Saturday, February 28, 2009


Former UN Secretary General Dr. Kofi Annan has put Kenya's grand coalition leaders on the spot, accusing them of deflating the momentum in kenya's reform process. In his message to Kenyans on the first annivasary of the signing of the accord, that saw President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga bury the hatchet and unite to form a coalition government, the man who brokered the deal accused the two leaders of disappointing Kenyan's in their quest at conclusively resolving the issues that led to the 2007 post election violence. Here is the audio recording of Kofi Annans message

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The Kenyan government has rejected a report by UN investigator into extra judicial killings Professor Phillip Alston even before the report is officially presented to relevant government officials. Government spokesman Dr. Alfred Mutua, on the government’s official website, has dismissed the report accusing the UN envoy of overstepping his mandate, making the report in bad faith and almost impinging on matters of Kenya’s sovereignty.
After a ten day probe that took him across the country, Professor Alston returned a damning verdict not only indicting the Attorney General and Police commissioner of presiding over the illegal executions but also putting President Mwai KIbaki on the spot over failing to act on the matter. Alston recommended the immediate sacking of both Attorney General Amos Wako and Police Commissioner Major General Hussein Ali.
According to Alston “Kenyan police are a law unto themselves, and they kill with impunity…there exists in Kenya a systematic, widespread and planned policy to execute people on a regular basis.” He argues that any serious commitment at reforming the law enforcement body should begin with the immediate dismissal of the Police Commissioner.
His verdict on the Attorney general is even harsher, arguing that Mr Wako is the embodiment of the culture of impunity in Kenya. He has presided over a system that is bankrupt in relation to police killings.”
The UN envoy must have touched a raw nerve with his assertion that President Mwai Kibaki is ultimately to be held accountable for the executions. Alston says “the president should come out and admit that there exists a serious problem of extra judicial killings.”
In his response to the report Mr Mutua accuses Alston of breeching the laws of natural justice by not seeking a government response before he published his report. Alston had in the course of his probe met top government officials including Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti. The government had expressed its support for his investigation pledging full cooperation. The government’s sincerity in making these pledges is now put to question following the sharp reaction. Only last week the Kenyan parliament adjourned its regular sessions to discuss reports that over 3000 Kenyans have been killed in extra judicial executions carried out by the police force.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kofi Annan's Warning to Kenya's Coalition Government Leaders

Statement from the Chair of the
Panel of Eminent African Personalities,
H.E. Kofi Annan

Nairobi, 24 February 2009 - for immediate release

The Chair of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, H.E. Kofi Annan, today warned that further delays in establishing a tribunal to try those accused of post-election violence committed in Kenya in 2008 could have grave consequences for the country’s reform agenda, upon which Kenya’s stability and prosperity depend.

In letters to President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga delivered on Tuesday 24 February, Mr. Annan said that failure by the Kenyan Government and Parliament to create a Special Tribunal would “constitute a major setback in the fight against impunity and may threaten the whole reform agenda in Kenya”.

“The Panel of Eminent African Personalities remains of the firm conviction that a Kenyan-owned and Kenyan-led process would be the most beneficial to the Kenyan people”, said Mr. Annan and added “We believe that this is a sentiment shared by a great many of your compatriots.”

Mr. Annan said the Panel welcomed promised efforts by the leaders to re-engage Parliament to ensure the enactment of the necessary legislation for the establishment of the Special Tribunal. “It is the Panel’s view that such an effort should be encouraged and carried out within the shortest possible timeframe.”

Mr. Annan made it clear, however, that recourse to the International Criminal Court will be taken if the Special Tribunal is not established within a reasonable period of time.

Mr. Annan also stressed the need to ensure that legislation for the Special Tribunal meets international legal standards and that it be broadly debated with all sectors of society in order to bring credibility to the process.

Mr. Annan reaffirmed the Panel’s commitment to remain engaged and assist Kenya as it works towards the important objectives of addressing impunity, and fostering reconciliation and long-term reform.


