comma and then calling them all sorts of names when they reject this. The only saving grace is that Miguna Miguna is not alone in this empty-headed arrogance.

Our government offices are chockfull of three-piece-suited characters who rate themselves extremely highly and will react with extreme oral violence whenever you point out their shortcomings to them.

That is why I often admonish Mr Odinga to surround himself with aides who are firm and intelligent but humane and humble.

JESSE JACKSON JR MOVE TO MAYO COULD POINT TO COMPLICATIONS

· 0 comments

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2011 file photo, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., is seen... (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

By JASON KEYSER
Associated Press The Associated Press
Saturday, July 28, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) — The announcement that Jesse Jackson Jr. had been transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota pinned down his whereabouts for the first time in weeks and gave clear confirmation that the Illinois congressman is suffering from depression.

It also was the first mention that he's now being treated for a "gastrointestinal issue," which some experts said Saturday was a sign his condition is becoming more complicated.

The Chicago Democrat and son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has been on a secretive leave of absence for nearly seven weeks, during which his office has released only occasional snippets of information, including that he was undergoing treatment for a "mood disorder" at an undisclosed inpatient facility.

A new, three-sentence written statement from the congressman was distributed by the Mayo Clinic late Friday during the national broadcast of the Olympics' opening ceremony, when public attention was more likely fixed half a world away.

As in the past, the statement gave scant detail, an apparent ongoing strategy in the face of pressure from congressional colleagues and constituents clamoring for an in-depth explanation.

It said he had been transferred to the Mayo Clinic for "extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and gastrointestinal issues," but gave no information on the nature of his depression, where Jackson was being treated prior to arriving at the Mayo Clinic or his progress.

The clinic said Saturday it could not release anything further.

Mention of a gastrointestinal problem raised new questions — whether it's linked to the depression, entirely unrelated or a complication from a 2004 procedure he underwent to help him lose weight.

"Certainly some people do, as part of their depression or anxiety disorder, manifest it with gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea," said Matthew Lilly, a psychiatrist in Rochester, Minn., who did a yearlong fellowship at Mayo in 2010 before going into private practice.
"But for them to even comment on that would, to me, sound as if it's a significant issue and not just a mild symptom associated with his illness," he said.

The Mayo Clinic has a highly rated gastrointestinal department as well as a free-standing inpatient psychiatric unit, said John Anderson of the Associates in Psychiatry and Psychology in southeastern Minnesota.

He said people receiving psychiatric care are often transferred to the clinic when a physical illness develops since both can be treated there.

"Mayo does an excellent job in terms of combining those, so they can treat what's essentially a dual diagnosis," Anderson said.

Phone messages left Saturday for Jackson's spokesman weren't immediately returned.

There was no word Saturday on how long Jackson might remain at the Mayo Clinic.

Typically, Mayo will keep someone as a psychiatric inpatient anywhere from several days to several weeks, Lilly said, though he added the use of the phrase "extensive inpatient evaluation" suggested to him it could be longer for Jackson.

"That would be pretty unusual for someone to stay as an inpatient more than a couple of weeks unless there were some pretty complicated issues going on," Lilly said.

The Mayo Clinic has treated other high-profile figures, including Saudi King Abdullah, and has a reputation for top-level security and strict patient privacy, which is evidently important to the congressman and those around him.

Clinic spokesman Ginger Plumbo said it released the brief statement only because Jackson's staff requested it.

"We would never just release information about any patient without their request or consent," Plumbo said.

The timing of Jackson's medical leave has raised questions, in part because Jackson is facing an ethics investigation in the U.S. House connected to imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The congressman went on leave June 10, but his office didn't disclose it until weeks later. Initially, his office said Jackson was being treated for exhaustion. Since then, the office has said his condition was more serious and required inpatient medical treatment.

Earlier this month, a statement from an unidentified doctor said Jackson was receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for "a mood disorder."

The House Ethics Committee is investigating allegations that Jackson was involved in discussions about raising money for Blagojevich's campaign in exchange for the then-governor appointing him to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Jackson was not charged and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

BLACK COUPLE SAYS RACISM FORCED THEIR WEDDING RELOCATION

· 0 comments

In this image taken from video and provided by WLBT TV, shows Charles and Te'Andrea...

The Associated Press
Saturday, July 28, 2012

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi couple says the church where they planned to get married turned them away because they are black.

Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson say they had set the date and mailed invitations, but the day before their wedding they say they got bad news from the pastor of predominantly white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs: Some members of the church complained about the black couple having a wedding there.

