Archive for July, 2012

A survey done by a research firm Infotrack Harris and released the other day showed that most Kenyans worry about the state of the economy above everything else. According to the research, 52 percent of Kenyans are so much concerned about various aspects of the economy that affect their earnings and expenditure. 

The poll further says that 16 percent worry about inflation, unemployment, 14 percent infrastructure, 8 percent poverty while five percent worry about food security.

These new poll revelations should send a very strong message to the Kenyan leaders who are so busy campaigning for the next general elections which are just around the corner. Inflation, unemployment which is so rampant among the Kenyan youths,  poverty eradication and food security are one of the key sectors of the country’s economy that these leaders should be working on to include in their manifestos.

For a long time now, since the country got independence and became a republic, Kenyans have been suffering. I must agree that we have come along way especially in terms infrastructure development, but this is not enough.  As much as we are boasting of great roads, modern building, still Kenyans continue languishing in poverty and unemployment. Despite being an agriculture fed country, still the state of our food security is worrying. This is why we still have Kenyans dying of hunger during droughts just because the country has no enough food to feed them hence depending on donor support.

The gap between the poor and the rich seems to be widening each passing day. Survival for the fittest is the order of the day and this is attributed by the country’s leadership. Those in authority continue living large through dubious corrupt activities while the poor Kenyan continues languishing in poverty.

With the campaigns now in top gear, the politicians are now moving round the country trying to woe the poor electorate to vote for him or her. We should therefore be on the look out, what does this politician stand for? Is she or he the change the country wants? Will he get the country out of the woes that have befallen our dear country in recent days?  The fact that this leader has been holding that political office for so many years is not enough to qualify him to be elected to the next government. Throughout his or her tenure in the government what has he or she done for you? How many corruption related scandals has he been involved in and this where the issue of integrity comes out.

As a third world country, our growth totally depends on our country’s leadership. No country can grow if its leaders on think of their selfish ambitions and do nothing but politics at the time when they are supposed to be working for their citizens. The country’s economy will continue dwindling at the expense of these same leaders.

As we prepare for the elections, let us not allow ourselves to be manipulated by empty promises.  Lets us carefully analyze these candidates before giving them an ok to lead our country. This is the only way in which we can stop worrying about the state of the economy which defines how we live in future as a country.

 

 

 

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Neither Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta nor Eldoret North Member of Parliament William Ruto will be in the country for a run-off in the presidential election should they make it that far.

Despite Trial Chamber V of the International Criminal Court (ICC) consenting to the request by the two accused for their trials to begin after the General Election in March, the expected date for the run-off voting is April 10, when the trial in the first Kenya case involving Ruto begins.

Uhuru’s trial begins the following day, but he, too, must travel to The Hague in advance so as not to breach the rules of the trials established during the Status Conference in June, when the accused agreed to be present at the trials as the rules of the court require.

All four signed commitments binding themselves to be present at the trials. Uhuru and Ruto, who have declared their desire to block Prime Minister Raila Odinga from State House, might now have to review their strategy within the loose G7 Alliance, to ensure their preferred candidate wins the ballot outright.

Most of the recent opinion polls have indicated that no presidential candidate will win the race in the first round of voting, making a run-off inevitable.

Even more intriguing would be the dilemma if either Uhuru or Ruto wins a run-off ballot while at The Hague, for weeks and months. Who would Kibaki hand over to, and would he take the oath of office at The Hague? Does the law allow a president-elect to remain in office during his trial for serious criminal offences?

The trials are expected to be a long-drawn affair. The ICC prosecution has stated it would take at least one year to argue each of the Kenya cases once the trials begin.

ICC’s tentative calendar for 2012 shows once the ongoing trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba resumes after the court’s August recess, it is scheduled every day of the week until end of the year.

On the other hand, refusal to co-operate with the court would put a president-elect in an awkward position because he would essentially be branded an international fugitive, like Sudan President Omar al Bashir and also risk impeachment by Parliament.

Uhuru and former Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura are in the second Kenya case, while Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang are in the first.

Part 6 and Article 63 (1) of the Rome Statute establishing the operations of the ICC requires that the accused must be in court at all times during their trials.

