Thursday, December 30, 2010



Left, Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press; David Goldman/Associated Press

Mitt Romney, left, and Newt Gingrich both have Republican insider credentials.

You can see this dynamic playing out now in the race for national party chairman, a highly un-Republican melee that seems likely to end in theouster of Michael S. Steele. More to the point, the chaos is only going to intensify, which is why the presidential season ahead is likely to feature the most unruly and flat-out fascinating contest Republicans have staged in 35 years.WASHINGTON — A year ago, Republicans here were shut out of governing but could console themselves with having retained their hold on the party apparatus. This week, they will celebrate the new year having come roaring back to regain the House, and yet they have no semblance of control over the direction of their party and the conservative activists who seem to be steering it.

We tend to think of Republican presidential campaigns as pretty prim, predictable affairs. A lot of younger voters weren’t even alive the last time Republicans really tore themselves apart trying to choose a nominee.

Most often, as pundits are forever pointing out, the party has embraced the candidate who qualified as “next in line,” or who (like George W. Bush) emerged as a consensus candidate of the Republican elite. The last time Republicans tried to unseat an incumbent president, for instance, in 1996, they turned to Bob Dole, a 73-year-old Senate majority leader who had already run twice for president and once for vice president. It’s hard to get more establishment than that.

Such preordained candidates are often tested but never lose the nomination. John McCain made it interesting for a while in 2008 by essentially blowing up his front-runner status before the first primary votes were cast. But then he righted himself in New Hampshire, proving yet again that Republican voters have a knee-bending weakness for the aging and the ornery.

It wasn’t always this way, though, as any Goldwater Girl (Hillary Rodham Clinton was one) could tell you. The most recent Republican race that really qualified as a thriller took place in 1976, when the unelected president, Gerald R. Ford, barely held off a challenge from Ronald Reagan.

Already a conservative icon at the time, Mr. Reagan was sort of the Sarah Palin of the day, except that he used celebrity as a catapult into politics and not the other way around. The loss made him the quintessential next guy up, and he won a resounding victory four years later.

In some ways, that Republican moment was similar to the one we’re now approaching. Mr. Reagan channeled a grass roots movement that was still reeling from what it saw as the ideological betrayal and humiliating corruption of the Nixon era, just as today’s Tea Party members are smoldering over the party’s record during the Bush years. But this time, absent a Ford, the Republican establishment seems powerless to marshal its resources around a default candidate.

For one thing, there just isn’t any obvious choice to rally around. Washington wisdom holds that Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is now the next guy in the queue, but this is like saying that the Rangers are next up to win the World Series because they managed to eke out one victory this year against the Giants.

Mr. Romney won a few heavily contested primaries and caucuses in 2008, but he accumulated fewer delegates than Mike Huckabee and lost out on the vice-presidential nomination to Ms. Palin. This hardly makes him a Reagan, or even a Dole.

And even if Mr. Romney or some other candidate were to emerge as the consensus choice of the establishment, this year’s Congressional primaries pretty much showed that the days of anointing are probably over. This isn’t so much a Republican phenomenon as it is the function of an evolving, Web-based society, where your average voter of a certain age isn’t inclined to let his employer or even his church, much less his political party, make his choices for him.

Without any odds-on favorite, then, Republican voters will spend most of next year sorting through some difficult and divisive questions about where the party is headed, in a way they haven’t really had to do in decades. How conservative can a nominee be, in the post-Bush era, and still be electable? Does the party choose an insider with Washington credentials, like a Senator John Thune of South Dakota, or an outsider like Ms. Palin, who trades governing gravitas for searing populism?

Most significant, perhaps, is the issue of whether Republicans will have to turn a generational corner in order to match up with President Obama. This, and not just regionalism and race, was the undercurrent in the controversy last week over Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who, in an interview with Andrew Ferguson of The Weekly Standard, seemed to play down any racial tension in his hometown during the 1960s.

The comment, in its full context, wasn’t especially offensive. It just sounded oddly nostalgic for an America that feels, to a lot of us, as relevant now as the Whiskey Rebellion.

Do Republicans need a kindly granddad like Mr. Barbour — or even a stern headmaster type like Newt Gingrich — to reassure a jittery electorate who may fear we’ve lost our way? Or do they need to nominate someone who embodies the post-boomer ethos in the same that Mr. Obama does — maybe a governor like Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota or Mitch Daniels of Indiana?

In the prelude to 1996, against a weakened Bill Clinton, party leaders opted for insidery, mainstream and old. This time out, they won’t be the ones deciding.



Sia Kambou/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast, center, who lost an election last month but refuses to step down, met Tuesday with a group of West African leaders trying to persuade him to yield.

On a continent where coups and stolen elections are far from uncommon, one thing makes the standoff over Ivory Coastexceptional: all the major powers in Africa and overseas agree thatLaurent Gbagbo, the strongman leader, must go.

In the month since Mr. Gbagbo lost a long-delayed presidential election, theUnited Nations, the European Union, the United States, the African Unionand the West African regional grouping known as Ecowas — in a rare example of African and international solidarity — have all declared that he must step down, slapping a near daily array of sanctions on his government until he does so. West African nations have even threatened to use military force to oust him if he refuses to leave.

But Mr. Gbagbo has been adamant, rebuffing a delegation of African leaders who urged him to give up power this week. That resistance has quickly turned Ivory Coast into a global test case of how — and maybe whether — the international community can impose its will on leaders who maintain solid support within their own militaries and refuse to recognize the elections they lose.

Given how many authoritarian leaders have been tolerated in Africa and elsewhere, the first hurdle in that test — achieving a broad international consensus — has been handily cleared. But Mr. Gbagbo’s persistent refusal to budge has effectively thrown the onus back on the foreign powers once again, forcing the issue of how far they will go to remove him.

