Sunday, October 21, 2012



East Africa's Headquarters 20 OCTOBER 2012 The multi-million Euro East African Community (EAC) headquarters building, which has been under construction for the last three years, has been completed. The complex, adjacent to the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) where the regional body was temporarily housed, was constructed at the cost of 14 million Euro being a grant from Germany. The official hand-over of the Construction Certificate of Practical Completion of the new EAC Headquarters by the Project Manager of the GBC Consortium, Mr. Jens Malte Neuhaus to the EAC Secretariat took place two weeks ago. Receiving the Certificate of Practical Completion on behalf of the EAC, the deputy secretary general (Finance and Administration) Mr. Jean Claude Nsengiyumva hailed the German Government through the KFW for the financial contributions towards the project. He also commended the contractors and staff of the EAC for the dedicated work that led to the successful execution of the project from November 2009 when the foundation stone was laid by the five EAC presidents. "This handover ceremony is historic in that it concludes the construction work and gives us the opportunity to own and occupy this new building", the deputy SG said as other senior officials and project consultants and contractors watched. He said a team led by the Project Consultant was exceptionally committed, dedicated and exhibited a high level of professionalism since the civil works on the building started about three years ago. "This building will inspire the East African people to look at the bigger picture of the political integration" asserted the EAC official. Present to witness the ceremony was the Registrar of the East African Court of Justice, Professor John Eudes Ruhangisa, the Director of Finance and Administration, Joseph Ochwada and other EAC officials. In his brief remarks, the EAC Senior Estates Officer and Project Co-ordinator, Mr. Phil Makini Klerruu noted that the team overseeing the works would complete outstanding works in due course as per the contractual agreement. 'We have identified a list of minor and superficial defects and discussed the same with the contractors. Let me at the outset allay any fears but rather confirm that the said works shall be finalised' , he noted. The EAC Organs have started occupying the new building. The successful completion of the EAC headquarters project located at the junction of Afrika ya Mashariki Road and the EAC Close is regarded as one of the tangible achievements of the Community in infrastructure upgrading. The other is the 243 kilometre Arusha-Namanga- Athi River road whose rehabilitation has just been completed. The road has been built under the East African Road Project.



John Mulaa 4:49 PM (15 minutes ago) Heading into Monday's final debate and with just over two weeks until Election Day, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are now tied nationally, according the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Obama and Romney both get 47 percent among likely voters in the latest edition of the poll, conducted entirely in the aftermath of the second presidential debate last Monday. In the last national NBC/WSJ poll, which was conducted before debate season began, the president held a narrow, three-point lead over his GOP challenger, 49 percent to 46 percent. But among the wider pool of all registered voters in this new survey, Obama is ahead of Romney by five points, 49 percent to 44 percent. Looking at some of the most important demographic groups, Romney leads among men (53 percent to 43 percent), Obama is up with women (51 percent to 43 percent) and they are essentially tied among voters in the Midwest. The full poll — which was conducted Oct. 17-20 among 1,000 registered voters and 816 likely voters — will be released at 6:30 pm ET tonight. The margin of error is plus-minus 3.1 percentage points for the sample of registered voters and plus-minus 3.43 percentage points for the sample of likely voters.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012



By Jerry Okungu Nairobi, Kenya October 15, 2012 Dear Honorable Shebesh, Keynan and Kilonzo, I am never in the habit of writing letters to members of the august house. As our law makers, I appreciate the onerous task that this nation has bestowed on your shoulders and that you may not have a moment to read this letter from your parliamentary pigeon holes, hence my decision to address you through the public media. In watching your Thursday’s ranting against the President and Commissioners of the CIC, I noticed one common denominator about you. You were all youthful MPs who some Kenyans have embraced as the possible leaders of the post constitution era. However, having listened to you during the debate, I realized sadly that Kenya is a doomed society if you are the leaders she has been waiting for. I know you will consider this letter unfair to the three of you considering that the controversial Finance Bill that has brought all