 

It now emerges that the judges handed Ruto and Uhuru a poisoned chalice when they appeared to give them the green light to run for president.

For some time now, leaders in the G7 Alliance have abandoned the idea of joint presidential nominations, instead preferring each contests the presidency, hoping to reunite in case of a run-off.

Second hurdle

Although Uhuru and Ruto have insisted the ICC cases would not stop them from contesting the presidency, another hurdle is a pending court case in which the International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) has sought the ruling of the High Court on their eligibility.

The civil society organisation wants the High Court to state whether Uhuru and Ruto meet the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution of leadership and integrity. The ruling is due on July 31.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga is on record as warning the Judiciary will stand firm and ensure leaders who fail to meet the threshold of integrity as set out in the Constitution are not allowed to run for public office.

Saying he would forever fight “in the trenches of reform”, Mutunga has dismissed claims by a section of lawyers, mps, and political leaders that Chapter Six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity stands suspended until a Bill is passed to implement it.

The CJ has also promised to ensure that the courts uphold Chapter Six of the Constitution to weed out individuals who do not meet integrity and leadership standards.

The CJ has been emphatic that the courts must be seen to uphold the spirit of the Constitution when it comes to interpreting Chapter Six, which he warned could still be used to vet those seeking leadership positions.

On the other hand it is around the same time, April 10 tentatively, that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has planned the historical presidential run-off poll in the event there is no outright winner after the March 4 vote.

The prosecution’s request for the staggered disclosure of witnesses and evidence, and given that the defence requires three months to prepare for trial are among the factors that influenced the judges’ decision on the trial dates.

The run-off dilemma aside, the ICC suspects have to contend with the financial strain likely to emerge from running presidential campaigns while preparing for trials for international crimes.

Between now and April 10, Uhuru and Ruto will have to split their time between political campaigns and preparing for their cases.

That the prosecution intends to change the character of the charges against Uhuru, Ruto, and Muthaura to boost chances of conviction underlines the defence must fight even harder.

Part 6 and Article 61 (9) of the Rome Statute states in part: “After the charges are confirmed and before the trial has begun, the Prosecutor may, with the permission of the Pre-Trial Chamber and after notice to the accused, amend the charges.”

After amending charges in the Thomas Lubanga case, the prosecution secured its first ever conviction from a full trial.

Lubanga was sentenced to 14 years, but will only serve eight as he spent six years in custody before and during his trial.

The costs associated with an ICC trial are heavy in terms of legal fees, transport, and accommodation, among other expenses.

Apart from the financial implications, the distraction in time off the campaigns to consult lawyers preparing defence is another challenge.

One of Sang’s lawyers, Katwa Kigen, however, downplayed the suggestion that preparation for defence would interrupt the affairs of the suspects.

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Narc-Kenya leader and presidential president just the other day launched her presidential campaign secretariat to scale up her bid for the top seat, she went further to setting up her campaign squad which included a 10-member youthful squad with Hussein Muhammed, the CEO of Extreme Sports as the manager of Martha Karua 2012 Campaign Secretariat. Karua further went ahead to take appoint one Dr. Sammy Thenya to take charge of the campaign boars.

Even as she unveiled her campaign strategy, one question remained lingering in my mind and all other youthful Kenyans out there. Is Kenya really ready for a female president? If only I had the chance to sit down and share with her visions for the country

Christened the iron-lady of Kenyan politics, Karua has proven herself to be a man among women both inside and outside parliament.

Her key issues, which she has promised to focus on her campaign manifesto are: restoration of constitualism, education, food security, job creation, universal healthcare and foreign policy. All these key issues of national importance which have been given little or no attention by previous and current government are what Martha promises to give priority. Previous regimes have always been giving empty promises in their manifestos which were never implemented. This is what has plunged our country in recent woes that have been affecting our country and citizens. Young people whom the government had promised to create jobs for continue to suffer in villages and in our slums.

The most critical issue she promises to look into is also constitutionalism.  During last years referendum saw Kenyans overwhelmingly for the new constitution and Martha was among those in the YES team who fought for Kenyans to get this constitution. Finally, Kenyans were living in a new country and the new constitution was seen as a new birth for our dear country. Unfortunately, the same constitution the same constitution continues to be manipulated by greedy politicians out to serve their selfish interests through enactment of bills. Casing point being the recent passage of a bill to allow party hopping which is illegal under the political parties act.

