Tuesday, February 16, 2010

President Kibaki has betrayed the trust of Kenyans

President Kibaki cannot be trusted to fight corruption and therefore Kenyans are right to conclude that he is not a reformer but only retaining the status quo.
The current imbroglio between him and the Prime Minister over the handling of corruption suspects in the government is an indication of a divided government which cannot be trusted to bring about the change Kenyans are desperately yearning for.

By revoking the suspension of suspected Ministers by the PM on corruption, Kibaki is condoning a vice that has dwarfed the success of our nation; creating unnecessary tension in the Country, which has put the coalition government in a quandary.

The Prime Minister portrayed true leadership, and a spirit for reforms; a platform under which he campaigned in 2007.

Even though he may have overstepped his boundaries, Kenyans expected the President to respect his decision in the spirit of cohesiveness and unity of the Country.

Kibaki himself is not perfect for he has on several occasions violated the constitution, besides trashing the MOU of 2002.
He acts like he is serving the interest of a few Kenyans and often disregarding the prime Minister; an equal partner in the coalition government. What baffles many of us is why he often takes a stand which does not reflect the feelings of the majority.
His lacklustre performance on reforms is because of trying to salvage political careers of individuals suspected on corrupt deals; a tragedy for national success.

We are seeing the worst betrayal from a leadership we thought was diverse to bring positive changes to the Country. We are at limbo on the capacity of our leaders to tackle the problems facing the country.

One section of the government is for reforms and eradication of corruption while the other wants to shield the vice for selfish ends.

Kenyans who are now more informed expected President Kibaki to be pro-active on reforms since his second term in office is littered with a questionable victory that led to bloodshed, tribal leanings, hate, and mistrust.

The president and his PNU side of the coalition should stop crying wolf just because the Prime Minister killed the snake using a wrong stick.

Majority of Kenyans are happy that he killed the snake despite using the wrong stick.

The demonstrations in support of honourables William Ruto led by the Eldoret mayor and that by a section of Abagusii leaders on Sam Ongeri early this week for their abortive suspension from the Cabinet is a portrayal of egocentricity, lack of leadership and political cronyism.

When a mayor takes to the streets to demonstrate because a fellow tribesman has been suspended from a ministerial docket reflects a nation still manacled on politics of self interest and ethnicity.

Honourable Ruto’s supporters must remember that when Moi ruled Kenya for 24 years, the community never used to demonstrate against those who gave Moi headache especially the clamour for multiparty politics.

The idol worship by the Kalenjin Community on Ruto does not help him at all, but keeps dimming his political star each day.

Tribes must act with sobriety when their leaders are implicated on vices that dent the nation. I come from Gusii but since I believe in a corrupt free society, I can’t defend Professor Sam Ongeri just because he is a fellow tribesman.

Supporters of the Ministers must remember that the two are mere suspects. They have not been proved guilty and their exit from the dockets was to pave the way for investigations.

Therefore, it will be salutary as per Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi’s suggestion for Dr. Koffi Annani to intervene and save the coalition government from collapse especially now that the Country is gearing for a new constitutional.

Let us not be fatigued to seek outside assistance to our domestic challenges. It has worked in the past and will still work to put our Country in a better footing.

It helped in the inception of political pluralism in 1991, helped to quell the post election violence, which created a power sharing deal between Kibaki and Raila. It may end up helping the slow reform process in the Country as well as the implementation of Agenda four of the national accord and fighting corruption.

Finally, it’s imperative that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga sorted out their differences to unite the Country. The current standoff will jeopardize the fragile peace that has been attained in the Country after the post election violence.
Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is a New Constitution the best solution for Kenya's problems?

Kenya needs good leaders besides a good constitution
It’s encouraging that we are likely to have a new constitution that the Country has clamoured for, for many decades, but what bothers the citizens is the leader (s) who will govern according to its the tenets to better their interests.

Since a constitution is just a mere document stipulating routines of governance in any nation, the leader who is likely to rule under that constitution matters more than the constitution itself. Therefore, a good constitution under a good leadership is the best solution for the Country.

Many Kenyans despite being positive about the draft feels that we are not out of the woods yet. We have a well set kitchen with raw foodstuff and we need a cook (s).

After our Country attained independence in 1963, the massive administrative malpractices ranging from impunity, dictatorship, corruption and ethnicity from successive regimes was not as a result of a bad constitution but failures to focus on the interests of the nation. From the late Kenyatta, Moi and currently Kibaki, the running of country’s social, economic and political affairs has been lacklustre.

The massive violation on constitutional provisions due to poor leadership beginning from the President, the Cabinet and even the provincial administration created corruption, unemployment, ethnicity, hunger, dictatorship, insecurity, poverty and unbalanced economy in the Country.

This brings us to ask a very fundamental question: What will prevent future leaders from turning rogue on the new constitution? It adds value when we make rules and adhere to it.

As we prepare to usher a home grown constitution, what the nation wants is a leader who will swear true allegiance to protect, respect and defend it through actions not words and the sum total for this is to build a better Kenya for the present and future generations.

This is where citizens’ power must be exercised through the ballot. Our people must make informed choices to vote in leaders of character, integrity and values.
Proper vetting must be done on those who will parade themselves to lead us under the new constitution. This is the surest way of ensuring a better nation.
Without this, no matter how perfect the draft constitution may look, our Country will still continue to sink in the abyss. The myriad problems that bedevil us like: the poor economy, institutional crisis and ethnicity will not be resolved through a constitution only but by good leaders (politicians).
Just like when God gave Moses the 10 Commandments to guide his people, we need a Kenyan Moses who will lead our nation and safeguard our interests based on what is enshrined in the draft constitution to ensure justice and fairness for all.
We don’t want to see a situation similar to what is happening in Zimbabwe and Uganda where President Mugabe’s totalitarian regime has violated the country’s constitution several times to remain in power and in Uganda where Yoweri Museveni despite putting the Country on a better footing, has changed the constitution to make himself a life President.
The two examples represent a very pessimistic view to constitutional governance not only in Kenya but the African continent.
We have sung the song “change” for many decades and this change must come from reform minded leaders through the new constitution.
Joseph Lister Nyaringo,
New Jersey, USA
http://listernyaringo.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I hold the view that women should fight it out in political contests like Men, what are your views?

RESERVING SEATS FOR WOMEN IS NOT FAIR FOR THOSE WHO HAVE WORKED HARD TO BE WHERE THEY ARE. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS? I beg to differ with the contents in the harmonized draft constitution where it reserves 47 seats for women. In my humble opinion, this is belittling the strengths of women. A level playing field should be nurtured in our national politics where women contest alongside men to win or loose fairly. Women are not feeble or weak. In fact, men cannot beat women when it comes to lobbying, canvassing, caucusing and finding common grounds on national affairs. Therefore, its high time women are given a chance to fight it out on equal footing with men and not wait to be rewarded on the basis of their gender. That is why I agree with Mr. Evans Machera’s pregnant points in this forum. I think if this clause of rewarding women with seats is entrenched in the constitution, it will be a great insult to Kenyan women like Nobel laureate Wangari Mathai, honourables Charity Ngilu, Esther Murugi, Chebii Kilimo and former MPs Dr. Julie Ojiambo, Phoebe Asiyo and Grace Ogot. Others in the education sector include: Kavetsa Adagala, Professor Maria Nzomo and Eddah Gachukia. These are few of the Kenyan women who fought it out to be where they are today. They didn’t wait any form of affirmative action to excel in their respective fields; a clear demonstration that irrespective of one’s gender, you can be where and what you want to be. Kenyan voters are in for good leaders irrespective of their gender. Women are our grandmothers, mothers, sisters and daughters. We cherish and love them dearly. The Country has always given them chances to exhaust their talents even in the current constitution. In a patriarchal society like ours, women may encounter challenges due to male dominance but they also need to be more aggressive in order to realize their dreams. The iron lady, Martha Karua has done it by rising to party leadership and she is comfortably positioned to contest for the presidency in 2012. Hillary Clinton fought hard in one of the hotly contested USA primaries. Although she lost, she was appointed by President Barrack Obama as Secretary of State, one of the most coveted cabinet positions in a USA government. We should be a society that rewards people based on their talent and hard work. All Kenyans irrespective of their gender must be empowered to compete fairly in politics, education, government appointments, and in Business. That is why I will always be very critical to affirmative action which to me curtails the cultivation of talent, ambition and aiming higher especially on women. Why should 47 seats be reserved for women if we are prepared as a nation to cultivate meritocracy as a principle for tapping the top cream of our society, if we truly want to transform Kenya’s fragile social, political and economic institutions? We must desist from comparing Kenya to Rwanda, which has the highest number of women MPs, instead, we must realize that the Country might be lacking articulate men to serve as MPs or women politicians know how to plays their political game.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

