Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Grumblings and Mumblings in Kenya

There are rifts within both ODM and PNU where members feel they have not been given a slice of the cake by their leaders, by the cabinet makeup.

The cabinet is bloated as it is, and it was impossible to please everyone.

Joe Kadhi raises some interesting questions in dealing with Mungiki the Raila way. Food for thought for those individuals who used the Mungiki and protected them after the election. I think the terror gang leadership need to talk, and let the Kenyan public know about their assignments. Something needs to be done about the Mungiki menace who are a force to be reckoned with, who have no qualms about turning against their own, in their usual beheading style.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

For Better for Worse the Cabinet has been named in Kenya today

After six weeks of negotiation, Odinga and Kibaki have now agreed on the cabinet.

1. Office of the President Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security- Hon. Professor George Saitoti Assistant Ministers: Hon. Simon Lesirma, Hon. Joshua Orwa Ojode
2.Ministry of State for Defence Minister: Hon. Yusuf Haji Assistant Ministers: Hon. David Musila Hon. General (Rtd) Joseph Nkaisserry
3. Office of the Vice President Vice President and Minister for Home Affairs: Hon. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka Assistant Minister: Hon. Lorna Laboso
4. Ministry of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons: Hon. Gerald Otieno Kajwang' Assistant Minister: Hon. Francis Baya
5.Ministry of State for National Heritage & Culture: Hon. William Ole Ntimama Assistant Minister: Hon. Joel Onyancha Omagwa
6. Office of the Prime Minister: Prime Minister: Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga Assistant Minister: Hon. Alfred. Khang'ati
7. Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision Twenty Thirty: Minister: Hon. Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya Assistant Minister: Hon. Peter Kenneth
8. Ministry of State for Public Service: Hon. Dalmas Anyango Otieno Assistant Minister: Hon. Aden Ahmed Sugow
9. Office of Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Trade: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade: Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta Assistant Minister: Hon. James Omingo Magara
10. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Local Government Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government: Hon. Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi Assistant Minister: Hon. Robison Njeru Githae
11. Ministry of East African Community Minister: Hon. Amason Kingi Jeffah Assistant Minister: Hon. Peter Munya
12. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Minister: Hon. Moses Wetangula Assistant Minister: Hon. Richard Momoima Onyonka
13. Ministry of Finance Minister: Hon. Amos Kimunya Assistant Minister: Hon. Dr. Oburu Oginga
14. Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister: Hon. Martha Karua Assistant Minister: Hon. William Cheptumo Kipkorir
15. Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development Minister: Hon. Mutula Kilonzo Assistant Minister: Hon. Elizabeth Ongoro Masha
16. Ministry of Roads Minister: Hon. Kipkalya Kones Assistant Ministers: Hon. Wilfred Machage, Hon. Lee Kinyanjui
17. Ministry of Public Works Minister: Hon. Chris Obure Assistant Minister: Hon. Dickson Wathika Mwangi
18. Ministry of Transport Minister: Hon. Chirau Ali Makwere Assistant Minister: Hon. John Harun Mwau
19Ministry of Water and Irrigation Minister: Hon. Charity Kaluki Ngilu Assistant Minister: Hon. Mwangi Kiunjuri
20. Ministry of Regional Development Authorities Minister: Hon. Fredrick Omulo Gumo Assistant Minister: Hon. Judah Katoo Ole Metito
21. Information & Communications Minister: Hon. Samuel Poghisio Assistant Minister: Hon. George Munyasa Khaniri, Hon. Maj. (Rtd) Dhadho Godhana
22. Ministry of Energy Minister: Hon. Kiraitu Murungi Assistant Minister: Hon. Charles Keter, Hon. Maalim Mohamud Mohamed
23. Ministry of Lands Minister: Hon. Aggrey James Orengo Assistant Minister: Hon. Silvester Wakoli Bifwoli, Hon. Samwel Gonzi Rai
24. Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources Minister: Hon. John Michuki Assistant Ministers: Hon. Ramadhan Seif Kajembe, Hon. Jackson Kiplagati Kiptanui
25. Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife Minister: Hon. Noah Wekesa Assistant Minister: Hon. Josphat Koli Nanok
26. Ministry of Tourism Minister: Hon. Mohamed Najib Balala Assistant Minister: Hon. Cecily Mtito Mbarire
27.Ministry of Agriculture Minister: Hon. William Samoei Ruto Assistant Ministers: Hon Japhet Kareke Mbiuki, Hon. Gideon Musyoka Ndambuki
28. Ministry of Livestock Development Minister: Hon. Mohamed Abdi Kuti Assistant Minister: Hon. Bare Aden Duale
29. Ministry of Fisheries Development Minister: Hon. Paul Nyongesa Otuoma Assistant Minister: Hon. Mohamed Abu Abuchiaba
30. Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands Minister: Hon. Ibrahim Elmi Mohamed Assistant Minister: Hon. Hussein Tarry Sasura
31.Ministry of Cooperatives Development Minister: Hon. Joseph Nyagah Assistant Minister: Hon. Linah Jebii Kilimo
32. Ministry of Industrialization Minister: Hon. Henry Kiprono Kosgey Assistant Minister: Hon. Ndiritu Murithi
33. Ministry of Housing Minister: Hon. Peter Soita Shitanda Assistant Minister: Hon. Bishop Margaret Wanjiru Kariuki
34. Ministry of Special Programmes Minister: Hon. Dr. Naomi Namsi Shabani Assistant Minister: Hon. Mohamed Muhamud Ali
35. Ministry of Gender and Children Affairs Minister: Hon. Esther Murugi Mathenge Assistant Minister Hon. Atanas Manyala Keya
36. Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation Minister: Hon. Hon. Beth Wambui Mugo Assistant Minister: Hon. Dr. James Ondicho Gesami
37. Ministry of Medical Services Minister: Hon. Prof. Peter Anyang' Nyong'o Assistant Minister: Hon. Danson Buya Mungatana
38. Ministry of Labour Minister: Hon. John Kiyonga Munyes Assistant Minister: Hon. Sospeter Ojamaa Ojamong'
39. Ministry of Youth and Sports Minister: Hon. Dr. Helen Jepkemoi Sambili Assistant Minister: Hon. Wavinya Ndeti, Hon. Kabando wa Kabando
40. Ministry of Education Minister: Hon. Samson Kegeo Ongeri Assistant Ministers: Hon. Prof. Patrick Ayiecho Olweny Hon. Andrew Calist Mwatela
41.Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister: Hon. Dr. Sally Jepngetich Kosgey Assistant Ministers: Hon. Kilemi Mweria, Asman Abongotum Kamama
42. Office of the Attorney General Attorney General: Hon. Amos Wako

Quotes from Kibaki's 40 member cabinet(edit)

We still don't know what powers Odinga and Kibaki will have in practice.

The deal brokered in February says the coalition can be broken three ways: if parliament is dissolved, if the parties agree to it in writing, or if one party withdraws.

I hope the eat as much as you like mindset, that some Kenyan politicians are used to, will be curbed somewhat. I am aware that it is not realistic to believe that this will be stopped overnight, though.

I am sure we will hear some grumbling next week, as some people will not be happy with the lineup, but I hope that somehow Kenya can move towards some sense of stability.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Will there be more talks and no action in Kenya this week

I find the current situation in Kenya frustrating. I believe that Raila Odinga has been too accomodating, and like the Muslims feel that as the leaders cannot agree we need to call for fresh elections.

Kibaki is under pressure from his hardliners, with threats that he will risk being left in the dark.

Unlike Odegle Nyang I didn't expect Kibaki to respect the wishes of the Kenyan people, and stick to his part of the deal, however I am still disappointed.

In reality I don't see how the two parties can share power.

