President Uhuru Kenyatta, DP William Ruto Given 14 Days to Respond to Suit Seeking to Remove Them from Office

Posted on Updated on

President Uhuru Kenyatta, flanked by Deputy President William Ruto. Source: Reuters
President Uhuru Kenyatta, flanked by Deputy President William Ruto. 

Via Standard Digital. 

The High Court has given President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto 14 days to respond to a suit seeking to remove them from office. The Attorney General Githu Muigai, acting on behalf of Uhuru and Ruto asked Justice Isaac Lenaola for time to file a response objecting to the application.

The Judge noted that he had given the AG time to respond to the application on December 10 last year yet they had not responded. “I have no response from your office and I do not want to make a ruling without the response of the AG,” said Lenaola. He directed the AG to file a response for the application within 14 days and appear before him for hearing on January 24.

Isaac Aluochier wants Uhuru and Ruto to cease from holding the top jobs in the country for allegedly being in office illegally. He argued that prior to becoming President, between  August 27,2010 and April 2012, Uhuru was Kanu Chairman and continued to hold the position of  an appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Kenya  right until he assumed office as President.

He accused Ruto of prior to becoming Deputy President, between August 27 2010 and August 2011, was both the Deputy Party Leader, Strategy of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) an appointed Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology.

Aluochier cited Article 77(2) of the Constitution which prohibits an appointed State officer from holding office in a political party. “By the Respondents holding both the offices of appointed Ministers in the Cabinet, and political party offices, they contravened Article 77(2) of the Constitution,” he said.

The petitioner wants the court declare that by the operation of Article 75(3) of the Constitution, the Respondents were rendered disqualified from holding any other State office.

In his petition, he wants the court to order the respondents’ holding of the offices of President and Deputy President to cease with immediate effect, as they are not qualified to hold these or any other State offices.

The petitioner also wants the court to order the duo to pay general damages amounting to the cost of holding a presidential by-election, and the sum total of salaries and allowances they received as State officers over the period.

He argued that Pursuant to Article 75(2) of the Constitution, the Respondents had to be disciplined for their contraventions of Article 77(2), a discipline that was not carried out against them.

He added that notwithstanding the Respondents’ failure to be disciplined, pursuant to Article 2(4) of the Constitution, that failure to discipline the President and his Deputy was invalid, and they stood disciplined by the operation of law.

“Consequently, any holding of State office by the Respondents, whether as Member of Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance or President, or as Member of Parliament, Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology or Deputy  President, was invalid, pursuant to Article 2(4) of the Constitution, “said Aluochier.

Why It Would Be Easy For Ruto To Become President

Posted on

By Ochieng’ Maddo

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and DP William Ruto.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and DP William Ruto.

It came after much ado and bravado. It was also a propaganda tool for besmirching political opponents. But Deputy President William Ruto’s appearance at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in person for the hearing of his crimes against humanity case is a big leap into political future. Just as President Uhuru Kenyatta stole the show at a previous appearance in the same court to score political cards against Raila Odinga, Ruto is utilizing the chance to widen his political base while gaining international recognition and admiration. However, the fact that ICC can turn to be his hangman’s noose can not be ignored.

In Kenya, Ruto is seen as a hero in many quarters; a man capable of facing adversities of whatever magnitude. Unlike his co-accused, President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has and is still dithering on whether he would attend his hearings in person, via a video link, or none at all, Ruto is an astute politician who has exploited the ICC issue for political mileage. He is trending on a global media platform and at this rate, if the cases proceed even without his presence in the chambers, Ruto has already demonstrated to Kenyans and the world at large his respect for the rule of law. If he eventually wins the case, and before 2017, William Ruto would stand the best chance to become the next president.

Why is this hypothesis plausible? Some political analysts believe that the DP is smarter than his boss in many respects including politics, leadership and performance in office. Even as a cabinet minister under President Moi, Ruto did his job in Home Affairs portfolio with gusto. His critics then observed that he was ruthless and sycophantic.  In the grand coalition government of President Kibaki and PM Raila Odinga, his performance in Agriculture and Higher Education dockets were rated highly, save for the corruption case in Agriculture docket which almost plummeted his reputation through a vote of no confidence in parliament.

But he is always shrewd. At that point when many though he was vanquished, he used his political wit and connections to successfully wade through those virulent muddy waters. Later on in 2012 when he was courted by Uhuru Kenyata and Raila Odinga for a coalition deal, he thought hard. After making a firm decision to team up with the former, he played things out to appear as if he was consulting his community and seeking their blessing on the same. During the campaigns, he consolidated a formidable support for his new URP party and managed to contain massive fallout after hotly contested nominations which destabilised TNA, dented UDF and WDP and crippled ODM. The fact that he astutely navigated the ODM’s minefields in his path to URP, until eventually pulling out with his troupe en masse at an opportune time is an indicator that he is a genius at political calculus.

Even though the DP is deeply emotional and can’t help expressing that by shading tears publicly, he does not display tantrums on public podia. Instead, the charismatic environmental scientist cuts the image of an eloquent orator, capable of pulling out punchy quotes to rebut his opponents’ salvos overtly disproportionately. He charmed Jubilee audiences at campaign rallies with his trademark sneer during the last election, and can do better for himself in future.

