Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Michael Chege standing up to far right Golden dawn attacks in Greece

 I just watched this on the news a while ago. Good for people like Michael Chege, with these groups springing up all over Europe. It sounds like his mother has had enough now, and I don't blame her. Greece is definitely not on my list of countries to visit, after watching this.

Some quotes from the article Standing up to Golden dawn in Greece

Michael Chege and his friends patrol their neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, most nights. After many encounters with the neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, they set up their own brigade, nicknamed the Black Panthers.They want to protect themselves from the fascists who are targeting people who are not ethnic Greeks.
Since the economic crisis tore Greece apart, people have been trying to find someone to blame. Some blame immigrants for the high unemployment and crime. Racist attacks against immigrants have been rising steadily. In the last year alone, more than 150 racist attacks were recorded by police, but most go unreported.
Greece is a gateway to Europe and many immigrants travel there as an entry point in the hope of reaching the richer nations on the continent.
Newly arrived immigrants, who do not speak the language or have proper documentation, live in fear. But Michael and his friends are taking on the extremists.

'We will exterminate them'

"I'm not afraid of this neo-Nazi, stupid, idiotic group," he told me. "In WW2, they were crushed. In WW3, we will exterminate them out of the face of the earth.
"I am a member of the Black Panthers and everybody knows that. So I am giving them (Golden Dawn) a straight warning - don't mess with black people, anyhow. And I mean it."
Members of the Black Panthers rescue each other if one is attacked. Using mobile phones with instant messaging and social media, their response is swift. "It has turned our lives better, at least in our neighbourhood," Michael told me.
Michael arrived in Greece from Kenya at eight months. Although he has lived there for 28 years, he is treated as a new immigrant. Police stop him on a regular basis to check his identification papers. So he has to carry a bag full of documents to prove that he is legal in the country.

Racist, anti-semitic, violent - the true face of Golden Dawn - watch Konstantinos Georgousis' film.
For immigrants, the situation in Greece is worsening. They accuse the Greek police of harassment. I joined one of the many police patrols as they rounded up immigrants.
We came across drug users but the police did not bother to chase them after they ran away, but carried on arresting immigrants, which seemed a more important job than dealing with drug users. Thousands of immigrants are languishing in detention centres.

'Get respect'

Growing up in Greece, as the only black child in his school, he had to fight every day to "get respect" from fellow pupils. He took up martial arts at the age of seven and has been doing it since then. That gave him the confidence to confront people like Golden Dawn members.
One of his latest encounters happened while he was on a bus in the city. Two men with "a neo-Nazi look" entered the bus. Some of the passengers were signalling to Michael, telling him to "leave, run or get down", but he defied it. One of the techniques he learnt in his martial arts lessons was that "when you see a danger, you don't wait, you go for it and push out".
Although the fight inside the bus was "really hard", Michael left the scene with minor injuries. He said: "It is not the first time and certainly not the last time … if you need respect, you must earn it".


A day later, on live television, he challenged the Golden Dawn leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, who thinks Africans are cannibals. In the television debate, Michaloliakos said: "The pygmies are boiled and eaten by other blacks in Africa … and they're considered special too."
But when Michael asked him whether he had ever been to Africa to witness that, the far-right leader replied: "No, I only read about it in newspapers, I know what I've read in newspapers." Consequently, the Golden Dawn media wing made a video mocking Michael.
Michael says it is unfortunate to be a "stranger in your own land". Greece, where he spent all his life, is the only place he knows. But as a father, it is no longer about him. He does not want his children to experience the same abuses he has. So he wants to raise them in Kenya, where they will not be treated as foreigners.
But for now, while Michael and his gangs continue to guard the neighbourhood, thousands of immigrants are facing uncertainties.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Raila wants TRJC report debated implemented

Parts of Nairobi to experience water shortage for 4 days

This does not surprise me. When I was last home, every week, the taps ran dry for several days.I cannot remember a visit in the past ten years, where there has not been water shortages. No warning, to the point that you just take it as normal, frustrating as it is.Your water bill comes in, no reduction in charges, yet there have been many days when you have not had water.Where is the logic? They want their money, but you don't get a normal service.

Things have not changed at all.Surprisingly, they are now telling people to stock up. I can see our area is listed in the places that will be affected. Same ole, same ole.Have just spoken to my family, and they tell me that this is a joke, as normally they don't have water six days of the week, yet receive a bill for 9000 kenya shillings.

Don't get me started on the power cuts. Hopefully Kidero can sort this stuff out.

Supreme court judges are ashamed of their judgement Raila Odinga interview with Roy Gachuhi