these maneno was passed by 30 MPs, not just the three of you. You simply found yourself in this crowd of MPs that Kenyans are now calling hungry hounds of public cash. Had it not been for the subsequent debate that ensued in Parliament last Thursday soon after President Kibaki rejected your demands, I would have let this pass. Your spirited and shameless defense of what outraged the nation is what caught my attention. For the first time I saw another side of you Rachel Shebesh that you had hidden from the public for the better part of 4 years since ODM nominated you to Parliament. This time round, after ditching your first political love, the ODM for your new found sweetheart, TNA, you went ballistic. You threw all caution to the wind and told the world that your rights as an MP overrode all other rights of 40 million Kenyans. You told Kenyans that when it comes to what you can get from public coffers, you will defend your rights and the rights of fellow MPs to eternity. As you went on and on about your rights, did you for a moment pause to ask about other less endowed Kenyans toiling day and night to put a meal on the table? Did you stop to think of those miserable teachers who taught you at one time in your life and still toiled for 19,000/- per month when you worked for three days in a week and collected a cool 1 million bucks without paying taxes? Madam Shebesh, you know as well as I know that you wanted to be elected MP for Kasarani, however, the people of Kasarani denied you the nomination way before the general elections. What special qualities did you have to be nominated MP over millions of other more deserving Kenyan women? Based on education and experience, do you feel you truly deserve even to take home 100,000 bucks at the end of the month? On qualifications alone, your basic pay should not go beyond 50,000 bucks if the employer feels generous. Yes, Mheshimiwa Shebesh you have rights just like millions of other Kenyans. However, these rights do not include the right to abuse public office, steal from the public and violate the constitution. As a young Kenya, you have let the youth down big time. Now the youth know better, that age mates can be as merciless as the old guards when it comes to raiding public institutions. Hon Adan Keynan, you know you have been my hero for the better part of the 10th Parliament. When I saw you handling the Japan Embassy fiasco, I thought you were an upright man. I believed in you. The debate last Thursday changed all that. I saw the real Adan Keynan, the man who would stop at nothing to get what he wants. Now I can revisit Moses Wetangula’s complaints when you were probing his ministry. He alluded to the fact that your committee wanted something small in order to go slow on the probe. However, as expected, you vehemently denied the allegations. Now I know better. Hon Adan, you say that the bill you moved in Parliament last week late into the night was not your bill. You maintain it was a government bill and all you did was to table it on request from the Minister for Finance! However, why did the Finance Minister choose you among other several cabinet ministers? Was it because you are the Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Service Committee with an overwhelming interest in that insertion on MPs send off package? Was your choice as innocent as you would like the public to believe? Did you truly believe that the President of Kenya would approve that outrageous bill that clearly went against the constitution? What was so difficult in you studying the bill and if you found it against the interests of Kenya declined to table i? Hon Charles Kilonzo, you ominously threatened the Finance Minister not to table a tax bill because the MPs would defeat it. Fair enough. However, if the government shut down, how many MPs would go without pay for just two weeks? Are you aware that Parliament is just a third of the government and Kenyans would not allow 222 people to hold them to ransom? Are you aware that Kenyans can match to Parliament and camp there for weeks until you all go home? Have you forgotten what happened to the Egyptian Parliament at Tahir Square? People power overthrew the entire military regime that had entrenched itself since World War II! Looking at you collectively, I saw that you tried so hard to justify your blatant fleacing of the treasury on the excuse that Commissioner Nyachae and others earn more money than MPs. Fair enough. However, do you realize that the eight commissioners headed by Nyachae are a highly specialized lot who went to school for many years in attaining what they did before they became commissioners? Are you aware that the eight commissioners work 24/7 drafting the bills that the 222 MPs are unable to pass on time? The fact that MPs vet commissioners is no justification to demand more pay. If you don’t like you pay, just resign and go seeking a commissioner’s job. If all workers started demanding higher salaries because their colleagues earned more, there would industrial chaos on the land.