ABAGUSII TO VOTE VISIONERY LEADERS TO PARLIAMENT

In this electioneering year, the Abagusii people need to consider electing to Parliament vibrant and visionary leaders whose focus is to raise our people from apathy & rekindle their hopes. Our people need leaders with the ability to work on formulas that will bring about common sense solutions to the stringent problems that bedevil the Abagusii community. As we look forward to the campaigns in the general elections, I urge all voters to focus on leaders whose ideas, message, policies & issues are in tandem with the drawbacks that face the people on the grassroots like inaccessible roads, falling education standards, poverty, lack of electricity & underpayment to tea farmers by the Kenya Tea Development Authority. It can be observed that the genesis o the social, political and economic underdevelopment that prevails in Gusiiland is as a result of old school leaders with fuddy-duddy political ideologies. These old school politicians coil on money politics, slander, big-man mentality, propaganda, fight for power & clannism.They are allergic to the truth, issues, ideas, diversity, inclusion, debate & dissent. I want to remind our people that when politicians decides to pour money in order to win votes in an election, there is something they want to conceal; some truths they don't want to ventilate to the people and this deceptive & political corruption is what our people should be prepared to liquidate as we vote in the coming December. Why should we re-elect an MP whose capacity to advocate for the people in Parliament are lacklustre? I have the audacity to believe that the government in power is not able to know the problems facing constituents unless an MP can address the same in Parliament. That is why I can conclude that the challenges facing our people in Gusiiland are not because of the government but due to the inefficiency of our elected leaders. Their dormancy should be the beginning to the end of their political careers as they should be voted out in December this year. Unlike a trade unionist whose role is to represent workers, an MP should advocate & fight for all - the farmers, workers, scholars, business people, the sick, orphans, widows & widowers & the poor. Fighting for service delivery to the constituents should be the pivot through which an MP’s span in Parliament should evolve on. On infrastructure, its perturbing that the Kilgoris-Kisii road which traverses five constituencies beginning from honourables Nyachae’s Nyaribari Chache, Magara’s South Mugirango, Manoti’s Bobasi, Onyancha’s Bomachoge & even Konchela’s Kilgoris, is in a pathetic state. Driving through the road is total agony as the road is engulfed with potholes. I wonder what honourable Nyachae whose docket falls on roads thinks about the state of this road linking not only 3 districts but also Nyanza and Rift Valley Provinces. The problems in Gusiiland are quite immense that even the tea sector, the community’s economic backbone has never been given adequate attention by our elected leaders. When farmers from other communities enjoy robust returns for their tea, our farmers are the most underpaid in the entire Country. The list of problems is broad; the dwindling educational standard in Gusiiland which emanates from lack of teaching staff and laxity of our teachers has never been effectively addressed to remedy the situation. As an aspiring candidate for the Bobasi seat in this year's general elections, I challenge the MP for Bobasi honourable Stephen Manoti to say what he is representing in parliament when he cannot move any motion that can spur the lives of our people. It’s shameful to be called honourable for 10 years when you cannot actively participate in parliament to fight for the people who gave you the mandate. In a democracy, the strength of the voters is to decide on who should decide their issues & policies in parliament. That is why, the people of Gusiiland have the mandate to send a credible leaders to Parliament to advocate, speak & address issues that matter to them like: roads, schools, hospitals, electricity & above all, to ensure that people gets a share of the national cake, since it’s our entitlement as citizens of Kenya. Gusiiland politics is littered with disunity, greedy, geocentricism, hate, & clanning. Each constituency operates like a tribal entity. Elected leaders do not speak with one accord to address the problems facing the people. Even the senior politicians who should nurture politics of tolerance, unity and visionary leadership are driven by wrath, arrogance, rancour, political cronyism, and greedy. I challenge honourable Nyachae, the only senior politician from Gusii to tell us what he has done for the community’s social, political and economic development due to his unfettered access to the country’s top leadership besides his party being part of President Kibaki’s government of national unity? Leaders, who act contrary or fails to nurture the covenant they established with the voters after being elected, should be voted out and replaced with men and women with vision and integrity. This is the surest way to teach all elected leaders in Gusiiland and the entire Country a lesson so that they can wake up to effectively represent the people who gave them the mandate to Parliament. Joseph Lister Nyaringo Bobasi, Gucha District

Rotational Leadership not good for Narc Kenya

As a narc Kenya supporter and contender for Bobasi Parliamentary seat in Gucha District, I vehemently disagree with the trend of rotating the Narc Kenya Chairmanship. What the party requires is a clear and focused interim national leadership that will steer the party forward in readiness to the coming general elections. How do we ensure accountability, continuity and responsibility in party leadership especially in this electioneering year while sifting leadership? Again, why was honourable Mukhisa Kituyi allowed to serve more that the original time-frame only to have him replaced while in a trip overseas? The party also needs an inclusive national secretariat well structured and coordinated to ensure effective marketing of the party. It doesn’t matter whether the party has held elections or not since we have men and women in this country who can carry the party’s torch on interim basis until the right time for branch and national party elections are held. The replacement of honourable Mukhisa Kituyi from interim chairmanship has cast a dark shadow on the party’s seriousness to unity and enhancing its support base to all parts of the country. The replacement was undemocratically done and with ulterior motives that augurs negatively to party. In fact, opponents of the party will use is as an ammunition to dent the it. The way forward for the party is to involve as many people as possible when it comes to key decision making but not a section of supporters. I can point out that the current sitting MPs have been at the fore-front on deciding the way forward for the party which is a travesty to democracy and popular opinion. This is the best time for the party to reach out to all stake holders on the ground if it wants to a mass a support base countrywide.

Way forward for Narc Kenya – Elections

Majority of Narc Kenya supporters Countrywide supports the holding of party elections, as it will give the party a structured framework that will enhance its popularity in readiness for the general elections. We also realize that in a functioning multiparty democracy, the importance of party elections cannot be underestimated as the party belongs to the people not the individuals. Therefore, it will be wise to conclude that those against party elections are enemies of democracy, party members and even the re-election of President Kibaki’s deserved second term in office. However in the grassroots, there exist loopholes, which if not sealed, will culminate into a flawed process that will dent the image of the party especially in this election year. As a party supporter, I recommend that the party should give membership cards freely by scrapping the current trend where parliamentary aspirants buy the cards for the members which as proved very expensive especially in constituencies with a higher number of registered voters. The party should also ensure that before elections, every polling station has a register with genuine registered party members. Otherwise, if the exercise is done at random, the process is likely to be hijacked by party opponents and the repercussions will be regrettable. The party should also ensure that elections panellists list from every constituency conforms to the party’s constitution where civic and Parliamentary aspirants are mandated to provide the list agreed upon by all to facilitate transparency and fair play during party and general elections. During the submission of election panellists two months a go, some areas in the Country experienced irregularities, where parliamentary aspirants hijacked the process by hand picking panellists whose names they submitted to Narc Kenya elections board. As a contender from Bobasi constituency, we experienced the a situation where a parliamentary aspirant, still serving in the civil service submitted his own list to Narc Kenya elections board without the knowledge of other aspirants; a travesty to democracy and fair play. Our appeal to Narc Kenya elections board to nullify the process in Bobasi has not been effectively address by the party. My final appeal to the party is to focus on popularising the party to all parts of the country instead of focusing in one region. In the past, we have seen Narc Kenya rallies held only in Central and some parts of coast province when the party has not been even officially launched in areas like Rift Valley and Nyanza Province. It doesn’t add up to hold rallies in Central province when the party has a solid support there. We expect to see the party’s presence in all corners of the country to reflect its national appeal in readiness to December general elections.

MEDIA SHOULD STOP THE BIAS

The role of the print and electronic media in educating and informing Kenyans cannot be underestimated. However, there is a growing trend by these very media which is biased to specific groups in the Kenyan society. To consistently continue to focus on what politicians say and not what they do or have failed to do for the electorates who gave them a mandate to Parliament is not fair. I challenge the media to come out of the trend of splashing television screens and newspaper headlines with personalities even when what they’re talking is irrelevant. Being an election year, we expect the media to prepare score cards based on the performance of the members of parliament Kenyans elected in 2002. This is the surest way to put to light the failures and achievements of our leaders in order to give the Kenyan voters a chance to weigh options for change of leadership and vice versa. The media should focus on what elected MPs have done on funds earmarked for developing the constituency like: constituency development fund (CDF), the roads levy, local government trust fund (LATF) and education bursaries for needy high school students. They should also highlight the plight of the farmers. I beg the media to make a visit to Gucha district, Where I come from especially Bobasi constituency and see for themselves the current state of the roads and other areas in the constituency. As a contender for MP on a Narc Kenya ticket, we were ashamed two months ago when a convoy of vehicles with honourable Danson Mungatana, from Nyamira enroute to Sameta stadium for a rally found that the road linking Kilgoris to Kisii town was totally impassable. I expected the journalists to put this to light so that the MPs from the area can take responsibility. The other key area the media should focus on is giving coverage to new entrants into politics especially before the general elections. One doesn’t need to be famous in order to be given coverage if the ideas he/she want to ventilate is relevant for the general good of this country. There are those with diverse & fruitful ideas who would like their voices to be heard but the media continues to give them a black out due to name recognition. It’s true those who are rarely heard can have wonderful ideas and the only way to do so is to have the media give such people a chance. I recently walked into one of the famous FM stations in Kenya to request for participation in one of their programs but I was shocked with the response I got from the ladies on the front desk. After an intense argument, they gave me the e-mail addresses of two moderators of the program of which I emailed immediately. It’s surprising that I have never gotten any response from the two moderators just because of name recognition. I urge the media to conduct an intensive investigation on the working conditions of many Kenyans especially in the mushrooming supermarket chains in the country, domestic workers and the export processing zones (EPZ) outlets. It’s shocking that a famous supermarket chain in Eldoret pays workers per week with no benefits and lunch breaks even when the chain is expanding rapidly to the major towns in the Country including Nairobi and Kisumu cities. Joseph Lister Nyaringo Bobasi, Gucha District