The Wilsons, who live in nearby Jackson, said they attend the church regularly although they are not members.

Pastor Stan Weatherford told WLBT TV (bit.ly/QSNlf8 ) he was surprised when a small number of church members opposed holding the wedding at the church.

"This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that," said Weatherford.

Weatherford performed the July 21 ceremony at another church.

"I didn't want to have a controversy within the church, and I didn't want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te'Andrea. I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day," said Weatherford.

WLBT reported that church officials now say they welcome any race. They plan to hold internal meetings on how to move forward.

Church member Casey Kitchens said she and other members of the congregation are outraged by the church's refusal to marry a black couple, a decision she says most of the congregation knew nothing about.

"This is a small, small group of people who made a terrible decision," Kitchens told The Clarion-Ledger (on.thec-l.com/QSRyQa). "I'm just ashamed right now that my church would do that. I can't fathom why. How unfair. How unjust. It's just wrong."

"I blame the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, I blame those members who knew and call themselves Christians and didn't stand up," said Charles Wilson.

Wilson told the newspaper that he understands Weatherford was caught in a difficult position and he still likes the pastor, but he also thinks the pastor should have stood up to the members who didn't want the couple to marry in the church.

"It's not reflective of the spirit of the Lord and Mississippi Baptists," the Mississippi Baptist Convention executive director, the Rev. Jim Futral, said. "It's just a step backward. ... It's a sad thing."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

IS KENYA’S NEW CONSTITUTION PROVING TO BE A MONSTER FOR THE EXECUTIVE?

· 0 comments

IEBC Chiefs Isaak Hassan and James Oswago at a Diaspora meeting in the USA
Turkana women in North Rift Valley on polling day in 2007

By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
July 25, 2012

August 27 2010 was indeed a historic moment in Kenya. The elusive constitution that the reformists had sought, fought and even died for was finally there carried aloft by President Mwai Kibaki at Uhuru Park.

To witness the occasion, the whole world descended on Nairobi. International media and African leaders mingled freely. Uhuru Park was packed to capacity.

Braving the chilly morning weather, dignitaries who didn’t get there on time had no place to sit. Footages on TV networks spotted retired presidents, world leaders and even judges just standing in the crowd since state protocol had run out of seats!
As President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga cheered; as ordinary Kenyans went wild cheering the new born baby, something seemed to be amiss. There was one unwelcome guest in the crowd. Somebody had cheekily invited Omar El Bashir an indicted international criminal to the party!

As the euphoria died down and Kenyans went back to their daily routine, what they didn’t anticipate was that implementing the same constitution would prove to be a real challenge.

Now almost two years later, so many bills that were meant to be passed to facilitate numerous sections of the constitution are yet to be tabled in parliament. Police reforms are in limbo. Conservatives are busy trying to derail reforms in the provincial administration. If anything they are fighting tooth and nail to retain the old colonial relic- the provincial security network.

This intransigence has been the bone of contention between the Executive and the Judiciary with ordinary Kenyans taking the Executive on in several court battles using our newly empowered judiciary.

In a span of one month, the courts have nullified three Executive appointments not to mention ordering the arrest of Omar El Bashir should he set foot on Kenyan soil again.

Kenyans are painfully realizing that the new Judiciary headed by Dr. Willy Mutunga is not laughing with anybody. It would appear like he has decided that the law must remain the law and justice must truly remain blind.

First, President Mwai Kibaki suddenly one day appointed 47 county commissioners that had not even been created by parliament, oblivious to the fact that such positions did not exist in the constitution. More serious was the fact that he failed to consult his Prime Minister as the law required. Worst of all he forgot that the new constitution was very sensitive to gender, regional and ethnic balance. On these grounds, the court granted ordinary Kenyans their prayer and nullified the appointments.

A few weeks after appointing counting commissioners, the President waded into yet another controversy that raged in the National Hospital Insurance Board. What started as an internal disagreement among board members over the provision of medical cover for civil servants and teachers escalated beyond the Ministry of Medical Services. Before Kenyans realized what was afoot, the Office of the President had already taken over, sacked the entire NHIF Board together with the Chief Executive and appointed a new lot.

The next thing we knew; the doctors’ body went to court to challenge the President’s authority to sack the old board and appoint a new one.

In another ruling this week, the courts granted the doctors their prayer. Once more, the Executive lost.