Saturday, February 21, 2009


The Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution review process meets on Monday a divided team. With deep rooted divisions that now make it clear that the team entrusted with the task of delivering the country a new constitution may just be caught in the same trap that frustrated Kenya’s clamor for a new law in 2005: raw ethno- regional politics!
While the committee had seemingly unanimously agreed on the list that had Cecil Miller nominated as the Interim Independent Electoral commission chairman alongside 8 other commissioners representing each of the countries 8 provinces, a section of the PSC members turned on the list in parliament and vehemently pushed for its rejection by the house.
What changed between the PSC’s last meeting on Wednesday evening and the reports presentation before the house on Thursday. If arguments from the debate on the floor of the hosue are anything to go by, the members were now privy of fresh information, previously not available to them: namely: that Cecil Miller Junior had acted as Garsen MP Danson Mungatana’s advocate in an election petition lodged against him early last year and was also acting on behalf yet another politician in an ongoing petition. Secondly The man picked to represent Coast Province, one Suleiman Buko had served as deputy presiding officer in Garsen during the 2007 elections. The third argument sensationally pelted out in the heat of acrimonious debate was that Cecil Miller is apparently a wife batterer.
Its has however since been established that beyond this arguments were high stakes political interests that were the actual basis of the tussle. If Garsen MP Danson Mungatana is to be believed, ODM MPs , especially from Nyanza Province led the way in rejecting the report for one reason alone: they did not have one of their own on the all important commission. The man picked to represent the Province a Mr. Ken Nyaudi is from the Kisii region of the province- a position apparently not acceptable to the MPs from Luo Nyanza and according to Mungatana – not acceptable to Prime Minister Raila Odinga who wields immense influence over the regions politics.
While the merits of the arguments and allegations made both inside and outside parliament are subject to confirmation, the full effect of these allegations is to throw the constitutional review and electoral reforms process off the steady road of public confidence right into the murky waters of tribal suspicions and parochial divisive politics. It is my considered opinion(I would hope to be proved wrong) that regardless of who the PSC selects to serve on the IIECK, any such nominee will from now hence forth be viewed through both a tribal and political perspective. I would not be shocked if the section of the PSC that backed Miller for the top job, dig up a litany of scandals- both real and perceived- to disparage the character of whoever is picked to replace him. It will be difficult to make any progress should the seed of politics planted into this process is allowed to grow and influence the process.
While nominated MP Milly Odhiambo may have had good intentions in her allegations against Miller this move was not only an abuse of parliamentary privilege but also an ill advised precedence setting error. While it is important that anyone aspiring for high office be subjected to intense scrutiny, it is wrong to make such allegations on a platform where the subject is not allowed an equal chance to respond or defend themselves. Thanks to parliamentary Privilege Cecil Miller cannot even go to court in pursuit of legal redress over the allegations he may consider defamatory. It also sets a bad precedent, I will not be shocked if during the next debate on nominees an Mp opposed to the nominee in question shouts allegations that are much worse than wife battering and believe you me there is no limit to how far they can go!
Parliament must consider a clear system that enables members not only play their watch dog role, but also protects crucial processes from the trap of negative ethnicity and dirty divisive politics.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Parliament is this afternoon due for a test- whose result will determine its future engagement with the Kenyan people. The censure motion against Agriculture minister William Ruto will not only test parliaments anti corruption resolve but also the legislators loyalties: are they committed more to their political and personal interests or to the interests of the millions of Kenyan’s threatened with starvation and grappling with the constantly rising cost of the countries staple food all of which is attributed to questionable transactions and implementation of government policy. Reading from the mood in the house and listening to conversations in the corridors of parliament I am convinced the former will triumph! The public interest will be sacrificed at the alter of political interests and mechanizations.
The motion to censure Ruto is bound to flop: It may not even take off! If reports from within parliament’s circles are anything to go by, even the man who was slated to second the motion moved by Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale has been intimidated to withdrawing. Independent minded Imenti Central legislator Gitobu Imanyara may be the only other legislator behind Khalwale as the motion comes up for debate. The debate may just be the graduation ceremony where the unholy union forged to defeat a parliamentary committee indicting Trade Minister Amos Kimunya over the irregular sale of the Grand Regency hotel (now the Grand Laico), formally transforms into an axis of evil, that will drive Kenya’s 10th parliament to voting in favour of Graft. Indeed apart from last night’s late night meeting bringing together MPs from Rift Valley, Eastern and North Eastern Provinces at the Bible society premises in Nairobi. MPs from the Mt Kenya region are set to keep their part of the deal: returning the favour extended to during the motion on Kimunya. It would appear that they have whole heartedly embraced the Mantra ‘scratch my back- I will scratch yours.
The maize scandal also implicates several MPs across the political divide. So far at least 6 have owned up to having written notes seeking that certain companies either associated with them or claiming to be their constituents. For these MPs self preservation will be their greatest motivation as they decide on whether or not to attend or keep away from today’s session. I doubt that any of them would be first to cast a stone at Ruto. That may just be equivalent to stoning their images in a mirror!