Analysts have described him, rightly though, as over ambitious politician with eyes steadily focused on the presidency. He is feared and loved in equal measure. In fact, it is that fear, coupled with the chapter of the constitution on the executive that recognizes presidency as president and deputy, that still keep the dreaded clique from Mount Kenya from undermining his office. The DP may survive till 2017 to take a stab at the presidency.

There are many reasons why Ruto would be more electable than any other candidate including President Kenyatta in 2017. Kenyans have been incapable of dislodging themselves from the grip of Mount Kenya presidency. But they are tired of the same clique of people arrogating themselves every key government position as if government was their birth right. Only the gods of fate and circumstances have consistently conspired against the rest of Kenyans during elections. This can be explained from the way Raila Odinga has twice divided votes almost equally with Mount Kenya candidates. But Raila’s insiders point at some of his weaknesses which Ruto does not possess. They say he listens to so many  advisers including novices, then ends up acting as if he never heard anything from anyone. They claim he has on several occasions failed to seal perennial loopholes even after they are pointed out for him on time, which have eventually acted to his detriment.  Ruto does not have such tendencies. During the last election campaigns he derided Raila on having squandered some of the best opportunities in his way as Prime Minister for five years. Ruto’s way of exploiting his position in the Jubilee government can be seen in the way he is commanding power in the government. He has also began to make early forays in ODM strongholds.

One undoubted fact is that Ruto is the fulcrum of Jubilee Government. The man neither dink nor smoke. He is always awake and alert. The mind functions better in such a state. The Office of the Deputy President has so far managed to handle and resolve more critical crises including teachers strike, insecurity and the governors’ referendum push better than State House would have done. Moreover, the DP tackles most issues personally and directly as opposed to the president who is surrounded by bureaucratic henchmen who often misadvise him.

Ruto is quick to smell a rat. He is quick to act to salvage situations. He is good at gauging public mood and knows the boundaries of his statements and antics. He rarely blurts out irresponsibly, hence has rarely had to refute media reports attributed to him.

Ruto’s other strength lies in his solid support base. Whereas President Kenyatta’s TNA basically commands following in his greater Mount Kenya region, Ruto’s URP enjoys a broad base support across the pastoral communities, parts of northern Kenya and spatially at the Coast. He is also viewed more favourably among Raila and Mudavadi’s supporters than the president. He holds Jubilee together because his exit would paint Uhuru Kenyatta in a bad light, considering the “dark forces” fiasco involving Musalia Mudavadi who claimed he was short-changed by the Jubilee duo earlier this year.

His struggle to emerge from oblivion to national—and now international—limelight is also telling. Among the Big Five political heavyweights (Uhuru, Raila, Mudavadi, Kalonzo and himself), only him and Kalonzo are sons of nobodies. He is not an inheritor of a political throne. He has just been a ‘hyper’ when it comes to politics. His burning ambition began as soon as he graduated from university. Miguna Miguna notes in Peeling Back the Mask; A Quest for Justice in Kenya, that Dr Sally Kosgei was considering Ruto as a restless young man in early 1990s. He went ahead and dislodged the moneyed incumbent, Reuben Chesire, from Eldoret North seat in 1997.

Ruto is a wealthy man who is capable of effectively oiling the wheels of a vibrant campaign machinery. His nemeses have questioned how he amassed wealth at a tender age. He attributes his wealth to hard work. But (un)fortunately, average voters hero-worship such people. They believe rich men and women have a sixth sense for making money and therefore deserve to be leaders to do the same to the community. They are the ones referred to as “development conscious” leaders. Lastly, having aggressively supported Uhuru Kenyatta in 2002 and 2013 as well as Raila Odinga in 2007, Ruto has shown he can offer other people his support and deserves the right to be paid back.

Five Reasons Why Jubilee Will Crack

Posted on

By Ochieng’ Maddo

Outspoken Nandi Hills MP  Alfred Keter (photo  courtesy of Nation Media Group)
Outspoken Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter (photo courtesy of Nation Media Group)

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s diehards are celebrating the news that ICC prosecutor is lacking sufficient evidence against their man after yet another two key witnesses withdrew their testimonies. The news has triggered frenzied Christmas jubilation in Central Kenya, but not in Deputy President William Ruto’s home turf. Even though the international court has previously experienced many challenges with the Kenyan case, this is the closest the prosecutor has come to indicating that the case might sputter in her hands. Should that happen,  a solid ground would have been laid for Uhuru Kenyatta’s intended ten years in power!

However, the ability of Jubilee coalition to sustain him at the helm of power for two terms is doubted. Here are five major reasons why the ruling coalition might soon crack. First, Uhuru Kenyatta has put more effort in his own salvation from ICC than in Ruto’s. His defense team has severally delayed the commencement of his hearing while Ruto’s own kicked off undeterred. Witnesses have also withdrawn from his case in droves unlike Ruto’s. Journalist Walter Barasa is wanted by the same court for allegedly championing this course. Dennis Itumbi of the ‘amorphous’ Digital, New Media and Diaspora department of Presidential Strategic Communications Unit, was also once interrogated by the CID for allegedly tampering with ICC website, ostensibly to harvest witnesses’ identities. The number of witnesses involved in the case steadily whittles away, including those expected to participate in the president’s defense. Former MP George Thuo who died recently under mysterious circumstances is one of them. Ruto’s people hence continue to believe their man was set up by the people Uhuru has refused to sack from the government.