Karua has been on the forefront in the floor of parliament opposing selfish these moves. This can also be attested through his party, Narc-Kenya where Mps like Mike Mbuvi Sonko sent parking for indiscipline.

She says she is running for the presidency to defend the constitution as a framework which guarantees all Kenyans a life of dignity and equality. Is this not a dream being desired by every young, jobless and poor young people like me for our country? Where everyone, regardless of his or her position in society has an equal place and opportunity in the country. What has the previous leadership, courtesy men with big stomachs who are going out talking about reforms yet they have nothing to show done to deserve another chance in our country’s leadership? Nothing, nothing at all

Well, being a woman Martha understands what our dear country really wants and just like my beautiful mum always tells me, “mums are always right”. So Dear Martha to me you stand out to be the best candidate and the country is really and indeed ready for a woman president and that is your Martha, u got my vote.

Nixon Kanali, Nairobi

nickcanali@ymail.com

+ 254 727 503198

Last Sunday’s attacks which have been so severe in recent days in two different churches in Garisa town must have sent a very strong message to the government which has been faulted for its inability to provide security for its citizens.  The attacks left nearly 17 people dead and more than fourty injured and the terror group Alshabaab has already claimed responsibility for the attacks while initially the prime minister and other politicians who visited the area had blamed religious conflicts between the Muslims and Christians.

 

The government in response to these attacks has through the acting security minister who is also the Defense minister Yusuf Haji posted 700 police officers to Garissa town.  This new act has also seen top security bosses from the town transferred and there place taken by other security bosses from other counties.

 

Even as the government does this, one only wonders if finally the war on terrorism is being given the seriousness it deserves. Is the step taken by the government going to bear fruits and is it the best move taken?  These attacks came just after the United States government had warned of a terror attack in Mombasa and also the Israel government had also claimed that Iran was plotting attacks in Kenya. What message should this statements Kenyans wake up to every day of terror plots send to both the government and citizens? It means Kenya has now become a new hub for terrorists and terror activities which should leave us a worried lot. Why have this terror groups suddenly developed interest in Kenya to the extent of attacking places of worship like churches, this really borders on sadism. They probably have realized the country’s security system has plunged down and that’s why they easily find there way through our country’s borders and airports

Very important issues like security have taken center stage in politics especially with the elections first approaching. Unlike our politicians who are given maximum security and even assigned bodyguards, a normal citizen cannot even afford a single police officer to guard his or her village. Recent attacks have seen politicians come to condemn them promising they will never happen, but they don’t walk the talk. Their political campaigns have seen them state that they are going to prioritize national security. Why don’t they do that now with the current wave of attacks?

 

The Garissa attacks have now seen the government shift focus to the town with these new deployments. Apart from Garisa, the government should also look into securing other towns. These attacks could happen in any other town as these terror groups seem to have roots all over. During a press conference to announce the deployment of the security officers, the defense minister stated that this time round they are not going to leave any stone unturned. Something which the president reiterated during saying they country will not be intimated by any terror group.  One only hopes that this indeed will happen.

 

The government has also put so many resources in the war in Somalia, and the Kenyan forces have gone a notch hire to securing the heart of alshabaab. A commendable job indeed by our defense forces and this is the reason why our country has been placed under siege by this terror group. Recently, an MP suggested the removal of our forces as prerequisite to ending the current wave of attacks; this is an empty rhetoric that will make matters worse for our country.

 

The same efforts the government is putting in the war in Somali should also be put internally to ensure we are safe as a country. The political class, the citizens and the government should be on the forefront in propagating for security in their areas of representation, from county to national level.

 

Nixon Kanali, Nairobi

Parliament had passed a bill last week on the academic credentials for one to find his way to parliament as an MP. For those aspiring for the next general elections, a degree is mandatory. This decision was later squashed by the president after he refused to sign the bill into law citing pending court cases on the same.