Roy:Of Kenya’s major political figures, you are the only one who established a political base in Nairobi and took spectacular risks with it first when you resigned from your Ford Kenya parliamentary seat to run on an NDP ticket and then in 2007 when you ran for the presidency, exposing yourself to the possibility of possible presidential success on one hand and parliamentary failure on the other. Yet you have never quite been able to shrug off the tribal chieftain tag. Explain.
Raila: You see, politics has a lot of propaganda. Sometimes, propaganda is stronger than the truth, than the reality. There is no politician in Kenya who is more urbane than myself. One, as you know, I grew up in Kisumu, which is a town, and also in Nairobi here. I went abroad and then settled in Nairobi in 1970, and I have been living in Nairobi all these years barring the years when I was in detention. And I chose to play my politics from here.
There was a lot of pressure on me to go and run in Kisumu when my father was running in Bondo and I said ‘no’, I will make my base Nairobi. This is where I live, and this is where I know the people.
And I also wanted to work with the poor people (of Lang’ata). I said, I know these people and these people trust me and this is a multi-ethnic constituency. It has helped me to understand other communities in Kenya.
See, in the past people have come with the assumptions that Kikuyus will not vote for me in Lang’ata; they have always been shocked and surprised. In 1997, I ran for the Presidency, and you will see there is a difference between my presidential votes and my parliamentary votes by over 6,000. I got more parliamentary votes than Presidential. Why? The 6,000 are the Kikuyus who voted for me as a Member of Parliament but voted for Kibaki as President.
(Laughs loudly)
Sometimes they talk of rents, and say, ‘Oh, people are not paying rent’. You see, in a place like Kibera, it is fairly cosmopolitan.
The problems are faced by all the poor people who live there – the Kikuyu, the Luo, the Luhya, the Kamba, Nubians – are all speaking the same language. So, when I speak, I speak on their behalf. I cannot champion the interests of any one group. Their problems are common.
I have chosen to represent Kenya rather than go back to a safe rural constituency because I don’t want to fragment Kenya and I wanted it to be a catalyst to unite the people. That’s why I have been saying that I am the bridge between the past and the future.
Look at now, for example, these last elections. Look at how the votes were; I got votes from Nyanza, Western , the whole of Ukambani area, the whole Coast, Upper Eastern, the Maa community – they voted MPs elsewhere but presidential votes went to me – the Turkana, the Teso.
So you can see the difference, they have the parliamentary majority, but the presidential votes came to me. You look at my opponents, basically from their communities, from their base. And if you look at Western, there was a candidate running there.
But if you look at the kind of votes he managed to get compared to what I got … If you look as well at the votes I got in Central and Rift Valley, where Jubilee got the majority, you’ll see that I am the only person who had the complete geographical spread of the votes across the country.
Q:Jubilee supporters were apprehensive that the Mutunga Court, as it came to be called, would be biased against them, given the Chief Justice’s sentiments towards you as he has expressed them in the past. But the court returned a unanimous verdict against your petition. There was no dissent. Now, every person who knows him will honestly say Dr Mutunga is incorruptible. So he was convinced about your loss. Have you lost a friend?
A: His conscience will disturb him. Ordinarily, it would not be a unanimous verdict. Each and every judge should write their verdict giving their reasons for it. For example, at The Hague, you had one dissenting judge and he recorded why he was dissenting; those two who were of another opinion, also wrote their judgment.
This is the most important case that the Supreme Court has handled since it was formed, maybe the most important in another five years to come. Some of them will be retiring at that time.
They should have at least had the courtesy to record the judgment individually – each person says because of ABCD, I dismiss, because of ABCD, I dismiss, not just to come there and say, we agree ABCD, yes! ABCD, we agree, yes! Yes! Yes! Then say that we are going to give a detailed judgment in two weeks’ time. Then when the two weeks come you are not ready on a Saturday, Monday, you are not ready and on Tuesday when people are assembled in court and you have invited them, they are expecting that you are coming to read a judgment and this was something that was so important for the country. Only for them to come and say “we are signing”. So obviously, it was something that they are ashamed of, or afraid of their own judgment. Now they are even correcting certain areas.
To me, it was a shame and I’ve said that people make mistakes; we say mistakes are human but I don’t know what went wrong, but I’ve mentioned earlier that stakes were too high, that blackmail could not be ruled out, apart from other methods of persuasion (laughs loud and long).
Q:As election returns have shown, millions of people believe that you are both qualified and deserving to be President. In the face of a third failure to achieve your objective, some are now talking about your being constrained by a primordial obstacle, that it hasn’t got with how much you try or how sincere you are. It’s simply unattainable. Address this issue of destiny, faith and philosophy.
A: I have never been superstitious. When it reaches the angle of fate (starts laughing and almost doubles over with mirth) no, no, these are the beliefs of people who are basically superstitious, people who believe in supernatural powers to do ABCD (still laughing). I am a scientist and I believe in a scientific world outlook, I believe that nothing happens just because it has happened or is preordained to happen; I believe that something only happens when there are efforts to make it happen.
I also don’t believe there is anything impossible in this world. I believe that things are possible. But I also want to say that it must not necessarily be Raila; like now, I am not even saying that I am going to run again because that is too far-fetched now. We have just come from an election. I am always willing to support somebody else.
The last time we went for a nomination and if I had lost I would have supported somebody else. I came up with Kibaki Tosha and people thought that I had committed political suicide. Many told me that Luos could not vote for Kikuyus, but I said, ‘I’ll show you.’ And I convinced them.
More Luos than Kikuyus voted for Kibaki. In fact, James Orengo was a presidential candidate at that time and Kibaki got more votes than Orengo in Ugenya. It doesn’t always have to be Raila, I can support another candidate.
Q:Your physical energy is legendary. You have always been here, there and everywhere at the same time. How do you feel now? Excuse my phrase, how much gas do you have left in the tank?
A: (Laughs loud and long, rocking in his chair)  Oh, oh! The spirit of the people, that’s what keeps me going. It is the spirit of the people that buoys me, it is this spirit that drives me. I am a servant of the people. I am propelled by the people’s spirit.
When the people say, let’s do this, I get the courage to move on; it is just not the physical energy, or the material energy. You see, I faced very great odds in this election. We were running against a team that was materially very well endowed (again laughs loud and long). It was like the battle of David and Goliath. But all the time I get the courage to move on because of the people.
Q:Your son, Fidel. Do you envisage a political role for him and what form could that role take?
A: You see I do not propose to prescribe a career for my children. My father did not bring me into politics. I came into politics by choice. It is Fidel’s grandfather, Jaramogi, who gave him that name.
Right now he is a businessman and he will find his level. If in future he wants to be in politics, even my other children, they are free. They want privacy, but all the time the media wants to pry into their lives. (Laughs).
You see, they have been saying, or there have been allegations, that I have put my relatives in government and so on. Which relative of mine is working in government? There have been a lot of unfounded allegations. It’s only my sister Dr Wenwa, who is a Counsellor in America, in LA. And I was not even consulted when she was being appointed. She was a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi, and any Kenyan is free to express an interest in a job.
She was interviewed and found to be suitable and so she was given that appointment. I think she initially wanted a job at UNESCO but they took her to LA. But she is also a Kenyan. If you are in government, does it mean that now it is a crime for any of your relatives to be employed anywhere else in government? You don’t call that nepotism.
Q:Finally, do you think you would be President were it not for the ICC?
A: (Laughs throughout the answer). Your guess is as good as mine. Arh! ICC, to these people, ICC was a matter of life and death. You know, everything had to be done to ensure that they have this shield. This is like the shield – the Presidency and the Deputy Presidency; for them, it is a shield. That is the bottom line. That is where we are. (Keeps on laughing).

Quotes from Supreme court judges are ashamed of their judgement

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Matatu goes digital

Great stuff Vincent Swaleh. My only concern is the crooks who will target passengers for their Smartphones,Tablets,Netbooks and Laptops. People get robbed on British Rail trains here, but it tends to be out of rush hour, and on carriages that are not full. There is an increase in the snatch and grab of Smartphones here, by guys on bikes as you are talking on your phone. I wonder how many more Matatu owners will follow suit.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Open letter to Raila Odinga don't accept errand boy job by Makau Mutua

This was an article that  I missed  last week with all that was going on and agree  with the Professor.

Quotes from the article below.

No one wants to be described as an “ex so-and-so”. It’s like being called an “ex-husband” or an “ex-wife”. It’s got a bad ring to it.
That’s why I won’t call you an “ex-Prime Minister”. You are much larger than the positions you’ve held. If truth be told, your identity transcends any single state office in Kenya.
Today I want to address some unsettling rumours. They are two-pronged, but amount to the same darn thing
This is their gist – that you should “quit politics” and become an international “errand boy” for the Kenyan state. I’ve heard many cockamamie plots, but none trumps this doozy. You can’t – and shouldn’t – quit politics. This is why.
First, consider the source of the dastardly concoction. It’s been mooted by your opponents who are dying to bury you politically. Ask yourself this question – why are your political assassins so eager to knock you out of the ring?
The answer is staring you in the face – they know that for more than two decades you’ve been the centre of gravity of Kenya’s political left. They believe they can kill the left if they dispatch you from politics.
The Kanu nomenkatura that won the March 4 elections would then triumph completely and rule – as former President Daniel arap Moi “prophesied” – for another 100 years.
They believe you have no heir apparent in Kenya’s progressive politics.
Think about it. Ever since independence in 1964, the Kenyan state has been in the grasp of a rightist, conservative political elite. Your own father – the late opposition doyen Jaramogi Oginga Odinga – was for long the symbol of the left.
But we all know what happened: the rightist faction under Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and later President Moi “neutralised” him.
He was persecuted and haunted into oblivion. You inherited his mantle, and have become a worthy “Jaramogist” yourself.
But, and this is the failure of the left, there isn’t an obvious Jaramogist to take over from you. That’s why you must stay in the field of battle – for now. The choice of whether, and when, to abandon politics isn’t yours.
Second, Cord is going to splinter into inchoate pieces if you abandon ship. The party – such as Kenyan parties are wont to be – revolves around you. Cord elected officials will head for the exits as soon as you dump it.
No one in the party – not in the Legislature or the county governors – has the wherewithal to lead the Kenyan left.
Leaving Cord will be tantamount to throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Remember Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” taken from the poem “The Second Coming” by W. B Yates. Your departure would be a betrayal. To paraphrase the poem, the “centre won’t hold because mere anarchy will be unleashed upon the world”. This is your historical burden.
You might be the best president Kenya never had. We don’t know how your life’s story will end, or unfold from here going forward. I know you’ve been in the trenches for long.
You’ve got up every time they have knocked you down. You aren’t perfect as you – and we – know only too well. You have stumbled several times.