Which way for Abagusii Politics

Politics in Gusiiland is littered with disunity, greedy, geocentricism, nepotism, hate, & clanning. Each constituency operates like a tribal entity. Elected leaders do not speak with one mind & one accord to address the problems facing the Community. Even the senior politicians who are supposed to nurture the politics of tolerance, development, unity, vision, & issues have failed to show leadership. They are instead driven by wrath, arrogance, rancour and personal enrichment. Perhaps the current DISUNITY would be averted if we had a council of elders to give guidance & direction in the community because politicians have failed. Such council of elder should be a non politician, with no political leanings or ambition. He must also be a person of social, political & economic integrity. His work shall be to foster cohesiveness & unity in the entire community. This community based leadership has worked well in the Coast, Western & Luo Nyanza. It’s irrelevant to call one self a national leader if you cannot sort out differences with an individual leave alone querying clan feuds which dominate Gusii politics. Honourable Simeon Nyachae who has hinted to quit politics before the end of this year has quality political and administrative experience while Chris Obure, former Minister for Foreign affairs played diplomatic roles for Kenya but what bothers many in Gusiiland and the entire Country is how men of these great administrative & diplomatic calibre, cannot iron out their differences for the sake of their community. What we see is not a disagreement based on principles, but real hatred between the two leaders. We acknowledge differences of opinion in a democracy to perpetuate dissent, but what we see in Gusiiland is a reverse of the said tenets. Leaders have stretched their political differences up to their bedroom which is a recipe for hate, disunity and jealousy. Tolerance, temperament and gentleness do not feature in the minds of our leaders. Take for instance Nyachae who is over 70 years while Chris Obure, in his late 60s; what type of legacy will these two leaders leave behind in Gusiiland? Will I be wrong to conclude that Nyachae’s dismal performance in 2002 Presidential election was because he decided to put the cart before the horse? You can’t unite a Country of 33 Million people if you cannot unite a tribe leave alone a clan. Even though Nyachae was heavily voted by the community as President, the cracks of disunity from Gusiiland might have spilled to other parts of the Country culminating to his lacklustre performance. Nyachae’s helm in Gusii politics has perpetuated politics of cronyism by planting politicians to run for MP, with no regard to democracy using his immense resources. This has given a black-out to potential contenders who augur strong political principles which are people driven. This is a barbaric form of dictatorship which denies people dependable & focused leaders. The Imposed political rejects ends up in parliament without popular will where they remain dormant without advocating for the people who gave them the mandate; a travesty to democracy and freedom to choose. The best remedy to curb the social, political and economic underdevelopment in Gusiiland is to elect new leaders with vibrancy to usher in a different political direction with modern ideas devoid of disunity & clannism in the 2007 general elections. History will charge the leaders we have had harshly for failing to initiate any tangible project to spur the lives of our people– they did and have done nothing on: unemployment, infrastructure, the poor state of our hospitals, suffering of our farmers, rampant insecurity and nothing to lift the standard of our Primary & secondary schools. The best dagger to measure true leaders is to analyse if those who are quitting and running for office do augur positive qualities that others can copy, emulate, bequeath and inherit to better their own lives even if its a century to come. The contents of a leader’s character determine the immortality they intend to leave behind besides defining the quality & not the quantity that they shall be remembered for. That is why the people of Gusii yearn for leaders who will strengthen the forces that will work for the community’s common good. Joseph Lister Nyaringo, Bobasi, Gucha District

Gusii Politics, after Nyachae

When one quits or retires from any position of authority, they leave behind landmarks that others will live to admire or hate. That is why honourable Nyachae’s hint to quit politics has left his friends in a state of quandary while his enemies a shy of relief. For a man who has sacrificed his energies, knowledge and expertise to serve this country, we need to reflect back on what legacy he will leave behind within administrative circles and in politics. For those who disagreed with honourable Nyachae and those who liked his leadership styles in Gusiiland and the entire country, the best yardstick to measure the old man’s legacy should be based on what the current and future generations can bequeath from him. In other words, did Nyachae play his part to transform his villages, community, province and the entire nation? Did he augur positive qualities that he shall be remembered for even for a century to come? Did Nyachae play his role to rekindle hopes, raise people from apathy, unify and focus on good change for Abagusii and the entire our country, since he held positions that empowered him to effect that change? I personally admire Nyachae’s no nonsense stand on issues that he feels strongly about. Once he takes a position, he does not backtrack. This is a good quality especially when you are convinced that you are 100% right. However, it can backfire when you are proved wrong. Since politics does not have permanent enmity or friendship, the outgoing MP for Nyaribari Chache played it from a different perspective. If he disagrees with you, there is no looking back. This is manifested on the way Nyachae has dealt with senior politicians from Gusiiland like: Chris Obure, Professor Sam Ongeri and the late doctor Zachary Onyonka to mention but a few. Ironically, it’s hard to tell between whom between Nyachae and the said was right or wrong and if they did initiate or augur any reconciliatory tone towards Nyachae. In fact, in the national political realm, we have seen leaders differ and at the end, they reconcile. The best example of how enmity does not play in politics is honourable Njenga Karume and President Kibaki, taking different paths in the 2002 general elections and now honourable Karume serves in President Kibaki’s cabinet. In Gusiiland, Nyachae’s exit from politics will mark a watershed. He will leave the community more polarized and disunited. We have politicians already wounded as a result of Nyachae’s is eventual exit from politics and being an electioneering year, they will be disoriented on which strategies to devise in order to recapture their parliamentary seats. The members of Parliament who are currently in tenterhooks over Nyachae’s latest move include honourables: Stephen Manoti, Masanya, Joel Onyancha, Jimmy Angwenyi, Hezron Manduku and Stephen Opore to mention but a few. These leaders have continued to ride a high horse as a result of Nyachae’s influence in their political lives and the way he paved way for their election in 2002 general elections. The current Minister for planning and national development Henry Obwocha has an edge as he can use his presence in the cabinet to galvanize his people for possible re-election. The current mood of the Abagusii people is a quest for transformative leadership; a leadership that will empower them and lift them from the current social, political and economic degradation. They want leaders who will bring people together not a part as well as building democratic structures where divergent opinions will suffice besides nurturing a political culture devoid of dictatorship and big man syndrome. Joseph Lister Nyaringo, Bobasi, Gucha District

EAST AFRICA POLITICAL FEDERATION IS AN ILLUSION

Regional integrations that enhance the quality of life for citizens of individual countries should be encouraged and solidified. The success stories of Africa’s regional bodies includes: COMESA, SADC, ECOWAS, NEPAD and ECOMOG, although the latter is more on peace keeping operations in the West African region. The much talked about East Africa political federation by the year 2012 with a fast-track implementation document authored by Kenya’s attorney General Amos Wako, is a reflection of how the East African regional leaders have lost track of the pertinent and most urgent problems bedevilling their nations. It’s futile and political fiction to talk of a full political federation for Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and ultimately, Southern Sudan under one President by 2012. Each of these Countries has their home-grown problems that require home grown solutions before talking about a full fledged political federation. There are more urgent issues to be tackled by the said countries like building stable economies, reduction of poverty through fighting unemployment, enhancing peace and security, nurturing better education systems and building an effective transportation and communication networks. Its na├»ve to talk of a political federation for East Africa when Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda do not have a proper road linkage with southern Sudan, leave alone a telecommunication network. Rwanda is yet to recover from the genocide of 1994 by nurturing peace, unity and harmony amongst her two tribes; the Hutus and Tutsis. Southern Sudan faces even more challenges to stabilize as an independent nation after its secession from the rich Islamic North. Uganda, which has undergone tremendous improvement under President Yoweri Museveni, has to effectively contain her Northern part controlled by rebels; the Lords Resistance Army (LRA); remembering that Museveni is the chief architect of a full-fledged East African political Federation by 2012. Tanzania faces even more challenges to effectively compete especially on trade and commerce due to the -socialistic ideologies that were entrenched by the late President Julius Nyerere. It needs to be more aggressive in her approaches towards issues of trade in the region. The country also needs to build a better education system based on modern professional needs of the region since it has the weakest education system in East Africa. The worst part is the Country’s headstrong fixation towards Swahili language with little accommodation to English; the most used language in the world. In Kenya, we face more challenges as a country especially the deep-rooted tribalism, occasional tribal clashes, corruption, impartiality in the judicial system, rampant fraudulent deals in government and private sector, shaky political party structures with no ideology and procrastination to implement government findings and public inquests. The delay by President Kibaki to give the Country a new constitution is a home- grown problem that needs to be addressed by Kenya before thinking of a political federation. It’s easy to tackle a crisis affecting one hundred people than that which affects a million people. The most intriguing aspect for the demise of East African Community in 1977 after ten years in existence was a feeling by Uganda and Tanzania that Kenya was gaining more economically from the integration. In other words, have the challenges that paved the way for the Community’s demise been addressed? With the entrenchment of Rwanda, Burundi and possibly Southern Sudan, the challenges of maintaining the union are likely to be more cumbersome and fluidly than when it encompassed Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. This brings to light The Customs Union that came into force in 2005, and when taken seriously, contains serious negative economic implications especially for Kenya, with a positive scale for Tanzania and Uganda. Kenya pays export duty for all her exports to Uganda and Tanzania while the two don’t, just because our economy is bigger and advanced. When you tell a Kenyan citizen of this, it will appear that we as a people will be labouring for others especially when a full-fledged political federation is achieved predictably by 2012. Kenya is where it is because her people have worked hard to reach the current levels. The best way the East African Countries can help their citizens is not through a political federation but to take advantage of each others strengths. That is why I agree with Kabete MP honourable Paul Muite that the member states shall have a lot to gain if they cooperate more in the economic front. While the former Attorney general Charles Njonjo raised pregnant points in the media recently on his dislike of the East Africa Community (EAC), it can be observed that we need social, economic, cultural and political cooperation that will not necessarily evolve into a political federation. Kenya needs to learn from Tanzania’s quality political party structures, for instance how Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Party has managed to solidify itself and kept it’s ideology since independence. In Tanzania, we have few political parties a lesson for Kenya which has over 85 registered political parties. Tanzania’s effective police force, committed civil service compared to Kenya’s demoralized lot, are key aspects we need to learn from our neighbours. It’s worthy to note that the current sanity on Kenya’s public transport system is borrowed from Uganda. Countries with a better education curriculum should learn from one another; Uganda needs Swahili while Tanzania needs English. Another key aspect for East African Countries is to consolidate her efforts as a region to speak with one voice especially in negotiating for positions in multilateral forums to bargain for a single candidate for East Africa. This has worked well on Countries of the Arab league. Finally, any regional integration in any part of the world must first focus on the reaping benefits of their integration to their population. That is why East Africa should focus on how they can spur their people’s standard of living instead of focussing to create false bureaucracies that may never yield any advantage for the people of the region. Joseph Lister Nyaringo