The degree requirement decision however continues to elicit mixed reaction from across the political divide and citizens in general. Some are in support of it while others say it is a selfish idea by the MPs to lock out other people from contesting in next years elections.

But come to think of it, does your MP have a degree? A high percentage of my fellow Kenyans really don’t know even the academic background of the people they elect in office to represent them.

My elders, parents, lectures and people from my professional back ground, even the presidents says in this modern world you cannot go anywhere without education. Probably that is why the president is putting so much emphasis on education and even deciding to provide free primary and secondary education for Kenyans.  Most job offers appearing in our local dailies also put so much weight on education credentials apart from other requirements, with most employers seeking to hire degree holders. That is why you find young people, especially from the Y-Generation who have done certificate and Diploma courses getting locked out of the job market and are struggling to join universities to advance their education by enrolling for degree courses in their various courses of specialization.

This is not a different case with our Kenyan political leadership. As the electorate, we are the bosses and the people we elect in parliament are our workforce (which ironically is the vice versa). How as a boss can you hire a person who does not meet the qualifications to be part of your human resource. This only means you are hiring an incompetent member of staff and what are the consequences?  He or she will go all the way to bring down your company; you will not realize any profits, poor management and will always be clashing with his bosses and co-workers. He or she will be only thinking about how he is going to benefit from the company’s profits leaving your consumers unsatisfied. When a consumer becomes discontented with your services or products, he or she completely looses trust in your company and drifts away.

This is exactly what we are going through with the leaders we elected in our previous and current parliament and any other public office. Any Kenyan can attest to this, instead of being proud to be Kenyans tunavumilia kuwa wakenya. At times we have to hide our sad faces behind those great athletes who are making our country proud in international races while in the real sense we are suffering.

Education helps one to think big and so Kenyans, let these politicians go back to school and get that Degree you yourself is struggling to get before you can hire him back to your company, that is parliament

Nixon Kanali, Nairobi

Has the government really failed in security? This was after a twin grenade attacks that were experienced on Sunday in two different churches in Garissa. The incident left sixteen lives lost and more than forty injured. This was indeed a dark Sunday for the innocent worshippers and the attacks came just weeks after another one was experienced in the coastal town.

This should really put the government on spot. For how long are Kenyans going to die on their own land from these attacks. It is now clear grenade attacks are becoming a normal occurrence in the country. The government has always been coming out with the same assurance of providing security but this is not the case. It is high time the government walked the talk.

The president came out and strongly condemned the attacks promising that the culprits will be brought to book.

Prior to the previous Mombasa attack, the United States government had come out to warn of an impending attack. What followed next was a harsh reaction from the government terming the US government move as uncalled for. The government said it had not been consulted by the US government before the statement was made. What followed next was the grenade attack which left Kenyans puzzled. The government took the US warning lightly and before they knew it, innocent lives had been lost.

Garrissa has been the biggest casualty of these imminent attacks probably due to its closeness to the Kenya-Somali border. Day in day out, residents from this part of the country have to live in fear not knowing where the next attack will come from. What has the government done to avert these scaring situations? As usual, the same statements have been issue.

Kenyans want to see more action from the government on this terror attacks. The fact that the US government warned of a terror attack in Mombasa did not mean that the attacks were only going to happen at the coastal town. The government should have realized that the country was insecure and something really had to be done.

It should also be seen that these attacks are happening when the country is preparing for the general elections. When our leaders who should be addressing this issue are so preoccupied selling their political ambitions to Kenyans. Politics has taken center stage and our leaders have really forgotten that the country is in a bad state.  Yesterdays Garissa attacks for example dominated the political gatherings with each political aspirant condemning it and calling for speedy actions. At some instances, I sadly watched some politicians say “The government should look into the matter seriously” Dujis Mp even went to the extent of calling on the government to withdraw its forces from Somali. Just who is the government? Aren’t they not the government themselves? 

The issue of insecurity is not the responsibility of the internal security ministry or the police alone. Every ministry, politician and even the citizen has a role to play.  This is the saddest moment the country is going through with the unprecedented manner in which these attacks are happening. We have heard enough. Can the government and the political get serious enough and take responsibility for the state of insecurity in the country?

Nixon Kanali, Nairobi