Progressive instincts
But I am most impressed by your progressive instincts. You led the country in getting rid of Kanu, and you played an outsize role in giving us the new Constitution.
But you’ve been thwarted in your journey to State House every time. Perhaps you are destined to be John the Baptist. If so, find and nurture Kenya’s next “political Jesus”.
Third, I’ve heard that the Jubilee government wants you to be a “Kofi Annan”. That’s hogwash. For one, the Kenyatta regime doesn’t have the international legitimacy to confer on you such a hallowed status.
Mr Annan wasn’t appointed as a “statesman” by any government. He’s an international elder because, as UN Secretary-General, he was widely admired and respected.
There are only a handful of former political greats – like Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama – who occupy such lofty perches.
How would you acquire such a status as an appointee of a head of state who is indicted for crimes against humanity? This is a poisoned chalice from which you shouldn’t drink. It’s a fool’s errand – an “appointment” to “nowhere”.
Fourth, don’t cut the legs from under yourself. I know the traumatic events of March 4 – with the finality of the Supreme Court decision on the election petition – weigh heavily on you. That’s true for all men and women of conscience. Your future isn’t like instant coffee – take the time to map it out. Life, as you know, isn’t a sprint, but a marathon.
What’s up today could be down tomorrow. That’s the single most important enduring lesson of history. The Book of Mathew in 20:16 says that “so the first will be last, and the last will be first”. The struggle for the freedom of the downtrodden hasn’t been in vain. That’s why you must hang in there.
Finally, don’t listen to those who want to read your “political eulogy”. Some people even say that you can’t run for President in five years because you are too old. That’s also baloney. Mr Kibaki was 71 when he was first elected to State House in 2002.
He was re-elected for a final five-year term at 76 and retired this year at 81. You should plan on running in 2017. Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – who is about your age – is touted as the leading nominee for the Democratic Party in 2016.
Damn the question of age.
Makau Mutua is Dean and SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC. Twitter @makaumutua.

Open letter to Raila Odinga don't accept errand boy job by Makau Mutua

Friday, 24 May 2013

With leaders like these MPs Kenya does not need enemies

Something sinister is afoot with our “leaders”, and if we are not alert and resist in every way we can, this country will be in big trouble.

Even though we have pretty low expectations of them and their sense of public service given their common view that being elected is analogous to ripping us off, openly and not so openly, with huge remuneration, it is always shocking to see them work so diligently against the words and spirit of our Constitution.

There is the still ongoing attempt to scuttle the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, and oust the Constitution by giving the Parliamentary Service Commission illegal powers to set their earnings.

Then there is their disdain for our rights to peaceful assembly, paying more heed to the supposed abuse of animal rights, when they have never cared a jot for human rights. And they forget that human beings are animals, too, and not a word of sympathy to those brutalised by the police using methods that would make apartheid South Africa proud.

And now they have added in threats to the freedom of the press and of expression, lauding President Yoweri Museveni’s crude, uncouth and illegal efforts to silence the Nation Media Group’s Monitor newspaper and radio stations.

One would think that as Kenyans, they would first and foremost be concerned that a Kenyan listed company was under threat.

The issue at hand is a simple one between Nation Media Group on the one hand, and the Deputy President William Ruto, and PS Bitange Ndemo on the other. The Sunday Nation alleged that William Ruto’s office had committed we taxpayers to paying more than Sh100 million for a year (not counting fuel and other incidentals) so that the Deputy President can travel in style across the world whenever he feels like.

William Ruto and Bitange Ndemo deny this and say the contract is a one-off costing Sh18.5 million for Ruto’s recent trip and less expensive than had he taken a direct Kenya Airways flight to Gabon, Nigeria, Ghana and then found a local airline for the Morocco segment.

Simply put: Who is telling the truth about the contract and cost of Mr Ruto’s recent trip to West Africa?

The Nation has produced papers and analysis that suggests that Kenyans were ripped off on this trip. William Ruto and Bitange Ndemo have denied it, producing different papers (with spelling errors and omissions) and bashed the Nation. But their arithmetical analysis — saying that it is cheaper to rent a plane than travel on commercial flights — suggests that they need to go back to mathematics classes.

But at the heart of all this is the credibility of the Jubilee regime that came to power promising change and a different approach to ruling that would focus on the people.

If hustlers can so quickly and obviously acquire a love for luxury, then what will become of their promises?

There are also the constitutional requirements for probity, respect for taxpayers’ resources, prudence and truthfulness of public officers.

And there is also Section 19 of the Public Officer Ethics Act, which states that “A public officer shall not knowingly give false or misleading information to members of the public or to any other public officer.”

When an issue like this is raised, more mature and sophisticated parliamentarians would want to get to the bottom of the matter, seeking to save public resources and act as checks and balances on the Executive.

Instead, what we have is Aden Duale and Mithika Linturi attacking the messenger and wishing Uganda abuse and brutality tactics on us. We have seen those before when John Michuki went for The Standard, but that was before the new Constitution and is something that is now outlawed.

But even wishing for such methods and restrains against freedoms says a lot about the pair.

It is hard to think of people less deserving of the title “honorable” as Aden Duale and Mithika Linturi. They are hacks, pure and simple, who seem to think that power means sycophancy and doing whatever they want without question. 

They are dangerous to Kenya in many ways and seemingly have no understanding of democracy, human rights, oversight and checks and balances.

But then again, “choices have consequences,” and maybe this is the price we pay for electing people on the basis of party tickets rather than what they stand for.

RIP Jimmy Owino

I have just seen this. I used to watch you play on Saturday afternoons, when you were playing for Mwamba.Those were the days. I will always remember you joking, and making everyone smile. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends.RIP Jimmy.

Ouko family lauds TJRC report

Kenya,South Sudan and Uganda , East Africa is in danger of throwing away part of its new- found oil wealth

IN MARCH last year the heads of state of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan met among mangroves in Lamu, a Kenyan town on the Indian Ocean, to launch the construction of a port and oil pipeline together costing $16 billion that would serve all their countries and vastly enrich them. Taxpayers were billed $350,000 for the celebratory meal, according to local officials, though it actually cost only $4,000. So far, so profitable. But little has happened since. Plans to build the pipeline have stalled.
The absence of the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, at the launch was the first clue that all was not well. Uganda recently found 3.5 billion barrels of oil by Lake Albert. It should be part of any pipeline project that links new fields in the region. Oil has also been found on the other side of the lake, in Congo. And across the border in Kenya, exploration looks promising; Tullow Oil, a London-listed company, says it is pumping 281 barrels per day (b/d) from a test well. Nearby Ethiopia is exploring furiously, too. South Sudan, which is already producing oil, hopes to find more big fields along its border with Kenya.
So an oil bonanza is in the offing. Revenues could lift millions out of poverty, but only if the oil can find an efficient way to market. The local fields are expensive to tap, say experts. A single pipeline could serve them all and would be the cheapest option, running to Lamu via Lokichar in north-west Kenya and beyond (see map).
But the new oil nations cannot agree on a joint plan. All are obsessed with refining crude at the expense of exporting it. South Sudan, a country without electricity, is in the process of building not one but two small refineries, the first taking 5,000b/d, the second 10,000. “Contracts have been signed,” says an official in Juba, the capital. Ethiopia has even grander plans, hoping to satisfy the fuel needs of its 83m people by building a refinery on the South Sudanese border, absorbing about 100,000b/d. And Uganda sees itself as a petro-supplier for the entire region. Initially it wanted to refine 180,000b/d but may scale back its plan to 30-60,000. Only in Kenya is reason slowly taking hold. Insiders say refinery plans for Lamu have been downsized.
Building refineries makes no sense for east Africa. It would be wasteful and is unlikely to give countries the energy security they seek, as some of the fields will run dry quite soon. The economies of scale in refining are vast. Buying fuel from mega-refineries in Asia will be cheaper for a long time to come, even if it means losing some of the profits from processing.
Even worse, the new oil states of east Africa cannot agree on where to build their pipeline. It is possible that three will be built—or none. Leaders in four countries insist on satisfying narrow national goals. Ethiopia is in only the early stages of exploration, so why—its leaders ask—should they pay for a pipeline? The answer is that other investors, mostly from Japan, will cough up: all that is now needed is a commitment to use the pipeline if oil is found.
South Sudan has productive fields farther north, plus access to an adequate pipeline owned by Sudan, its arch-enemy. Again, why pay for a new one? Because South Sudanese leaders would like to have an alternative outlet, given northern hostility. Everyone knows that. But officials are dragging their feet, since the north has just agreed to a new transit deal that will run at least until 2016.
Separately the South Sudanese are holding talks with the Ethiopians about building a pipeline to Djibouti rather than to Lamu, cutting out Kenya. This would cement South Sudan’s friendship with militarily powerful Ethiopia and, so the logic goes, strengthen its position vis-à-vis the north. However, such a pipeline would be still more expensive, since it would cross highlands and swamps and take longer to build. Little advance work has been done, in contrast to the Lamu pipeline.
Uganda, too, has talked up alternative pipeline plans. Maps handed around in Kampala, the capital, show three potential crude-export routes. In addition to the line to Lamu, they trace one to Mombasa, farther south on the Kenyan coast, and one to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Both would be for exclusive Ugandan use, since all other known fields are much farther north.
The southern pipelines would also be more expensive than the Lamu option. A line to Mombasa, one of the world’s most congested ports, would have to climb high mountains and require heating the oil, to keep it flowing in the high-altitude cold; the line to Dar would be extremely long and have to cross national parks. All this because Ugandans hate playing second fiddle to Kenya, the regional top dog.
The Lamu pipeline makes the most economic sense for all involved. But failure to work together may doom it. National and personal interests trump regional co-operation and commercial logic. In Uganda Mr Museveni is keen to settle his legacy as the champion of a strong nation, building vast refineries and spiting the tiresome Kenyans. South Sudan is fixated on warding off the north at the expense—it seems—of almost everything else. Ethiopia sees a chance to steal Kenya’s thunder, too. “It’s every guy for himself,” says an oil executive wryly. “And I thought the private sector is rough.” Pipeline politics makes a mockery of the East African Community, a bloc dedicated to regional co-operation. All but one of the countries are members or aspire to join.
Of late, a new momentum behind the oil push is being felt. The Ugandan government is in final production talks with three oil companies. Executives from Tullow, Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (better known as CNOOC), as well as local civil servants, conferred with Mr Museveni at his farm near the Rwandan border in late April. In June South Sudan will finish a feasibility study for the Ethiopian pipeline to Djibouti, after which it has said it will make a decision on export routes. “Everything is up in the air,” says a diplomat. Kenyan and Ethiopian officials, as well as oil-company representatives, have been scurrying to Juba to make their case. Pagan Amun, who leads South Sudan’s talks with the north, is said to be keen to ditch the Lamu pipeline.
Planners say it could be built in about three years, carrying either 400,000 b/d if all countries were on board, or about half that if South Sudan or Uganda were not. Kenya’s new president, Uhuru Kenyatta, is pushing for results. He may be especially keen in order to deflect attention from his indictment by the International Criminal Court at The Hague. His first big trip after taking office was to Lamu. None of his counterparts was there to meet him.
By failing to co-operate, the new oil states are likely to waste part of their wealth on duplicate infrastructure, building too many refineries and pipelines. Oil can still be a curse.