As the week progressed, another court in Mombasa dealt the Executive another blow. At stake was the unilateral directive by the late Internal Security Minister, George Saitoti to ban the Mombasa Republican Council- a separatist movement that is agitating for a separate state. The minister’s decree followed explicit warnings from both the President and Prime Minister that the Coast would always remain a part of Kenya. It was this decree that the Mombasa Republican Council challenged in court.
When the court sat this week to give its verdict, it awarded the MRC its request. The court declared the presidential decree unconstitutional. The Executive losing three cases in a week was a bit too much for the once all powerful, all knowing center of authority. It would appear like the new constitution that the President promulgated just two years ago has turned to haunt the very presidency.

However, the biggest challenge the constitution has posed to the coalition government is when to hold the next elections. Without a new constitution, the President would have had the powers to prorogue parliament and have elections in December 2012 as Kenyans have done since 1969. However the new constitution clearly stated that beginning 2012, Kenya would hold elections in August every five years. However, vested interests connived and moved the date to December 17 2012 then moved it again to March 4 2013 citing an ambiguous court ruling; very much to the chagrin of many Kenyans tired of endless politicking.

Now, out of the blues, some politicians are plotting to have elections in August 2013, a move that will extend the life of this parliament by a good eight months with a possible three extra months should there be a presidential rerun.

It is this latest move that has sent jitters all over the country with some presidential candidates warning the coalition government principals that if they unnecessarily extend their term in office, they should be prepared for serious public revolt. Is this what they really want for Kenya?
We say here that Kenyans are tired of this dysfunctional coalition. It is time they elected a government of their choice that can implement the constitution on time.
jerryokungu@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WORLD LEADERS MOURN GHANA'S MILLS

· 0 comments

Ghana President John Atta Mills has died after being taken ill, the presidency announced July 24, 2012, but details of his death remained unclear. World leaders were united in sending their condolences to Ghanaians following the president's sudden death. FILE

By www.africareview.com
Posted Wednesday, July 25 2012 at 11:19

World leaders were united in sending their condolences to Ghanaians following the sudden death of President John Atta Mills Tuesday.

US President Barack Obama, who hosted Mr Mills at the Oval Office in March, praised him as a "good leader who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the Ghanaian people in the midst of challenging global circumstances".

President Obama noted that under Mr Mills’ presidency, the partnership between the US and Ghana had deepened with the promotion of good governance and economic development.

"On behalf of the American people, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the people of Ghana, and reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between our democracies that President Mills helped to strengthen," he said.

President Obama visited Ghana in 2009, his only trip yet to sub-Saharan Africa.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said that he "received with shock and immense sadness the news of the passing of President John Atta Mills of Ghana".

In a statement, he extended condolences on behalf of himself, his government and the people of Nigeria to the Mills family and to the people of Ghana and praised the former President's efforts in carrying forward the process of democratic consolidation and socio-economic development in Ghana.

President Jonathan said Mr Mills did his best to carry forward the process of democratic consolidation and socio-economic development in Ghana and that he expected that the excellent relationship between the two countries would continue to be strengthened under the new leadership in Ghana.

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said the news had come as a surprise. "On a personal level his moderation and integrity stood out," she said.

South Africa's Jacob Zuma also sent his condolences.

"South Africa and Ghana enjoy strong relations at both the bilateral and multilateral levels and under President Mills' leadership, we saw genuine efforts aimed at deepening the historical relations between our two nations," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also sent a message of condolence to Ghanaians:

"I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of President Mills earlier today. President Mills was a tireless defender of democracy in West Africa and across the continent, and he will be greatly missed."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said that he was saddened by the news of the demise of Mr Mills.

In a statement through his spokesperson, he offered his heartfelt condolences to the late leader’s family and to the government and people of Ghana and said that Mr Mills would be remembered for “his statesmanship and years of dedicated service to his country.”

Mr Ban re-affirmed the commitment of the United Nations to work alongside the Government and the people of Ghana in support of their efforts to consolidate the country’s democratic and development achievements.

Former Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kofour also mourned the fallen leader's death saying that he was “deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden passing away of President John Evans Atta Mills".

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga also sent condolence messages.

TIGHT SECURITY IN MOMBASA AHEAD OF MRC RULING

· 0 comments

Anti-riot police ready to deploy outside the Mombasa High Court July 25, 2012 ahead of a ruling on the proscribed Mombasa Republican Council. LABAN WALLOGA

By ANTHONY KITIMO akitimo@ke.nationmedia.com &
EUNICE MACHUHI emachuhi@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted Wednesday, July 25 2012 at 09:46

A large contingent of anti-riot police has been deployed in Mombasa town ahead of a High Court ruling on the proscribed Mombasa Republican Council.

The police have kept vigil outside the Mombasa Law Courts where three High Court judges John Mwera, Mary Kasango and Francis Tuiyott are set to give the landmark verdict Wednesday.