Secondly, Kenya’s political history simply has it that political pacts of any nature don’t hold for long. They are formed haphazardly in the run up to elections, without underlying principles based on ideologies. The only forces holding many politicians together are vested interests underpinned by the desire to loot the economy. But the formation of Jubilee Coalition also benefited from the need for a common strategy to defeat Ocampo (now Bensouda). That was why Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi couldn’t fit in. So, once either or both cases get terminated, it will be difficult for the two political bulls to continue to share the same cow.

Third, contrary to their public display of ‘bromance’, there is deep suspicion and lack of trust between the two leaders. So far, State House acquired identity and authority as the president’s reserve unlike before when the two leaders both worked from there. This developed during Ruto’s constant absence from the country while attending his hearing at The Hague. Ruto’s supporters are already sensing betrayal.  Political betrayals began with Jomo Kenyatta, who betrayed Mumau’s mutual trust immediately after independence. Mzee also short-changed Oginga Odinga, who had championed his release from detention. Kenyatta’s inmates at Kapenguria prison, Achieng’ Oneko, was put back in prison while Bildad Kaggia, got barred from elective politics for many years after criticising Kenyatta’s land policy. Kaggia languished in poverty until his death in March 2005.

President Moi’s pact with Raila Odinga’s NDP party would also collapse acrimoniously in 2002. Afterwards Raila teamed up with fellow rebels from KANU and joined Mwai Kibaki, Charity Ngilu and Kijana Wamalwa in NAK, subsequently forming National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). They quickly signed a MoU on power sharing. But Kibaki effectively trashed the pact after a few months in office. Raila had worked tirelessly to lead the campaign for Kibaki and Wamalwa both of whom were in the UK for treatment. NARC trounced Moi’s state-funded campaigns and dislodged Kanu from close to 40 years in power. Ruto’s contribution to Uhuru’s victory can’t match Raila’s in 2002. Short-changing him would be without much feeling. And he would not be the first to suffer that fate. Amani Coalition’s Musalia Mudavadi has luridly demonized Kenyatta for luring him into his camp before election with false promise to make him the presidential candidate, only to renege on that, days later. Kalonzo Musyoka too has vented enough anger on political betrayals from Kibaki on one side, and the Jubilee duo on the other.

The fourth reason is the contentious issue of land. The Kalenjin have always felt disenfranchised by Kikuyus, and Ruto’s position as Uhuru’s deputy has failed to resolve this historic matter. Several years before independence, the Kalenjin were already uneasy with Kikuyus’ encroachment on the agriculturally rich Rift Valley soil. In fact, it was out of that concern that Daniel Arap Moi and Taaita Towett at first refused to join James Gichuru’s KANU in 1960. They instead joined Ronald Ngala’s KADU after disbanding the Kalenjin Political Alliance, whose among other objectives was to guard Kalenjins’ land. Other smaller parties which had a similar objective included the Maasai United Front led by J. Ole Tips, the Cost African People’s Party led by Ronald Ngala, and the Somali National Association. These were parties for small tribes who feared that their interests would not be adequately championed by KANU. They later conglomerated into KADU, whose ideology was of federal government (majimbo) in independent Kenya. So strong was KADU’s pursuit of majimbo that when it eventually merged with KANU, Ngala and Moi were still reluctant to join it. They got elected KANU’s treasurer and deputy treasurer respectively in absentia on May 14th 1960. Things would take a different trajectory for the Kalenjin in January 1967 when Kenyatta heeded Charles Njonjo’s advice to appoint the 43 years-old Moi his vice president. That effectively silenced Moi. Then the treasured land began to shrink without question. All the regions once represented by these small parties are still fighting for their land which they lost since they joined KANU. 

Lastly, Jubilee might fracture because Uhuru will not listen to Kalenjin community’s grievances. While in Rift Valley this week, he warned anyone against lecturing him on whom to appoint in his government. This was in response to Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter who charged at skewed government appointments and biased awarding of tenders. But Keter is yet to discover that the president cannot easily do away with the so called ‘Kibaki’s people’ in the government, who might have contributed more to Jubilee’s March 2013 victory than William Ruto, considering that none of the presidential contenders surpassed the fifty per cent plus one threshold. So, other immense contributors to the ‘victory’ will also continue occupying their merit positions to the chagrin of Keter and his ilk, who might as well have to take a walk.

Ruto Fury Over Losing His Budget

Posted on Updated on

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto
By Star Team.

DEPUTY President William Ruto is furious that the financial budget allocated for his office has been transferred back to State House.

Ruto’s office will now have to seek approval from State House for almost every expenditure.

“The Office of the Deputy President is no longer allowed to incur expenditure without approval from the Presidency,” said a senior officer in the Office of the President yesterday.

State House Controller Lawrence Lenayapa referred the Star to the Treasury secretary Henry Rotich whose secretary said he was in meetings yesterday afternoon.

Presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu is in South Africa with President Uhuru Kenyatta and did not respond to our inquiries.

Yesterday Ruto summoned Lenayapa, his Principal Administrative Secretary Daniel Wambura, his chief of Staff Maryanne Keitany and other senior officials including his controller of budget and the chief accountant to a meeting in his Karen office.