Quotes from Kenya,South Sudan and Uganda,pipeline poker

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Uhuru and Ruto named in TJRC report

Kenya's president has received a long-awaited report that names him and his deputy as being among those suspected of planning and financing the country's 2007-08 post-election violence, in which more than 1,000 people died.
Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto already face trial at the international criminal court (ICC) for crimes against humanity on charges related to the election violence, in which 600,000 were evicted from their homes, but local attempts to prosecute the two have never taken off.
The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission report did not recommend prosecution for the two, as they already faced the action at the ICC.
Kenyatta's family members – especially his father, the founding president, Jomo Kenyatta – are named in the report as having presided over a government responsible for numerous human rights violations and illegal allocation of land.
The government-funded report, which was years in the making, finds that Kenya's second and third presidents, Daniel Arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki, headed governments that were responsible for massacres, economic crimes and grand corruption, among other violations.
Kenya's state security agencies, particularly the police and army, have been the main perpetrators of human rights violations including massacres, enforced disappearances, torture and sexual violence, the report says.
The commission said that during the period it was mandated to investigate, from 12 December 1963 to February 2008, the state adopted economic and other policies that resulted in the economic marginalisation of five key regions in the country.
Women, girls and minority groups have been the subject of state-sanctioned, systematic discrimination in all spheres of their life, according to the commission; and despite the special status accorded to children in Kenyan society, they have been subjected to atrocities including killings, physical assault and sexual violence.
The report recommended that parliament set up a legal infrastructure to help victims of historical injustices get reparations, including financial compensation, public apologies and commemoration.
The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission was formed from a wider effort to establish the truth behind historical violations that are partly blamed for the 2007-08 violence. That was sparked by a dispute over who had won the December 2007 presidential election.
A 2008 government commission found historical injustices such as unequal land distribution partly responsible for the violence. The new report reinforced those findings, saying historical grievances over land are the single most important driver of conflicts and ethnic tension in Kenya.
The issue of land in Kenya remains divisive. Commissioners were split about changes made in the land chapter of the report before it was presented to the president.
Ronald Slye, a University of Seattle professor and one of three international commissioners working for the Kenyan commission, said he had declined to sign the chapter because he disapproved of the changes. Judge Gertrude Chawatama, from Zambia, another international commissioner, also left the chapter on land unsigned.
Kenyan media reported that the commission had been under pressure from powerful individuals in and out of government to edit out sections of the report implicating certain people in illegal land allocations.
The report said between 1964 and 1966 one-sixth of European settlers' land that had been intended for settlement of landless and land-scarce Kenyans had been sold cheaply to Jomo Kenyatta and his wife, Ngina, his children and others. Jomo Kenyatta himself appears to have benefited immensely from irregular allocations of land that should have gone to those who had lost land to Arab and British colonisers, the report said.
"President Kenyatta's direct engagement in irregular land allocations compromised his position to prevent or remedy similar cases of land-grabbing by his close associates," the report said.
In 2011, Forbes magazine listed Uhuru Kenyatta, 51, as the wealthiest Kenyan, worth at least $500m (£332m), although he was dropped from a later list because his personal wealth was hard to separate from his family's wealth.
The report said the elder Kenyatta, who held office from 1963 to 1978, had run a government that failed to remove the repressive state structures established by the British colonial government, and which used those laws to perpetrate human rights violations.
Human rights had been further violated by the creation of the one-party state by the Moi administration, resulting in severe repression of political dissent, intimidation and control of the media, it said. The commission report also blamed the media for allowing violations to occur with little public scrutiny.
Kibaki is accused of presiding over a regime that oversaw killings.
Kenyatta, who received the report late on Tuesday, said the government would take the recommendations seriously. He said addressing the causes and effects of past injustices would contribute to national unity, reconciliation and healing, and would enable Kenyans to move forward with a renewed sense of nationhood.
The commission, formed in August 2009, was supposed to have taken two years to complete its work. It said that, despite challenges, it had managed to collect more than 40,000 statements, more than any other truth commission in the world.

Quotes from Kenyan president accused of backing post election violence that killed 1000

Related articles

Former current police bosses named in TRJC report

Probe Moi,Biwott over Ouko death says TRJC

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Mungiki member who admits that he killed 400 people cannot be deported back to Kenya