“The question now is what will happen next?” said Elkanah Odembo, Kenya’s ambassador to the United States. “What will we do next?” Whatever the strategy, he added, “it needs to happen fast” before more “lives are lost.”

On Wednesday, as the leaders of Ecowas, or the Economic Community of West African States, agreed to further negotiations with Mr. Gbagbo, their defense chiefs were meeting in Nigeria to discuss possible troop deployments, according to a Western diplomat there. Analysts argue that the group’s military capacities are limited and hampered by, among other things, the Gbagbo government’s veiled threats to retaliate against citizens of countries that intervene against Ivory Coast, where there is a large immigrant population.

To back down now would entail a significant loss of credibility for the international institutions and governments pressing Mr. Gbagbo, analysts contend. But the possibility of force has seemed equally unappealing to some African diplomats, particularly because Ivory Coast has already endured a civil war and there is little appetite for fueling another one.

When disputed elections spilled into violence in Kenya and Zimbabwe in recent years, many nations embraced political compromises that joined rivals into tense and sometimes unwieldy power-sharing agreements.

In this case, many African leaders themselves have said power sharing is off the table, rejecting the notion that Mr. Gbagbo should have a significant role in the government. At least five more elections are in the offing in the coming year in West Africa alone, and few want to enshrine a solution that allows recalcitrant leaders to hold onto power beyond their legitimate terms.

“There’s a strong sense here that if they let another wishy-washy power-sharing arrangement emerge in Côte d’Ivoire, it will create a very bad precedent,” said the Western diplomat in Abuja, Nigeria, where Ecowas is based, who was not authorized to discuss the matter. “The stakes here are unusually high. Either Gbagbo loses everything, or it will be a tremendous loss of face for Ecowas.”

It is unclear whether Mr. Gbagbo can play for time through negotiations and somehow split the coalition of nations urging him to leave, or whether the weight of sanctions and threat of military force will compel him to surrender.

So far, there is no sign of the latter. Just the opposite, Mr. Gbagbo has deployed his security forces in opposition neighborhoods, beating and killing dozens in nighttime raids, according to the United Nations.

He has also sent around his minister of youth, Charles Blé Goudé, known as the “General of the Streets,” to whip up popular fervor for an assault on the headquarters of his main rival, Alassane Ouattara, who has been declared the winner of the elections by the scores of countries of the United Nations General Assembly. On Wednesday, Mr. Blé Goudé urged a cheering crowd to “liberate” the hotel where Mr. Ouattara is holed up, protected by peacekeepers.

Mr. Gbagbo proclaimed last week on state television that the “international community has declared war” on Ivory Coast, and that he was merely upholding the country’s Constitution against intruders, including the United Nations. On Tuesday a United Nations convoy was attacked by machete-wielding partisans in a pro-Gbagbo neighborhood, and a Bangladeshi soldier was injured.

As long as Mr. Gbagbo commands the loyalty of the army, he will be difficult to dislodge, analysts say. A potential blow to his hold on power came last week when African leaders blocked his access to money at the regional West African bank, possibly limiting his ability to pay his soldiers. But the impact of even that is uncertain, since the move did not put all state funds in Ivory Coast — the world’s biggest cocoa exporter — beyond the reach of Mr. Gbagbo’s entourage.

“They think they’re Saudi Arabia, but they’re not; they have an obsession with autarky,” said Rinaldo Depagne, an International Crisis Group analyst who has studied Ivory Coast closely, describing the Gbagbo government’s belief in economic self-sufficiency.

“They say, ‘We’re rich.’ They are ultranationalists.”

Meanwhile, the principal pressure point on Mr. Gbagbo, Ecowas, is marching in new and uncertain territory. Although it has deployed military force in the past — in conflicts in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau — its previous interventions have been “geared towards ending civil wars,” not removing entrenched leaders, wrote Gilles Yabi, the new director of the International Crisis Group’s West Africa project, in a recent paper.

Mr. Gbagbo’s control over fiercely loyal elite units like the Republican Guard, a force of about 1,000 to 1,500 soldiers that has been central in the current wave of repression against opponents, would make him a tough match militarily.

“I really have trouble seeing how this would work,” Mr. Yabi said in an interview from Dakar, Senegal, on Wednesday. “There is no precedent.”

The Western diplomat in Abuja, who has been following the Ecowas deliberations closely, said: “The Ecowas standby force is something that exists only on paper. They would not be able to survive any kind of fight with Gbagbo’s forces.”

And then there is the question of stomach for the fight. “Ecowas has no desire for an offensive military operation,” Mr. Yabi said Wednesday



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

December 30, 2010

Like a good Christian, I thank God for being alive and hopefully, I will live to see the beginning of 2011. This year has been no ordinary one for us Kenyans. It is the year we voted in a new constitution and saw it promulgated publicly three weeks later.

Getting the new constitution was not without drama. A few clauses in the document saw the majority of the church team up with a few politicians mainly from the Rift Valley and parts of Eastern Provinces to oppose the document. For the Church, it was the inclusion of the Kadhi’s courts, a line on abortion and gay marriages that they felt strongly about. For the politicians that joined them in opposing the document, it was less to do with Christian beliefs or opposition to what the church held dear. It was more to do with political leverage for the 2012 elections.

However, when the votes were counted and the Reds lost the vote, the marriage between the church and the few politicians they campaigned with seemed to have fizzled out.