By Jerry Okungu Nairobi, Kenya October 15, 2012 Hon Sheikh Dor is an honorable man. He is a member of parliament of the Republic of Kenya. He is not in that parliament courtesy of his massive following in the coast. No, he is in the august house at the pleasure of the ODM party that nominated him in 2008. Now honorable Dor has launched his own party and declared support for the Mombasa Republican Council, an armed outfit that has amassed guns and grenades to fight the Government of Kenya. A gun fight on Monday morning at the home of the MRC leader told it all. The leader’s bodyguards had the audacity to barricade a street to their leader’s home ostensibly to obstruct justice. Furthermore, they were armed to the teeth and in the ensuing gun fire; two people lay dead with scores injured. This is the group that a learned cleric and a law maker of Dor’s caliber feels has the legitimate right to exercise its rights despite its clearly spelt out mandate- to hive a part of Kenya for its own selfish gains. The situation at the coast is not helped by deranged rights activists that are fond of shooting their mouths and aiming later. A foolish man in this day and age can challenge the legitimacy of a government and even give the government a 14 day ultimatum to succumb to its demands or else the idiot goes on the streets to demonstrate! Did these people not see the President of Kenya giving them his sternest warnings to date? Didn’t they hear President telling that they are foolish and not fit to be Kenyans and that they belong in hell? Now, when a Head of State and Commander in Chief of Kenyan Defense Forces talks like that, only a fool would dare defy him. If you doubt me, ask the Al Shabaabs in Kismayu and other militia groups that have from time to time taunted Kenyans. I sometimes wonder whether some leaders in the coast and their rights activists live in the real world; because if they did, they would have learnt from history right here at home. They would have remembered that the Shifta militia tried to run away with Kenya’s Northern Frontier District in the early days of independence. They would have remembered that the Mt. Elgon militia tried a similar thing in the last decade. They would have remembered that Kenya’s Defence Forces are still in Somalia to deal with violent insurgents in that country. In all the three cases, separatists never succeeded. Hon Sheik Dor may have the cash or wealthy friends to finance a fanatical group bent of dismembering Kenya. I guess it is his right to do so under the Kenyan constitution. However, all he needs to remember is that these rights that are touted by Tom, Dick and Harry are never absolute anywhere in the world. No one has the right to chop the hands of another in broad day light. Other Kenyans, Muslim or not have their rights too protected by the same constitution. These rights can never be realized meaningfully through violence. Violence only succeeds in the law of the jungle where the strongest may survive. We are a modern and civilized state with a judicial and parliamentary process that works. We have an elected government that swore to protect the constitution, the lives and property of all its citizens. This government is not in the business of standing by as hooligans masquerading as human rights groups and religious clerics cause chaos in our society. It is the reason that the law must be allowed to deal with these elements ruthlessly and without mercy. In a civilized democracy, Sheikh Dor would have resigned from parliament and the party that nominated him to parliament because no matter how one tries to justify his actions, he is obviously no longer in sync with the ODM party in more ways than one. Openly offering to support the MRC financially can only point to one thing; that he is an active member of the MRC and believer in their doctrine of separatism. There is something that President Museveni did to armed thugs in Kampala in the early 1990s that should be useful to the Kenya government when it comes to fighting armed militia groups. At the height of armed robbers in Kampala, Museveni declared that any Ugandan found with arms without authority of the state must be treated as an enemy of the state. The people to deal with such characters would be the armed military because such thugs were no longer considered civilians. He went on to clarify that in his understanding, only the military, the police and licensed private guards had the right to carry arms at all times. Anybody else with a gun would be subject to military action by the military. Such people would be shot on sight without recourse to the law courts and human rights litigations. In Museveni’s mind, an armed thug had no rights to be respected because he respected no other peoples’ rights. Finally, there is one thing that the MRC and Sheikh Dor need to know. Kenyans are very peaceful people however, when it comes to patriotism and fighting for the sovereignty of their land including the coast strip, they will defend their country with all their might, religious zealots notwithstanding. And Kenyans with foreign ideologies or extractions that live in the coast had better appreciate this simple truth. Yes, the coast may have the majority Muslims but it is a part of Kenya that is 80% Christian. That 80% prefers one united Kenya that includes the coastal strip. If you don’t like it; take a walk as President Kibaki told you last Friday

Sunday, October 14, 2012