The talks that were supposed to resume today failed to happen as representatives from both sides failed to attend. The issue is clearly not important enough to these individuals, and so we shall be kept waiting.

I listened to a sermon yesterday, where a point was made about politicians being given wisdom by God to do what was best for their people. The message was that if these same politicians abused their power, they would pay for the consequences of their actions. Another part of the message was that there were enough resources for all of us to live comfortably, and I thought of Kenya, and all the inequalities, that have led to this crisis. The current deadlock, is about PNU in my view, refusing to share power equally.

In the meantime, IDP's are suffering in camps.

Can the politicians allow all Kenyans to live with dignity?

What gives them the right to think that living with dignity in Kenya is for a chosen few?

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Deal or no deal in Kenya, swings and roundabouts

Lean, bloated or clean cabinet.

What is going on, when on Thursday both parties released different lists of how the ministries would be shared out?

The government needs to take on board that part of the agreement is that everything needs to be shared 50/50, as that was part of the peace agreement. It seems that this government is incapable of doing that, and at this stage I feel that we are back to square one. We don't seem to be making any progress. Kenyans continue to be kept on edge waiting for a decision to be made.

Raila Odinga and Kibaki are still meeting to finalise the cabinet.

Kibaki is supposed to leave for India tomorrow, will we make any progress today?

I wonder how this government will be run, when the cabinet is announced, given how challenging it has been for both sides to come to any agreement.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Kenyan cabinet to be named on Sunday

I agree with those who feel a jumbo coalition cabinet is a colossal waste. It seems that it is a one off arrangement, and this is the compromise that was needed to save the nation. Mwalimu Mati says that Kenyans should be prepared to pay through their noses for this cabinet, as we cannot afford it. So much for making it lean and making it clean. Mwalimu Mati estimates that 40 ministries might cost 352 Billion, and the Government of Kenya has asked donors for 31 billion to resettle IDP's.

Can you see any inconsistencies here?

Taxpayers get your wallets out, as if Kenyans are not struggling as it is.

So the cabinet will be announced on Sunday.

Then we have a DO stealing relief aid, some people are shameless.

Related articles: Life gets tough for consumers

Who is fooling who

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

More on the struggle of power sharing in Kenya

The cabinet meeting yesterday was stormy as ministers differed over ODM's demands for a lean government and portfolio balance.

Some PNU ministers were not happy with the names ODM had submitted for cabinet postions, and stated they wanted a clean cabinet. Interesting that PNU feel they can decide what is clean and what is not. Pot and kettle come to mind.

The National Convention Executive Council has asked President Kibaki to dissolve the Cabinet.

If both leaders stick to the accord, and share power equally, then I believe we can move forward. It seems to me that the stumbling block for PNU is to share power equally. They cannot have it all, so I wait to see what happens.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Kenya still in Limbo

Talks about the coalition are still in limbo. This is no easy task, and I sit and wonder how the hell Kenya will move forward.

Odinga said talks on the much-delayed formation of the cabinet -- a key step in the power-sharing deal aimed at ending Kenya's violent crisis -- yielded no consensus and had been indefinitely suspended.

We are at a standstill again, and someone has difficulty sharing power proportionately.

The most contentious issue of the day, and which could frustrate the naming of a new Cabinet soon was the Party of National Unity’s revision of its proposal on the size of the Cabinet from the 38 it has always pushed for to 44.

Barrack Muluka points out why it is vital that President Kibaki sees things as they really are.

The Orange Democratic Movement wants the World Bank to postpone reviewing of funding contracts until a new Cabinet is in place.

In the meantime Uncle Bob aka Robert Mugabe says

"We will succeed. We will conquer. We don't rig elections, you see; we have that sense of honesty. And I cannot sleep with my conscience if I have cheated on elections. Why should I cheat? The people are there supporting us, day in, day out."

My heart goes out to all my Zimbabwean brothers and sisters. Uncle Bob lost touch with reality years ago.

William Ruto has appeared before the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights to answer questions on post election violence.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Raila Odinga walking a tightrope

In his party, the Orange Democratic Movement, he is captive of competing inter-ethnic interests for vantage positions in the new pecking order.

He is fighting two wars, the first being to get "real power sharing and portfolio’’ balance in the Government, as well as the space and influence of the most powerful office outside State House.
In the backstage, there is the trickier game of juggling the interests of the influential personalities, without upsetting the inter-ethnic bonds that formed the Orange mosaic.
Thirdly, the leader of the party on the road to sharing government positions with Kibaki’s Party of National Unity has the arduous task of reaching out to the other side, as a signal he means well and is accommodating.
But even as he reaches out, there is the delicate balance, the act of spreading his tentacles without losing grip of ODM. Any sign he has been "swallowed, or is "carried away", could trigger trouble for him in ODM.

But the biggest headache for ODM is in the Rift Valley.
Like Nyanza, Rift Valley voted almost exclusively for ODM, has more MPs and bore the brunt of the violence that gripped the country after the polls. Inside the party, no one doubts that the region needs to be ‘rewarded’.
But at most, there could be only 17 slots for about 100 ODM MPs drawn from six provinces.
Some of the leaders from the Rift Valley think the region should get some five slots in the Cabinet, in recognition of the huge vote it brought to the party.

I wonder how Raila will manage to please everyone.

Related articles: State yet to approach IMF over funding.

Kenya’s Indy Media

Kenya Wildlife Service Suspends Fees to Heal Post-Election Crisis

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Raila a step away from being Prime Minister

The process to making Mr Raila Odinga the Prime Minister was fast-tracked to the penultimate stage, with the publication of the Bills to be debated in Parliament.
As the process went on, Raila, who has already started enjoying the trappings of power that go with the position continued to play the role on Friday as he toured Kibera.
In Kibera, which was among the worst hit Nairobi estates in the election violence, Raila preached peace and told displaced persons to return to their houses.

It is expected that when the Tenth Parliament resumes on Tuesday for its first regular sitting, the House could be asked to waive the tradition of giving priority to debate the presidential speech and allow for the Bill to sail through the first reading.
Parliament may borrow from the happenings of 1975 when founding President Jomo Kenyatta changed the Constitution in a day, going through the three stages. On the third day it was given presidential assent.
The amendment Bill was published on December 9. It was tabled on December 10. It passed all the three stages of debate that afternoon. On December 11, it received presidential assent and was immediately backdated to January 1, 1975.
Ugenya MP, Mr James Orengo, who spoke earlier this week, said that after the PNU and ODM parliamentary group meetings agreed to fast track the Bills without subjecting them to the routine debate, parliamentary formality can be priority and have them passed within a day.
On Thursday night, when he appeared on KTN’s Newsline, the Prime Minister designate said the new-look Cabinet, which he is to head under the new role, will be unveiled after entrenchment into the statutes of the power-sharing pact.
Raila, in the Newsline interview, said the House Business Committee would be constituted on Tuesday next week, which will allocate time for the Bills to be debated.

Raila on Friday embarked on what would be the first peace mission representing the Government as he toured Lang’ata Constituency and told the displaced to return to their houses.
In a motorcade secured by State agents and a public address system the Ministry of Information supplied, he held three rallies in the Kibera slums.
Raila, accompanied by veteran politician Mr Martin Shikuku, former Makadara MP Mr Reuben Ndolo and his son Fidel, preached peaceful and national reconciliation.
"We want to begin working for the nation and its citizens. The era of mass action and violence is over and all displaced person can now return home," Raila said, after Kibera DO Mr Kepher Maruge, received him.