Soon after the constitution was promulgated, many political heavyweights stepped aside for one reason or another due to the strict integrity clauses in the new constitution. First, we saw William Ruto step aside from the Ministry of Higher Education after being formally charged in court over alleged fraudulent selling of public land to a public corporation way back in 2002.

In quick succession followed Foreign Minister, Moses Wetangula and Thuita Mwangi his Permanent Secretary who also stepped aside following the scandal at the Tokyo land buying fiasco after a protracted Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Foreign Relations investigation.

As they year drew to a close, two political events took place. First, Moreno Ocampo finally named his six suspects over post election violence in 2007-2008. Some of the names in the Ocampo list were already common knowledge among Kenyans however, including Francis Muthaura the Head of the Civil Service, Henry Kosgey the Minister for Industrialization and one Joshua arap Sang of KASS FM was some kind of a shocker to Kenyans. Secondly, the American government announced that it had banned four prominent Kenyans from setting foot on American soil for their involvement in drugs trade.

When finally the list was read in Parliament, it included one assistant minister and four members of parliament. However, when one of the alleged drug barons stood on a point of order, he challenged Prof. George Saitoti’s list because accoding to him, two more names were missing in the minister’s list. One of those names he claimed was missing was that of Eugene Wamalwa of Saboti constituency.

True to the character of Kenyan politics, we can never have a normal criminal case such as killing people during elections or peddling drugs without throwing politics into it once we are suspected of being involved. In this country, it has become standard practice to commit a crime then blame it on others or better still, run to our tribe claiming that our community is being targeted. We never take responsibility for our actions and wait for the due process to clear our names.

A good example is this story of Eugene Wamalwa, a man who has hardly been in Parliament for three years but already feels that he is the messiah that Kenyans have been waiting for all these years to lead them from slavery to the land of freedom, milk and honey. But because his fellow MP has included his name in the list of drug barons, Wamalwa is seeing mischief in the allegation. A cartel of political leaders is bent on derailing his presidential bid because they are scared of his candidature.

Hon Kabogo, a member of parliament for Juja should know better. He is on the list of the alleged honourable drug barons. If he chooses to include his fellow MPs in the list, it may be difficult to read any malice other than to ask Prof. George Saitoti to be fair. Now we have to wait patiently for the Speaker of the National Assembly to authenticate Hon Kabogo’s version.

However instead of asking for justice in the courts of law as MPs Haroun Mwau, Joho and others have done, Hon Wamalwa has chosen to drag in the names of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto who are not on the drug barons’ list. He is seeing an evil political hand that has chosen to take two presidential aspirants to The Hague while dimming his presidential ambitions in a local court in a case involving drug dealing. In Wamalwa’s wisdom, he sees himself, William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta as little messiahs, being persecuted by political Herods of our time because the Herods of our politics cannot afford to see new kings born to challenge their authority.

There is nothing wrong with Wamalwa gunning for the presidency but to compare himself with Jesus during this Christmas season is blasphemy to say the list. Jesus and Herod of the Bible have nothing to do with our politics and criminal activities of our leaders.



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

December 30, 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, we the people of this region have a lot of things to thank God for despite the many setbacks and violent acts visited upon us by our enemies. We must thank God for a relatively peaceful election in Tanzania that saw President Jakaya Kikwete reelected for a second and last term.

During the same year, Rwanda also held its elections successfully that saw Paul Kagame reelected for another seven years. Despite sporadic violence prior to the elections, Kagame finally picked more than 90% of the votes to legitimize his victory.

As two nations in East Africa held their elections successfully, the same could not be said of Ivory Coast’s fiasco where a defeated incumbent refused to vacate office despite having been declared the loser. Despite the verdict of the country’s national election body, international observers and the United Nations, Laurent Gbagbo has gone ahead to name a cabinet despite the stand-off.

Back here in Kenya, it has truly been our year of real politics. During the same period, we fought tooth and nail to finally get a new constitution despite attempts by the clergy and a few politicians to derail it. When we promulgated it three weeks later, it was attended by leaders from the region.

The same year has seen our six top leaders named in The Hague court as suspects most culpable during the 2007-8 post election violence. Chief among them were a former Higher Education Minister, a serving Finance Minister, a serving Industrialization Minister and a serving Head of the Civil Service. If The Hague keeps its timetable, their trials should begin in another five to six months. If indeed they get indicted, then they will not be eligible to run for any elections in the near future.

The same year saw two of Kenya’s cabinet ministers resign their offices on corruption allegations as another assistant minister stepped down after being named in parliament as one of the drug barons banned for life by the American government from setting foot on American soil.

As we wait to usher in the New Year, two crucial events await us in this region. First we have the South Sudan referendum next door that is likely to produce the youngest nation in our midst. If it goes peacefully, Africa will in the New Year be celebrating its 54th member with the possibility that the East African Community will accept its sixth member in the not too distant future.

However, if for some reason the referendum results are disputed by either party to the CPA of 2005, chances of another war in Sudan are likely to be on the horizon with dire consequences for the stability of the region.

In another month or so, Ugandans will elect their new leaders for another five years. Indications so far are that it will be peaceful despite the number of presidential candidates. And seeing concessions being made by the Electoral Commission to opposition parties, it can only mean that there is desire to have a free a fair election process in Uganda. Furthermore, coupled with the timely intervention of the clergy to create a level playing field, one can only assume that such wise counsel will auger well for the country’s democratic process.

As we close the year and wait for the elections in Uganda, we cannot for one moment forget the real threat that the Al Shabaabs from Mogadishu has exposed us to. During these trying moments when terrorism has become a global problem, our governments must not let their guards down in dealing with terrorism from anywhere, local or international. And bearing in mind that the twin attacks in Kampala on 7/11 are still very fresh in our minds not to mention the four separate attacks that Nairobi alone has suffered this year; it is a pointer that these thugs will not give up without a fight.