ASPIRING FOR ELECTION AS MP

Joseph Lister Nyaringo Aspiring Mp for Bobasi, Gucha District on Narc Kenya ticket- To Face Honourable Stephen Manoti, the Incumbent MY PROFILE: Contacts: 0722-115-841 or 0728-561-647 E-mail: diplomat1499@yahoo.com Age: 34 Years. Roles in Kenya: Chiefshopsteward, Uchumi supermarkets, from 1995 to 1998 then went for further studies in the USA. Occupation: Businessman, Eldoret Group/ Membership: Currently a participant in the Political leadership Development Program (PLDP) sponsored by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung of Germany, under the Youth Agenda and Citizen Coalition for constitutional change 4Cs. Marital status: Married with 4 Children. Background: Non political family / Once hounded in poverty. Clan: Boigesa, in the Larger Bogetaorio Clan which is the 2nd largest in Bobasi constituency. The largest is Bosansa and the smallest being Masige. Religious Values: Born again Christian. I believe that God is bringing in leaders in this year’s elections who have divine wisdom to steer the Country forward in this 21st Century. Campaign Slogan: The voice of the new generation in leadership is now. It’s our time To Be Given a chance in order To discover our Mission through our potential. My Campaign Theme: It’s centred on compassion & love of our people-the electorates. The ideals, policies and issues that I envision are those that reflect the interests of the people. I want to nurture a political clarion where ISSUES and POLICIES should be the pivot in the electioneering period. Politicians who uses money to solicit for votes is a dubious way of hijacking democracy by making people to vote from the prism of ignorance instead of information. I promise not to engage myself on politics of insults, maligning, character assassination, lies, propaganda or destruction of personality to my opponents; but instead, I will focus on issues, ideas, results, our people & the future. M y Vision: To see our Villages, Communities, Constituency and the entire Nation transform into a haven for progress & better lives for all people irrespective of their standing in life. I will achieve these through: social, economic, political empowerment, transparency, accountability and having character and integrity besides being a selfless servant of the people and not their boss. Key Areas of Focus in Bobasi: 1. Effective Appropriation of CDF in order to ensure that the target projects are accomplished. 2. Revamping the Coffee & pyrethrum sub sector currently doing well in other parts of the Country. 3. Improving education standards by advocating for more teachers in our secondary and primary schools. 4. Improvement of infrastructure. 5. Devising ways of helping the vulnerable members of the society-widows, orphans & persons with disabilities. The reason why Bobasi is behind is because it has never had a leader who is proactive in Parliamentary debates to highlight the plight of the people. It’s hard for the government in power to know every problem facing the people if the MP they elected has never opened his mouth in the floor of Parliament. That is why I will beat honourable Manoti and even his predecessor who is running on ODM ticket, Mr. Chris Obure. Obure enjoyed unfethered access state house during the Nyayo days besides holding the most powerful ministerial dockets-finance; foreign affairs etc but did virtually nothing for the people. My Background & Political Overview in Bobasi I am vying for mp in Bobasi constituency in this year’s elections through the heart of humility, meekness, compassion, mercy & the love of God. I say the love of God because we all belong to God & it’s him who gives good leadership; the leadership that raises people from apathy, and rekindles their hopes. The type of politics we have experienced in Bobasi constituency for the last 27 years has always evolved on the big man syndrome. Born 34 years a go, I was brought up in a humble background whereby my parents struggled to bring my siblings and I up through poverty and deprivation. Through these, I have had a share of personal tribulations in life. The lecture halls of life through my family background speak volumes more than the lecture halls in Universities & Colleges; the ingredients that have shaped my ability to understand the predicaments of others. I don't need a lecture on sleeping hungry; having one meal a day, walking barefooted, being sent home for school fees, being in a school with no learning facilities and qualifying to join a better school yet parents lack the finances. After my high school education in 1992, I did all odd jobs that you can think of before I was employed by Uchumi Supermarkets in 1995. After a 5 months stint in the company, my calling to lead began in earnest. I was elected chiefshopsteward to represent unionisable employees. I struggled for my fellow workers with zeal & determination on issues of salary increment, better working conditions & solving minor employees versus management disputes. Like a human rights advocate, I discovered that the work of a trade unionist is often frustrating & challenging. I was on constant harassment and threats but in spite of this, I did not tire or falter to defend my fellow workers in the company. I came to learn that the strongest weapon that enhances the strength of any union movement is unity, without it, the job security of its officials & the success of any collective bargaining agreement (CBA) are put in jeopardy. In 1998, I got a student Visa to the USA, and besides graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science, Diploma in Hotel & Restaurant Management & an International Diploma for Humanitarian law, during my study in the USA, I learn a number of skills that I would like to put in practice to build a democratic culture in KENYA that respects, values AND recognizes all cadres of society irrespective of gender, class, status & race. Therefore, my entry to run for political office is centred on my quest to build a better and just society; a society where people are not treated on the basis of their status, a society where people’s grievances and aspirations are addressed with clear, effective and achievable remedies. The best way to build a better and just society is to have a central focus by those in positions of leadership that envision a selfless attitude to the people they represent-masses. This is the political epoch I intend to see in Bobasi and the entire Country. When elected, I will initiate a concept dubbed ‘Bobasi Transparency Policy’. With this in place, our people will get an open & clear flow of information ranging from their share from government i.e. (CDF), the roads maintenance levy, local government transfer fund (LATF) and education bursaries for needy students. I will also make available information like the CDF act and the facts and figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) so that our people are informed on trends of governance, their rights, privileges, roles & how it affects them. To boost accountability and transparency in the constituency, I will ensure that any projects that never worked in my term as Member of Parliament must be brought to the knowledge of the people whose mandate I derive, instead of waiting for five years to shower the electorates with new promises. My quest to run for political office is striving to do positive things that I will like others to copy, emulate, bequeath, inherit & carry forward to better their own lives even if its 100 years to come. The contents of my character in the world will determine the immortality that I want to leave behind. It will also define the quality & not the quantity that I shall be remembered for. I will always strengthen the forces that work for our good & weaken those that work for our destruction. I admire the ideals of persons who personified profound principles in their lives. The ideals of these great men became benchmarks in their quest for the betterment of their communities, nations & the world. It’s clear that you cannot be an extremist for love & goodness if you don’t know Jesus Christ, for Justice & righteousness until you know prophet Amos, for freedom & democracy until you know Abraham Lincoln, suffering for others and patriotism until you meet Nelson Mandela, for non-violence, humility & simplicity until you know Mahatma Gandhi, for service to the downtrodden until you know Mother Theresa and even Economics until you meet Adam Smith. The ideals the said individuals personified are true for human success, happiness, material prosperity, peace, harmony, joy, love, mercy, compassion, & equality. They will ever be remembered by many generations as their names are enthroned on indelible ink in the annals of human history on Earth. As a candidate, I will not like to duel much on the past as it’s of no importance. Focusing on where we are heading as a people is more important. The eyes that God gave us face forward, not backward. What I hate in political leaders: 1) A leader who fails to tell the people what can’t work 2) A leader who puts his people in the dark 3) A leader who uses money to destroy the truth 4) A leader who promises to do everything for the voters

Affirmative action will ruin meritocracy

Proponents of gender based affirmative action that will culminate to the nomination of 50 women to parliament should realize that the female folk in this Country faces more urgent problems than being considered for nomination to Parliament. Not all problems that bedevil the women folk in this Country can be tackled in Kenyan’s legislative assembly. Many Kenyans are for policies that will enhance the quality of life for women like access to opportunities and participation in policy formulation in the running of this Country not necessarily in the political realm. That is why, I view gender based affirmative action as a superficial solution that does not address deeper problems that face women. Will domestic violence, abuse, poor reproductive health, lack of education due to poverty and cultural prejudice be solved if we had 50 women nominees to Parliament? Will it enable a Kenyan woman with a big share of domestic chores access sufficient running water; a basic human need. Will this nomination alleviate the suffering of women living in deplorable conditions in the slums and rural areas where they lack sufficient food and medical care? There are a number of ways that the plight of women can be addressed not necessarily through politics. We need to focus beyond having many women in Parliament through a concept I can dub ‘a zero merit game’. We need to see many women in trade union movements, pressure groups, civil society organizations, student leaderships, advocacy, human rights groups and forums. This will bring about aspects that will enhance the lives of not only women but also other vulnerable groups in the country going through unbearable existence like: persons with disabilities, youth, children, the sick, the poor and prisoners. Women need to rise to the occasion, not to sit and wait. We need to ask ourselves how honourables, Charity Ngilu, Martha Karua, Agness Ndetei, Wangari Mathai,Phoebe Asiyo, Grace Ogot, Alicen Chelaite to mention but a few, rose to their current clarion? To create a gender-blind society is to adopt a gender-blind policy. You can't destroy discrimination with discrimination. Affirmative action will undermine women’s self-esteem; bring laxity instead of hard work and dependence instead of independence. Groups that will be favoured by affirmative action will become dependent on its benefits; a clear negation of meritocracy, hardwork, talent, specialization, ambition and passion for excellence. The salaries to be extended to the 50 women in Parliament can be utilized to improve the lives of women in the Country. Advocates of this policy should instead press the government to support the less fortunate members of the society besides working on aspects of social, economic, educational and political empowerment towards women. They should advocate for poor breast feeding mothers to get government welfare, sanitary towels to be given freely to school girls plus making reproductive health cheap and affordable for all women. The human rights challenges in this nation are so diverse even if we were to have the 50 women nominees to Parliament. Have the rights of Kenyans who cannot afford legal representation, where some ends up being jailed not because of committing a crime been addressed? Has the issue of income distribution or even the gap between the rich and the poor, which keeps widening each day been addressed? Has the government regulated the labour laws in this Country to alleviate the suffering of Kenyan workers in multinational companies and export processing zones? How many Kenyans are poorly paid, discharged from work or get injured without proper compensation by unscrupulous employers? These are the pertinent issues this nation must focus on because they are urgent and affects a broad spectrum of Kenyan people. The poor in this country cannot make headways to have a better footing in life if the factors of production, the media financial sector and industry are controlled by the rich? Will this be achieved through gender based political nominations or through hardwork? We are stooping too low as a nation. Equality cannot be nurtured by extending political rewards to women. Its actual meaning is equal treatment to all not a privilege to a section of society. Joseph Lister Nyaringo, Bobasi, Gucha District