“The meeting went on and the DP demanded clarification on a number of issues. Lenayapa provided some answers but asked that he consults with the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and the President on other issues,” said a source at the meeting.

It is not clear when Ruto’s vote was moved to the Office of the President but multiple sources told the Star that it was taken away while he was attending his trial in the Hague.

As a result there have been delays in processing allowances for Ruto’s staff, some who have been with him at the Hague.

“The Office of the DP cannot hire anyone without approval from the Presidency and can not buy tissue paper unless it is approved by the same office. We have no idea what this means,” said a URP MP yesterday.

In another meeting on Tuesday, Ruto almost fired Keitany when he learnt that appointment letters of some staff, some in his press service, had been revoked without his knowledge while he was away.

At that meeting senators Kipchumba Murkomen and Charles Keter reportedly pleaded with Ruto to give Keitany a second chance.

“The boss was very upset with Keitany because he could not understand why the letters of appointments had been revoked yet he personally ensured some of them were written before they joined his office. Some of those affected were senior staff who left their jobs to join him when he took over the office,” said the source.

The new staff have gone for months without pay and some have been grumbling about how Keitany has handled them.

The Deputy President is the principal assistant of the President and deputizes for the President in the execution of his constitutional duties.

Article 134 of the constitution states that when the President is absent or temporarily incapacitated, the Deputy President shall act as the President.

When Uhuru’s trial starts at the Hague in February 2014, Ruto will presumably have to deputise for the president for lengthy periods.

Ruto’s office is run by Keitany but also has an administrative secretary, an economic advisor, and an adviser responsible for food and climate change. He also has his private secretary, communication secretary and legal adviser.

Most of these officials deputise equivalent positions in the Office of the President.

The annual budget for the Office of the President is Sh1.1 billion for development and Sh3.1 billion for recurrent expenditure. The allocation given to the Deputy President was drawn from this vote.

How The Government And Media Conspire To Kill Civil Society

Posted on Updated on

Martin Shikuku, with microphone, James Orengo, with hands up and the late Masinde Muliro, as they tried to storm Kamukunji for a banned rally.

Martin Shikuku, with microphone, James Orengo, with hands up and the late Masinde Muliro, as they tried to storm Kamukunji for a banned rally.

By Ochieng’ Maddo

In the run up to March 2013 general election, mainstream media conspired to cover the polls in a manner that gave advantage to Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. Even though the state owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) has always favoured the government of the day, this time round it supported Jubilee because a greater percentage of its employees including the Managing Director come from the president’s region.

The media stooped too low until it took the intervention of political analyst Barack Muluka, to bring them back to their senses in a hard hitting article in The Satandardon 17 November 2012: How Media is Failing Kenyans. Muluka castigated the media and and posed: ‘We scratch at the surface of things. We present them only for entertainment value. When did we lose it? Do we really understand the underlying rot?’

He reminded them of their role as the ‘fourth estate’, in the words of Edmund Burke, as opposed to their preoccupation with  irresponsible political utterances at press conferences, rallies and burials. After that the Media Council came up with some belated election agenda, which flopped miserably. Meanwhile, the mushroom FM radios as usual thrived on their idle talk in the morning.

My take is that this practice by Kenyan media is by design, not default. It began in early 2000 when Mwai Kibaki became president. Some sections of the media wanted to divert people’s attention from government’s failures. But right now it has grown full blast. Writing in The East African on 12 October 2013, activist Muthoni Wanyeki pointed out that the media was complicit with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in March, conspiring to only publish the IEBC’s “official” results. She notes that until today, IEBC sits pretty, not bothered by the fact that the Country still lacks correct tallies from that election, because its watchdog is compromised.

However, in scenarios where the local media abdicates its mandate for whatever reason, two entities—the international media and the civil society groups—play a crucial role of agitating for justice. But of late there has been a systematic onslaught on these two entities in Kenya, which if left to continue, will kill social justice completely. When IEBC chairman Isaac Hassan was releasing presidential results in March, he praised the local media for ‘patriotism’. Some Kenyan media faulted foreign media for ‘predicting chaos’ in the country. But I believe a bloodbath was inevitable had the local media highlighted the malpractices and shortcomings that characterised that particular poll.

This week Kenya commemorates 50 years of independence amid growing poverty, corruption, ignorance, disease and worse, her president and his deputy facing criminal charges at the International Criminal Court. However, both the media and Jubilee supporters have shown hostility towards civil society groups, whereby Human Rights activist Maina Kiai was threatened with death by people he claimed have ties with State House. The Standard newspaper also characteristically branded Kiai ‘ICC Activist’, putting his security at stake.

On 13 October 2013, Lawyer David Matsanga while hosted by NTV read from the same script and issued veiled claims that ICJ’s Stella Ndirangu and KHRC’s Prof Makau Mutua were being paid by NGOs in whose interest they were acting. Matsanga was echoing sentiments which have prevailed in the country since Mwai Kibaki became president. Many civil society activists (mostly from the grater Mount Kenya region and others affiliated to opposition parties which formed the coalition government) abandoned activism. So strong had their passion for justice been that even shortly after Narc took power, lawyer Kimotho Waiganjo could still manage to jump over parliament’s metallic grills to confront Assistant Minister George Khaniri over ‘parliamentary greed’. Not anymore. The passion is as dead as dodo and the people whose opinions are considered to go against the grain like Koigi wa Wamwere and Gitobu Imanyara are branded traitors. Gone are the days when defiant Weekly Review, Nairobi Law Monthly and other underground publications aired courageous views of the clergy, trade unionists, professionals, rights activists, NGOs and student leaders.