As we deal with our local East African problems, the region should feel honored to have had Kenya’s Prime Minister appointed the AU mediator in the Ivorian crisis. For whatever it is worth, let the region support this gesture at every AU meeting so that the West African country can begin to enjoy the peace that has eluded them since the death of its founding president, Houphuet Boigny several decades ago.

Finally, East Africans would like to see a more committed political leadership that will accelerate economic and political integration of this community. We know that the Common Market process was started in July 2010 but we are sad to note that the borders are still closed to the common man. Freedom of movement of persons, goods and services is still a nightmare. Road blocks are still the order of the day. Arresting nationals of member states under the “Aliens Act, Illegal Immigrants Act” is still the order of the day. This archaic mindset on the part of our rulers must be got rid of for the sake of ordinary citizens. Yes, let us arrest criminals whether they are Kenyans, Ugandans, Tanzanian, Rwandans or Burundians and try them in local courts and jail them locally Ugandan style rather than brand them aliens.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010



By Charles Jjuuko



December 22 2010

IT sounds a crazy village story but it serves as a warning to the adulterous. Residents of Kirindi village in Nazigo sub-county, Kayunga district are in a state of shock after a man with three wives died during sexual intercourse with another man’s wife.

The bizarre incident occurred on Sunday at around 8:00pm when the man, identified as John Kalema, 45, set out to have pleasure with Betty Naigaga, 26, in a grass-thatched hut in Kirindi.

Kalema operated a local bar in Kirindi trading centre, where he sold waragi (local potent gin) and local brew. Naigaga is wife to Andrew Lyanto, a 38-year-old barber. It is alleged that Lyanto bewitched Kalema after getting information that he was having an affair with his wife.

The area chairperson, Sulaiman Ssegero, said when Kalema collapsed, Naigaga dashed out of the hut and reported her predicament to Besweeri Wamala. The chairman explained that Wamala was the go-between of the two love-birds and owned the ‘lodging’ facility.

Word about the incident eventually spread, prompting residents to throng the venue. Ssegero said Lyanto confessed having visited a witchdoctor, who gave him charms that would cause harm to any man who would attempt to have sex with his wife.

“Kalema pleaded for forgiveness before he died. Lyanto asked for sh600,000 to save him, but he died when his family had only raised sh100,000,” Ssegero said.

The Police arrested Lyanto and Naigaga to help in its investigations.

However, while at Kayunga Police Station, Lyanto denied having bewitched the deceased, contradicting the statement he had made earlier before his arrest.

Naigaga said she had refused to have sex with Kalema but his friend persuaded her, saying her husband was too busy at his work station and would not find them.

“When we got into bed, he did not take long to reach his orgasm like he usually does. He started gasping for breath and I inquired from him what the problem was. He then took a deep breath and went silent,” Naigaga narrated.

She added that she rushed out and informed Wamala, who was reportedly Kalema’s confidant.

Kalema’s body was taken to Kayunga Hospital mortuary before being transferred to the City Mortuary in Kampala for a postmortem examination.

The officer in charge of criminal investigations at Kayunga Police Station, John Dhabangi, said the Police was waiting for the medical examination to know what killed Kalema.

“Residents were saying it was witchcraft. But I cannot confirm that until the postmortem report is out,” Dhabangi said.

Kalema is survived by three wives and nineteen children. His second wife, Lovinsa Nalumansi, said she had six children with Kalema. The first wife has seven. The third wife, a recent bride, has only one child.

Kalema also had nine other children from an earlier marriage.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

December 21, 2010

East Africans, the terrorist threat from Somalia for the rest of East Africa is real. It is no longer a question of this state or that state is the affected one. Now it is abundantly clear that one does not need to be Somalia’s immediate neighbour to bear the brunt of brutal attacks from Al Shabaabs, Al Qeudas and their sympathizers worldwide.

Fellow East Africans, this year alone, Nairobi has born the brutal murder of innocent Kenyans through grenade attacks, most recently two attacks in Nairobi’s Eastlands area just two weeks ago. Earlier in June, a referendum rally at Uhuru Park in Nairobi’s Central Business District suffered such senseless attacks and lives were lost.

In July this year, 79 innocent Ugandans and Ethiopians lost their lives in Kampala in similar circumstances merely because they had chosen to watch the World Cup finals together at public restaurants.

Now this week, a Kampala bound bus was the target of grenade attacks by an assortment of nationals that early investigations indicate included a Tanzania. Never mind that this was happening at a time when suspected terrorists that include Kenyan nationals were still facing trial in Uganda for the 7/11 attacks in Kampala.

Just hours before the Kampala bus attack took place in Nairobi, Ugandan intelligence services had issued warnings of possible terrorist attacks during the Christmas holiday. If this threat had been coordinated and shared effectively among all the five member states, perhaps we would have preempted the latest Nairobi attacks. And if indeed one of the suspects arrested with suspect cargo was a Tanzanian; the question to ask is this: did the Tanzanian national travel all the way from Tanzania and crossed all border points to land in Nairobi with his deadly cargo? Or, is the suspect indeed a Tanzanian national either living in one of the Al Qaida or Al Shabaab cells in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area or in Mombasa?

The other day when Uganda was attacked, the Ugandan authorities moved with speed to apprehend the culprits from as far as Mombasa. We may remember with gratitude the efficiency and precision with which the Ugandan intelligence handled that tragic matter. At that time our June attackers in Nairobi had not been apprehended.

