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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Sometimes they talk of rents, and say, ‘Oh, people
are not paying rent’. You see, in a place like Kibera, it is fairly
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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. ‘LETS MOVE ON’ INTO UNCHARTED WATERS
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
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
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. UHURU FINDING HIS GROOVE
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
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. OUTSOURCING GOVERNANCE
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. RUTO: THE REAL ‘HALF LOAF’
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
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
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
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.
Peaceful protest is a human right, and part of our constitution.
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.
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
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'."
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.
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?
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."
TWENTY COMMANDMENTS: THE DOS AND DON'TS OF ONLINE SAFETY
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 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 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 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.
I have decided to start this blog, because since December 30th 2007, my life and the life of most Kenyans took a massive turn. I have been inundated with calls and emails from friends , relatives outside Kenya, and colleagues, to check on the situation in Kenya. I find that I am giving daily updates to everyone, relaying the same information daily, and it will be easier to use the blog as an information source.
Feel free to leave comments or email me your opinion at email@example.com