Opposition Chief Uhuru Kenyatta has Dethroned himself due toTribalism

Honourable Uhuru Kenyatta’s move to support President Kibaki’s re-election has put the nature of multiparty democracy in the Country in dire straits. While he has a legitimate right to support Kibaki, Uhuru would have realized that he is not like any regular citizen but a shadow President of Kenya charged with the responsibility of keeping the government on its toes. Therefore, Uhuru has violated his job description of being referee on how the Kibaki government plays ball for the benefit of all citizens of Kenya.

That is why we can conclude that his move is a defection from opposition leader in Kenya to a government he is supposed to censure. For the young people aspiring for national leadership, Uhuru, has betrayed and severely damaged the spirit of transformative leadership in the country and indeed putting the Integrity and principles of young leaders in a state of quandary.

Why yield to the whims of 20th century thinkers like former President Moi who ruled the country for 24 years subjecting Kenya to social, political and economic malpractices? Uhuru is cheating himself by supporting Kibaki’s re-election to secure the Central province leadership torch. It’s high time that we again see the vibrancy of honourable Paul Muite who has been tested nationally to rise up and take up the Kikuyu community’s leadership torch.

Muite fought for Kenya ’s the second liberation putting his life on the line and I am sure he did so because of auguring patriotic ideals as opposed to Uhuru, who rose as a result of his mentor, former President Daniel Moi, the man he keeps dogging even in the 21st Century. Uhuru should play his politics with caution by entangling himself with leaders who can spur his national image.

We wonder what he has to gain by spreading his political tentacles to politicians like honourable Biwott; a man who cannot nourish his political clout, integrity, values and future? Fearing to loose the Gatundu seat in the coming elections and resorting to support Kibaki is a reflection of tribal hegemony and an egocentric view of Uhuru’s future political clout. If I were him, I will vie, loose the seat, the Presidency and Kenyans will charge for themselves beyond 2007.

I wonder what will happen to multiparty democracy in Kenya if honourables Mutua Katuku, Raphael Tuju and Musikari Kombo dumps Kibaki’s government of national unity to support their tribesmen aspiring for higher offices in the land.

What most of our politicians should remember is that Kenyans are putting them on a state of scrutiny especially on what they said yesterday and what they are saying today. Kenyan citizens are not suffering from recent memory deficit. They vividly remember Uhuru’s gaffes especially during the 2005 constitutional referendum and even immediately after President Kibaki was sworn in as President in 2002 when he promised to keep the government on its toes. A true democrat stands on what is popular for the masses not self. He lets the wishes of the masses where he derives his mandate to come first.

That is why many Kenyans are in a state of quandary whether Uhuru’s move to support Kibaki represents the wishes of 1.8 million people who voted for in the last elections. The man has dethroned himself and robbed himself off the trust Kenyans bestowed upon him in the year 2002. The government watchdog has swallowed the cockerel and gone into deep slumber. It will be interesting how long it will take Uhuru to regain political consciousness and focus beyond Gatundu.

Yes! All politics is local but those yearning for national leadership should be ready for a paradigm shift from this misleading ideology which is against the spirit of nationalism. How does Uhuru expect Kenyans to lift him nationally if he has decided to play it local? Joseph Lister Nyaringo Aspiring MP Bobasi, Kisii

KENYA MEDIA SHOULD BE BALANCED IN COVERAGE

I concur with the Buddhist wisdom, which states that those who seek the path to inform others must first remove all ego, dishonesty, manipulation, biasness, favouritism, cleverness, and in contrast humbly be willing to accept the light of truth no matter how big or small it is since it affects the entire humanity.

This is a wake up call to all members of the fourth estate in Kenya, whom despite being endowed with professional expertise to educate and inform the Kenyan people, have deviated from fairness, focussing and covering the more critical issues and challenges that face the Country. We cannot underestimate the role the media fraternity has played to highlight issues of insecurity in the Country especially the Mungiki menace, sexual violence as well as the AIDS pandemic.

However, there is a growing trend by the same media, which is not in tandem balanced and fair journalism. The paramount key issues, actual facts, needs, challenges and aspirations of the Kenyan society are never given consideration.

 Big or small as the Buddhist wisdom reminds us, if it affects the human race, it MUST be brought to light since it’s out of this, that people will get a chance to be informed and if it’s a problem, workable solutions can be found. For the Kenyan print and electronic media to consistently and persistently continue to focus on what politicians say and not what they do or have failed to do for the electorates who gave them the mandate to Parliament is not a fair game for the Kenyan people across the board. Surely, splashing television screens and newspaper headlines with politics and political personalities even when what they’re talking about is not relevant will never help Kenya.

However, I don’t mean that the media should not cover issues of political nature especially in this electioneering year. Indeed, Kenyan voters will love to see the media prepare a highlighted and well researched score card based on the performance of the current government and sitting Members of Parliament since they were elected in 2002. This is the surest way to put to light the failures and achievements of these leaders in order to give the Kenyan voters a chance to weigh options for retention or change of leadership.

We acknowledge that any business entity’s primary objective is to make profits; this has negatively driven the media to focus their attention on giving coverage to those who will only make their stories sell; a wrong yardstick especially if we want our Country to discover talents based on diversity from her citizens. It should be understood that even without fame, if the ideals one stands for are salutary the general good of this Country, the media MUST cover it.

The best ideas are out there and the media should dig deep and explore it. Those who are rarely heard can have a lot to share with Kenyans and the media should give them a chance. I recently walked into one of the famous FM radio stations in Kenya to request for participation in one of their programs but I was shocked with the response I got.

I was treated without decorum just because of lack of name recognition; given an e-mail address of the program moderators, which I emailed immediately. Surprisingly, you can guess? Kenyans expected our journalists to put more light to the key Problems facing majority of Kenyans like unemployment, increased cost of living, poverty, unbalanced development trends especially in marginalized parts of Kenya like North Eastern and some parts of the Rift Valley provinces, falling education standards, poor working conditions to those in the labour market.

 Indeed, it should be understood that every problem no matter its magnitude should be given due attention, investigation and coverage. Who will get offended in Kenya when our society’s inequities are ventilated before the Kenyan masses even the World? Who will get offended when the plight our brothers and sisters in the job market especially in the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) in Nairobi and Mombasa working under the most inhuman conditions are brought to light before the eyes of Kenyans?

This is the only way the media can put to shame their unscrupulous employers who continues to use them for their own enrichment. I urge the media to use their expertise to conduct intensive investigation on the working conditions of people especially in the mushrooming supermarket chains, plantation workers in Kericho, domestic workers and the (EPZ) outlets in the Country.

I am not a journalist by profession I was deeply shuddered of a story by two of my friends working in a famous supermarket chain in Eldoret where they are paid per week with no benefits. All workers are not allowed to join any Union or even a Sacco.

My friends say even lunch break is a taboo just for the simple reason that it reduces staff theft. Salvage our people from this ugly yoke! Come on Kenyan media dig deep into this! We live in the 21st Century where every Kenyan deserves a fair deal. Joseph Lister Nyaringo Bobasi, Kisii