When we were attacked twice in one day just two weeks ago, Kenya’s Police Commissioner quickly invited the FBI to help unravel the source of the attacks. Despite that move, Kenyans have yet to apprehend the people responsible for such attacks apart from shooting to death those that the police happened to lay their hands on. The question to ask is this: when security forces are just too eager to eliminate suspects, how will we know the masterminds of such attacks especially when the foot soldiers are suicide bombers anyway?

I think the most logical way to go is for the East African Community Summit to convene a special meeting to deal decisively with the real threat of terrorist attacks in our region. In June was Kenya bleeding. In July, it was the turn of Uganda tom bleed. This time round Kenya is bleeding again. The next time, it may be Tanzania, Rwanda or Burundi.

As things stand now, let us use our resources and expertise to deal with terrorists on our shores. If Uganda has the capacity to deal with terrorist attacks more swiftly and efficiently in the region, it would only be logical to give Uganda the lead and requisite material support in handling such attacks on behalf of the member states. In any case, this is the essence of the spirit of the East African Community Treaty.

East Africans may want to be reminded that on August 6 1998 when a coordinated terrorist attacks were planned to hit the American embassies in Nairobi, Kampala and Dar Es Salaam simultaneously, only Kampala was spared by the grace of God. Many people died or lost their limbs in those attacks. Since then our region has remained vulnerable to those unprovoked attacks.

As we deal with these attacks, it has not been on lost on us that just 14 years ago; Rwanda went through the trauma of genocide. It has not been lost on us that Burundi is just getting out of the prolonged civil war. It is also not lost on us that Joseph Kony’s ghost in Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan has not been laid to rest. Under the circumstances, not-withstanding the porous border between Kenya and troubled Somalia, this scenario provides fertile ground for terrorists recruitment based on the nature of violent life we have led. This situation calls for joint urgent action as East Africa to deal decisively with this threat that has become global.

In suggesting this approach, it has not been lost on me that dealing with terrorism is an expensive affair. Indeed that is why the Americans and Western allies have taken the war to the states that are known to be safe havens for terrorist cells. However, national or regional security in any part of the world is an expensive exercise. It needs massive investment in high level manpower training and equipping our security agencies with the necessary skills and tools to combat terrorism. This can only be meaningfully done if the East African Community sees this problem as a common problem and invest appropriately.



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

December 21, 2010

My heart goes out to Mama Elizabeth Kosgey, Henry Kosgey’s step-mother. The same goes to Mama Sarah Cheruiyot, William Ruto’s mother. These are the only mothers of the Ocampo Six that have expressed their anguish in public. Reading their story in the local press late last week, I felt their pain, genuine pain of mothers traumatized by the events that have affected their children.

I’m feeling this pain with them because until just four years ago, I had a mother who would have done the same to me in similar circumstances. Yes, a mother’s tears are never polluted with political undertones. What you see is what you see.

The reason why these two old ladies are suffering is because as public figures, we lead double lives. We show our mothers the best side of us as we keep our darkest secrets from them. It is only when the bubble bursts do they begin to have a glimpse of our other side. Under the circumstances, they are torn between believing the stark reality of the moment and the picture of the “child” they brought up to be a good Christian and God fearing. When faced with this dilemma, their reaction is pure and simple: my son could never have done this. My child is innocent. God will prove that he is innocent.

Reading their story closely; one could see that they were not pointing fingers at the political enemies of their sons. May be they never knew them in the first place. Often as politicians, we don’t have much time for our mothers, wives and children. We are always on the move. When we stop to say hello, we are ready to part with a few shillings for their upkeep and hit the road in a hurry. More often than not, we have an impatient chopper pilot waiting to ferry us to the next destination. Yes, we never have time to discuss our political lives with the people closest to us. However when the bubble finally bursts, they are the most exposed to suffer the most.

Forget about the crocodile tears that politicians are generously shedding publicly for the Ocampo Six. They are not worth the piece of paper they are printed on. They are all for self preservation. If you want to test their genuineness, ask any of those loud megaphones to switch places with Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Hussein Ali, Henry Kosgey, Joshua arap Sang or Francis Muthaura today. You will see how many people will deny them three times before the cock crows. It is all showmanship to ensure continued political relevance in the coming years.

For all the faults and alleged crimes; I have a lot of respect for Uhuru Kenyatta, Henry Kosgey, Hussein Ali and Joshua Sang. Since being named in the Ocampo list, they have continued to display maturity and well guarded restraint from making unpalatable remarks. They have not accused anybody of masterminding their being on the list on the grounds of 2012 elections. They have remained focused on the impending hearings. More interestingly, they have not asked anybody to raise funds for them because they know pretty well that it may either be too premature or unnecessary to raise funds even before the summons are issued. What we hear are noises from their perceived supporters; the so called outsiders that have chosen to cry louder than the bereaved.

At this point in time, what the Ocampo Six badly need is the peace of mind to be left alone to reflect and prepare mentally for the trials to come. Outsiders must give them enough time and space to be with their families and attorneys without the uncalled for distractions. These people that are busy shedding crocodile tears are not doing it for free. They expect cash and political rewards because they know some of these people have deep pockets. Some of them even know that left on their own, their political careers are finished.

On the issue of cash for the Ocampo Six, I would have understood if Kenyans raised funds for Joshua arap Sang. Obviously a vernacular radio presenter cannot have the where-with-alls to match the deep pockets of some of our politicians. The man will definitely need cash if he will opt for personal attorneys other than those that the ICC will offer. However, if you look at William Ruto, his arrogance has only been matched by his show of financial muscle when he chose to visit The Hague with a battery of lawyers and hangers-on even before he was named by Ocampo. And as I wrote this article, another team of lawyers had gone to The Hague to block Ocampo from proceeding with the case. Is this the kind of man that needs government cash or poor Kenyans to organize a fundraiser for him? I don’t think so.

