Archive for March, 2015

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Click here to view, read or download Uhuru Kenyatta’s #StateOfTheNation full speech

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Image Courtesy of Editorial cartoonist Andula Victor

It has been labeled as one of the most bold speech the president has ever made. The president, during the state of the Nation address on Thursday announced a corruption purge that could see some of his Cabinet secretaries, governors and senators, step aside to pave the way for investigations.

In what is now being called the list of shame, all the 26 members of the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament, among other MPs, heads of parastatals and various principal secretaries.

Could this be one the the toughest decision the president has ever done in trying to fight corruption which has engulfed his government? Maybe yes, maybe not. Even after all that talk, what Kenyans are waiting to see is if indeed the leaders that have been mentioned in the list the President handed to the Speaker will indeed step down?

“Consequently, I hereby direct that all officials of the national and county governments that are adversely mentioned in this report, whether you are a Cabinet secretary, principal secretary, or chief executive of a state institution, to immediately step aside pending conclusion of the investigations of the allegations against them. I expect the other arms of government, namely the Legislature and the Judiciary, to do the same,” the president said, really speaking tough but until we see prosecutions then we going to take him seriously.

Apart from the common names that are already in public domain, Kenyans will still be waiting to see the full list on Tuesday next week when the names are going to come out.

Below is the full video of the presidents address courtesy of NTV

So who are these corrupt leaders in the List of shame?

#KanaliSpeaks

The Chinese Restaurant in Nairobi which has been closed by county authorities (Source: Daily Nation)

The Chinese Restaurant in Nairobi which has been closed by county authorities (Source: Daily Nation)

It is still the number one topic on every Kenyan lips now. The Chinese restaurant that is being accused of not allowing Africans past 5pm.

The Nairobi county government has now closed the Chinese restaurant with investigations on how the restaurant operated without the three crucial documents for three years currently underway.
The restaurant has come out strongly, defending its decisions and even apologizing. Below is the statement, read it and share your thoughts:
”Our restaurant has been operating in Kenya legally for many years. We have been receiving and treating all customers equally. We have never discriminated anyone or treat anyone differently, and in future we shall never do this too. Since the opening of the restaurant, the dishes and services we have provided are very much appreciated by the local people. Many local customers come and dine at our restaurant. We have also employed local chefs to make local food. Recently, because of concerns of the business environment at night, we adopted certain measures. Unfortunately, some of the measures were inappropriate, which had led to misunderstandings and caused inconvenience to a small number of customers. We deeply apologize for this. Later on, we shall take more advice and modestly accept suggestions from all the customers, and continue to try our best to provide excellent service to all our respected customers.”
Share your thoughts.
Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century once said, ”Racism is man’s gravest threat to man- the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason. So you can imagine what I felt as a Kenyan, an African for that matter when I first heard of the news that a Chinese restaurant somewhere in Capital city of Nairobi could not allow African past certain hours, 5PM to be specific.
The Chinese Restaurant, located at the junction of Galana and Lenana roads in Kilimani, Nairobi which does not allow Africans to enter after 5pm (PhotoSource: Daily Nation)

The Chinese Restaurant, located at the junction of Galana and Lenana roads in Kilimani, Nairobi which does not allow Africans to enter after 5pm (PhotoSource: Daily Nation)

The reason for doing this according to the restaurant management is that Black Africans posed danger to the Chinese patrons who visit the restaurant. Only taxi drivers or Africans accompanied by Chinese, European or Indian patrons or some certain “loyal” African patrons are allowed into the compound.

This whole whole racism scandal has caused so much debate among Kenyans and it has now become the number one trending topic on twitter under the hashtag #RacistRestaurant.
At this day and age, why would people still be discriminated just because of their skin colour? As I was telling my friends from the office yesterday morning, we have come a long way back from the days of slavery, but it is so sad that in 2015 racism/ discrimination and inequality still saturate our society to levels that we cannot even understand. Where are our Chinese brothers in this case taking us? As Kenyan on twitter said, it’s sad to discriminate at this day and age,it takes us back to precolonial times.

So who are these ”Loyal” Africans that the Chinese restaurant only admits? and what does it takes for an African to be considered ”loyal”? According to the Daily Nation, for an African to be considered “loyal” and worthy of admission, they must spend Sh20,000 at the restaurant over a specified period, they said. But staff who spoke to the Nation said the restaurant is not a members’ club and with the exception of Mr Sonko and Mr Tuju, and that the “no Africans” policy is strictly enforced.
It has also been revealed the Chinese restaurant has been operating without a licence and that it also owes the tourism regulator Sh227,000 in arrears. That is according to the Tourism Regulatory Authority. Apparently, the Chinese Restaurant has not been paying the annual Sh45,000 since 2011. This only means it has been operating illegally and still goes ahead to lock Africans/Kenyans out.

As a country and in those little village primary schools we went to, our teachers made enormous progress in teaching everyone that racism is bad. That is what we grew up knowing and we still have that right at the back of our minds. But when I enter a Chinese restaurant and the first thing I am welcomed with is a strange look with a message “Masaa ya Waafrika yameisha,” (The time for Africans is over), how does that makes me feel as an African? sad.