Noble Laureate Wangari Mathai Should do more

The winner of the coveted Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 honourable professor Wangari Mathai has narrowed her roles as a Nobel Laureate and started to concentrate on political lobbying that can damage her international stature. The Nobel Prize comes with greater responsibilities and expectations. That is why many Kenyans expected a lot from professor Mathai. In the past few months, Professor Mathai has spent too much time in boardrooms to coin for a political party for President Kibaki’s re-election without realizing that Kenyans are watching her. We need to see an active Professor detached from tribal politics if she is ready to be seen as an international figure above political party lobbying. Her status globally supersedes her current behaviour. Kenyans don’t want to be compelled to call our respected hero and environmentalist an opportunist. President Kibaki has been in politics longer than our professor and sane enough to make his decisions as a politician. It’s therefore imprudent for a person of professor Mathai’s calibre with many national and international responsibilities to waste time on political strategies which might reflect connotations of nepotism in her part, given the fact that they come from the same community with the current President. She has many better things to do for Kenya , Africa and the World on the environment; her area of expertise. A lot of things have happened in this Country requiring Wangari Mathai to voice her concern especially the Ndungu land report which was never made public; withstanding the fact that, when we talk about environmental protection, land is the primary metaphor. Kenyans expected the Nobel Laureate to take a stand on land grabbers and those who used their authority to dispose off public land. Because of her national and international acclaim, it was not prudent to remain lukewarm especially during the 2005 constitutional referendum. She has been silent on many bills especially when Parliament voted to forgive those responsible for looting of public coffers. Kenyans expected her to register displeasure when her fellow Parliamentarians decided to award themselves terminal benefits; a toll on the exchequer and a loosing end to the taxpayers. Our Country is privileged to host three global environmental bodies; Habitat, UNEP and the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF). All these coupled with our Noble Laureate, the World expected the Country to be the cleanest and the best habitat for humanity. Instead, what we see in our rural and urban centres is the opposite. We are a laughing stock of the World with UNEP, Habitat, ICRAF and A Nobel Laureate awarded on environmental protection all in town. A number of environmental challenges faces the Country and requires urgent remedies. The garbage dumping at Dandora and the Air pollution from Webuye Paper Mills in Bungoma are healthy hazards to the locals. The debilitating conditions of the Nairobi River , rampant flooding in Budalangi, Kano plains, Alego Usonga, drought in the semi arid regions of Kenya , dwindling of water regimes in our Rivers and Lakes, Soil erosion, mass infestation of the water hyacinth in Lake Victoria are environmental human catastrophes. The professor would have visited flood prone areas like Budalangi, as an environmentalist not a politician to see the best way the problem can be addressed. We realize that the professor alone cannot solve all the envirmental troubles of our country but if she can detach completely from her current political entanglements or quit politics altogether, she can make a very big impact to build a better habitat for Kenyans by reaching out to donor nations and agencies help out in the said catastrophes. We laud Professor Mathai’s role especially on protecting Karura forest, Uhuru Park and many reforestation campaigns in the Country through the Greenbelt Movement and fighting for the human rights. However, in the recent past, nothing is hard of the Greenbelt Movement the best time the body to be seen as more dynamic and spread to the entire African Continent to champion environmental issues. We can’t narrow environmental protection on planting trees alone. It must broadly cover areas like: improved sanitation in urban and rural areas, provision of clean water, proper sewage management, land reclamation in arid and semi arid areas and reduction of all forms of pollution. To have another role model and source of inspiration like Professor Wangari Mathai, might take Kenya another century. The opportunity she has is golden and must be utilized to its full potential for the benefit of this nation. Therefore, spending a lot of time on general election politics is stooping too low as a global environmentalist and Nobel Laureate.

JIRONGO OF YK92 FAME MEETS RUTO IN ODM

They have met again to build a winning team just like they did in 1992. This time round not for the cockerel but for the Orange . Cyrus Jirongo and William Ruto of the YK 92 fame are now together after the latter decided to join the former to drum up support for Raila Odinga in the ODM family. One cannot underestimate Jirongo’s charisma, mobilizing skills strategic manoeuvres, as observed in the multiparty elections of 1992. He made the opposition look like a band of minnows and sneaked Moi back into the His way the way it did for Moi in 1992. If his record is anything to go by, Jirongo is said to be one of the most aggressive politicians in Kenya and the issue of grassroots reach beyond Western Province is not an issue for him. This is a big plus for Raila and his Orange team. Nobody knew Jirongo and Ruto will deliver votes for Moi when the Country was yearning for change in the first multiparty elections. Kenyans had experienced tribal clashes, mass economic malpractices and many vices in the former government, but Cyrus Jirongo, and Ruto worked with a wet towel around their heads to ensure a win for Kanu under Moi. History is likely to repeat itself in this year’s general elections since the two leaders Jirongo and Ruto can boast to have more political experience than in the elections of 1992. The Writing is on the wall; the KADDU boss’s move to support Raila Odinga for the Presidency signifies that Western Province is rewriting its political history. His KADDU party began as a simple story but going by its new alliance with ODM, one can only write it off at his own peril. He decided to support ODM but from a very principled standing point; basing it on his party manifesto and hence, it was objective as opposed to the Joseph Kamotho theatrics that we have been treated to in recent political history. Mr. Cyrus Jirongo popularly known as CJ’s support for Raila is a clear manifest to unite a politically fragmented province whose leaders like Kombo have continued to operate on tribal leanings with a narrow focus not beyond Bukusuland. It can be observed that if things go well for the Orange , the big winners in Western Province will Mudavadi and Jirongo; courtesy of the Luhyia unity that we have started to see coming to fruition in Western Province . Under this new political arrangement, the biggest looser in the Province is likely to be honourable Musikari Kombo and his Ford Kenya party. Those who have met him do say Jirongo is a man of the people; he augurs a lot of empathy especially for the people of low estate which is a manifestation of humanistic values. He responds to emergencies especially on assisting the sick and paying school fees for students from poor families. While many Kenyans have always questioned Mr. Jirongo’s immense wealth, the man is said to be a hard worker, a good manager and superb in making business deals. Besides this, he has never been embroiled in any major scandal; a factor likely to catapult him and his KADDU party nationally since he will field civic and Parliamentary candidates on the party ticket. Jirongo has joined the winning team which is likely to take the next government. Without any shadow of doubt, KADDU is a party to watch and any disregard will most certainly leave a very bad taste in the mouth. It remains the only key party that has supported the ODM candidate but reserved its mandate of fielding its own civic and Parliamentary candidates in the entire country. With Jirongo and Ruto on his side, Raila Odinga has a superb team to spur the Orange into victory noting that the incumbent’s campaign machinery has began in a wrong footing. Kibaki’s campaign point man in Gusiiland, Mr. Simeon Nyachae’s move to unleash terror on his political detractors using an unlawed group dubbed ‘Amachuma’in Ekegusii has robbed Kibaki a considerable number of votes in the Country. This act did not help in anyway to resuscitate Kibaki’s dwindling support in Gusiiland and the entire Country.

NYACHAE’S POLITICAL GRIP IS OVER IN GUSIILAND!!

The attack on honourables William Ruto and Omingo Magara by thugs purportedly hired by honourable Simeon Nyachae on Friday is a travesty to democracy, freedom and a negation of the democratic gains this country as made since the advent of multiparty politics in 1991. If Mr. Nyachae cares for Kibaki’s re-election, how does he expect people of Rift Valley and Nyanza Provinces to support the President given the violence they saw orchestrated on the two ODM leaders? It was an agonising experience to see elected leaders with bruises resulting from political violence by Nyachae and Jimmy Angwenyi’s thugs. How do you call yourself honourable when you orchestrate violence against other honourable MPs? If you don’t carry yourself with honour, who will honour you? For President Kibaki to save his face in this campaign period, he should sack honourable Nyachae from the cabinet; have him arrested and be charged in a court of law for incitement. Failing to do so will be a minus for his re-election bid especially in the Rift Valley and Nyanza provinces. Nyachae spoke passionately to support the violence before Kenyans and this is enough exhibit to have him arrested and charged for incitement. The attack on ODM leaders is Nyachae’s hate for Raila whom they support. Ironically, Nyachae is forgetting that it was the same Raila who paved the way for Kibaki’s rise to the Presidency and now enjoys the fruits he never worked for in the government of national unity. Why has the man forgotten his tirades and epithets against Kibaki and now want to destroy those against the Kibaki through violence? Did Raila and Kibaki supporters attack Nyachae’s failed Presidential bid in 2002? Mr. Magara has a legitimate right to campaign for himself and for Raila without intimidation, coercion and harassment in South Mugirango . He had the freedom to attend the fundraiser, even if Nyachae was the chief guest because it was in his Constituency. The people of Gusii are vehemently against violence; which we view as a shameful and a defeatist move by a man who is in the sunset years of not only his Biological life but also political life. Nyachae has done nothing for Abagusii to dictate their destiny even with his unfettered access to the country’s top leadership in Kibaki’s government of national unity. As a community, we want a new hue of leadership to empower our people by building political cohesiveness, tolerance, and building democratic values where dissent and divergent opinions will suffice. Our people want to see a leadership culture that is devoid of dictatorship, violence and the big man syndrome. Nyachae and his cronies like Jimmy Angwenyi should respect Mr. Magara’s stand to campaign for Raila Odinga for the Presidency, just like Nyachae will want reciprocity by supporting President Kibaki. Those from Gusii who support President Kibaki’s re-election like I, cannot under any circumstance condone Nyachae’s Friday show of political barbarism. As an aspiring MP, I call upon all the Youth in Gusiiland not to be misled by leaders whose primary motive is propagating hate, violence and division. We can gain more when together as a community. Our future lies on making better decisions by disassociating with leaders who wants us to loose respect from other communities. Every aspirant in Gusii need to campaign freely for votes in the coming elections and I urge all registered voters is to elect credible leaders who are vibrant and visionary in all the ten constituencies of Gusiiland. Through that, we can write the political obituary of Nyachae and the current MPs whom he imposed on the people in the 2002. Why should we allow ourselves to be isolated from the rest of the country by an individual who has done nothing to spur the lives of our people? Nyachae is only interested in expanding his business empire and will leave no legacy except hate, clanism, open rancour, hot temper, insults, disunity, arrogance and hate politics. I call upon President Kibaki’s campaign handlers not to mandate Nyachae as point man in Gusii. If they make this goof, I see a shameful defeat for the President. ODM will win Nyanza with a big margin; realizing that Kibaki’s hope for Nyanza is Gusiiland and perhaps Kurialand. Nyachae should retire from politics a respectfully. He has a big family and belongs to a community whose image he wants to dent in the national limelight. I urge him to strive and reconcile with all the local leaders including Magara, whom he attacked on Friday. This is to the best interest of Abagusii and the country. If he wants to understand political reconciliation, let him ask his cabinet colleague, honourable Njenga Karume’s relationship with Kibaki in 2002 and where they currently stand.