As we brood over Kiraitu Murungi’s one billion shilling fundraiser for some on the Ocampo list; as we contemplate Wycliffe Oparanya’s proposal to spend tax payer’s cash on the Ocampo Six, let us remember that our taxes that were released to resettle the IDPs were swallowed by politicians and public servants that were in charge. They are still walking free on our streets. IDPs are still in their camps. Or is this an excuse to raise funds for 2012 elections?




By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

December 21, 2010

Kenyan politics has gone nuts if not bananas. Moreno Ocampo has muddied the waters of our politics like never before. The little that was left of our camouflaged impunity is now all out there for all to see. We have thrown all caution to the wind and chosen to go back to our tribal cocoons in broad day light and say it as loudly as we can for all to hear.

It all started when President Kibaki chose to issue a press statement declaring that naming the Ocampo Six at The Hague did not amount to indictment. He clearly stated that the suspects would remain in office until the ICC issues summons to the same- for those in government service that is. This veiled disregard for naming people suspected to be the masterminds of the 2008 tragic mayhem was quickly followed by ODM’s collective “moral support” for all the suspects with a rider that the party would stand by them during this trying time.

A few days later, we saw tribal meetings taking place in parts of Nairobi, Rift Valley and Central Provinces convened ostensibly to express solidarity with their own kinsmen named in the Ocampo list.

However, early this week, this drumming up of support took an ugly and dangerous twist; even more dangerous than the hired crowds that demonstrated in the streets of Nairobi in sympathy with Uhuru Kenyatta. These events tell a lot about the nature of our politics in this country. They have exposed our callous nature and indifference to the suffering of the small person who every so often bears the brunt of our violent ethnic politics.

Let us start with the two motions that were filed in Parliament to remove Kenya from the ICC list of countries and to disband the Kenya National Human Rights Commission. The movers of these two motions so happen to be personal friends of William Ruto and members of his ethnic community. The reason they want Kenya to withdraw from the ICC is because three of their kinsmen happen to be in the Ocampo list. The other reason they want Parliament to disband KNHRC is because that human rights body investigated the post election violence and pointed fingers at William Ruto among others as the masterminds of the violence that took place in Rift Valley.

There are several embarrassing things in approaching such a grave matter as the ICC indictment through the lenses of our tribes. First it makes the international community confirm that Kenya is indeed a lost case because impunity is now out there in the open. It convinces any observer that negative ethnic politics is now entrenched in our society. Secondly, it may give Moreno Ocampo and those judges sitting at The Hague reason to realize that the problem in Kenya is much deeper than they thought and that they might as well see to it that these people, innocent as they may claim may as well have been the ring leaders of the post election fiasco.

I have no quarrel with Isaac Ruto and Hon Katter moving motions to disband the ICC and KNHRC from Kenya’s statutes. The question to ask is this: would they have done the same if only Jane Kihara, Ababu Namwamba, Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, William Ole Ntimama, Otieno Kajwang’ and George Thuo were on the Ocampo list?

But these two motions do not even go half as much as what came from the mouths of two cabinet ministers from both sides of the coalition. Theirs was the epitome of callousness and downright affront to the intelligence of Kenyans. Theirs was a case of individuals drunk with power and ready to insult Kenyans in broad day light.

It all started with Minister Oparanya of ODM having the audacity to suggest that the Kenya Government should support the suspects financially- pay the costs of their trials in The Hague. As if in response to his counterpart in the ODM, Cabinet Minister Kiraitu Murungi gave a quick rejoinder by asking Kenyans- 5 million from Mt. Kenya to raise a billion Kenya shillings to support Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura’s trial expenses.

When one looks at these pronouncements in the context of the plight of IDPs that have been languishing in IDP camps in the last three years, one begins to appreciate how low we have fallen in our morals. One begins to appreciate that we have no credible leadership that we can trust to guide this country from the mess it now finds itself.

If we take Opranya’s statement as a reflection of government thinking since he is a member of the Cabinet, does it mean that the Hague Trials are now a government project? Were these people agents of the state, committed crimes on behalf of the State and therefore entitled to benefit from the State resources? Are these people accused as rogue individuals that abused their public offices and positions of influence to commit heinous crimes against the people of Kenya or are they in court as State agents? Are they not going to The Hague because the government that was supposed to try them failed to do so? What is the role of the Kenya Government at The Hague? Is it a prosecution or defense witness? Has The Hague indictment become the Kenya Government vs the ICC trial?

If Kiraitu Murungi can raise a billion shillings for two suspects, why do we have peasant Kikuyus in IDP camps in the Rift Valley when we have so much money flowing around? Does it mean that cash will only be available when men of power are in trouble? Who will speak for the poor Kalenjin, Kikuyu, Mluhya, Luo, Gusii, El Molo, Dorobo and Mjikenda in his hour of need? Who will speak for the dead 1500 Kenyans?

Thursday, December 16, 2010



Wednesday, 15th December, 2010

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Museveni react to cheers from the NRM supporters in Iganga district

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Museveni react to cheers from the NRM supporters in Iganga district

By Milton Olupot

IN a sign of solidarity, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga joined President Yoweri Museveni last evening as he solicited for votes in Iganga district.

Odinga arrived at the Jinja airfield in the morning. He was taken to Nile Resort Hotel before he went to Jinja State Lodge, where he was received by the President.

Odinga accompanied Museveni to a rally at Bunyiiro Primary School in Kigulu South and then later to Luuka district and Iganga town.