By Jerry Okungu Nairobi, Kenya October 8, 2012 Not all MPs in Kenya’s tenth parliament are thugs and pirates. Not MPs are all robbers that visit the public coffers in the dead of the night then load sacks of cash into their tracks when the rest of Kenyans are asleep. But we have just about 30 such criminals in parliament that are fond of passing outrageous bills that border on high treason. If they are not amending the finance bill at night to line up their pockets, they mutilate drafted laws to allow them to hop from party to party until the cows come home. If they are not doing either of the above, they are busy watering down Ethics and Integrity law to allow thieves, murderers, drug lords and rapists to continue being elected to public office. The 30 MPs who awarded themselves cash did not work alone. They were in cahoots with that disgraced commission called the Parliamentary Service Commission and the Minister for Finance. They must have got the nod that indeed they could get away with it. After all, the Speaker of the National Assembly had earlier publicly stated that MPs earned peanuts and therefore deserved a pay rise. Kenyans can no longer be hurt or shocked by strange activities in parliament. The behavior of Kenya’s MPs has become a way of life and sadly enough, citizens are getting used to their mischief. It is the kind of insensitivity that numbs the body. However, there is one thing that citizens of this country can do. And the media can help with this. Kenyans need to have the names and pictures of all those 30 MPs that conspired to steal from Kenyans last Thursday night. Their names, pictures and constituencies they come from should be public knowledge; published in all media channels for seven days so that Kenyans can digest the list of shame. Having done that, ordinary Kenyans should move to court to remove them from parliament and permanently bar them from holding public office since what they did went against public morality, ethics and integrity. They misused their positions and office to enrich themselves. It amounted to abuse of office. Recent events in parliament, the Executive and judiciary arms of government indicate that the new constitution is indeed under threat. The good parts of the constitution that made it attractive to Kenyans at the referendum and promulgation are being eaten away bit by bit by the lords of impunity who feel threatened by the very constitution we passed just the other day. If the constitution created the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution to be in charge of bills for the implementation of the constitution, where does parliament get powers to mutilate such bills to serve its selfish interests? If the constitution created the Salaries and Remuneration Commission for all state officers in the public service, where do parliamentarians get the powers to be the employer and employees at the same time? If the constitution created the separation of powers among the three arms of government, where does the Executive get powers to disobey court orders? If the constitution created Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board, where does the judiciary get the powers to halt its operations? Blatant disregard for the constitution when it suits us in parliament, Executive or Judiciary does not auger well for the well being of Kenya, more so at this critical moment in our history. What happened in parliament last week was callous and dangerous for this nation. It was the kind of act that makes governments be overthrown. It was an incitement of the highest order; more so when it came so soon after the long teachers and doctors’ strike. What these 30 MPs ended up telling Kenyans was that indeed there is money to be played around with however, only MPs are allowed to enjoy that privilege. One CIC commissioner had an interesting thing to say about this unfortunate bill. He was of the opinion that since the bill was against the constitution, it would remain a nullity even if the President signed it into law; meaning that whoever paid the MPs such amounts would be held personally responsible in a court of law. Thank God the President had the presence of mind to reject the bill as unconstitutional and unsustainable However, I hope there is room for the law to go further. These 30 MPs who passed the obnoxious bill must each be held personally responsible for planning to fraudulently obtain money from the public. They have to be charged with economic crime and punished for it so that they become an example to others who may in future want to go through the same route in the dead of the night. These 30 MPs may have inadvertently conspired to cause chaos in Kenya on the eve of the elections so that elections could be postponed. Imagine what other Kenyan workers would do if they realized that there was cash to be lavished on 222 law makers and their Speaker while they went hungry every night! What would happen if all civil servants, teachers, doctors and state corporation workers downed their tools demanding pay rises? What would happen if all the jobless youths, university students, lecturers and non teaching staff went on strike demanding jobs, allowances and more pay? What would happen if all the armed forces, the police, the military and prison guards went on strike to demand better pay and terms of service? There would be no end to chaos in Kenya. It is the reason this reckless act by MPs must be stopped in its tracks.



By Jerry Okungu Nairobi, Kenya October 10, 2012 As a young boy still in school, my parents put me in a bus to go to Kampala to visit my nephew who was a bicycle repairer near Nsambya Police Station in Kampala. My journey started from Kisumu at 9pm in a bus that was then known as the OTC or East African Road Services. I was scared because I was travelling alone for the first time outside my village. I was apprehensive because nobody had bothered to tell my nephew to expect me. In those days, there were no mobile phones or internet to convey instant messages. The landline phone was a status symbol and was out of the reach of my nephew, a bicycle repairer. The only known method was to write a letter that would be delivered after more than a week. A quicker method would be to send a telegraph that would be delivered in a day. However, this method would send the wrong message even before the recipient opened it because it was generally reserved for bad news like the death of a family member. When I arrived in Kampala one April morning in 1966, I found a big and confusing city. However, because I was wearing my school uniform, members of the public tended to be helpful in Kenya as they were in Uganda. In this dilemma, I had one card up my sleeve. If I got lost, I would report to any police officer on patrol and explain my circumstances. However, the first person I approached to show me where Nsambya police station was became my savior. He realized from my accent that I was not a Ugandan. He then