One of the issues the National Dialogue and Reconciliation team is tackling under Agenda Four is to ensure the violence fermented by ethnic hatred experienced after the announcement of the presidential poll results on December 30, would never recur.
Agenda Four also covers the objective and purpose of the Grand Coalition government. The issues being addressed include the resetting of the more than 500,000 displaced people and ensuring sustainable peace, security and justice and the comprehensive review of the Constitution.
The National Dialogue and Reconciliation team is expected to address historical injustices that include unfair land distribution, State sanctioned land "grabbing" and unequal share of the national cake, where development, employment and education among other issues are concerned.
Past cases of impunity are also to be dealt with.
This would include cases of grand corruption and formation of terror gangs by politicians. There is also the issue of irresponsible speeches and actions deemed as inciting, which led to clashes among Kenyans.
The team is also tasked with establishment of a truth, peace, justice, and reconciliation commission within three months. This outfit is to secure national healing and reconciliation following the post-election skirmishes. This would target victims and perpetrators of ethnic and political violence that rocked the country for more than two months.
The toughest assignment the team must undertake is the comprehensive review of the Constitution. This will chart the country's future path after the end of the Grand Coalition Government. A new Constitution is expected to be in place in 12 months.
This will have ended a journey that Kenyans began more than 12 years ago.

Related articles: Rebellion against Kilonzo heightens.

Kenya Media council insists on poll audit.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Is it too early to celebrate in Kenya

The deal is not yet done until it is implemented. We will soon be getting into the untested waters of governance and the big question is; how prepared are we to navigate through the turbulent waters and avoid hitting jagged rocks that we might encounter?

The MPs agreed to fast track the deal through the procedures of Parliament and ensure it is enacted into law. This is expected to be followed by a rollout of a broad reform agenda to address challenges of governance.

They then have to try to "sell" the idea of power sharing to their constituents, among them people who are now homeless or who have lost loved ones in the violence.
There are still potential stumbling blocks ahead - in particular, how power will be shared and how cabinet posts and other senior positions will be allocated.
But for Thursday's ceremony the tone was conciliatory and upbeat.

This country is emerging from one of the darkest periods of its history and the coming weeks will be a real test of the commitment of all sides to a durable peace.

Some 1,500 people died in unrest after disputed poll resultsKenyans will be forced to confront some awkward realities with the establishment of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to investigate past injustices and violence blamed on supporters on all sides of the political fence.
They will also be forced to compromise.
There are concerns that a grand coalition will rob Kenyans of a real opposition.

Raila is charismatic, but ambitious; will he manage to keep his men together? If he does; political, constitutional and physical development will take place. It is certainly in his interest to do so, since he is now well poised to be the next president. But if ODM leaders squabble and split up, PNU will capitalise on this, and the equitable development Kenya badly needs will not happen, and the situation will be back to square one.

How will the power-sharing work in practice?
Will both teams be ready to give way, as they did to enable the present agreement be signed, or will they play an endless game of power-jostling, legal quibbling and name-calling?
Kenyans have been sobered, even frightened at what happened. No-one wants a replay of events, except perhaps a few greedy people ready to benefit from any tragedy. It is the moment to make a fresh start, and re-assess one's stance, with regard to ethnicity, the wealth-poverty gap, and governance.
Many eyes were on Kenya last December, hoping that if Kibaki were defeated he would step down like a gentleman, but the waters were muddied. This is the chance for them to be cleansed. If the two leaders make this coalition work, it could set an interesting precedent for a continent, artificially divided along ethnic lines where power and tribe are inter-locked.
Kibaki is the old-style leader, surrounded by like-minded advisers, for whom power means wealth and the aloofness of top-down rule. Raila, however, is comfortable anywhere and with anyone, in a popular bar or soccer match, dressed in a Nigerian outfit, and with the younger generation. The two men are poles apart, in style, beliefs and approach, but united in their wish to govern Kenya. Govern Kenya together, or as individuals? Can this partnership work? This is the question on Kenyans' lips.

The political settlement, the third item on the mediation agenda, has been solved - on paper. It is everyone's hope and prayer it will work. The first item, stopping the violence, depended on this, and still depends on this. Militias, organised and armed, were ready to enter action at a signal, if these talks had failed, and the violence would have been as bloody as before. Will these be disbanded and disarmed, or are they waiting on standby?
The second item, however, the humanitarian crisis still needs to be addressed, and urgently. The thousands displaced within Nairobi itself do not have homes to go to; they were destroyed.
Hundreds of women walk long distances everyday to collect foodstuffs from church compounds; the food-stalls were destroyed in the violence.
In the camps, within Nairobi and outside, toilet facilities are rudimentary and filthy; people queue hours for the food. The Red Cross and other NGOs are doing good work, but need more support.
Yet many Kenyans have reacted heroically and generously; some have sheltered neighbours of different ethnic groups, risking their lives.
The leader of a mainly Luo youth group from Kibera told me they had been taking food to Kikuyu refugees camped in a public park.

Related articles: Kenya media didn't incite violence-report

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Sheikh Mohamed Dor first Iman in Kenya's parliament, and Mungiki street protest

ODM nominated MP and Muslim preacher, Sheikh Mohamed Dor, will become the first Imam in Kenya's Parliament.

Meanwhile, Ms Shakila Abdalla, nominated by ODM-Kenya, said her priority would be to champion the role of women in national leadership.
She said her party had followed its manifesto, which considers the marginalised.
"My first priority will be to fight for women to be in the first line of decision making at the national level," she said yesterday.
Abdalla said she would work with other Coast MPs to tackle problems in the region.
She also promised to fight drug abuse among the youth.

There are no hurdles expected as the MPs step up the power deal debate in parliament tomorrow.

However there are some faces to watch in parliament.

Hundreds of followers of the outlawed Mungiki sect staged a demonstration in Nairobi's Central Business District, where they demanded the release of their leader Maina Njenga.

It is alleged the sect enjoys high
political patronage, hence the audacity with which they emerged.
Streaming into the Central Business District in such large numbers on Wednesday, the Mungiki caused a momentary security scare, catching everyone by surprise.
Police action was delayed for a frighteningly long spell as the early morning drama unfolded.
The demonstrators, estimated to be close to 3,000, poured onto several streets waving placards bearing the portrait of their leader, Maina Njenga, who is presently languishing in jail. They insist he is innocent.

It appears the Mungiki may have taken advantage of the relocation of hawkers from the city streets to the new Muthurwa Market to mount a demonstration and pass their seemingly politically loaded message momentarily, catching police off-guard.
The Standard reliably learnt that the majority of the demonstrators were transported from Murang'a and Maragwa overnight and assembled at River Road ahead of the early morning march.
When the police finally showed up, they seemed reluctant to stop the protest. The sect members were later dispersed near the Central Police Station as they finished their protest. This was after several businesses in the city had hurriedly closed in fear of violence.

The Government has denied a BBC report indicating that the State sanctioned the recent violence in parts of the country.
The respected British broadcaster quoted sources alleging that meetings were hosted between the banned Mungiki militia and senior government figures.

"The aim was to hire them as a defence force in the Rift Valley to protect the Kikuyu community," the BBC story says.
But on Wednesday, the government called the allegations "preposterous".
A statement by Government Spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, said: "The Government of Kenya has been shocked by a story appearing on the BBC that alleges that members of the banned group Mungiki held meetings at State House, Nairobi, the Official Office of the President.
"No such meetings took place at State House or any government office...
Such "unfounded lies" are "injurious to the President, Government and the people of Kenya," the statement said.

A policeman who was on duty at the time, who has spoken to the BBC on condition of anonymity, has also pointed to clear signs of State complicity.
He alleges that in the hours before the violence in Nakuru, police officers had orders not to stop a convoy of minibus taxis, called "matatus", packed with men when they arrived at police checkpoints.
"When we were there... I saw about 12 of them [matatus] packed with men," he said. "There were no females... I could see they were armed. We were ordered not to stop the vehicles, to allow them to go."