Attempts at fighting for the common people are now viewed as unnecessary gimmicks. During 2012 Madaraka Day, I was horrified to watch as viewers attacked activist Okoiti Omtatah on NTV’s The Trend. A viewer alleged that Omtatah was a gun for hire by the highest bidder, and that he pays chokoras to smear him with dirt so as to attract public sympathy. Another viewer insinuated that Omatatah was on someone’s pay roll to stage his bizarre-styled activism.

Omtatah however, preferred to be called ‘conscious citizen’, not activist. This implies—correctly—that there are other citizens who are less conscious of their rights. In all developed countries, almost every citizen would behave like Omtatah—or worse—were they in similar circumstances, and they would still be seen as quite sane people. In the United Kingdom, citizens protest against much smaller things than Kenya’s earth-shaking scandals, wanton corruption, brazen greed, tribalism and impunity. And their styles of protest are even more creative, dramatic and sophisticated; thanks to advanced technology. In fact, most protests and demonstrations are triggered by intended policy changes; not already executed crimes as is the case in Kenya.

Whereas we have just a handful of activist organisations in Kenya—which only erupt spontaneously and intermittently whenever there is a crisis—in the United Kingdom for example, there are hundreds of them, with chapters all over the world. Some of their reasons for activism would even be alien to many Kenyans. For instance, a pressure group called Friends of Environment is currently up in arms against the government’s multi million pounds plan to construct a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Economists say this will spur UK’s economic growth exponentially. But the activists fear it will degrade the environment. In Kenya, environmental conservation died with Nobel laureate Prof Wangare Maathai.

Agitation and activism are a requisite for citizen rights awareness. It boosts our knowledge of our own rights and privileges as enshrined in the constitution. It is a panacea to an organised society. We will not achieve vision 2030 by sitting there and lamenting over corruption, tribalism and bad leadership. We must stop the media and government from frustrating the civil society.

On ICC, Uhuru, Ruto and Echelons are Dead Wrong

Posted on Updated on

International Criminal Court (ICC) Headquarters at the Hague, Holland
International Criminal Court (ICC) Headquarters at the Hague, Holland

By Ochieng’ Maddo

Prior to March 2013 election, President Uhuru Kenyatta—perhaps keen and desperate to become president for this very reason—was categorical that his case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) was a personal challenge. Not anymore. Known for his perpetual tendency not to keep his word, the president has hitherto sent clearest indicators that he might not honour his date with the coveted court come 12 November. Uhuru is trying to take advantage of his prestigious position as president of Kenya to skip justice.

Him and his Jubilee echelons led by chatterbox Aden Duale, are throwing incessant tirades at ‘the west’ to hoodwink ordinary Kenyans that some people somewhere disrespect Kenya—and Africa by extension—and are keen to prosecute the president of a ‘sovereign’ African nation. I find this utmost dishonesty and hence endeavour to delve into the Kenya-ICC timeline to bring out the truth.

Since independence exactly 50 years ago, Kenya has always been a Western ally. Its international reputation speaks volumes. It is a signatory to plethora UN chatters including the Rome Statute that premises ICC. Kenya hosts several UN offices including UNEP world headquarters. The US has its biggest African regional base in Nairobi. Kenya’s treasury, revenue and planning departments rely on UN’s contribution to our economy, investor capital, tourism and the so called ‘development partners’—who in Kenyan context are merely western nations donating funds for our education, health and road construction among other projects. In fact, on 17 October 2013, the US government donated a Sh12 million bomb disposal kit to the cash-strapped Kenya Police Service. The ‘western’ gadget was received by the government with rounds of applause.

So, when the bungled 2007/8 general election almost brought Kenya on its knees, it was Kenya’s position as a western ally and regional business hub that prompted the international community to swiftly intervene in the elusive search for peace. Mwai Kibaki, perhaps ashamed of his brazen stealing of power, hid and kept mum in State House as violence escalated. A section of Kenya Police took tribal sides in the ensuing menace and killed dozens of civilians they were meant to protect. Rowdy protesters descended on their neighbours who spoke Kikuyu language and killed them en masse. This prompted young men from Central Kenya to go on revenge mission. The country went to the dogs. Men were forcibly circumcised. Tens of hundreds lay dead, multitudes maimed, myriads raped and thousands displaced; yet there wasn’t a glimpse of hope for peace.

International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRTOP) has captured on its website, that it was Mr Bernard Kouchner, French Foreign and European Affairs Minister who was the first to call on the international community to intervene in Kenya’s case before it could explode into a crisis. Then on 31 December 2007, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement expressing concern for the on-going violence in the country. ‘On the same day, then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour called on the Kenyan Government to abide by its international human rights obligations.’ States ICRTOP. It is in the Rome Statute that our international human rights obligations are enshrined.