Here is the motion Khalwale will move before the house as listed on today’s order paper :

7*. MOTION – ((Dr. Boni Khalwale)
(Leader of Government Business)
THAT, being deeply concerned with the conduct of the Minister for
Agriculture in the manner he has mishandled the purchase, storage, sale and distribution of maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board, leading to the current unprecedented high cost of maize meal coupled with the scarcity of the commodity that has resulted in a National Disaster where some Kenyans have succumbed to death and left a further 10 million starving ; Considering his disregard of the provisions of the Public Officer Ethics Act in particular, Section 12(4)(c),(d); Section 17 and Section 19 and related regulations in the discharge of his duties; this House censures the Minister and resolves that it has no confidence in him and demands that he resigns with immediate effect.

Analyze the issues as raised herein and be the judge – if at all parliament votes on the issues as raised. I am not advocating for a mob-lynch but I would hope that rather than seek to bury this scandal, Parliament would live up to its watch dog role and seek answers on behalf of the people of Kenya. Honestly I’m not expecting much but I certainly hope to be pleasantly surprised!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Parliament’s rejection of a report by the Chris Okemo led Finance, planning and Trade committee, on the Controversial sale of the Grand Regency hotel may have come as a surprise to many Kenyans but not to anyone closely following the latest events in the house. The vote, widely considered a round one victory for Trade minister Amos Kimunya is widely attributed to a budding alliance between Rift valley MPs and their Mt Kenya colleagues in the wake of raging corruption allegations. After acrimonious debate on the floor of the house, which saw Agriculture Minister William Ruto on the spot over the Maize scandal, a day before the vote on the report, Rift Valley MPs reportedly warmed up to the alliance, with the agreement that their Mt Kenya colleagues would return the favor, should their man find himself in Kimunya’s shoes. A move that clearly confirms one thing: the Maize scandal is real! And yes it does implicate some of the very members of Parliament, who very passionately fought off Ikolomani MP Dr Boni Khalwale’s bid to name suspicious companies that bought maize from the NCPB.

What is even more perturbing are reports that money may have been used to lobby MPs into rejecting the report. Kenyan’s may find it difficult deciding which is worse between the two: The unholy alliance in a bid to protect corruption suspects or their MPs actually receiving bribes to either vote against the report or absent themselves from the house when the matter is brought before the house. What is Certain however is the fact that these reports, which have basis in truth are clear evidence of a parliament that has sold its soul and sacrificed the hopes of Kenyans on the alter of self preservation and out right corruption.

The emerging coalition of corrupt forces is apparently to blame for either slowing down or deliberately keeping away from the public, information crucial to unveiling the truth about the corruption scandals. The window dressing moves are a clear acknowledgement that leaders in government have been busy in corrupt deeds as the seek to blind Kenyans with high rhetoric. Why dismiss the NCPB board and several line managers and leave out the organizations top management? What are their errors and why hasn’t anybody taken Political responsibility over this scandal? Why is it that when parliament sought answers on this scandal all the minister they got from the minister was a long list of millers and other companies who bought maize from the NCPB? If the minister was above board in this matter, couldn’t he have taken the opportunity to expose the culprits, who have looted Kenya’s grain reserves, or is this an admission that he is unaware of the going-ons at the cereals board?

While consistently denying any involvement in both the grain bulk handling facility controversy and the maize diversion scandal, the prime minister has suspended one of his aides in relation to the scandal. What he did not tell the country was exactly why he took this action. What did the suspended officer do? Did he work alone or was he involved in a wider network? Is there any fact to the claims that members of the Premiers family were involved? The answers are still out there, and while nobody may be offering them, his actions are evidence that the scandal did not unfold too far away from him.

The Triton scandal may just be the most vexing of the scandals. Who is behind the withdrawal of the arrest warrant against one Yagnesh Devani? How did the whole scandal unfold without the knowledge of the government? Why hasn’t anybody taken Political responsibility for the scandal? How did Triton a company with an almost negligible market share and shaky financial history get awarded crucial contracts to import crude for Kenya? Is it curious that the company’s proprietor was reportedly a major contributor to the campaigns of the main presidential candidates in the 2007 elections, now together in government?

The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission is also to blame for the acute lack of answers to these crucial questions. Apart from failing in its crucial mandate to investigate and expose for prosecution the big fish in the countries major corruption scandals it is now being used as a scape goat by the politicians. When any of these politicians is put on the spot, the almost spontaneous defense is that they have called in KACC to investigate the scandal, which in the ears of any Kenyan, means that the big fish are once again set to get off the hook.
Kenyans should however not give up, if for nothing else, the knowledge that for every thief, there is a 40th day! For those siphoning the public coffers they have been appointed to safeguard, I believe their 40th day is coming too!