John Thuo admits that he killed 400 people while he was part of the Mungiki. He has lived in the UK since 2003. I wonder whether his mental health problems are genuine or just a tactic. I don't understand why he did not go back in 2007, as the Mungiki were able to carry out their criminal activities, without challenge. Amazing that he was granted indefinite leave to remain,just the sort of person the British taxpayer wants as part of their society.
Quotes below from Machete murderer who admits killing up to 400 people can't be booted out of UK
A murderer who admits killing up to 400 people – many in bloody machete attacks – is living in the UK after being granted asylum.
John Thuo has been living in a taxpayer funded home since sneaking in illegally from Africa in 2003, and his neighbours are totally oblivious to his grisly past.
For seven years he worked for the Mungiki in Kenya, a criminal mob behind some of the continent’s worst atrocities.
Thuo, 27, admitted at an immigration tribunal to killing “about 100 to 400 people”.
He even said he had taken part in the sickening practice of female genital mutilation.
But despite many attempts to boot him out, Thuo remains here, claiming deportation is against his human rights as he will be killed by the gang on his return.
British police are not monitoring him or even investigating his crimes.
After we tracked him down, Thuo said: “It’s true, I killed a lot of people. I don’t like talking about my past.
"I feel guilty for what I’ve done. I feel remorse.
“I’ve started a new life here and I’m looking for regular work. If I go back they’ll kill me. They’ll behead me.”
Asked if he is monitored by the Home Office, he said: “No, I don’t have to meet anyone. I’m free.
"My life in Kenya is in the past. It’s a different world out there. Out there, all you can do is hope to survive. This is a better place to live.”
Thuo has been living rent-free in accommodation provided by the National Asylum Support Service.
The killer has worked as a removal man but receives £160 a month in pocket money through benefits provided by the NASS.
One neighbour in suburban Coventry said: “He’s quite a big drinker.
"He’ll buy bottles of vodka and get drunk. When he does that he gets aggressive. He doesn’t talk about his past much.
“I had no idea about him killing all those people. It’s terrifying really. There’s a lot of children who live in this street.
"There’s a Mr Whippy ice cream van that parks outside his house. The children line up along the fence to his garden.”
The Home Office has tried to deport Thuo in a series of hearings but it has been unsuccessful.
This is despite Thuo telling an immigration court in London he was a senior member of the Mungiki in the Kariobangi slum of Nairobi, after joining when he was just 10 years old.
The Mungiki recruit child members and Thuo’s first job for the gang was to spy on people who were selling illegal alcohol in the poorest areas.
In 2000 he was promoted to leader, training members and taking control of the Korogocho slum where he ran a security racket.
In evidence he said he “attacked police and stole their ammunition”.
He also admitted his gang “torched people’s houses” and carried out female circumcision and public intimidation.
In 2002 he took part in a revenge attack on villagers who had killed two members of the Mungiki. He butchered two ­civilians with a machete.
In another incident he said he killed two police officers after members of the gang were arrested, one with a machete and another with a “big stone”.

The Mungiki – part gang, part religious sect – were outlawed in Kenya in 2002 following widespread outrage at their horrific crimes, in which victims were left as mutilated corpses.
Members are required to take secret oaths and the mobsters are linked to political violence and extortion.
They engage in fraud, robbery, murder and kidnap. It is also thought members drink the blood of their victims.
The Mungiki emerged as a major force in Kenya in the 1980s.
Initially they were a peaceful protest ­movement in which followers wore dreadlocks, but the group transformed into one of the most feared organised crime organisations in the capital, Nairobi.
Some defectors claim there are millions of members.
The mafia-like gangsters control public transport routes and provide illegal water and electricity connections to hundreds of makeshift shacks in some impoverished slums.
Residents also have to pay them a levy to access communal toilets and for ­overnight security to protect them.
Elinah Kakmega, 33, lost two brothers in a Mungiki machete attack in Nairobi 10 years ago, at the time Thuo was active.
She said: “They pounced on my brothers in the street outside our home and tore their bodies apart with their weapons.
"When they were found their bodies had been hacked apart.
“The men were like a pack of wild animals. If John Thuo admits his part in attacks like this he should be brought to justice.
"It is terrible that he has been able to enjoy a new life in Britain while we suffer here every day.”
Thuo arrived here as an illegal immigrant in August 2003. He kept his identity a secret until he needed the help of the NHS for mental health problems.
In March the Immigration and Asylum Chamber granted his appeal under the Human Rights Act against being removed from the UK, after an expert gave evidence the Mungiki were known to behead members who tried to flee.
The judge also took into consideration Thuo’s mental health, and threats he would kill himself if he was deported.
He has now been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK, but he will have to apply ­­for an extension in three years.
Senior Labour MP Paul Flynn said: “This case is one of the worst I have seen.
"It has been proven time and time again that the immigration system has some serious problems.
“Laws which were created in good faith are being used and abused by criminals and this is something which has to stop.
"It is extremely worrying that someone who has admitted to killing so many people is not being investigated by the police in this country.
“And it is even more worrying he is able to successfully claim asylum despite what he says he has done.”
A spokesman for Aegis Trust, which campaigns to prevent crimes against humanity worldwide, said: “Anyone suspected of international crimes should be held to account.
“We would call for a further investigation of this extremely concerning matter by the authorities.”
In 2007, Mungiki followers were accused of a series of gruesome murders in Central Province, in what was said to be a revenge attack on people who had leaked information to the police about their activities.
And two years ago six Kenyans accused of being members faced charges at the International Criminal Court over ethnic violence that brought the country to the brink of civil war in 2008.
At the time, a former Mungiki mobster said in a statement to the court in The Hague: “If a member disobeys, they would cut that member’s head off and put the head in public view at the place where they had a problem with the member.”
Last night a spokesman for the Home Office said of Thuo: “We cannot comment on individual cases.

Thuo is one of several shocking examples the Mirror has found of murderers and suspected terrorists abusing the Human Rights Act to delay deportation.