Raila Odinga Interview with the Financial Times Correspondent

Financial Times: According to the agreement you signed with president Kibaki, the prime minister’s role is to “coordinate and supervise” government business. But what seems crucial is who is setting policy and who is controlling spending. Could you tell me how much influence you expect to have over those two things?

Raila Odinga: Well, according to the agreement we’ve signed, policies are formulated by the cabinet. The cabinet is chaired by the president, but I am a member of the cabinet. I become responsible for the implementation of those policies and for ensuring that cabinet decisions are enforced by line ministries. That is part of the supervision work. Secondly, I also ensure that the government is working in harmony; that the ministries all work in tandem – that is the coordination work. Another role is to ensure there is efficiency in the running of government. And the other one is to deal with issues like corruption, so that there is no corruption in the workings of government, and there is also less bureaucracy, less of the red tape that scares away investment from the country. That will be my function, because what has happened in the past is a lot of good policies have been developed on paper, but you find they are not implemented. So there is a disconnect between rhetoric and practice.

FT: Given those arrangements, could you find yourself in charge of the implementation of policies you don’t necessarily agree with, because those policies come from the cabinet?

RO: If they have been approved by cabinet, it’s usually done by consensus. Then I have no option but to ensure they are implemented. I’ll use my position to try to influence the policies at cabinet level, but once they are approved at cabinet I have no option but to implement. But I will also be working with line ministries in their formulation of policies. The policies cabinet normally works through are contained in memoranda produced by the ministries.

FT: Do you accept the term “executive prime minister”, which is what people are calling your expected new role?

RO: That is exactly what it is. It’s more or less like the French model, where you have a president who is executive and a prime minister who is executive, so you are sharing the executive functions. They call it cohabitation. You are cohabiting, hence the need for constant consultation between the presidency and the premiership so there is no conflict.

FT: What issues are you going to face working with president Kibaki, given the alleged rigging of the election and the breaking of the 2002 memorandum of understanding [on power-sharing, signed by Mr Odinga and Mr Kibaki ahead of the previous election]?

RO: I think, from our discussions yesterday [the two men met on Tuesday], and from what has happened since the election, that there is a general desire to see that this thing will work. I think that feeling is mutual. I sense it from president Kibaki himself. The success is going to depend very much on the trust and confidence built between us, so that there are no suspicions and fears.
You cannot forget the past but you can forgive it. That’s what [Kenya’s first president Jomo] Kenyatta said after those years in detention [during British colonial rule]. It remains as part of history. But you don’t want to live in the past. Everything in life is in the future. You don’t want to continue to be buried in the past.

FT: What do you think the policy priorities of this new government should be?

RO: The economy is very crucial. We are not picking up from where the last government left us before the elections, because we have this devastation that has come about as a result of the dispute, the crisis. So we need to start from reconstruction. That is urgent. You can call it almost an emergency measure that needs to be taken in the short-term. Then comes the medium-term and long-term.

FT: Reconstruction of what exactly?

RO: In a lot of urban areas businesses were destroyed. Premises were just burnt down by … you can call them protestors. There is a need to reconstruct, not just physical premises, but also capital, so people can be able to start again businesses that have been destroyed. There is the informal sector, where kiosks were burnt and you find people lost vehicles. Then there is the formal sector, where premises with all the merchandise were burnt, in Nairobi, in Kisumu, in Eldoret, in Kakamega, Mombasa and several other urban areas.
In my own vision statement, when I launched my [election] campaign, I talked of infrastructure three times. Now, when there’s been massive destruction, the economy is best revived through heavy investment in infrastructure.
In the US after the Great Depression, they invested heavily in infrastructure to create a lot of employment. In Germany after the war there was the Marshall plan for roads, rail, housing, energy, water and so on. That created massive employment after the devastation of the war and helped them to rebuild the country. So I think this is a route we want to follow.
We’ll use local resources, but we’ll also borrow from the international financial markets. And we want to make full use of the offer by the British prime minister Gordon Brown [to host a conference of international aid donors for Kenya]. I want to be thankful to him for this gesture at this time of need. He is a friend indeed. We will make full use of that to try to raise funds for reconstruction and to put up infrastructure so that Kenya can begin to work again.

FT: What about the issue of the internally displaced people? Can they be resettled back to places they’ve been displaced from? What’s the solution there?

RO: That is the big challenge, because as you know this is not the first time. We had this in ‘91, again in ‘97, and again in 2002. On each of those occasions homes were torched, people were displaced. Eventually in Kisii they went back and resettled, put up new shelters. But again they were burnt. So the question is where are the guarantees that if you settle them this time around it won’t happen again?

FT: It is possible to get that guarantee?

RO: That is what we want to get, a programme that is sustainable, where people will settle and they will be secure. This requires going beyond just the physical reconstruction, but creating a harmonious relationship among these various ethnic communities. So I’m suggesting a meeting between the leadership of these displaced people and of the communities from whence they’ve been displaced in order to reconcile the communities and address the issue of peaceful coexistence. I’m suggesting a national ethnic conference to deal with inter-ethnic relationships so we can develop a kind of a code of conduct that will be used by a permanent commission on ethnic relations, which will be established by an act of parliament.

FT: I don’t see how a conference alone can deal with these things, because they go back to issues of land distribution in the 1960s and, in Nyanza province for example, to a feeling the place has been ignored in terms of job creation?

RO: That’s why I’m talking about the leadership. There are animosities that have different backgrounds. You have for example the Kikuyu-Kalenjin, which is purely land. Then you have Kisii-Kalenjin, which is a boundary dispute. There’s Masai-Kisii, Masai-Kikuyu, which is about land and water. Luo-Kikuyu is more economic because they don’t have a common border. It’s more marginalisation, and it’s the same thing with the Kikuyu-Luhya.

FT: So how do you tackle these deeper issues?

RO: First, the solutions are not uniform. On land you need to find a way of settlement that will not create acrimony, which will not leave a feeling among the Kalenjins that they have been deprived of their land. That’s why it must be discussed at national level. We have in our manifesto a plan for comprehensive land reform, which will make land a factor of production, accessible and available to people who want to use it for production.

FT: So you’ll take that manifesto plan and try to make it government policy?

RO: Exactly. That’s why yesterday we agreed with the president to set up a six man team, three from my side and three from his side, to begin to work on harmonising the manifestos of ODM [the former opposition Orange Democratic Movement] and PNU [president Kibaki’s Party of National Unity] so that we have a common programme, more centrist, which we will be able to implement. We will have sectoral priorities, for example, so we will have a clear road map that we can use to check on the ministries to see that they are meeting the targets.

FT: The main difference between the ODM and PNU manifestos was on majimboism, or federalism. What’s going to happen to government policy on that?

RO: Majimbo is actually devolution, and devolution is a key issue. Now initially PNU was vehemently opposed to it, but as we packaged and marketed and sold it, it was brought by the people. And PNU toward the tail end of the campaign jumped on the bandwagon. So in the end we were actually on the same side, except their devolution was different, because they wanted to create so many tiny districts. That was their answer. In our view small districts are not viable. We cannot build county councils based on one single constituency. It doesn’t make sense because it does not have a sufficient revenue base to be able to provide the services that county councils are required to provide. Now that campaign is over. We are going to begin now to talk again and see where we can meet on the middle ground.
And the other difference between the manifestos was equity, which is tied in with devolution, because we want to distribute resources in a more equitable manner. We have also identified some marginalised areas where we want to pump more resources. And we want to create a ministry for northern Kenya. I’m going to put that on the table in the negotiations.

FT: What chance does the coalition have of surviving five years [the fixed term of a presidency] and what happens if it doesn’t’?

RO: The coalition is premised on reform. First constitutional reforms, then the land reforms I mentioned, and then institutional and legal reforms. Its survival is dependent on how far it succeeds in bringing these reforms. If at the end of these reforms the partners feel they are able to continue, then the coalition can last five years. But if after they have achieved these reforms the feeling of the partners is that they should go for an early election, then they’ll decide to go for an early election. But I don’t want to pre-judge that.