More districts will not help Abagusii community

I cringe with disgust when elected leaders solicit for support from the government things that don’t matter to the electorate. The Abagusii leaders who requested President Kibaki to elevate Gusiiland to a full-fledged province was a purely misplaced priority. Judging by the requests of the Abagusii leaders last Monday in the campaign rally to drum up support for president Kibaki’ s re-election, led by honourable Simeon Nyachae, I have the audacity to say that they care less for urgent problems bedevilling the Abagusii people. Requesting for an extra district or a province does not make sense when majority of the Abagusii are living from hand to mouth. The impassable roads, high poverty levels, problems of tea farmers who continue to suffer due to the privatised Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), unemployment touching graduates from local and international Universities and insecurity, do not echo in the minds of elected Gusii leaders. Because it was a campaign rally, we expected Nyachae and his team to point out the development records President Kibaki has registered since he took over the Power in 2002, and also ask for realistic, measurable and achievable requests like rural electrification, piped water, more teachers to our primary and secondary schools which has reduced the standard of education in Gusiiland. President Mwai Kibaki’s wisdom of shutting down the request to declare Gusiiland a province needs to be applauded. Surely, if Rift Valley province which stretches from Lokchogio to Namanga has not been split, then our Gusii leaders are either playing bad politics or do not understand the real problems facing their community. The presence of honourable Henry Obwocha in the Presidential rally could have added more weight to point out what assistance the people of Gusiiland urgently want from the government not Districts or a province. As Minister for planning in the Treasury, he is judged with developmental trends in the Country working hand in hand with the Ministry of Finance. He was better placed to lead by example in this. It appears that the current politicians from Gusiiland have not traversed the entire community to see the real picture on the ground. What the elected leaders are failing to tell the people is how the new district will be funded, where its headquarters will be based since many Kenyans remember how the current District of Gucha brought a national circus on the actual location of its headquarters before it was finally settled at Ogembo. Practically, Ogembo town, which is the district headquarters for Gucha is a ramshackle, the government buildings are in a pathetic condition, the police headquarters looks like a bread kiosk, sanitation and sewerage system is poor, no proper piped water, nor enough land for expansion. Is this what our leaders want under the aegis of developing Gusiiland? We cannot keep launching new districts if the already existing ones are not well maintained. If I were Nyachae and his group, I would have asked the government of President Kibaki to allocate funds to develop the already existing five districts as well as improving the living standards of people in Gusiiland.

Official Opposition Must be Addressed by the Koffi Annani Team

Multiparty Democracy might be in jeopardy as the nation focuses for a permanent solution to the election violence through the Koffi Annani led team. This aspect has been left in abeyance and should Raila’s Orange Democratic Movement and Kibaki’s Party of National Unity agree to share powers in a grand coalition. If Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, of ODM Kenya is also maintained in the power sharing arrangement, then we shall say bye to the official opposition in Parliament. What has put many Kenyans in a quandary is: even if we are desperately in need of a permanent remedy on the post election violence, the Koffi Annani team should play a tangential role to address the issue of leader of official opposition in Parliament instead of being silent about it. In PNU and ODM, each side is riding a high horse for the best deal out of the Annani led team, but nobody has come out openly to address how multipartism will suffice in Kenya in the event of a power sharing arrangement between the two parties. As prospects linger to get our Country out of the political impasse, we need a strong opposition in Parliament to hold the executive and the cabinet to account on the aspects of accountability and transparency. We wonder what will happen to the political parties’ bill and even the many registered political parties in the Country. I am sure each party even the non parliamentary ones will struggle to pledge their allegiance to the ruling elite; a big blow to multiparty politics in Kenya . I personally don’t have any legal knowledge to provide an alternative on this aspect but those with legal and constitutional expertise should not shy away from addressing this vital matter that has shaped the growth of democracy in our motherland since December 1991 when multiparty politics was reintroduced in the Country after the repeal of section (2A) of Kenya ’s constitution. Many Kenyans expects legislatures like honourable James Orengo, a panellist for ODM party in the Koffi Annani led team not to focus only in the power sharing arrangement without due consideration on multiparty sustainability; an aspect he fought for and almost lost his own life. We also expect honourable Gitobu Imanyara and Anyang ’ Nyong’o to mention but of a few of the multiparty advocates of the late 1980s and early 1990s not to assume this very important aspect. Kenyans are watching if our leaders are only fixated on power instead of building structures that will sustain our democracy in this 21st Century for posterity. Indeed, who will hold the government accountable without the official opposition in the multiparty era? There is no guarantee of multiparty sustainability if the power sharing arrangement is effected without a framework on the creation of a government watchdog in Parliament. The future of multiparty politics lies solely on honourables Martha Karua, Moses Wetangula, Mutula Kilonzo, Professor Sammy Ongeri of PNU and James Orengo, Dr. Sally Kosgey, William Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi of ODM. We shall applause these brothers and sisters for a lasting remedy to the current quagmire in our nation, but we shall however hold them accountable if they let this Country degenerate to a single political system just under the aegis of power sharing in a grand coalition.

Poor Leadership escalated post election violence in Kenya

Many questions linger in the minds of many Kenyans why the recent violence spread like bush fire culminating into the worst mayhem in the history of our Country when we have superb men and women with the knowledge to prevent it. The violence has put the African Continent on the memory lane of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 which started slowly only to culminate to the death of a half a million people. Therefore, the challenge starts with Kenya as a nation and touches the entire nature of African leadership. When shall the Continent of Africa produce another Nelson Mandela; the former South African President whose defied greed for power and ruled for only one term even after being jailed for 27 years? No African Country has come out strongly against President Mugabe’s policies which has subjected his people to suffering in Zimbabwe . We also wonder why President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda think there is no other leader who can do even better for what he has done for the Country. The recent African Union heads of States summit in Addis Ababa failed to tell President Kibaki the truth even when Kenyans were slaughtering each other like chicken. Instead, when Kibaki rose to speak, his speech appeared business as usual in the country. Our Continent needs leaders of Nelson Mandela’s calibre in order to realize our respect globally. We can’t afford being a Continent littered with greedy, dictatorship, injustice, indecisiveness and ethnicity. We want leaders who see a problem and even if it doesn’t affect them directly will move swiftly to find a solution. Leaders who see a problem coming and do nothing about are condoning and justifying that problem; the biggest impediment in African leadership. As a Continent, we need to show the World that we have eligible Africans who are ready and with the capacity to do better. This can be realized if our leaders will rise beyond self, be patriotic and strive to bequeath to the new generation, a positive legacy. Under this aspect, problems like the recent post elections violence will be prevented as leaders will focus on the positive aspects they will like their subjects and even the World to remember then for even if its 100 years to come. The key question Kenyans will always ask is why we are embroiled in a post election tussle without any remedy from our local leaders. We expected former President Moi, the professor of politics; and current peace envoy for Sudan, former MP Njenga Karume, a moderate in Kibaki’s past government, the Nobel Laureate Professor Wangari Mathai to mention but a few for failing to swiftly work for a solution to the crisis which has destroyed many lives and property as well as displacing thousands of people. The Swahili saying ‘panapo wazee habaharibiki neno’ has totally lost meaning. We have many wazees who have not only failed to provide direction, but they have also shown indecision, lack of empathy, human love and seriousness in a national catastrophe. Members of the clergy will never be spared for their passive approach to find a lasting solution to the crisis. They are all aware that the Church is the moral authority of any nation. We expected Bishops Gitari, Njoya, Raphael Ndingi, Timothy Njoya, Zachaeus Okoth, Cornelius Korir, and Arthur Gitonga to mention but a few to be steadfast in working for a remedy for the nation over the post election violence. Even Bishop Pius Muiru, failed to apply the skills he would have used if he became President to make any peace initiatives and end the violence. It’s regrettable that many members of the clergy in Kenya are coiling on the Biblical prophecy envisioned in the book of Isaiah 13:14; justifying the current crisis as God’s Prophecy. This is totally irrelevant. What happened in Rwanda in 1994 was not a Biblical prophecy; it could have been prevented before it escalated into genocide. Church leaders should stop the trend of praying for their own tribesmen to rise to national leadership instead of praying to let the will of God to be done as his anointed servants. Anything beyond this is egocentric, greed, and selfish. God is a god of all people and will never answer such prayers. That is why we are seeing what we see. We applause the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), for being bold to declare that the umbrella body failed the Country by taking a partisan stand even during the election campaigns by openly reflecting tribalism. Besides the Christian faith, other religious organizations like. The Hindu Council of Kenya, the Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims is equally to blame for taking a back seat when our Country was on fire. The civil society organizations which are good at soliciting funds from donors also failed to make any initiatives to quell the violence. Failures of Kibaki and Raila during the early days of the violence was when they decided to issue messages of peace from Nairobi, Their first meeting at County Hall in Nairobi could have been followed by using the same limousine or jet to travel to all the affected towns together; imploring the citizens to stop the mayhem; reflecting their commitment to a just and peaceful Kenya.