Moving on welcome to Kenya Inc by John Githongo

When the Supreme Court decided against those who were contesting the election of Uhuru Kenyatta anticipated jubilation broke out in Jubilee’s ethnic strongholds. Gloom overcame other parts of Kenya. This was the natural reaction and continues to play out. The new government’s supporters both within and outside Kenya urged everyone to ‘move on’ and focus on the future. Essentially, forget the past, accept the new reality, find your space in it and get on with life. 
Kenyans are a resilient lot and many have done just this.
To many, however, the ‘let’s move on’ clarion has literally come to be understood as an abuse, in part because they have yet to come to terms with the legitimacy of the President and Deputy President in particular.
This is because the election was so ethnically divisive; it sunk the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) like a canoe into which too many bundles of cash had been thrown; and, for many, it moved one of the new constitution’s most heralded novelties - the Supreme Court – from the winners’ podium into a sort of governance pit-latrine.
The anger fuelled by this and the sense of helplessness to do anything about it is existential and therefore durable. In the 1990s, and first decade of the new century, flawed elections were held every five years but Kenyans ‘moved on’ because in the horizon there was end to the Moi era; there was a new constitution; there were so many reforms coming into realisation after the elections.
Only to find, as a character in Francis Imbuga’s masterpiece “Betrayal in the City” so memorably put it, “It was better while we waited. Now we have nothing to look forward to. We have killed our past and are busy killing our future”.
2013 was the transition of multiple tyrannies, both real and imagined, from the tyranny of tribal numbers, to the terrorism of peace, to the blatant dictatorship of ‘mta do?!’
It will take some time too, to come to terms with this present dispensation for the many of considerable credibility, intellect, analytical expertise and patriotism who honestly believe the election was stolen; stolen massively and stolen well.
For now, the constant demand to let the nation ‘move on’ seems to have bought Kenya the ‘peace’ so many so badly crave. However, it is not unlikely that the reputation of the gaggle of ‘experts’ and their institutions who opined authoritatively on a process that is still fraught with so many questions that refuse to go away will fall into serious doubt.
It will also force many of us to admit that over two decades of good governance advocacy, anti-corruption work, constitution building, democracy promotion, all costing billions, has seemingly brought us backwards. For, as I mentioned some weeks ago, as a nation-building exercise, the election failed badly.
These contradictions comprise the uncharted waters into which the Kenyan ship has sailed. For the constitutional reality is that having properly sworn their oaths of service, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are Kenya’s President and Deputy President, notwithstanding the encumbrances of the ICC, or the existentially divisive election and its aftermath. It is a reality that we’ll have to make work for Kenya’s sake.
Indeed, distracted by their considerable excess political baggage, it has been interesting to watch what have been some initial deft moves by the UhuRuto duo. Kenyatta’s regular emphasis on the fact that he is the President of all Kenyans is spot on. He now needs to get all Kenyans to believe him.
Similarly, his attending events in opposition strongholds, has been just the kind of move the country needs. He should try camping out at the State Lodge in Kisumu for a week or two to build on this. Then those in Kakamega, Mombasa etc. One of the good things about being flat on your back in terms of expectations vis-à-vis national vision is that the only way you can look is up.
That’s the theory. It is especially important now as a wave of insecurity sweeps across the country, ironically, in some of the very Counties where violence had been anticipated around the elections.
Under the previous constitution 90 days was all it took for a head of state to consolidate power to the point that their overall direction in terms of governance was clear. It’s been slightly more convoluted for the Jubilee team partly because the constitution doesn’t allow the same discretion their predecessors enjoyed. Still, a couple of trends have become clear.
First, the ‘private sector’ is clearly the primary client of this administration in terms of policy. We are now Kenya Inc. and open for business – in itself actually genuinely exciting for many. Indeed, outside strongholds in the Rift Valley and Central Province, it is in the boardrooms (not all but a critical mass of them) where Jubilee’s victory has been most enthusiastically celebrated.
Some populist pledges have been made, but there appears to be an understanding especially within the wing of our private sector with the most reactionary tendencies – the owners of really large illegally or irregularly acquired tracts of land and the service sector – that these won’t be allowed to get in the way of business.
To their credit too, the Jubilee government’s leadership has been careful to avoid any statements that may be misunderstood to mean that an anti-corruption campaign is in the offing.
This, it can be argued, is one of the necessities when the intellectual underpinnings of governance are outsourced to the private sector, in what is actually a sophisticated condition of entrenched crony capitalism for lack of better words. This typically has its accompaniments - and graft is one of them.
The President and Deputy President have presented images of corporate efficiency of the vein in which they ran their impressive election campaign. Even the propaganda has been dished out with a slickness that is without precedent.
The defining policy imperative underlying it all is the ICC of course, which helped forge the central tribal alliance that in turn came to define Jubilee. So critical is this self-imposed reality that it has discombobulated diplomacy – internally and outside Kenya.
Indeed, it caused Kenya’s Representative at the United Nations to pen a request to the Security Council that was so bizarre, some at first questioned its authenticity.
The second issue that stands out about the new administration is that even though he is called Deputy President, William Ruto, is actually, for all intents and purposes, a co-principal.
Indeed, he is more of a co-principal than Raila Odinga ever was under the old order of the post-2008 coalition. While ODM had settled for ‘half a loaf’ in political terms, what they seem to have got was a couple of slices, larger and noisier motorcades and the chance for some at individual self -enrichment on an unprecedented scale.
This latter attribute, some analysts argue, softened them up to the point that they were unable to prepare properly for the 2013 poll; they weren’t hungry enough. Their opponents on the other hand, were tremendously focused.
After all, they were facing the successor to the Nuremberg Court that brought down the likes of Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess, Slobodan Milosevic and others whose exploits tilled the earth that gave birth to the state of Israel and continue to be the subject of PhDs, academic tomes, novels, documentaries and sombre public holidays in countries that consider themselves the most civilised in the world.
Ruto delivered and has firmly gripped his half loaf as evidenced by his own statements and the line-up of Cabinet Secretaries that were rolled out.
Those who doubt his grip and the extent of his leverage need only consider the fact that despite the alliance of ‘peace’ and ‘reconciliation’ between the Gikuyu and the Kalenjin that now prevails – Rift Valley IDPs aren’t racing back to farms from which they were evicted in 2008.
All of us know, quietly and without too much fuss, that we aren’t quite there yet; we aren’t even close. It is such inconveniences that interrupt the ‘move on’ narrative for now.
One Gikuyu resident of the region not far from where Ruto was born summed it up best when he told me: “Everyone was happy that Kenyatta and Ruto were on the same side during the election because it reduced the chance (likelihood) that Ruto’s Kalenjin supporters would attack us… Here on the ground the mistrust is still strong.”
Incredibly, considering its credibility challenges, in this environment even the much maligned TJRC is having difficulty handing over its report to the President. In some sections of the media, it was reported that they might have been thinking of ‘massaging’ the chapter on land.
IDPs, for their part, are not shareholders in Kenya Inc. just yet. They remain part of those either too angry to move on or are simply suspicious of the hand they have been dealt and are waiting to understand what it really all means. Time, they say, heals all things. When the clock is working.

Moving on welcome to Kenya Inc by John Githongo

Thursday, 16 May 2013

JSO Maina Kiai interview

Part 1

Peaceful protest is a human right, and part of our constitution.

Part 2

Mambo ni yale yale

John challenges Maina saying that activism is a livelihood doomed to failure. Maina Kiai puts him right by saying that activism is not about livelihood for him, but about belief. Activism has changed the world. If it were not for activism, things would not have changed in Tunisia,Egypt or South Africa. Activism is not just taking to the streets. It is about writing,research,investigation, voter empowerment, civic education. We would not have a new constitution without activism.

 We can't forget or dismiss activism.

If activists like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, did not take to the streets, where would Black America be today.

If the late Wangari Maathai was not an activist, would any changes have been made to the Green belt movement in Kenya?

Did they see this as their livelihood?

Related article: Diplomatic diversions

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Protests over MP's pay turns into a Pig deal

Ushahidi's rugged BRCK, the backup generator for the internet

Sometimes, when you need access to the web the most is when it's most likely to be hard to find. It could even be a matter of life or death. So having a backup connection that you can carry in your pocket, that will work from Windhoek to Williamsburg, sounds like a good idea. That's the concept behind Ushahidi's BRCK.
Ushahidi is a powerful platform for crowdsourcing data in less than ideal conditions, be they because of a natural disaster or simply because of a lack of infrastructure. It's been used effectively, for example, in the aftermath of the disputed 2007 Kenyan elections, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, generating maps for the emergency services and documenting eyewitness testimonies.
The kind of rugged environments that Ushahidi was created for are also the kinds of places where web access can be decidedly unreliable at best. That's why Ushahidi has developed BRCK -- a wireless, battery-powered modem that aims to help users connect to the web no matter where they are in the world.
Described as "the backup generator for the internet", BRCK can support up to 20 devices connected at once, has a tough exterior shell and an eight hour battery life so it can sit out any blackouts. Like a smartphone, it can connect to the web via ethernet, Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G, shifting between them dependent on service.
Each BRCK is connected to the BRCK Cloud, which lets users check on their BRCK from anywhere in the world even if they're not directly connected to it and, if needed, set up alerts and applications. More importantly, the cloud contains information about the mobile phone networks in each country, so BRCKs can be configured to the latest settings as and when needed. The package is designed so that, even without electricity, you've got the best chance possible of connecting to the web.
Right now BRCK is a prototype, but Ushahidi is raising funds on Kickstarter to put BRCK into production, with more than $80,000 (£52,000) of the $125,000 (£81,000) goal raised so far.
The Ushahidi team write: "Our software has been used for blizzards in Washington DC, hurricanes in the US, earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, and election monitoring around the world. BRCK is our answer to a fundamental problem that arises during these situations and during the daily life of much of the world: the need for reliable connections in unpredictable environments."
"Our motto has always been 'if it works in Africa, it will work anywhere'."

Ushahid's rugged BRCK, the backup generator for the internet by Ian Steadman

Monday, 13 May 2013

Mathare escapees

The place looks grim. I can recall seeing escapees in Nairobi while I was in my teens, back in the day. You could point them out, as they used to be dressed in a navy blue uniform, and the streets would clear as they came either walking, or running through the streets. The hospital does not look like it is secure, if it is that easy for the patients to escape, and it is clearly understaffed. The police officer in the video below is suggesting if you see the patients, to drive them back to the hospital.

Is he really serious, when other news sources state these men are violent.

Who in their right mind would take that risk?

This BBC article mentions the human rights abuses at Mathare hospital after a CNN documentary.

When democracy has blood on its hands

When the new president of Kenya visited London last week for the
summit on Somalia, he held a private meeting with our prime
minister. This was unsurprising: the two countries have the closest
ties, Britain is leading international efforts to restore order in
Somalia, and Kenya has thousands of troops trying to bring peace to
its shattered neighbour.