FT: What happens if the coalition breaks down because there’s some disagreement and one side pulls out. Is there an election then?

RO: At the moment we have a hung parliament. The two partners are almost equal in strength. So if one pulls out it will be very difficult for the other to continue. They’ll just be limping. They’ll be living on the precipice. It’ll be a dangerous existence. But sometimes people like to take risks.

Quotes from FT interview Raila Odinga by Barney Jopson

Monday, 3 March 2008

A new beginning in Kenya

Hopefully this week we will be able to start to get things back on track in Kenya. The road to recovery has its challenges.

William Ruto says that there are some issues that need to be dealt with at the moment

What is remaining at the moment is how to get to a new constitution in two months and the issue of setting up a truth, justice and reconciliation commission," he said.
Parliament is due to meet on Thursday to pass a constitutional amendment to allow for a coalition government led by Kibaki. His opposition rival, Raila Odinga, will take a newly created post of prime minister.

Former head of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission, Judge Christiaan Kriegler, is to chair the Independent Review Committee that will investigate the 2007 General Election.
The committee, which commences its sittings on March 15, will investigate all aspects of the presidential election and make findings and recommendations to improve future electoral processes.

Reconstruction of structures destroyed during the post-election violence has started after Thursday's signing of power-sharing deal between President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga.
The American Government will provide Sh1.75b ($25million) to help the reconstruction process. In Kibera, the rebuilding of Toi Market has started. Traders who had fled the area are returning.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Historic week for Kenya

Kenya today enters what could be the historic week in which the power sharing deal President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga signed could be homed in the Constitution.The nation waits, albeit with baited breath, but with faces radiating optimism, for the State opening of Parliament on Thursday .

I spoke to the folks and friends this weekend, and they are in better spirits. I was told that Kenyans were wishing each other Happy New Year on Saturday, as the New Year had begun on Friday. I had a laugh with my folks about this.Apparently, it was bustling in town yesterday.

I just finished a piece of consultancy work with a Somali organisation here in the diaspora, and some of the people I worked with are Kenyan Somalis. There was definitely a different vibe on Friday,hope in the air with people now ready to fly home soon.

The President's Party of National Unity, which has a coalition arrangement with Mr Musyoka's ODM-Kenya, holds its PG tomorrow. Raila's Orange Democratic Movement meets on Wednesday.
The agenda for both sides will be the forging of a common stand on the proposed National Reconciliation Act 2008, which is an offshoot of the deal Raila and Kibaki signed.ODM will be holding a PG on Wednesday where they will formally take a common stand on the accord," Raila said on Saturday, after meeting Annan.With the signs it is just a matter of time before Kibaki and Raila become the pilot and co-pilot of aircraft Kenya, attention is now shifting to two former friends-turned- foes.
It is slightly over five years after necessity pushed them into a historic union that changed the politics of Kenya and defeated Kanu before parting ways in 2005.
The one-time liberation comrades when the nation cried for unity to defeat Kanu began to fall out soon after they took power in 2003, mainly over dishonoured Memorandum of Understanding.That journey will begin in real, concrete terms if Parliament, which convenes this week, ratifies the agreements the two leaders agreed on Thursday.
Unlike in 2002 when removing Kanu from power was seen to be good enough, Raila, Prime Minister-designate, and Kibaki, the President, have a daunting task.

The deal Raila and Kibaki signed last week, charges them with joint responsibility on issues they have viewed differently.

It charges both to preside over the overhaul of the Kenyatta State, which President Kibaki was seen to be reproducing and the Moi structures, which he fought briefly then embraced for political survival.
For Raila, it is a moment to dismantle what he has always wanted to; the leftovers of Kenyatta and Moi States, which he says have been characterised by gross inequalities and concentration of power and public resources, especially land, in the hands of a power elite. These are views for which he spent long years in detention, fighting.

Raila and Kibaki, despite radical differences in their political worldviews, cut the image of the last of the fading generation of politicians who still have some sense of ideology in politics.

A look into their politics over the years reveals an impression that Kibaki appears to believe that the way out of the problems that bedevil Kenya lies in the economy.
For Kibaki, from his early days in the Cabinet, through his days as DP chairman, all the way to his first term as president, he appears to believe that a strong and growing economy would heal the wounds and rifts in Kenya.
On the other hand, Raila's journey in politics leaves behind a strong impression that he believes the country's problems begin with the Constitution and its governance structures.
Raila appears to believe that however much the economy grows, if the country does not have a constitution and governance structures that define equal access to wealth and how power is used, national challenges will persist.

In contrast, Raila's campaign manifesto began with the promise of a new constitution. His party said it would guarantee a new constitution within six months to ensure equity, executive accountability and devolution of power.
Raila also promised a parliamentary system of government "where power will be shared and not concentrated in one person or office."
Those are just a few of the differences the two will have to integrate as they begin work in a new coalition.

They will also be required to address historical injustices, past cases of impunity, and secure national healing and reconciliation.

Kofi Annan has left Kenya now, I am so grateful to him for facilitating this deal; he has insisted Kenyans must still respect the rule of law while a final polical solution is sought.

I have had a numerous hits on my blog the past two days from readers looking for stories on Martha Rarua(tear apart) Karua aka PNU hardliner.

I guess it is to do with the stories circulating, that it is her heated exchanges, that led to the suspension of the talks on Tuesday.

The talks however almost collapsed when on February 26 a member of PNU team engaged the panel in heated exchanges.
The member made comments that stunned mediators and talks were suspended.

Some readers have asked for a transcript of that event, unfortunately, I have no access to that information.

The healing that needs to be done from now on, is huge, the internally displaced need to be resettled, to restore peace.

Related articles: Torturous road that led to a power deal.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Kenyans must seize democracry for themselves

We applaud Kofi Annan for steering Kenya back to sanity. But we also have to understand that this peace deal is an emergency stopgap solution so that the wounds of rigged elections, mobilized militias, ethnic cleansing, and extra-judicial killings may not bleed the country to death.

The Kenyan people on whose backs this power sharing deal has been signed have to seize democracy for themselves if change is to be real and long lasting, and in service of the Kenyan people and not the competing politicians.
We applaud the deal for peace but also recognize the work for a democracy that serves the people and not the elite is just starting.
We have been offered the shell of democracy, but the struggle is for its content.
We call for a democracy with content of equal land redistribution because land was at the heart of this crisis.
We call for a democracy with the content of economic justice because it is our discontent with extreme poverty that was used against us by the same politicians we are going to reward with cabinet positions.
We call for a democracy with the content of justice. In 1963, our first authoritarian leader, Jomo Kenyatta, asked us to forgive but not forget British colonialism. What he meant was forgive and forget. Let justice be the keeper of our memory.
We call for a democracy that protects its citizens from the excesses of the state. The police killings of unarmed electoral protestors recalls the extra-judicial killings of hundreds of young men criminalized because they are poor in May to June, 2007.
The police force we inherited from British colonialism was trained to see the people as the enemy. We call not only for a retraining of the police, but also for the officers and politicians who gave the shoot-to-kill orders to be brought to justice
We call for a democracy that has the content of justice, if we are to end of cycle of violence and counter violence, revenge and counter-revenge.
We call for a systematic disarming of all militia and the bringing to justice all those responsible for killings, injuries and destabilization.
We call for guarantees of safe passage and return of those violently displaced from their homes. Those who have suffered loss need to be compensated.
We call on an immediate investigation on behalf of the victims of sexual violence and rape and the bringing to justice those responsible.
We call for an independent judicial inquiry into the allegations of election rigging that led to the current crisis.
We have been very good at forgetting - the February 25th anniversary of the Wagalla massacres of 1984 in which over a thousand Kenyan Somalis were killed by the Moi government just passed without as much as a murmur. The recent Eldoret Killings recall the Eldoret killings of 1992 in which over a thousand Kenyans lost their lives. We call for historical and present day crimes against the Kenyan people and humanity to be punished.
We welcome the calm that the agreement brings. But this must not be confused with peace: peace will only be possible through justice and the placing of the truth in the public arena and addressing injustice and inequality.
A process must begin now to consider whether the constitution as it exists, and as it will be amended by parliament shortly, is the constitution that can guarantee peace, or whether we need to establish one that reflects the vision and values of all citizens.
In short, we call for a democracy that serves the people, and not a democracy that dresses up thieves and political thugs in suits.