Asked to greet the ecstatic crowd, Raila said: “I am here to visit my old friend and comrade. This is my home because I have had good relationship with people here. This is also where I have been given safe passage whenever I have needed it,” he said.

He said a friend in need is a friend indeed, and Uganda has been a friend indeed when Kenyans were in need. He said he once ran to Uganda from where he later found his way out of trouble.

Raila, who was accompanied by 10 Kenyan MPs, said Uganda and Kenya have enjoyed good relations. He reminded the crowd that Uganda had gone through a lot of problems including Idi Amin’s regime when people were slaughtered like chicken.

“At that time, Kenya stood with Uganda. Even my friend here (Museveni) was in Kenya,” he said.

He observed that Uganda had since recovered and the economy was doing well. He said Kenya was looking forward to a complete political federation of East Africa.

“You have elections soon. We want you to elect the people for the people you know, and we are behind you. We shall work together. Ugandans should come and do business in Kenya and the youth should come and get employment there,” he said as the crowd cheered, ‘Museveni Pakalast.’

He called on Ugandans to ensure that the prevailing peace is jealously guarded to enable the two sister countries continue to trade together.

“Uganda is a great market for Kenya. Many Kenyan products are in Uganda, not so?” he asked as the crowd answered “yeees”.

“We are one. There are Basamia, Iteso, Sebei, Wagisu and Jaluo in Kenya and Uganda. Ugandans and Kenyans are one,” he noted, drawing thunderous ululation from the crowd.

Museveni said like Odinga was saying that ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’, the NRM had been with the Ugandans all the time when the country was in chaos.

“Olara Otunu was not here, he was enjoying the comfort of New York. Besigye left us still struggling to liberate the whole country and went to South Africa. Now they have come when we have sorted the problems and are saying, ‘agende’. If I go, will Besigye manage this Uganda?” he asked.

“Managing a country is not like this karata that young men play in towns, pata-poteya, you need to have a cause to be able to appropriately steer a country,” he added.

Museveni urged the people to vote for the NRM candidates since they have been tested. He said his team should be given another term to consolidate its achievements.

He implored the locals to embrace the Prosperity for all Programme as a way of eradicating poverty. He advised the people to get out of subsistence farming and start small-scale commercial farming.

The President said the Government would continue educating children from P1 to S6 and those in technical institutions. He said the Government would also soon introduce a loan scheme for students to pursue higher education.

Museveni noted that because the economy had improved, the Government had enough money to manage its development projects such as roads and extension of electricity to the rural areas.

He again promised to severely deal with the medical personnel who steal drugs from government hospitals



The elite of Africa are the cause of the continent's woes. ROYAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY | AFRICA REVIEW |
By HAROLD ACEMAH (email the author)
Posted Wednesday, December 15 2010 at 12:02

In October 1993, I bought a little book titled, Tiny Roland: the ugly face of Neo-colonialism in Africa by an EIR Investigative Team.

EIR stands for Executive Intelligence Review, based in Washington DC, USA.

The thesis of the book, which at that time I found outrageous, but which I am now more sympathetic to, was that Africa is on its deathbed, its people relentlessly mowed down by starvation and disease. Among the perpetrators of this holocaust, are the International Monetary Fund, the former colonial powers, the transnational corporations and commodity cartels such as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

On this list, one should add African leaders and the elite. Increasingly, I believe we, the elite of Africa, are the primary enemies of ordinary Africans. We, and especially our leaders, have let Africa down, very badly.

Current events in Cote d'Ivoire confirm the tragic role African leaders have and continue to play in the destruction of Africa. I fear Uganda is next.

Funding guerrillas

According to EIR, one man above all the rest, bears special personal responsibility for turning the 1960s dreams of independence into a nightmare. His name is Roland Walter “Tiny” Roland, boss of a British Transnational Corporation, Lonrho. Lonrho is acronym for the London Rhodesia Company.

For decades, this shrewd fellow was the most powerful Western businessman in Africa. He had access to all African heads of state and government as well as African freedom fighters, guerrillas and even bandits.

He would do business with African leaders, while funding guerrillas fighting the very leaders he was wining and dining with. He was a practitioner of the dictum: Never put all your eggs in one basket.

The introduction to the EIR book on Tiny Roland is prophetic. It begins with a short three-word sentence: “Africa is dying.” It denounces Tiny Roland and asserts that “the list of African leaders and guerrilla leaders with whom Tiny Roland has had intimate financial dealings reads so much like a Who is Who of modern African history.

It includes past and present leaders of Uganda and Kenya. Like all devious types, Tiny Roland had a tragic end and is no more.

Aside from the treacherous behaviour of African leaders, Sub-Saharan Africa is simply poorly led, by mediocres, conmen, frauds and dropouts. Since the advent of independence in the 1960s, Africa has had far too many tyrants and gangsters as leaders, far too few statesmen, let alone merely competent office holders at political and bureaucratic level. Too often, African leaders reject sound policy advice and refuse to take the long or broad view of their job.

Life President

For example, how can anybody justify and rationalise the sale of Uganda Commercial Bank (UCB), Apollo Hotel, Uganda Hotels and Uganda Electricity Board, to mention but a few, under the guise of liberalisation and privatisation. All these parastatals were making profit, but more important, they were owned by the people of Uganda.

UCB was fondly and rightly called “The People’s Bank”. UEB was sold to Eskom, a company owned by the government of South Africa. It defies logic and one does not need a Ph.D in economics to see through the absurdity of the actions of African leaders.

The few African leaders, who seem to be progressive at the beginning of their tenure of office, soon revert to the familiar form of autocratic one-man rule. Some are literally insane and remind me of the Roman Emperor Caligula.