But the meeting was brief and the usual diplomatic photographs were not released. For David Cameron did not want to be seen shaking the bloodstained hand of a man accused of mass murder. Uhuru Kenyatta, the spectacularly wealthy son of his nation's founding figure, is accused with vice-president William Ruto of orchestrating ethnic violence that exploded after the 2007 election, leaving 1,300 people dead and 650,000 displaced.
Cameron probably had to meet the Kenyan president if he wanted the summit to be a success. But the diplomatic dancing highlights the looming problem caused by the pair's unexpected electoral victory; already, Barack Obama has indicated he will fly over the land of his father on a forthcoming tour of Africa. For all the relief felt over the peaceful poll two months ago, the result presents a horribly painful headache – and could end up crippling the court created as the ultimate sanction against genocide.
This seems incredible, given the hopes vested in this body after a troubled birth just over a decade ago. The International Criminal Court was designed for those monsters accused of the world's worst crimes. It was supposed to terrify despots, dictators and warlords; last year, it won the first conviction of a former head of state in an international court since the Nuremberg trials of the Nazis. Yet we may be witnessing its early death throes.
The reason is simple: realpolitik. As Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society, said last week, no one envisaged a situation in which someone accused of crimes against humanity would be willfully elected president. Yet Kenyatta and Ruto – who both chose to go to The Hague rather than face trial in Kenya, expecting the case to wither away – converted their indictments into electoral dynamite by turning it into a tussle between Africa and the West.
The ICC has indicted 30 individuals from seven countries, yet all of them are African. This has led to accusations of "white man's justice", with grumbles about Western bias and how our leaders and their allies can literally get away with murder when it comes to war crimes. This may be unfair, given it is a court of last resort, but it is difficult to challenge the hard evidence. Even the leader of next-door Uganda, who supported the ICC's creation, now argues it is a foreign tool – although perhaps he is acting out of self-preservation.
These matters are coming to a head in explosive style. Ruto must report to The Hague in 15 days, with Kenyatta packing his bags to follow him in July. Few expect them to turn up, for all the jibes and jokes in Nairobi about running the country by Skype from Holland. If they fail to show, warrants are issued instantly for their arrest, the newly elected rulers become fugitives in 122 countries that endorse the court, and Kenya becomes the world's least-likely pariah state.
This presents a diplomatic nightmare, especially for Britain, given our historic, commercial and security links. Kenya's political class may be among the planet's most venal, but the country is booming; it has just discovered oil and it plays a crucial role in a fragile region of growing strategic importance. A freeze in relations would not stop trade and tourism, but would make them harder.
Diplomats and lawyers are scrabbling to avoid this looming nightmare. Kenya has asked the United Nations to defer the charges; the president's British barristers are searching for delaying tactics; suggestions are being made to conduct the trial via video. One idea is to move the court temporarily to Kenya, although this would set a costly precedent while increasing the risk of witness intimidation. Who would want to take the stand against their president then?
If these fudges fail and Ruto – reportedly facing a more solid case – does not show up, the international community must make a difficult decision. Does it back a controversial court set up to prosecute people accused of the most horrible crimes possible against leaders elected fairly by their people in full knowledge of the awful accusations against them? Choices, after all, have consequences.
Ultimately our government must stand by the red lines it has drawn; otherwise it undermines the global struggle for human rights. These two men are, after all, accused of direct involvement in appalling atrocities. Yet key competitors in Africa, such as China, India and Turkey, have not signed up to the ICC, so could reap the benefits.
Coincidentally this week Britain sees a visit by another president – Rwanda's Paul Kagame, seeking to restore trust after aid was briefly stopped following his latest intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His regime regularly murders rivals, has routinely committed war crimes and sparked the most lethal conflict since the Second World War. If ever there was someone who should be in the dock at The Hague it is him; instead he is lionised by Western politicians. Is it any wonder there is such distrust over the ICC – and why its death would be little-mourned in many parts of the world? 

When democracy has blood on its hands Ian Birrell 

Update related article: Kenya balancing act: Human rights, civil society,Neo-colonoliasm and democracy by Daniel Ben-Horin

Sunday, 12 May 2013

20 ways to keep your internet identity safe from hackers

We're high up in the Gherkin in the City of London and Garry Sidaway, director of security strategy at Integralis, a firm which advises government agencies, pharmaceutical and financial services multinationals, is giving my computer a security MOT. "You don't have anti-virus software, I see," he says, a trace of mockery in his voice. "That's your first mistake."
According to Sidaway, while most of us are much more aware of the risks now ("My mum shreds her documents even if she doesn't know why," he says), we should all be raising the bar. He thinks we Britons are an overly trusting lot. Sitting ducks for an armada of hackers, who are every bit as focused on stealing our data as we are relaxed about storing it. "The criminal gangs know exactly which kind of data they want and where it is likely to be," he explains. "Conversely we're not sure what they're after."
So what are they after, I ask? "We are seeing a wide variety of attacks – everything from opportunists trying to extract passwords through phishing [emails which purport to be from legitimate sources and attempt to get us to click on an infected link] to highly organised crime units targeting businesses and government systems in an effort to steal intellectual property and information related to critical infrastructure."
The government estimates that the total cost of cybercrime in the UK is £27bn a year. The majority (£21bn) is committed against businesses, which face high levels of intellectual property theft and industrial espionage.
Enabled by the sharing culture on social media – and with ever more sophisticated malicious software known as malware at their disposal – cybercriminals have become far more adept at crafting attacks and targeting individuals and organisations. Phishing emails purporting to be from friends, often reflecting our interests – perhaps gleaned from social media sites – or from trusted organisations such as your bank or HM Revenue & Customs encourage us to click on infected links or attachments containing malware. (A recent example of the latter was malware disguised as a security warning from Microsoft's digital crimes unit.) "We have a level of trust in certain organisations and criminals exploit that trust," says Sidaway.
Typically, these so-called "man-in-the-middle" attacks install colourfully named Trojans (pieces of malware, essentially) such as Zeus, SpyEye or Citadel on computers, which have the effect of compromising, for example, online banking transactions. "Everything you then do on your compromised laptop is subverted through a hacking site which means when you [communicate] with your bank, you are going through a man in the middle. Initially, man-in-the-middle attacks were passwords used in authentication – the criminal would wait until you had finished to start using the credentials they'd just gathered. This is why banks brought in one-time passwords or codes," he says.
"But more recent malware will perform a man-in-the-middle attack to obtain the user's session (a session is created after a user logs in successfully and the browser and the bank's website use this to continue the interaction) and fake the logout requests. Once the user thinks they've logged out, the attacker can make payments using the existing session without the victim seeing any changes to their balance until the next time they log on. This is partly why banks have rolled out card readers to help prevent payments to new payees." He adds: "It's a constant game of cat and mouse."


1. Never click on a link you did not expect to receive
The golden rule. The main way criminals infect PCs with malware is by luring users to click on a link or open an attachment. "Sometimes phishing emails contain obvious spelling mistakes and poor grammar and are easy to spot," says Sidaway of Integralis. "However, targeted attacks and well-executed mass mailings can be almost indistinguishable [from genuine emails]." Social media has helped criminals profile individuals, allowing them to be much more easily targeted, he adds. "They can see what you're interested in or what you [post] about and send you crafted messages, inviting you to click on something. Don't."

2. Use different passwords on different sites
With individuals typically having anything up to 100 online accounts, the tendency has become to share one or two passwords across accounts or use very simple ones, such as loved ones' names, first pets or favourite sports teams. Indeed, research by Ofcom last month revealed that over half of UK adults (55%) use the same passwords for most, if not all, websites they visit, while one in four (26%) use birthdays or names as passwords. Any word found in the dictionary is easily crackable. Instead, says Sian John, online security consultant at Symantec, have one memorable phrase or a line from a favourite song or poem. For example: "The Observer is a Sunday newspaper" becomes "toiasn". Add numerals and a special character thus: "T0!asn". Now for every site you log on to, add the first and last letter of that site to the start and end of the phrase, so the password for Amazon would be "AT0!asnn". At first glance, unguessable. But for you, still memorable."

3. Never reuse your main email password
A hacker who has cracked your main email password has the keys to your [virtual] kingdom. Passwords from the other sites you visit can be reset via your main email account. A criminal can trawl through your emails and find a treasure trove of personal data: from banking to passport details, including your date of birth, all of which enables ID fraud. Identity theft is estimated to cost the UK almost £2bn a year.