asked me who I was going to visit. When I informed him that my nephew was Nicodemus Mbuya Obiero the bicycle repairer, he gave me a warm smile telling me not to worry because he knew the man and where he lived. In a few minutes, I was safely home. My impression of Kampala and Uganda in general was that Kampala was a clean city, organized and that Ugandans were a prosperous, kind and civilized people. At that tender age, I fell in love with Uganda and did not want to go back home. I wanted to go to school in Uganda and if possible, live there forever. For the four weeks I spent in Uganda, my adventurous spirit made me explore Kampala by day, strolling to the gates of the Kabaka Palace, Uganda’s parliament and landmarks like the judiciary and the Uganda National Theatre. I marveled at the Apollo Hotel named after the President. While in Kampala, something happened in Uganda’s parliament that was to remain engraved in my mind. I heard about it because it was relayed live on Radio Uganda. Prime Minister Apollo Milton Obote had launched his Common Man’s Charter as the official Uganda People’s Congress political blue print. This step was in line with what other East African partner states had done. In Kenya, Tom Mboya had launched for Kenyatta the African Socialism manifesto as a way to rebuff the socialist policies of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga who was believed to be an ally of communist USSR and China. Next door, Tanzania had launched Ujamaism as a way of fast-tracking rural development among its peasants. Five decades down the line, none of these grandiose policies ever worked for Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda. Two months after leaving Kampala, I was devastated to hear that Apollo Milton Obote had ordered the Uganda Army to bomb the Kabaka’s palace, Uganda’s first President and install himself as the President of the United Republic of Uganda. Young as I was, my intuition told me that beautiful Uganda would be no more. I had a feeling that Obote would not rule Uganda for long because he had told the army to disobey constitutional authority. Five years later, Apollo Milton Obote was overthrown by the very man who he had detailed to bomb the Kabaka’s palace. Field Marshal Idi Amin timed the moment when Obote was out in Sri Lanka attending a Commonwealth meeting to take over the government with the full backing of the British and the local Baganda who hated Obote for destroying their royal authority. The 9 years of Obote’s mixed fortunes were followed by 9 years of Idi Amin’s murderous regime that saw close 500,000 Ugandans slaughtered with thousands of Asians expelled as millions of black Ugandans trooped into exile. And had it not been for Amin’s buffoonery and constant insults against Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, his murderous regime might have lasted longer. Nyerere’s troops invaded Uganda and sent Amin fleeing into Jeddah for the rest of his life. When Amin left the scene in 1979, Uganda’s economy, judicial system, parliament and social order were in tatters. The Uganda shilling which at one time was as strong as Kenya’s was worthless. The worthless currency triggered a lot of smuggling of major export commodities across the borders of Kenya. The departure of Amin was not the end of Uganda’s problems. Obote’s return to power did not help matters. A few years later, Obote was overthrown a second time after rigging the elections. In between, presidents Lule, Binaisa and Tito Okello did not last long in that office. A semblance of stability only returned to Uganda after a prolonged bush war led by Yoweri Museveni that finally overthrew Tito Okello in 1986. The 26 years that have followed since the NRM took power have seen stability return to Uganda. Though Yoweri Museveni is not appreciated by sections of Uganda as a democratic, one must acknowledge that broken institutions under past regimes are back and functioning. For this Ugandans should be grateful as they make their country a better place to live in for the next 50 years.

Monday, October 8, 2012



Photo: SAPA stringer File photo: Striking miners erect burning barricades. BY MANDY DE WAAL, DAILY MAVERICK 8 OCTOBER 2012 Johannesburg No peace is to be found on Rustenburg's platinum belt - tensions are rising at Amplats, where a worker was shot dead by police last week and 12,000 workers got sacked. Strikers said they'd die before allowing new labour on site, while police demanded that workers get permits for gatherings. But leaders of the wildcat strike say conditions for permission to assemble are impossible to comply with, and add that labour will gather in defiance of any ban. The situation looks increasingly dangerous. "They shot that worker in cold blood. It is nothing more than cold-blooded murder, but the state doesn't have the political courage to own up to this," Mametlwe Sebei, a leader in SA's Democratic Socialist Movement, told Daily Maverick. Sebei is talking about 48-year-old mine worker Mtshunquleni Qakamba, who died after police opened fire on strikers. The workers gathered on a hill adjacent to Anglo American Platinum's Merensky reef near Rustenburg on Thursday 04 October 2012, to get an update on the wildcat strike. The next day, 12,000 miners were dismissed by Amplats, as management and unions were set to start talks in a move that draw fighting talk from strike leaders. "Despite the company's repeated calls for employees to return to work, we have continued to experience attendance levels of less than 20%," read a statement from Amplats, which has lost some R700 million in revenue since the strike began. Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has been hit by an illegal strike since 12 September, when workers downed tools and demanded an increase to R16,070 per month. Workers have told media that R12,500 (the Lonmin strikers' original demand) should be the standard basic pay for miners in South Africa. But strike leaders say that Amplats hasn't got a hope in hell of bringing replacement labour into the mines. "Nobody will come and operate these mines. If there any people we feel must go, it is them, not us," said Evans Ramokga, who threatened that new labour would only be hired "over our dead bodies." To add to rising tensions, police have declared any meetings held without consent in the area illegal. "People are living in a state of emergency in Rustenburg, and the police are saying that there is a regulation that we must apply for permits to hold any gathering," said Sebei, adding that workers needed to get a new permit for each meeting, and that law enforcement officers have told them each permit must stipulate a separate and different context for each meeting. "The police are making it impossible for us to meet, try and update workers on the strike situation, or to get a mandate from the miners to negotiate. Each time we want to gather, the police say we need a separate permit and there are all these conditions. This during a strike where the situation can change dramatically from minute to minute, and we need to communicate effectively with the workers," Sebei - who is helping to co-ordinate independent strike committees in Rustenburg and beyond - complained. Sebei said that the workers had decided to continue in defiance of what he called police impositions on the miners' right to gather. "That man (Mtshunquleni Qakamba) was killed because the police and the military are supporting the mining bosses by the command of the government, and are engaging in a savage onslaught on workers and civilians in the township every night. They are throwing tear gas into the shacks virtually every night." Last week, Sebei says, workers had applied for permits but were getting no response from the police. "First there was a sit-in at the mines underground. We did this for two days, but the management switched off the water and air, and we were forced to come up. We then had to meet with the workers to get feedback from them, which is our democratic right. Workers must get reports from us on a daily basis," the strike organiser said. The workers went to a place called 'the mountain' near Amplats to gather and discuss strike issues. "The police came and surrounded us on Thursday, like they had done the day before. They said they would give us ten minutes to disperse and then they started to count. But they counted like this: 'Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven ' Even before they got to nought the teargas and bullets came." After the fire the workers took the body, and wouldn't surrender it to police. "The workers took the body and called us, and we arranged for the media to independently identify the killing. We took photos of the body and we took this to the media. The media called the police but even then the police refused to confirm the death. The media had to come to Rustenburg and to see the body for themselves. The police then came to collect the body the next day in the full view of the media. If it was not for the workers, Mtshunquleni Qakamba would have died in oblivion. No one would have known about his death." Police were unable to comment on the death of Qakamba, because the matter had already been referred to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate for investigation. "The cause of the death and all its circumstances are currently under investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) as the incident appeared to have arisen from police action," Colonel Emelda Setlhako told News24. "The police instructed the mineworkers to disperse, but the instruction was ignored. The crowd began stoning the police who then had to use stun grenades, rubber bullets and teargas to disperse them," she said. Sebei said that there had been five to six other killings that had not been reported. "The police are killing people, but it is not being reported because the police refuse to confirm when they take bodies. That is why the workers took that body, so it can become a matter of public attention. "When we went back to the site yesterday, we saw that there were cartridges on the ground. This showed us that the police used live bullets. This man, he was hit on the body, he was bleeding from the chest. We found cartridges showing that live ammunition had been used," Sebei said. The strike organiser said that in the middle of September an armoured police vehicle drove over a man at the Sondela informal settlement near Amplats. "That 'hippo' incident - the police never told us what happened to the man, and they refuse to declare his death to the media," said Sebei, who added that strike leaders were conducting a campaign of non-violence, but said the police and mine bosses were pushing them into a corner. "We are trying to observe discipline, but the government and the state needs to remember that a man on the edge of the cliff knows no reason. The management and the police are pushing these people into a corner, and then are telling them to comb their hair, while a noose is being tied around the workers' necks." Earlier, National Union of Mineworkers' spokesman, Lesiba Seshoka, warned that the strike would turn dangerous. "It is likely to happen now; the strike will get more violent," he said. "You can see the anger. This is going to take a new dimension." Seshoka said workers' demands were "genuine" even though the strike was illegal. "It's like you can't extinguish a fire with petrol. You have to act in a manner that promotes dialogue." There are plans for a meeting between management and the unions on Monday 08 October, after which Sebei said workers would be updated at the Blesbok stadium in Rustenburg. "The company has fired 12,000, which is unfortunate. But if Anglo wants to take this to its logical conclusion, it will need to fire the rest, and here we are talking about 70,000 workers because of all the subsidiary companies that have entered the strike. You can't fire that many people without precipitating a civil war, and that is an eventuality we definitely don't wish for, so we are hoping the talks tomorrow will be more constructive," said Sebei. As strikes ripple beyond Rustenburg's platinum belt to South Africa's greater mining sector and allied industries, what comes next will have a significant impact on the economy. Mining capital has supported ANC elitism and created massive wealth for the few, and well-connected, while operations sustained living conditions that compare well with those under Apartheid, or earlier when there was no pretence at protecting workers rights. Workers say they want the mines to be 'democratically nationalised', meaning that they want mining to be put under the control of the working class to alleviate poverty and service delivery failures, while giving labourers a fair wage and reasonable lives. In the headlong clash of ideologies, what looks almost certain is that mining will never be the same again. The Daily Maverick is a unique blend of news, information, analysis and opinion delivered from our newsroom in Johannesburg, South Africa. Read us on