Take the example, Master Sgt. Samuel Doe and Sgt Jean Bedel Bokassa. The former became a General and Life President of Liberia, while Bokassa crowned himself Emperor of the Central African Republic. He was following the footsteps of his hero, Napoleon Bonaparte of France.

Self-made tragedy

Today, another crazy young man called Yahya Jammeh, who has terrorised tiny Gambia for years, now wants to be crowned “King of Gambia” and establish a dynastic rule in that ruined and impoverished strip of land, which is too small as a runway for the airbus 380 Jumbo Jet. And the international community is just watching.

For the enemies of Africa, it confirms their worst fears and prejudices about Africans. During the 1960s, many of these types used to patronisingly argue that Africans are barbarians and not yet ready for self-government, let alone independence.

When one looks at the map of Africa, from Zimbabwe to Somalia, to Eritrea and Gambia and in between, it is painful for me as pan-Africanist to nod my head and in silence admit that these enemies of Africa were perhaps partly right. We Africans are our own worst enemies. Let us stop blaming colonialism, the slave trade, imperialism, etc for our own self-made tragedy.

Our education has failed to remove the village mentality in most of our leaders. All we think and talk about is “eating” or “manger” in French. Some allege they have killed an animal and must be given eternity to feast on the carcass.

With such mindsets, Africa may indeed sooner, rather than later, die. Yes, Africa is dying. Our primary challenge is to save Africa from imminent death and keep the hopes of our people alive.

Mr Achema is a political scientist, consultant and a retired ambassador based in Arua ( Article first published in Uganda's Daily Monitor

Wednesday, December 15, 2010



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

December 15, 2010

There has never been a dramatic week such as this one in the history of Kenya. With the clouds of the Hague prosecutions dangling menacingly over the heads of political warlords responsible for the deaths of 1500 Kenyans three years ago; and the possible hauling into court of four cabinet ministers on charges of economic crimes and abuse of office, Kenyans were allowed to gasp for breath when one added Wikileaks tell tales from the American Embassy that failed to flatter the top most authority on the land.

For the first time since assuming power in 2002, President Kibaki lost his cool and tore into the American envoy based in Kenya like never before. In no uncertain terms, President Kibaki warned the American Administration that the cash the local envoy was dishing out to Kenya’s poor and desperate youths would not shake the government. He assured the Americans that they would not succeed in their evil schemes against the people of Kenya. He reminded the Americans that Kenya had been independent for the past 47 years and no amount of intimidation would get Kenya back under colonialism. Finally in a parting shot, he declared that Kenya would do everything including going to war if necessary to defend its independence. What was not clear was whether President Kibaki was challenging the American government on the war front the way Saddam Hussein of Iraq and other countries have done in the past.

And President Kibaki was not alone in expressing his anger and desperation. Prime Minister Raila Odinga who in the past was thought to get along with the present Obama administration was equally miffed by not only Wikileaks expose but Michael Ranneberger’s penchant for traversing the country under the guise of empowering the youth of Kenya to take up political leadership of the country. In Ranneberger’s open campaign against the present leadership that he considers corrupt to the bone and incapable of implementing reforms, he has not hidden the fact that only his type of “young” Kenyans can change the country for the better.

So much for the ire against Wikileaks from Kenya’s political establishment.

On Wednesday this week, Moreno Ocampo kept his date with Kenyans. At exactly 2pm East African Time, the ICC Prosecutor unleashed the six names he considers most responsible for the Post Election Violence in Kenya three years ago.

Much as most Kenyans expected politicians William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta and former Police Commissioner, General Ali to be on the list, Kenyans were surprised when the six names included Ambassador Francis Muthaura, Kenya’s Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet since 2003. Another surprise name was that of Henry Kosgey, an ODM minister and staunch supporter of Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Rift Valley.

Also in the surprise list was little known Joshua arap Sang, a Kalenjin vernacular broadcaster with KASS FM, the station that was accused of preaching ethnic hatred in the run up to and during the violence that led to 1500 deaths and 600,000 human displacements in Rift Valley.

As if these upheavals were not enough for the political establishment, another MP, Gitobu Imanyara of Imenti South was ready to table the Ouko Murder Report in Parliament that would further implicate at least two sitting cabinet ministers. Dr. Robert Ouko was Foreign Minister in Moi’s government when he was murdered in February 1990.

If the Director of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission makes good his threat to charge four cabinet ministers with economic crimes this week; then Kenyans are likely to see in the next few days several resignations or individuals “stepping aside”. All in all, the three processes may see at least 8 cabinet ministers going home and possibly facing prosecution one way or another if the Attorney General so chooses to do so.

Reactions from Ocampo list inside and outside Parliament were as diverse as Kenya can be. While others expressed surprise at some of the names, a number said that Ocampo should proceed with prosecutions. Expectedly, some sympathizers of named individuals cried foul suggesting that more names should have been included considering that the warring parties fought on behalf of the two principals.

In the middle of all this national consternation, Uhuru Kenyatta once more proved his statesmanship by appealing for calm and assured Kenyans that he now had a chance to clear his name at the ICC.

What was not lost on observers was the fact that naming William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta as suspects for the Hague trials now put a question mark on their prospects for presidential elections in 2012 considering that should the Trial Chamber decide that they have a case to answer, hearings may not start until 2012, the year of the next elections.

However, the question that still begs answers is whether both can vie for the presidency in 2017 should The Hague acquit them of all the charges.

Whatever the case, the events this week have altered the political landscape in Kenya in more ways than one. For this first time in our history, our top cabinet ministers and the Secretary to the Cabinet have been accused of Crimes against Humanity in The Hague. Can it get any worse?