4. Use anti-virus software
German security institute AV-Test found that in 2010 there were 49m new strains of malware, meaning that anti-virus software manufacturers are engaged in constant game of "whack-a-mole". Sometimes their reaction times are slow – US security firm Imperva tested 40 anti-virus packages and found that the initial detection rate of a new virus was only 5%. Much like flu viruses and vaccine design, it takes the software designers a while to catch up with the hackers. Last year AV-Test published the results of a 22-month study of 27 different anti-virus suites and top-scoring packages were Bitdefender, Kaspersky and F-Secure. Meanwhile, security expert Brian Krebs published the results of a study of 42 packages which showed on average a 25% detection rate of malware – so they are not the entire answer, just a useful part of it.

5. If in doubt, block
Just say no to social media invitations (such as Facebook-friend or LinkedIn connection requests) from people you don't know. It's the cyber equivalent of inviting the twitchy guy who looks at you at the bus stop into your home.

6. Think before you tweet and how you share information
Again, the principal risk is ID fraud. Trawling for personal details is the modern day equivalent of "dumpster-diving", in which strong-stomached thieves would trawl through bins searching for personal documents, says Symantec's John. "Many of the same people who have learned to shred documents like bank statements will happily post the same information on social media. Once that information is out there, you don't necessarily have control of how other people use it." She suggests a basic rule: "If you aren't willing to stand at Hyde Park Corner and say it, don't put it on social media."

7. If you have a "wipe your phone" feature, you should set it up
Features such as Find My iPhone, Android Lost or BlackBerry Protect allow you to remotely to erase all your personal data, should your device be lost or stolen. "Absolutely, set it up," advises Derek Halliday of mobile security specialist Lookout. "In the case where your phone is gone for good, having a wipe feature can protect your information from falling into the wrong hands. Even if you didn't have the foresight to sign up, many wipe your phone features can be implemented after the fact."

8. Only shop online on secure sites
Before entering your card details, always ensure that the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol is showing in your browser, cautions industry advisory body Financial Fraud Action UK. Additionally the beginning of the online retailer's internet address will change from "http" to "https" to indicate a connection is secure. Be wary of sites that change back to http once you've logged on.

9. Don't assume banks will pay you back
20 ways to stop hackers: 'I've been the victim of online credit card fraud' Banks must refund a customer if he or she has been the victim of fraud, unless they can prove that the customer has acted "fraudulently" or been "grossly negligent". Yet as with any case of fraud, the matter is always determined on an individual basis. "Anecdotally, a customer who has been a victim of a phishing scam by unwittingly providing a fraudster with their account details and passwords only to be later defrauded could be refunded," explains Michelle Whiteman, spokesperson for the Payments Council, an industry body. "However, were they to fall victim to the same fraud in the future, after their bank had educated them about how to stay safe, it is possible a subsequent refund won't be so straightforward. Under payment services regulations, the onus is on the payment-service provider to prove that the customer was negligent, not vice versa. Credit card protection is provided under the Consumer Credit Act and offers similar protection."
10. Ignore pop-ups
Pop-ups can contain malicious software which can trick a user into verifying something. "[But if and when you do], a download will be performed in the background, which will install malware," says Sidaway. "This is known as a drive-by download. Always ignore pop-ups offering things like site surveys on e-commerce sites, as they are sometimes where the malcode is."

11. Be wary of public Wi-Fi
Most Wi-Fi hotspots do not encrypt information and once a piece of data leaves your device headed for a web destination, it is "in the clear" as it transfers through the air on the wireless network, says Symantec's Sian John. "That means any 'packet sniffer' [a program which can intercept data] or malicious individual who is sitting in a public destination with a piece of software that searches for data being transferred on a Wi-Fi network can intercept your unencrypted data. If you choose to bank online on public Wi-Fi, that's very sensitive data you are transferring. We advise either using encryption [software], or only using public Wi-Fi for data which you're happy to be public – and that shouldn't include social network passwords."

12. Run more than one email account
20 ways to stop hackers: 'Help, my Mac keeps getting viruses' Thinking about having one for your bank and other financial accounts, another for shopping and one for social networks. If one account is hacked, you won't find everything compromised. And it helps you spot phishing emails, because if an email appears in your shopping account purporting to come from your bank, for example, you'll immediately know it's a fake.
13. Macs are as vulnerable as PCs
Make no mistake, your shiny new MacBook Air can be attacked too. It's true that Macs used to be less of a target, simply because criminals used to go after the largest number of users – ie Windows – but this is changing. "Apple and Microsoft have both added a number of security features which have significantly increased the effectiveness of security on their software," says Sidaway, "but determined attackers are still able to find new ways to exploit users on almost any platform."

14. Don't store your card details on websites
Err on the side of caution when asked if you want to store your credit card details for future use. Mass data security breaches (where credit card details are stolen en masse) aren't common, but why take the risk? The extra 90 seconds it takes to key in your details each time is a small price to pay.

15. Add a DNS service to protect other devices
A DNS or domain name system service converts a web address (a series of letters) into a machine-readable IP address (a series of numbers). You're probably using your ISP's DNS service by default, but you can opt to subscribe to a service such as OpenDNS or Norton ConnectSafe, which redirect you if you attempt to access a malicious site, says Sian John. "This is helpful for providing some security (and parental control) across all the devices in your home including tablets, TVs and games consoles that do not support security software. But they shouldn't be relied upon as the only line of defence, as they can easily be bypassed."

16. Enable two-step verification
If your email or cloud service offers it – Gmail, Dropbox, Apple and Facebook do – take the trouble to set this up. In addition to entering your password, you are also asked to enter a verification code sent via SMS to your phone. In the case of Gmail you only have to enter a fresh code every 30 days or when you log on from a different computer or device. So a hacker might crack your password, but without the unique and temporary verification code should not be able to access your account.

17. Lock your phone and tablet devices
Keep it locked, just as you would your front door. Keying in a password or code 40-plus times a day might seem like a hassle but, says Lookout's Derek Halliday, "It's your first line of defence." Next-generation devices, however, are set to employ fingerprint scanning technology as additional security.

18. Be careful on auction sites
On these sites in particular, says Symantec's Sian John, exercise vigilance. "Check the seller feedback and if a deal looks too good then it may well be," she says. "Keep your online payment accounts secure by regularly changing your passwords, checking the bank account to which it is linked and consider having a separate bank account or credit card for use on them, to limit any potential fraud still further."

19. Lock down your Facebook account
20 ways to stop hackers: 'What's the problem with sharing my Facebook info with friends of friends?' Facebook regularly updates its timeline and privacy settings, so it is wise to monitor your profile, particularly if the design of Facebook has changed. Firstly, in the privacy settings menu, under "who can see my stuff?" change this to "friends" (be warned: setting this to "friends of friends" means that, according to one Pew study, on average you are sharing information with 156,569 people). Also in privacy, setting "limit old posts" applies friends-only sharing to past as well as future posts. Thirdly, disable the ability of other search engines to link to your timeline.
You should also review the activity log, which shows your entire history of posts and allows you to check who can see them. Similarly, you should look at your photo albums and check you're happy with the sharing settings for each album. In the future you may want to consider building "lists" – subsets of friends, such as close friends and family, who you might want to share toddler photographs with, rather than every Tom, Dick and Harriet.
Also, remove your home address, phone number, date of birth and any other information that could used to fake your identity. Similarly you might want to delete or edit your "likes" and "groups" – the more hackers know about you, the more convincing a phishing email they can spam you with. Facebook apps often share your data, so delete any you don't use or don't remember installing. Finally, use the "view as" tool to check what the public or even a particular individual can see on your profile, continue to "edit" and adjust to taste. If this all sounds rather tedious, you just might prefer to permanently delete your account.
20. Remember you're human after all
While much of the above are technical solutions to prevent you being hacked and scammed, hacking done well is really the skill of tricking human beings, not computers, by preying on their gullibility, taking advantage of our trust, greed or altruistic impulses. Human error is still the most likely reason why you'll get hacked.

20 ways to keep your internet identity safe from hackers