There was a stand-off between Kibaki’s PNU and Raila’s ODM. Prof Wangari Maathai led other patriots, clergy and celebrities in a clarion call on Kibaki to engage Odinga in talks to end the quagmire, but to no avail. The PNU renegade featuring hard liners Martha Karua, Amos Kimunya, John Michuki and Kiraitu Murungi among others were adamant that Kibaki had won square, and challenged Raila to go to court if he felt cheated. This prompted South Africa’s Bishop Desmond Tutu to fly to Nairobi on 2 January to persuade the top two to calm the situation, again in vain. US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer—being Kenyan western ally—only came in on 5 January to help speed up the initiative already began by Bishop Tutu. On 8 January, they were joined by former African presidents Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania), Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique), Ketumile Masire (Botswana) and Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia). All above are African countries. Doesn’t this prove that the process was African-driven? These eminent African statesmen only arrived shortly ahead of African Union Chairman, Ghanaian President John Kufuor. They all held lengthy mediation talks with President Kibaki and Raila Odinga. But sadly they were unable to broker a successful peace deal.

One hard fact unknown to many Kenyans is that it was actually African Union that sent Kofi Annan to Kenya and not the west as Uhuru and his echelons are peddling in propaganda. Annan arrived in Kenya on 10 January 2008. His terms of reference were drawn by the AU. The AU Chairman John Kufour formed the body known as the African Union Panel of Eminent Personalities, which included Mozambican Graca Machel and Tanzania’s Benjamin Mkapa. This panel was accepted by both PNU and ODM. Therefore, Kofi Annan was the African Union Chief Mediator, neither ICC’s nor the West.

PNU side was represented by Martha Karua, Sam Ongeri, Moses Wetang’ula and Mutula Kilonzo while ODM had William Ruto, Musalia Mudavadi, Sally Kosgei and James Orengo. Attoney General Amos Awako was offering legal advice to the panel. The mediation hit a snag several times, during which a lot of tension built on the ground. There were reports of people purchasing swords, knives and pangas in large numbers. Artisans sharpening butcher’s knives and axes using mobile grinders reported exponential boom in business. Several people sold their property to raise money to travel to safe havens. Most of them are still poor and desperate to date. Others have until died of depression.

The entire nation heaved a sigh of relief on 28 February 2008 when a power sharing deal was reached between Kibaki and Raila as President and Prime Minister respectively. Normalcy returned, but the Grand Coalition Government formed was tasked with implementing piecemeal reforms within specific timeframes. The agreement proposed immediate establishment of three commissions – the Commission of Inquiry on Post-Election Violence (CIPEV), the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) and the Independent Review Commission on the General Elections. CIPEV, led by Justice Philip Waki, compiled its report and handed over the list of people deemed highly culpable in the violence to Annan as it was mandated.

The government was asked to expedite judicial reforms and create legislation to try the suspects at home but it failed. PNU side wanted to fix ODM and vice versa. Former Embakasi MP Ferdinand (Clifford? Ndung’u?)  Waititu is on record confessing that PNU MPs voted in parliament for the infamous ‘Waki Envelop’ to be taken to The Hague because they (PNU) believed Raila’s name topped the list. Annan simply handed the envelope over to ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo. That was how President Uhuru, his deputy Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang’ ended up at The Hague.

Inside Raila’s New Book ‘The Flame of Freedom’

Posted on

Former Prime Minister, Raila Amolo Odinga
Former Prime Minister, Raila Amolo Odinga

Via Standard Digital.

By Mbugua Ngunjiri

Kenyans have not heard the last of Raila Odinga if his new book is anything to go by.

Titled The Flame of Freedom, the book, written in the first person, takes an indepth look at the former Prime Minister, right from his childhood, his life journey, family, and most importantly, his political struggles that landed him at the pinnacle of Kenya’s leadership.

This book, published by Mountain Top Publishers, is likely to dominate discussions in the country for the next couple of weeks.

What this latest release means is that Raila, however his critics might wish him away, is never far from the pulse of the nation.

Our sources told us that the book covers only up to campaign time for the March 2013 elections, which will be a bit of a disappointment for readers looking to know what Raila thinks about the elections, which he contested at the Supreme Court.

Raila and his supporters maintain, to this day, that the 2013 presidential election was stolen from him. He however dwells in detail on the 2007 election, which he again disputed and whose acrimonious outcome led to the post-election violence.

It is the post-election violence that currently has President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in The Hague answering to charges of crimes against humanity.

Readers will be interested in knowing what Raila has to say about The Hague process, the ensuing investigations and former prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, given that supporters of Uhuru and Ruto allege that he had a hand in taking the two to The Hague.

Analysts also believe the Uhuruto duo played The Hague card to their advantage, which in effect means that this is the single most contributor to Raila’s loss at the last elections.

Also likely to make an interesting read is Raila’s version of events during his time as Kibaki’s co-principal in the coalition government. There are people who believe that Raila was a mere figurehead in that government in spite of the fact that he was supposed to be an equal partner with Kibaki.

Another controversial aspect of Raila’s life is the sensitive topic of the failed 1982 coup against former President Moi’s government.

It was first brought to the limelight after Nigerian scholar Babafemi Badejo wrote Raila’s biography titled Raila Odinga: An Enigma in Kenyan Politics, which was released just prior to the 2007 polls.

This book placed Raila at the thick of things regarding the coup. It will therefore be interesting to know what, Raila, in his own words, has to say about this dark period in Kenya’s political history.