The real work begins now, resettling the displaced and reconciling all Kenyans.

This is a challenging task for all involved, but there is a lot of healing that needs to be done.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Details of the deal are being worked out,start of chapter two in Kenya

Representatives on Friday began working out details of a power-sharing agreement aimed at ending two months of ethnic violence that killed more than 1,000 people after a disputed presidential election.Under the agreement, Odinga will become prime minister and have the power to "coordinate and supervise" the government — more authority than Kibaki wanted to yield.It was unclear when Odinga would take over as prime minister. Kibaki said he is reconvening parliament next Thursday to begin work on the needed constitutional changes.
Representatives for the two sides were meeting Friday to work out details and start hashing out some of the longer term reforms.

If Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki does not meet the terms of a power-sharing agreement it could lead to the disintegration of the country, opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Friday.
But Odinga said Kenyans had learned the lesson of their violent post-election crisis and would do all they can to make Thursday's peace deal work.
Asked by BBC radio what would happen if Kibaki's side didn't fulfil the deal, Odinga said: "That would be most unfortunate.... The coalition would break up and in my view that would lead to disintegration of the country."
But he added: "I feel confident that this period that we've gone through has been a teacher and that everyone is going to try and ensure that this coalition will work and succeed."

"We say we want to get a new constitution within one year. Kofi Annan has given it a maximum of two years life," he said.
"After the two years we will review. After the two years, if we have completed everything else, we would want to go for an election then ... We don't want to go beyond two years."

The main points
· The constitution will be amended to allow a coalition government to be formed. Cabinet posts will be divided based on the parliamentary strength of the respective parties, with the important portfolios balanced among the coalition partners.
· Mwai Kibaki remains president. As head of the largest party in parliament, opposition leader Raila Odinga will occupy a new post of prime minister, and will be responsible for running the affairs of the government. There will also be two deputy prime ministers elected by members of the coalition government.
· The prime minister and his deputies can only be removed by a parliamentary vote of no confidence. If Kibaki wishes to sack a cabinet minister he requires the written consent of the opposition leader. The coalition can be dissolved when parliament's term expires in 2012, if the parties agree in writing, or if one party withdraws from the coalition.

The power-sharing deal is a significant step forward, but the details of how power will be divided between Odinga and Kibaki and within the cabinet will be contentious, and the coalition government will be fragile and prone to deadlock. Worse, the threat of violence -- in places motivated by issues beyond the disputed election -- does not disappear with the announcement of a deal.

I wonder how this deal will be implemented, and wait to see what the cabinet will look like.

Nancy Wanjiru tells her story of how she was chased out of Mathare, yet some of her attackers were Kikuyu, and she says that the violence was more out of jealousy than tribalism.

Related articles:Kibaki,Odinga have a long history

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Kofi Annan attempts to push for a deal in Kenya

Kenya's opposition leader on Wednesday backed off plans for mass protests at the request of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is pushing the two rivals to share power.

Nathan Nyanjom feels that sharing presidency won't pacify Kenyans.

Annan and Rice argue that by having Kibaki and Odinga share power, peace will be ensured since both of these men's tribes will have an equal say in government.While it can be argued that the plan of shared power will bring peace to Kenya the quickest, peace will also come if Odinga is made the country's sole leader. After all, that was the form of presidency voted on by the majority of Kenya in the Dec. 27 election.Even if peace would ensue with Rice and Annan's plan in the short term, would it continue in the long run? Eventually Kikuyus would voice their frustration that Kibaki was only a co-president, and Luos similarly would be angered that Odinga shared his office seat.Since neither the solution of an individual president nor a shared presidency will eliminate all tribal tension, and since peace will arise regardless of the decision to have Odinga gain power that is sole or shared, the most democratic action should be taken, and that is installing the election's winner - Odinga - as Kenya's sole president.When people want change, they vote for it - that's the democratic way. American voters know this, and our government upholds it.Although the going in Kenya right now is tough, democracy must not go. The world community must uphold Kenya's democratic election and support a vision of Kenya led by only Raila Odinga.

Britain yesterday said that the Kenyan army is now "by far the best option" to stop a sectarian bloodbath as peace talks in Nairobi between the government and opposition were suspended.
The foreign office minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Mark Malloch-Brown, said that there was a serious risk of renewed bloodshed if talks broke down irrevocably. About a thousand Kenyans have been killed since disputed elections in December and 600,000 have fled their homes after rival gangs, organised largely on ethnic lines, went on the rampage. .

I never thought that I would consider this as an option, but right now, the way things stand I am not opposed to the army taking control temporarily.

On Monday, the PNU side came up with a totally different agenda items from what had been agreed the previous week. Progress had previously been made on the creation of the post of prime minister, who would be the leader of the party with majority MPs in Parliament and who would exercise reasonable power, including supervising ministries.
Consistency in matters agreed upon during a negotiation is not only a sign of good faith, but is the clearest testament to a desire for a speedy resolution.
The to-ing and fro-ing by PNU, which has openly exasperated the Annan team, leads many Kenyans to ask whether Mr Kibaki truly wants the best for this country - whether he cares for the thousands of displaced Kenyans languishing in refugee camps, the numerous others who paid with their lives for electoral ineptitude, whether he worries about an economy limping to a slump and if he is alive to the threat of civil war which hangs darkly over Kenya's deeply divided population.
We reject the fundamental objection of the PNU to the power-sharing proposal which had been fleshed out. We would like to state, yet again, that any new structure of government brokered by Dr Annan must be supported by a Constitutional amendment.
For one, any changes to the presidency as it exists today is itself an alteration of the Constitutional clause which created it, therefore the changes must go back to Parliament for a Constitutional amendment. They must be defined and sanctified with the same legal weight as the document it seeks to alter.
Secondly, the leaders of ODM and Mr Kibaki's side have a history of political betrayal. Surely, one can understand the insistence on a watertight agreement from a group of politicians who have yet to recover from the trashing by the President of the memorandum of Understanding they had reached in the previous election.

Thirdly, these changes are strictly not just about Mr Kibaki and Mr Raila. This is a golden opportunity for Kenya as a nation to tackle, in various phases, some of the lopsided political arrangements and economic injustices widely acknowledged to have caused the crisis we find ourselves in.

Related article: Kenya Post-Electoral Violence Wipes Out Businesses; Jobs

ODM says it is not to blame for stalled talks

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Kofi Annan suspends talks in Kenya

Mediator Kofi Annan said he has suspended talks between Kenya's government and the opposition to end the country's deadly postelection crisis.
The talks have dragged on for weeks with no tangible progress. Annan said he will speak to the rival leaders personally to try to rejuvenate them.

Do we know what the future holds for us as Kenyans?

Where are we going?

I was talking to a colleague at work today, who is from Ghana. His view on the situation was that maybe the burning and purging of Kenya needs to happen for a new beginning.

At this point, I don't know what to think, but I am very anxious.

Whatever I, or some others think, feel, say, or do makes no bloody difference. There are a small group of people who call the shots, and that is the way it is.

Lead us into an abyss why don't you?