Friday, October 5, 2012



By Jerry Okungu Nairobi, Kenya October 3 2012 Finally the Al Shabaab terrorist group was forced to flee Kismayu their stronghold after heavy bombardment by the combined forces of Kenya Defense Forces, the African Union allied forces and the Somali national military. Early reports indicated that after suffering heavy casualties, a good chunk of the terrorist militia surrendered to the allied forces as the rest fled into the forests north of Kismayu. After one year of intense campaigns by Kenya’s defence forces, their dream of the ultimate prize – that of capturing the terrorists’ life line was realized. Whereas celebrations are in order for this blow to the terrorists that have continued to cause havoc in East Africa- more so in Kenya, Uganda and inside Somalia, there is need for caution by the governments of the region and the military commanders operating inside Somalia. Fighting ragtag militias is never an easy task. They have a way of mutating depending on circumstances and reemerging under other names from time to time while their murderous and destructive missions remain the same. History is awash with examples where well armed regular armies have expereienced long periods of resistance from seemingly weaker outfits. The Sudan mighty army with its airpower bombed South Sudan for two decades without achieving a military victory. It was dialogue and reason that finally succeeded when John Garang of the SPLA and Omar El Bashir of the Sudan government signed a Peace Accord in Nairobi in 2005. The Al Shabaab fleeing Kismayu and disappearing into the forests of Somalia reminded me of Joseph Kony of the Lords Resistance Army that had engaged Ugandan forces for decades in Northern Uganda. Though their forces dwindled as the war dragged on, it was clear that that there was no outright victory for the Ugandan Armed Forces that ideally should have ended in capturing renegade Kony and his top commanders. It was after Museveni realized that military might alone would not bring Kony to his knees that he chose a few years ago to use the South Sudan leaders to negotiate peace with Kony. However, because at that time Kony had been indicted for crimes against humanity, the amnesty offered by the Kampala regime did not look atttractive. It was the reason the peace accord failed. It is the reason Kony is still roaming the wilds of neighboring forests uncaptured and unpunished. Military might alone has never won an outright victory against faceless militias that thrive on surprise attacks, terrorist bombings and suicide attacks. In more ways than one, terrorists thrive on inflicting casualties on unarmed civilians to cause discomfort to the governments they fight. The publicity that accompanies such bloody attacks are what the so called defenders of their faith cherish. In the early 1990s when the seeds of Somali disintegration were planted following the ouster of President Siad Barre, the American marines were humiliated by the Somali ragtag militias. With the downing of American military choppers inside Mogadishu, the marines took off leaving starving Somalis to their own fate. Soon after the terrorist bombing of the twin towers in New York , now known as the 9/11 in 2001, America declared war on Osama Bin Laden together with nations that were considered bastions of terrorist organizations. Such nations were identified as Iraq and Afghanistan. Under normal circumstances, one would have expected that American forces against Iraq and Afghanistan would take just days or at most weeks to conclude. However, a decade later, the mighty U.S Army is still in the trenches fighting the Talibans and Al Qeida forces both inside Baghdad and Kabul. The American aerial fire power accompanied by sophisticated technoligical warfare failed to yield quick results. In fact the American experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan follow a clear historical pattern when it comes to dealing with informal fighters. The wars in Vietnam, Cambodia and the USSR experience in Afghanistan in the early 1980s are just but a few examples. In Somalia, there are signs that this pattern will be followed to the letter. Already there are signs that a good number of diehard jihads have melted into the general population. And since they have no uniforms or distinct signs to be identified with, they will obviously pass for ordinary Somalis in the streets of Mogadishu, Kismayu and any other towns they have been dislodged from. More importantly, their connections with more established terrorist groups like the Al QEIDA cannot be underrated, after all the Al Qeida have been the Al Shabaab’s main financiers and trainers. It is this reality that the African Union, governments in the East African region and especially Kenya must confront, budget for and get ready for. Our forces must be psychologically and materially prepared for the long haul, a war that should last between 10 and 15 years to give room for young Somalis to be weaned out of the war mentality. The Somali generation that was born and grew up in a culrure of violence must be rehabilitated and reorientated to lead normal lives away from piracy and other criminal activities. The international community must support the young Somali government to reconcile the Somali nation. This support must come in tangible forms. Schools must be rebuilt,infrastructure repaired, hospitals built and food production and commercial activity must resume in order to stabilize Somalia. If Somaliland has done it for the last 20 years, surely Somalia can do it too.