Armed with guns and teargas canisters, the policemen – some of them tagging sniffer dogs along - kept a close eye on hundreds of MRC supporters trooping to the courts since morning to hear the verdict.

Everyone entering the court premises is being subjected to thorough and mandatory screening at the entrance to the High Court.

The case in which MRC is challenging its proscription by the government two years ago is one of the two the group has filed against the State.

In the second case, still pending in court, the group wants Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) barred from conducting election-related activities in the region pending a court ruling on its request to have a referendum conducted at the Coast on whether the region should secede from Kenya.

Threat to national security

Justices Mwera, Kasango and Tuiyott settled on Wednesday's ruling after hearing heated submissions by the government, which defended its move to proscribe the group terming MRC a threat to national security.

MRC on the other hand maintained that the government relied on insufficient and unsupported evidence and allegations in proscribing them.

MRC members Messrs Randu Ruwa, Robert Tukwatukwa and Nyae Ngao moved to court in 2010 challenging a gazette notice proscribing their group and want the court to prohibit the Internal Security minister from interfering with their lawful activities.

They also want the court to issue directions that will enforce the proper administration of justice in regard to their rights, which they claim have been violated.

In 2010, the minister and the Attorney General declared the MRC among 32 other groups as illegal and warned the public against dealing with them.

During the submissions, State counsel Emmanuel Bitta said that MRC’s slogan ‘Pwani si Kenya’ and its agenda were detrimental to the territorial integrity of the country, hence the Internal Security minister was right to outlaw the group.

“When a state officer makes a public policy decision, it does not against the Constitution. So the minister was right to ensure the principles are observed as well to safeguard the interests of the country,” he said.

"Patriotism and national security are being questioned by MRC in their rallying call since they do not recognise Kenya as a state. So the minister was mandated to act the way he did.”

Recognise outsiders

Further, he said that MRC was discriminating by stating that it did not recognise outsiders.

“You cannot be called a stranger in your own country. It is disrespectful,” he said.
Mr Bitta told the judges that former Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia’s affidavit provided a clear basis that the activities of the group were questionable and detrimental to the country, facts which have not been contravened or challenged.

“The State is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that a conducive environment for enjoyment of rights prevails but because there was apprehension on MRC’s activities, the government had to stop them from pursuing their agenda,” he said.

He noted the report on the 2007/2008 Post Election Violence (PEV) also known as the Waki report revealed many issues, one being a report by the intelligence service which revealed that there were groups agitating against outsiders, and the agenda was to drive the group out of the Coast region.

He added that from other intelligence and security reports, it was clear that the group was a resemblance of an organised crimes unit which needed to be prevented from pursuing its agenda.

Mr Bitta also noted that MRC had not sought to be registered as a society or a political group, hence they were adamant to operate outside the framework of the law.

He also said that the group’s call for secession cannot stand since under the international law, the right to secede only applied to colonies, and Kenya was not one as it had already achieved a right to self determination.

Additionally, he said that for the applicants to claim that they had suffered historical injustices, yet they passed the Constitution two years ago was in bad light.

“Whatever finding this court comes up with must for the benefit of the people who passed it,” he said.

Outrageous statements

In reply, MRC lawyer Steve Kithi said that it was unlawful for the State, he said to purport that it was preventing organised crime to achieve national security, yet it was harassing and suppressing his clients.

“MRC has not threatened anyone’s rights. It has no desire to assault or evict and its manifesto is clear that it does not propagate for violence,” he said.

He added that although the State had made extensive reference to the PEV report, there was no mention of MRC anywhere in the 518 page document, but there was mention of Coast and people from the region.

“These references however were not made into the context of MRC demands and the State should not rely on someone’s findings because there is no nexus on the report and MRC which was banned in 2007,” he said.

He also said that while the State had made outrageous statements concerning the group and its purported unlawful activities and even annexed press reports suggesting that the group was behind some criminal activities, no member had been summoned to record a statement.

Mr Kithi also accused the State of referring to both the Waki and Akiwumi (2002) reports to suppress MRC who were not even in existence by the time of publication, saying that the reports clearly stated that state officers had role in the violence yet no one has ever been arrested.

“The PEV report cannot be used to support the minister’s decision to declare the group illegal,” he said.

He wondered why the government was still allowing MRC members to exercise their freedom of expression and assembly if had been proscribed, noting that it (government) should come out clear on the limitation of rights.

“Even apartheid in South Africa was better compared to our case because our limitation to rights is pedestrian,” he said.