The Flame of Freedom, is written with the help of former journalist Sarah Elderkin.

Elderkin penned a series of articles, defending Raila, in the Daily Nation following the serialisation of former Raila adviser Miguna Miguna’s book Peeling Back the Mask, which took an unflattering look at the current leader of CORD.

It will not escape observers that this book could be offering a rebuttal to the damage, if any, Miguna’s book did to Raila’s image.

The Nairobian has learnt that a number of local publishers had positioned themselves to get publishing rights for the book but it ended up with Mountain Top, whose CEO, Lawrence Njagi, is the current chairman of Kenya Publishers Association.

The very act of publishing Raila’s memoirs will most likely raise the profile of Mountain Top, which specialises in the publication of early childhood books.

From Kidero, Shebesh to Kidero, Raila Rivalry

Posted on

Via Africa News Post


Political rivalry between Cord leader, Raila Odinga and Nairobi County Governor Evans Kidero came clear on Sunday after the governor snubbed to acknowledge presence of former prime minister in State House.

The Governor was elected on ODM ticket and has so far fallen out with his boss after he refused to accompany him during Cord Governors’ USA trip two months ago.

This is how Kidero begun his speech… “Mr President Uhuru Kenyatta and other leaders………” Kidero started his speech without acknowledging presence of Raila Odinga whom other leaders recognized as “Former Prime Minister of Republic of Kenya”.

Uhuru, Raila and other leaders had met at State House for a joint press conference on the situation of Westgate shopping Mall attack.

ICC Witness Names Kiambaa Church Attackers

Posted on Updated on

William Ruto

Via Capital News

Stephen Chemalang’, Emmanuel Bull, Kimepo and an unknown male identified as ‘Brown,’ on account of his light skin colour, were adversely mentioned when the ICC prosecution’s first witness took to the stand on Tuesday.

The witness known only as P0536 to protect her identity was overcome with emotion as she recounted the roles the four individuals played in the torching and subsequent murder of those who had sought refuge at the Kenya Assemblies of God church in Kiambaa on January 1, 2008.

She accused Chemalang’ of leading about 3,000 youths covered in white chalk to the church compound with machetes, bows and arrows in tow.

“Chemelang’ himself was wearing khaki trousers and a bandana on his head, I saw him through a crack in the church window with a blue jerrycan in his hand. He poured the contents of the jerrycan, petrol, onto one of our mattresses and threw it onto the roof of the church in which we were hiding,” she recounted.

The witness said she was one of 2,000, mainly mothers and children, who had sought safety in the confines of the modest church constructed using wood, mud and corrugated iron sheets.

“We were getting ready to prepare our morning tea when we heard chanting and saw two groups of youth coming from behind us and the left. They were singing ‘hae ho,’ and the men told us to get the children and get into the church,” she said.

These men, she said, used the victims’ bicycles to barricade the main door of the church while they stood outside the side door to ensure nobody made a run for it and survived.

One woman tried to escape, the witness testified, and paid the price for it. “It’s very hard for me to relay this incident to you because she was a friend of mine. Her name was Margaret Wanjiru and when she ran out of the church to beg Brown for help they raped her,” the witness relayed as she broke down.

The witness went on to narrate how she sought help from an elder for her friend but only succeeded in getting him felled by an axe, “his name was Baba Sharogo,” she revealed.

But it took an attack on her brother for her to come out of hiding, “he had been hiding in the church compound but before he could save himself they shot him with an arrow which lodged itself at the nape of his neck,” the witness recalled in tears.

She went on to describe how she stripped naked in a bid to save her brother’s life, “in Kalenjin culture a naked woman is a curse and seeing this, Brown shoved my brother at me and told me to take my trash with me.”

According to the witness, she got help down the road when she pleaded in Kalenjin with a Kalenjin truck-owner for her brother’s life.

The truck-driver eventually dropped her brother off at the Moi Referral Hospital in Eldoret saving his life.

The witness’ testimony was frequently disrupted, not just when Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji allowed the witness a break to compose herself, but when the judge and Deputy President William Ruto’s defence counsel, Karim Khan, engaged in a debate on whether or not the witness should be notified, on the stand, that she would risk prosecution should she be found to have given false testimony.

“There are certain warnings that may be given to the witness and that looms large on their mind when they testify,” Eboe-Osuji argued cautious not to intimidate the witness but he did eventually communicate Khan’s wishes to the witness.

It was then agreed that future witness preparation sessions would be video taped to ensure witnesses are notified of this provision and are therefore careful not to give an untrue version of events.

In Kalenjin culture a naked woman is a curse and seeing this, Brown shoved my brother at me and told me to take my trash with me.

“Do not try to guess at an answer you do not know. It’s always important to make sure you understand the question before you answer it,” Eboe-Osuji had directed the witness at the start of the trial.

Translation also proved to be a sticking point for the victims’ legal counsel, Wilfred Nderitu, and journalist Joshua arap Sang’s lawyer Katwa Kigen who both understand Kiswahili.

They pointed out instances where the English translation did not accurately communicate what the witness was trying to say.

“There are instances when the witness used the word ‘adui’ which the English word is ‘enemy’ but the translator used the word ‘group’, there are instances where the witness said the people wore khaki shorts and the translation that was given is that it was ‘leaves,’” Kigen illustrated.