Wondering whether Kenya will survive

The U.N. humanitarian chief warned of the prospect of escalating violence in Kenya if the African nation's post-election turmoil is not resolved soon.
"If there is no quick resolution to the political crisis, the risk of a fresh surge in violence, more displacement and further polarization of society is very high," John Holmes, the United Nation's undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the U.N. Security Council on Monday

An environment of fear for Kenya Human Rights Chairman Maina Kiai, as he continues to receive death threats.

God Bless you Maina, you are a patriot, and you stood up to be counted.

Kofi Annan has threatened to leave if a quick agreement is not reached.

The search for a political settlement out of the post election crisis stalled after the Government side walked back several steps, changed positions on issues already agreed and threw the talks into a spin.
The Standard reliably learnt that when the talks resumed after an eventful weekend break, the Party of National Unity (PNU) made it clear it was no longer interested in sharing power. Last night, the task of making the hard choices appeared to lie with President Kibaki and bitter rival Mr Raila Odinga.

Yesterday's developments also meant that a deal may not be announced tomorrow or even later in the week as earlier anticipated and that the now increasingly perpetual state of uncertainty could still hold.

Until the dramatic twist of events yesterday, both Government and ODM had agreed in principle to create a prime minister's post and also appeared to have covered considerable ground on the sharing Cabinet positions.
But that changed at the weekend, but things went completely off tangent yesterday.

The talks also stalled after the negotiators failed to agree on whether the prime minister should have the authority to co-ordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of Government, including those of ministries and departments of the Government.
According to the Government document, the prime minister is to co-ordinate the performance of the ministries and perform any other duties as may be assigned to him by the President from time to time.
In the Legal Working Group document, any change in the Government affecting a person nominated by a parliamentary party of the coalition shall be made only after prior consultation and concurrence in writing with the leader of that party.
But yesterday, the PNU side went back on this by suggesting that the President have absolute discretion on who would be in Government.

It is a question of whether the state survives .

God help Kenya.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Raila Odinga says that the report was malicious

Raila Odinga has taken exception to reports alleging that he went to Nigeria to ask President Umaru Yar’Adua to join the efforts to find a political settlement to the crisis in Kenya.
The Lang’ata MP said the report was "very malicious and aimed at creating disharmony in the mediation talks led by former UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan."

The talks must now assume a serious sense of urgency and conclude a political settlement within this week, mediators were told on a day Party of National Unity (PNU) threw another tantrum over the ongoing mediation.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said it acknowledged the difficult task of brokering a deal out of the impasse but insisted it was time Kenyans were given a solution.

Pentagon member Mrs Charity Ngilu said a deal to end the crisis should be reached quickly to ease tensions.
"Kenyans voted overwhelmingly for the government of their choice and should not be denied a chance to see their dream come true," said the Kitui Central MP, adding that the proposed grand coalition should be crafted in a "just and fair manner" with ODM and PNU sharing Cabinet slots according to their parliamentary strength.

We may have a deal this Wednesday.

However, Kibaki is a stumbling block to popular reforms.What this means is that if Kibaki is allowed to have his way, it will be practically impossible to effect the substantial constitutional and economic changes that Kenyans yearn for. Moreover, one can reasonably expect that a government that is so cavalier in its approach and so inimical to issues of consensus building will bring into Parliament legislative changes that, in content, are partisan, questionable and provocative, and which will have no chance of success. After all, it seems it is Kibaki’s primary tactic to stall any reforms through feet dragging and polarisation so that he can maintain the status quo. And why not, the prevailing constitutional and legal circumstances favour the imperial presidency that Kibaki seems to so much enjoy. Reforms will only take away some of the prestige that are bestowed in the presidency yet Kibaki has shown that he is not magnanimous enough to accede to the changes that lops off some of his powers for the sake of the country’s posterity.
In the end, Kenyans are faced with a simple decision. They will either have to let Kibaki — who only has at most less than five years of political life — maintain his egotistical hard line position and be ready to witness the breakdown of the State, or in the alternative, they will have to issue a stern ultimatum to him and his lieutenants that he has to concede to the popular dictate of the times and accept a genuine and real arrangement of power sharing which will facilitate meaningful and sustainable reforms.

I am feeling weary,and anxious about the situation. I read Mohsin Ahmed's article about the Pakistan election, and how it had given him hope that one day the country can once again become his home. Pakistan managed a free and fair election, and I am envious. I am left wondering what the future of Kenya will be, and also whether it will be a future of a sad and steady decline.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Waiting for a deal in Kenya

A deal ending the impasse could be announced mid this week, if the parties agree on the sole divisive issue remaining at the talks chaired by former United Nations Secretary General Dr Kofi Annan.
If the two parties agree on Monday or on Tuesday, the fate of the country will remain in the hands of President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga.

President Kibaki and his PNU brigade seem to be borrowing from Chinese war strategist, Sun Tzu, to navigate through the current crisis.
Tzu, a decorated military general and one of the great Chinese thinkers of ancient times, says if you have an upper hand over an opponent, you must crush them totally. You must have no mercy; you must give them nothing to negotiate, no hope, and no room for manoeuvre.
By default or design, PNU is in the driver’s seat and is increasingly making it difficult for Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to gain political ground.
Even as ODM politicians maintain Kibaki stole Raila Odinga’s victory, the ODM leader is vulnerable as hardline PNU tightens the noose. The party has placed a host of hurdles in the way and does not appear to be in a hurry to conclude the former United Nations Secretary-General Dr Kofi Annan-led negotiations.
But the rival ODM has apparently lived up to the grand law of physics; "To every action there is always an opposing reaction of equal measure". Indeed, it is because of these tough positions that the current political stalemate is yet to be unlocked.

Outside the negotiation room, "learned friends" are espousing the PNU agenda. Garsen MP, Mr Danson Mungatana, leads the hardliners.
He told The Sunday Standard that there was no way the party would allow ODM to walk away with executive premiership. He says Section 23 of the Constitution, vests executive powers only in the presidency. But he forgets this presidency is disputed.
Although President Kibaki and the PNU brigade have amplified this position, there has been a remarkable climb down by the party’s negotiating team.

I continue to hope for the best and expect the worst.

Related articles:Following IDPs moving from Tigoni to the Western Region

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Kibaki will be judged on how he resolves this crisis

Today, he stands at a junction as a man who could be this country’s most important historical figure over how he handles the current crisis and nothing else may matter over the rest of his term and this will is also the true test of his leadership. This test is not whether he can steer an impressive domestic policy agenda to underwrite economic prosperity—which is probably a cake walk for him—but whether he can manage a decent foreign policy agenda. His foreign policy agenda will mainly be driven by how he resolves the current political crisis. For his economic agenda to succeed, it matters a lot that he reunites the country. In the short term, this will be by meeting his political enemies halfway and long term by enacting sweeping constitutional changes that will ensure that the current political crisis never happens again.

However, given that the current negotiators have all been experienced opposition politicians and agitators for democratic freedoms under the oppressive leadership of former president Moi, it is perhaps easier to look at the problem from the perspective of the kind of compromises they would seek at the same negotiating table if the tables turned assuming a worst case scenario. Would the Party of National Unity (PNU) want to be in opposition under the same terms of settlement they are proposing if the other party came into power and vice versa?Then it would be easy to unravel the hardened positions and start expanding the list of favourable options that would benefit the entire country in perpetuity. This is where the leadership of President Kibaki comes in to ensure that the negotiators move away from merely stating positions, but expanding the range of options.

Quotes from Kibaki will be judged on how he resolves crisis. I sit and wonder whether Kibaki has any concerns about how he will be judged at all.

Wangari Maathai, criticised politicians allied to the Party of National Unity, saying they were trivialising the suffering of Kenyans and playing politics with sensitive issues.