American comedian, screenwriter, television and film producer, and actor Dave Chappelle said things like racism are institutionalized. You might not know any bigots. You feel like “well I don’t hate black people so I’m not a racist,” but you benefit from racism. Just by the merit, the color of your skin. The opportunities that you have, you’re privileged in ways that you might not even realize because you haven’t been deprived of certain things. We need to talk about these things in order for them to change.

We cannot do this alone; the Chinese, Americans, blacks and people from all other races have a role to play.
What has been happening at the Chinese restaurant together with all these other places which might not have been discovered yet can only be descried as disgusting and ancient.

Here is a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.
”I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”’

#KanaliSpeaks

#GraftDiaries, that is the number one trending topic in Kenya now among Kenyans on Twitter, #KOT as they are commonly known. Of course this comes after yesterday’s news item on KTN about the corruption allegations that have recently marred members of the national assembly’s committee.

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The members have been in the spotlight over political conspiracies to doctor parliaments investigative reports either for rent seeking or shielding their cronies from being mentioned adversely.

Currently Members of the public accounts committee are being investigated by the powers and privileges committee over claims of bribery and extortion to alter sensitive reports or misplace key files.

So just what is ailing this country? Corruption continues to be a disease and the sad thing is the same government that promised to fight it is doing nothing about it.

Vladimir Putin once said, those who fight corruption should first be clean themselves. Is this the case in our dear country? Both the anti-corruption commission and our leaders are only working to satisfy their selfish interests. It is all about ”Scratch my back, I scratch yours”

Corruption is costing us too much as a country, it is bleeding Kenya to death. It is corruption that make terrorists find their way easily into this country, the same corruption makes the cost of living go high, It is killing innocent Kenyans on our roads. This are just among the many ugly things that are happening under the watch of the government, the same government that is supposed to be ensuring there is transparency everywhere.

The Orange Democratic Movement’s national executive committee has now challenged the speaker of the national assembly Justin Muturi to dissolve all committee’s and allow for thorough investigations.As i had indicated in my previous post, the same should be extended to all public offices.

Alan Greenspan also once said, Corruption, embezzlement, fraud, these are all characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably the way human nature functions, whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is keep it to a minimum. No one has ever eliminated any of that stuff, but the Jubillee administration has to prove this point wrong.
In case you missed the KTN news item, here it is
What does the president want us to do to show him that we are indeed tired? His administration is so out of control. It is so bloated and infested with fraud and deceit and corruption and abuse of power. He needs to do something.
Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Ababu Namwamba when he appeared before the National Assembly’s Powers and Privileges committee, (Source:Daily Nation)

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Ababu Namwamba when he appeared before the National Assembly’s Powers and Privileges committee, (Source:Daily Nation)

The past few weeks has seen some of the biggest corruption scandals being revealed in parliamentary committees. First came the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC). The chairman together with members of the committee have been accused of taking bribes amounting to thousands of shillings. Claims which Namwamba  together with his members are disputing.

Then followed the another revelation during a House committee meeting on Tuesday where MPs argued over claims that some members were bribed Sh60 million to doctor a report on Mumias Sugar.

Agriculture Committee member, John Serut who is also the Mt.Elgon MP and Mr Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East, UDF) almost exchanged blows during the meeting. It all started when Mr Washiali told his colleague to substantiate allegations that 22 committee members had been bribed. Mr Washiali and Lugari MP Ayub Savula insisted that Sh4 million was deposited in the personal bank account of the committee’s chairman, Mr Mohammed Noor at Equity Bank.

How true this allegations are we don’t know. One thing is clear though, parliamentary committees have become money minting machines, collecting bribes to doctor crucial reports. It is not the first time such allegations are being made about these committees. What has the government and anti-corruption body done? Nothing, all it does is issue statements with no action.

According to a story run in the Daily Nation, in the corridors of Parliament, word has been rife that the only reason the storm in PAC blew up was because the members were unable to suppress it and were more determined to remove their chairman. What this means is that the men and women elected to oversee the other arms of government work within this committees making money out of corrupt deals to protect certain interests. This is just so disgusting.

Probably this explains why the anti-corruption commission has prosecuted only three people in three years from the nearly 10,000 complaints it has received.

Already, investigations into allegations of corruption in the Public Accounts Committee has started. This should also be extended to other parliamentary teams.

President Uhuru Kenyatta should be a very worried person with this image being painted of his government. He has been quoted in recent times taking tough about corruption. He has warned that his government was not going to leave any stone unturned on corruption and that leaders found engaging in corruption will face the full arm of the law. Corruption cases however continue to increase each day.

Macharia Gaitho penned down a very interesting opinion piece in the Daily Nation the other day. He said If the President willingly populated his government and political party with characters that cannot pass the integrity test, he will have only himself to blame when corruption entrenches itself in his administration.

”Public statements and executive orders mean nothing unless backed by strong action. Kenyans demand nothing less than the jailing of corrupt individuals, as well as the immediate enforcement of Chapter 6.”

#KanaliSpeaks