The court also went into a closed sessions at least three times with the final being for the witness to indicate, on a map she had drawn, where each of the events she had related transpired.

The first witness continues to give her testimony on Wednesday in order to allow the prosecution to complete their interrogation and the defence, victims’ counsel and chamber a chance to cross-examine her.

The chamber had allowed the prosecution an approximate four hours to question the witness, both defence teams an equal amount of time to carry out their cross-examination and half this allocation to the judges and Nderitu totalling 16 hours.

– Capital News

Muthui Kariuki’s Folly Exposed His Incompetence

Posted on Updated on

Government of Kenya spokesman Muthui Kariuki
Government of Kenya spokesman Muthui Kariuki

By Ochieng’ Maddo

When Mwai Kibaki, as was expected, replaced an Alfred Mutua with a Muthui Kariuki, many Kenyans knew the appointment was not based on merit because Kibaki had this unfortunate tendency to fill and refill key government positions mostly with names that rang a bell in his head. That was how Kenyans came to know Njuguna Ndung’us, Julias Karangis, Ndegwa Muhoros, Githu Muigais, John Njiriainis, Lucy Ndung’us, Kinuthia Mwangis, Francis Kimemias and Michael Gichangis among others. But that was Kibaki who–thank God–has until retired and paved way for the ‘digital’ Jubilee Coalition. However, despite promising Kenyans that their government would comprise of youthful people with fresh ideas in this digital age, Jubilee has effectively recycled many ‘analogue’ government officials on the same basis that their names still ring a bell in Uhuru Kenyatta’s mind. Muthui Kariuki falls in this category.

Muthui Kariuki has not mastered his job role since he assumed office. He has consistently embarrassed himself in all the previous Press Statements, but most conspicuous was the one he did this week. For a man with experience in teaching and Public Relations spanning years, it beats reason that Muthui still fails understand that his position entails boosting the image of the government, not tainting it as he does. This reminds me of a question Professor Ouma Muga used to ask of Kibaki’s misrule: “How much experience is enough experience?”

Despite his ‘wealth of experience’, Muthui’s behaviour reveal him as a man who believes Jubilee is a Mount Kenya rather than Kenyan government. Public Relations does not require such a mindset. PR is a delicate field that handles propaganda, syndicated information and sensitive leaks hence calls for sobriety and caution. It requires one to be careful, tactful and well thoughtful before releasing statements to the public. It is a field where truth can be effectively denied and toppled head over heels. PR is a strategic communication exercise aimed at building and nurturing beneficial mutual relationships between organizations and their publics. Here, propaganda can be repackaged and served as official, true and honest position of an entity on pertinent issues. It requires finest communication skills, attractive and engrossing oratory and good looks to boot.

Muthui Kariuki does not belong here any more. He is too old for the job, his face lacks visual appeal and his English heavily laden with Kikuyu dialect. The last time he learnt communication was 30 years ago. A lot of changes have taken place in this field which his communication skills are completely devoid of. His brain therefore, direly needs refurbishing. Muthui is also a local man, narrowly travelled hence not exposed to international standards of spokesmanship. The 57 year-old Literature teacher has only gravitated around Nairobi and Central Kenya. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Kenyatta University then a PGD and a masters from University of Nairobi in the 80s. He proceeded to teach at Starehe Boys Centre before holding PR positions in a handful of Nairobi-based companies. Such a man’s brain is operating in a ‘Nairobi closet’. The next place he knows is his region of origin, period!

These traits were on display last Thursday when he desperately attempted to give official government position on the rejection of Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech by wananchi in Kisii last weekend. The spokesman ridiculously displayed deep emotions and pitiable grimaces. Even though he was reading a speech, he still gesticulated like a frightened adolescent. He ranted like an obsessed preacher. I wondered loudly why the man who was supposed to be a spin doctor instead decided to spill the beans on his employer.

Muthui had obviously decided that Raila was an enemy of THEIR government who should be dealt with ‘decisively and mercilessly’ as Mutahi Ngunyi recently advised. He therefore did not care whether Raila commands a massive loyal following whose feelings should be taken into consideration before issuing such a careless talk. He was not interested in any kind of mutual relationship with Raila and his supporters. He was only keen to defend the government at all costs, but he ended up further denting its image. It beats logic that the man is paid handsomely by out taxes to stage such unfortunate antics.

Muthui should borrow a leaf from some of his colleagues. In the run up to the last general election, spokespersons Munyori Buku, Denis Onyango, Kaplich Barsito and Kibisu Kabatesi of Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi respectively, displayed exemplary contemporary skills required in this trade. They did it in the way of Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s efficient spin doctor, who manned sensitive communication and Blair’s image both in Labour Party and in government; and also worldwide during the controversial Iraq Invasion in 2003. Campbell concealed sensitive information that only got revealed in 2012. He upheld public confidence in the Prime Minister even when Blair and George Bush were dethroning Saddam Hussein on false grounds that the latter had weapons of mass destruction.

To reciprocate Munyori Buku’s performance in the last campaign, Kenyatta has appointed him to head the new Presidential Strategic Communication Unit. May be he could do better in Muthui’s position. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto desperately need a better spokesman especially at this time when they are fumbling with a divided country and the impending deadly trials at the Hague.