Kibaki says that a political solution to the current crisis must be constitutional. He is willing to share power with ODM, but clearly on his terms.

There is more bloodshed,as we wait for a solution,and rioters attacked a minibus in Mathare today, in response to police arrests for unpaid rent.

A positive sign to all this, is that Parliament may have the last word.

Related articles:New Danish aid to displaced persons in Kenya

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

John Githongo answers questions on whats the matter with Kenya

FP: What is the root cause of the past few weeks of violence in Kenya? Is it economic, social, or tribal?
JG: The seeds of the current crisis were sown long ago, but the determined weeding took place between August 2004 and December 2007. Inequality is at the heart of it. In a place like Kenya, people can express their anger over economic inequality in regional or ethnic terms when the ruling elites aren't able to give people reasonable confidence that there is (or at least will be) equal access to economic opportunity and justice. Issues that give inequality meaning—the use of violence for political purposes, genuine land grievances, conspicuously corrupt leadership—have been bubbling under the surface for decades. These factors combined with rapid urbanization, high unemployment, especially among young males, ethnic political mobilization, the free flow of information, huge democratic expectations and, finally an incompetently rigged election, to ultimately boil over into a crisis. So, it's not just a 'tribal' thing.

FP: The international community has been a steady backer of President Mwai Kibaki. In June 2007, the United Nations even awarded the Kenyan government its "Global Prize for Progress in Governance." Do you think the international community—the U.N., the World Bank, Western governments—got Kibaki and Kenya wrong?
JG: Sections of the international community did not necessarily ‘get it wrong’ because they were well intentioned. But to an extent, they didn't ‘get it’ at all. It's not as though between June, when Kenya was awarded the governance prize, and December, when the election took place, things changed dramatically. Up to the last minute, the World Bank was effusive in its praise of Kenya’s development, despite its own statistics that showed something was wrong on the governance front, as did reports by other organizations. So, the analysis was not wrong. The underlying assumptions were.
They were also overly excited by the growth statistics. It’s true that the private sector is the key to the future of Africa, but one has to ask carefully what the private sector means politically in different contexts. In relatively small economies, it tends to be dominated by small groups of individuals linked together in a series of incestuous relationships that stretch across all sectors of business and into the political, security, and bureaucratic realms. In highly diverse societies with a history of structural domination by minorities, such as Kenya’s, 'growth' can lead to widespread ethnic or regional resentments when people start to compare their economic status with that of other groups. With enough repression, this can be sustainable. But Africa democratized in the 1990s as rapidly as it joined the global economy in the late 1980s.

FP: What do you think the West always gets wrong about Africa? What does it get right?
JG: Africans’ experience of the modern state is of an insecure, fierce, and secretive creature that extracts economically on behalf of an exclusive identifiable minority using disproportionate violence. This creature has too often served Western interests. The West is most effective in Africa when it engages around issues that cause the rest of the world to admire it: individual freedoms and liberties, the rule of law, rewarding private innovation etc. The lives of African women, for example, have been greatly transformed by Western encouragement. But when the West gets it wrong it tends to do so reverberatingly, such as backing dictators during the Cold War who laid parts of the continent to waste and oppressed their populations to the extent that the initial release from these contrived and externally backed conditions was accompanied by tremendous violence and dislocation. Similarly, the West remained steadfast in its support of apartheid in South Africa for too long. This explains in part the continuing ambivalence of the continent's leaders when confronted with the excesses of Robert Mugabe, who is an increasingly decrepit icon of the continent’s struggle against minority rule.

Quotes from Seven questions:What's the matter with Kenya?

Condoleeza Rice answered questions to reporters yesterday and outlined four items to which Kofi Annan, ODM, and PNU have agreed to. She acknowledged that a political settlement is urgent, but recognised that some of the reforms will take time to put in place.

This is ODM's proposal on how to stop the crisis.

Reforms could see the return of the powerful Prime Minister post.

Diplomats say Kibaki's strategy of playing for time in the hope of entrenching his position as opposition anger dissipates is dangerous. There are reports that some militia groups that caused much of the initial ethnic violence and subsequent reprisals in western Kenya and Nairobi are restocking their arsenals.The ODM needs to be able to show something tangible to their supporters soon," said one European diplomat. "If not, the violence could easily restart and neither they [the ODM] nor the government will be able to stop it."

Samuel Mohochi executive director of the Independent Medico-Legal Unit. With the help of the local cell phone company, his organization has set up a toll free service for people to report missing or dead relatives.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Condoleeza Rice says that a power sharing deal will enhance Kenya's relationship with the US

I'm going to emphasize that there is a lot to be gained in a relationship with the United States through resolution of this political crisis," Rice said.
To the president, President Kibaki, I will say power-sharing means real power-sharing and the United States, as a friend of Kenya, expects that power-sharing to take place to show that you can make the electoral and constitutional reforms that frankly should have been made several years ago," she said before her meetings.

She added: "To Mr. Odinga, I will be saying that we understand that the election was problematic, the United States has said that, but again power-sharing does need to take place."

President Bush told reporters Sunday that the United States was looking at "how best we can help the process. Not what we should do to dictate the process but what America can do to help the process move along." Bush is in neighboring Tanzania, the second stop of a five-nation Africa tour.

While Kenya's political leaders have welcomed help from abroad in trying to end the crisis, the foreign minister insisted Sunday that any solution must come from Kenyans themselves.

The result of the talks "must be a Kenyan solution. Anything less will be superficial and perhaps counterproductive," Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula, who is on the government's negotiating team at the talks, told reporters.

No one, he warned, should "make a mistake of putting a gun (to) anybody's head."

On Saturday, the top U.S. State Department official for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, warned that the U.S. is considering targeted sanctions against anyone who stands in the way of a power-sharing deal

Quotes from Deal in Kenya will enhance US ties by Tom Maliti of Associated Press.

In the meantime Meru elders have convened a meeting to discuss the incident where Gitobu Imanyara says Lucy Kibaki attempted to punch him.

Ida Odinga has said that Lucy Kibaki has not visited displaced Kenyans to address their plight, she questioned why Lucy Kibaki remained silent as innocent Kenyans suffered. She added that Lucy should come out of State House and join hands with other leaders in finding a solution to the political crisis.

My hunch is that Lucy is not coming out,as her behaviour is inappropriate,and she has some issues with anger management, discretion, tact and diplomacy.

Related articles: Kenyans seek safety of ethnic numbers.

Executive power in the Bomas document.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

PNU reject US pressure over power sharing

The Kenya government issued a veiled threat to the US not to put a gun to anyone's head.

This was in response to George Bush's warning that Kenya needs to agree to a power sharing arrangement with the opposition.

Kilonzo's party faces a credibility test, is it in a postion to play referee between the main combatants, when Kilonzo is in bed with PNU.

I am waiting to see what deal will be made this week.

Samuel Kivuitu may face the music.

Twenty civil societies have given the Attorney General, Amos Wako a two-week ultimatum to prosecute Electoral Commission of Kenya Chairman, Mr Samuel Kivuitu.

Under the umbrella, Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice Initiative, the civil societies also want the 21 commissioners and another 21 senior staff to answer criminal charges for their conspiracy in the bungled presidential election.
A charge sheet prepared by the civil societies, accuses ECK of 112 offences including forgery, conspiracy to commit a felony, and making false documents.
The NGO’s spokesperson, Mr Haroun Ndubi led colleagues in presenting a petition to the AG’s office, on Friday.

He said the people named in the petition allegedly committed a series of criminal offences.
They said after the two-week ultimatum, they would initiate private prosecution against those who not only bungled the elections, but also those who incited people to violence.

Quotes from Prosecute Kivuitu, Wako told .

Samuel Kivuitu needs to take responsibility for his actions.

Is the attention that the West is giving Kenya to protect democracy?