By Jerry Okungu Nairobi, Kenya October 3, 2012 Sharad Rao is complaining that the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board that he chairs is under threat. This complaint is no longer a rumour. Rao has gone ahead and registered his displeasure to the Chief Justice and copied the same letter to a good number of officers concerned with the administration of justice in this country. Sharad Rao is not the only one crying foul. The Law Society of Kenya is equally unhappy with the Chief Justice. In these two displeasures with the Chief Justice’s role in the operations of the Judges and Magistrates’ Vetting Board, one must assume that neither the LSK nor the Vetting Board chairman is a deranged Kenyan capable of creating controversies out of nothing. It is the reason we must sit up and listen to the issues they have raised. At a personal level, I still belong to the majority of Kenyans who believe that Willy Mutunga is a good man and a level headed Chief Justice that should be allowed to continue leading reforms in the judiciary. What makes me feel uneasy are the accusations that are beginning to blot the character of a man Kenyans must see as the bastion of a fair and just judicial system. Semantics aside, Kenyans voted overwhelmingly for their new constitution in 2010 because they wanted real change in the way they were governed. Kenyans approved the new constitution because one of the most attractive aspects of the new law was that it spelt out clearly that the judiciary would be overhauled through a vetting process for all judges and magistrates. Kenyans were tired of sleaze in the judiciary. The judiciary’s dignity and integrity had fallen beyond redemption. Kenyans may care to know that this Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board that is now the subject of debate, that senior judges now want to scuttle was not a creation of Parliament or any other arm of government. The Board was a creation through the will of the people of Kenya and entrenched in the constitution. It is the reason new bench members such as Willy Mutunga, Nancy Baraza, Njoki Ndungu’ and Smoking Wanjala among others, went through a grueling moment before they were recruited so that we would not fall into the old trap of handpicking top judges who would do nothing about reforms in the judiciary. The reason why Willy Mutunga should not squander the good will Kenyans have bestowed on him is because Kenya is at crossroads. With the impending elections, this country badly needs a solid judiciary that Kenyans can believe in. And so far, Mutunga has shown that he can withstand the heat in the kitchen. He is the kind of judge that Kenyans would like to settle major political disputes following the impending elections. The reason why Willy Mutunga cannot afford any blemish on his character is because, very early in his reign, he chose to stand on the moral high ground and declared to all and sundry that all Kenyans are equal before the law. That moral high ground saw him convene a hurried judicial service commission when his deputy, Nancy Baraza was alleged to have pinched the nose of a female security guard at the Village Market on the eve of New Year in December last year. The speed with which Willy Mutunga handled Baraza’s investigations, never mind that the police were already on the case, only confirmed that Mutunga was not ready to accommodate any judge of questionable character or temperament in his ranks. Now, if it is true that Mutunga’s actions regarding the Vetting Board have been less than unquestionable, then the same standards that he applied on Baraza must apply to him for justice to be seen to be done. Without the Vetting Board to screen judges and magistrates and remove the chaff from the grain, there cannot be meaningful reforms in the judiciary. Corrupt and lazy judges who the public and lawyers have made submissions on must go through the process and respond to the allegations to clear their names failing which they must go home. It was therefore a sad day for Kenyans and the judiciary when they woke up one morning to learn that some of the judges that already had a date with the Vetting Board presided in a case that was disputing the legitimacy of the Board and actually had the audacity to suspend its operations for 14 days with the possibility of extending the suspension. Any Kenyan with a bit of common sense would smell conflict of interest a mile away. Why did the CJ not assign judges to this case, judges that had already been vetted? What was so special about these two judges whose relations with the CJ were under scrutiny? Personally I think the Chief Justice has slipped and slipping is not falling. All the CJ needs to do is to clear the air, apologize to the nation for the misunderstanding and move on with the difficult task of reforming the judiciary. Finally, Willy Mutunga should leave the Vetting Board to do its work and keep his judges out of the operations of the Board if indeed he needs to succeed. Otherwise Kenya’s flood of people power will sweep him downstream.