GRAND COALITION SHOULD CRAFT A LEANER CABINET

As the Country gears for a grand coalition government soon, many Kenyans will want to see a leaner Cabinet that will put the country on a firm fiscal footing. It’s an acid test for our leaders to put into consideration the plight of Kenya ’s overburdened taxpayers when crafting the Cabinet. Indeed, if the grand coalition comes up with a bloated cabinet like in the past, our leaders will be doing a disservice to Kenyans whose taxes maintains the big government. The hefty fringe benefits, including salaries that come with a single cabinet position are high. The last government of President Kibaki was too big costly and thus a toll to the Country’s exchequer. This was total fiscal indiscipline. The President being a respected economist would have known better. We don’t want to see the same mistake is repeated, when Country’s economy is on a downward trend as a result of the post election fiasco. A bloated cabinet does not always ensure efficiency. It brings in a duplication of roles; creating confusion, lack of coordination, inefficiency, and rivalry. We don’t want to see a mutation of bureaucracy with little value to the citizens and the economy. Kenya has the best opportunity to dramatically downsize its cabinet and set the stage for Africa ; a Continent currently littered with bloated governments. There is no need of having the Ministry of Defense when we have the Internal Security docket. Planning and National Development should be fused with the Finance Ministry. East African Community, Livestock and Fisheries, Cooperative Development, Information and Broadcasting, should be made departments in the key Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Transport and communications respectively. A lean Cabinet will create administrative functions that are financially sound hence, allowing more budget Shillings to be injected for necessary programs that benefit the neediest in our society. Therefore, Honourable Raila; Prime Minister designate, and President Kibaki should mind about the impact of poverty; the root cause of suffering for majority of our people to give Kenya a small government by avoiding to reward their friends with Cabinet positions. This is the best opportunity for our leaders to learn from richer countries like, the US , France , Britain and Germany with small cabinets. In fact their financial base can sustain big cabinets but they operate on strict fiscal discipline, a big lesson for Kenya which is a third World Country. It’s so shameful when our leaders ask for Japanese Aid; the World second largest economy with one of the smallest cabinet of 17 Ministers. The expectations of Kenyans are very high as we look forward to see the best brains under the same umbrella in a coalition government. Members of Parliament from PNU and ODM should avoid focussing on Cabinet appointments but instead focus on the legislative agenda, effective governance, democratic accountability and articulating issues that are essential for the electorates and the nation in Parliament. Seeing our leaders politick on who should get what is an economic tragedy and a reflection of greed. It can be remembered that the best performers in Kenya ’s Parliament like: Martin Shikuku, the late George Anyona, James Orengo, JM Kariuki, Koigi Wa Wamwere and Paul Muite rarely occupied Cabinet positions. They will always be remembered for their positive parliamentary contributions. Kenyans want to see a strong Parliament that will enact laws; debate national issues check the activities of the government and in general promote the welfare of Kenyans. The 10th Parliament should have a paradigm shift from lobbying for positions in the Cabinet as if it’s the only way their skills and expertise can be utilized. The men and women who are likely to be appointed to the Cabinet should use their skills run the affairs of this country in the Cabinet with dedication, professionalism, transparency, accountability and fairness. My word to those who will not be in the Cabinet is to aggressively participate in parliamentary motions. Those who hold positions in parliamentary committees should take their deliberations seriously as its part of our national governance systems to serve the general good of this Country. Kenyans are waiting to separate the grain from the chaff and the cream from the milk. We demand demand ethical and responsible representation but a small Cabinet will be a saviour for the tax payers. We want to see the size of a government that will not spend our money for things that does not enhance our lives.

African leaders must intervene on the region’s dictators

I cringe with disgust that in the 21st Century, some African leaders are still buoyed in the myopic craving to retain power, influence while their citizens continue to live in agony. Their selfish craving has soiled the Continent’s global reputation. That is why I concur with the Buddhist wisdom that, life’s suffering is as a result of the inclinations to all forms of selfish craving. We can’t hide our faces wherever we go as Africans. In a recent security check in a European airport, on seeing my Passport, the security officer asked me about the status of the violence in Kenya , I lacked the words; the horror they saw in their media will take long to change their mindset about our Country. They think Kenyans are killing each other to date. How long shall we continue being labelled as a Continent littered with civil strife, injustices, greedy, dictatorship, indecisiveness, ethnicity, corruption and authoritarianism? Indeed, we want to be respected globally. Africa needs leaders with the perspicacity to nurture a dynamic political culture that is open, accommodative and just in order to enhance our reputation at home and abroad. What boggles the minds of many people is how long it will take the Continent to produce a leader with Nelson Mandela’s calibre whom even after serving a jail term of 27 years; defied greed for power and ruled for only one term. He will leave an indelible mark in the annals of history as an African President who had the capacity to cling to power with less criticism and even declare himself life President for the prize he paid during the freedom struggle, but did not do it. In contrast to Mandela’s selflessness, in a recent speech delivered in Uganda by the Libyan leader Muammar Gadhaffi, he asked African leaders especially revolutionaries not to relinquish power when their Countries are doing well. This was a mockery to democracy and the most irrelevant statement from a leader who is the chief architect for the United States of Africa. Indeed, if this is the ideology Gadhaffi wants to advance under the aegis of an African political federation, it clearly demonstrates his dictatorial leadership, imperial and life presidency. The speech was made before President Museveni; a revolutionary himself and also remembered for changing the constitution that allowed him to seek for another term in office, contrary to popular opinion in Uganda . I challenge Gadhaffi to tell Mugabe to quit because the Country is not doing well and many Zimbabweans are suffering under his dubious policies while Mugabe continues to live in material opulence. Gadhaffi’s advocacy for an African federation is uncalled for. What the Continent requires is an integration that will enhance the quality of life for our people especially on the economic social and cultural spheres. The challenge remains on Countries with mature democratic discourses like South Africa , Botswana , and Ghana to take the lead in denouncing Mugabe’s hold on power. Being silent about Mr. Mugabe is justifying his actions; a tragedy for the growth of democracy in Africa . I differ with the South African President, Tabo Mbeki’s comment in New York , USA that the Zimbabwean situation is not a crisis. How is it not a crisis when people voted for change a month a go and up to now, the Electoral Commission in the Country has not announced the results? This is the clearest indication that Mugabe wants a loophole to retain himself in power against the popular will of Zimbabweans. Mbeki lost the African National Congress (ANC) leadership to Jacob Zuma and handed over honourably. He didn’t cling on the party leadership. That is why; I strongly support Kenya ’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s bold idea for African leaders to face Mugabe head-on and force him to quit office. Good leaders must focus on what the World shall remember them for when they pass on. Relinquishing authority when there is stability in their Countries is of greater importance. Those who quit when their countries are smouldering like Charles Taylor will never enjoy their pension on retirement. No indication that Robert Mugabe will enjoy his retirement neither. He is perhaps waiting to hear gunshots and see blood before calling it quits. The yesteryears of Mobutu, Idi Amin, Samwel Doe, Bokasa, Charles Taylor, San Abacha and the current leadership styles of Gadhafi of Libya, Elbashir of Sudan, Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Museveni of Uganda and Mubarak of Egypt are open tragedies for the growth of democracy in Africa . Their dictatorial leaderships past and present never end well including those of their counterparts in Europe like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini of Germany and Italy respectively. We want an African leadership devoid of the big man syndrome. Leaders prone to administration malpractices must undergo mass condemnation and be isolated. We need to show the World that in the 21st Century, we have leaders who can rekindle the hopes of our people. This is the surest way of dispelling the notion from the developed World that Africa cannot handle its challenges. Joseph Lister Nyaringo United Kingdom

Wetangula is Wrong on the Envoys

It’s absurd that our leaders are fond of wasting time to pursue and criticise even the realities. The terse criticism to foreign diplomats in Kenya by honourable Wetangula didn’t make any sense. Its notable that early this year, when our country was on the verge of collapse, its foreigners who came to our rescue; mediating to get us out of the impasse. Honourable Wetangula and others did nothing; only protecting the status quo. No solution was arrived at domestically. That is why I think the foreign envoys whose countries played a pivotal role to put Kenya back to the track have a legitimate right to comment about the electoral commission whose lacklustre performance in managing the elections culminated to the violence we experienced. Its note worthy that the recent finding on the conduct of the ECK were shepherded by a foreigner but not a Kenyan. Therefore, Many Kenyans cannot dignify honourable Wetangula’s criticism to the envoys and are in unison to see an exit for Kivuitu and his team from ECK sooner than later. Kenyans wants our leaders to exhibit a loving and united front that can piece together our torn country as a result of the tragedies of early this year, not empty rhetoric and criticising the obvious.

Martha Karua’s Campaign for Presidency is Premature

Honourable Martha Karua has a democratic right to contest for Presidency, launch her website even if it reaches a fraction of potential voters, tell Kenyans about her ambitions and even defend herself against those who want to derail her politically.

 Unfortunately, it makes little sense for a leader elected barely nine Months ago to spend sleepless nights thinking about succession after her tribesman relinquishes the Presidency in four years time. In my humble opinion, I disapprove Karua’s quest for the Presidency and thinks her campaign is purely premature but as a believer of freedom, I will defend her right to fight on when the right time comes. 

As a politician in my own right and Parliamentary loser in last year’s elections, I urge the Minister to scale down her campaigns right now and concentrate more on aspects of nation building since four years from now is not next week. By and large, she has opened her closet too early and Kenyans will dig deeper and find the number of skeletons she is hiding.

 The best campaign she needs to nurture now is to ensure service delivery for her Gichugu constituents, and nationally, address the pertinent problems that bedevil the country like: poverty, unemployment, inflation, insecurity, resettlement of the Internally Displaced persons, provision of clean water and affordable healthcare. This is the surest way the Minister will capture the chord of Kenyan voters who will assess her competency and consider her for the Presidency in 2012. It’s prudent that Karua’s performance in her Ministerial docket and other aspects of nation building to reflect true Presidency in her if she has a passion and drive to lead Kenya.

 I have personally met the Minister, but to me, she appeared phoney and sarcastic. She rarely speaks from her heart, lacks empathy and uses her intellect to win in arguments. However, her sanguine disposition has endeared her well to be where she is today since Kibaki won the Presidency in 2002. Besides, she is clever, fast and bold. I admire her head-strong persistence and consistency especially when standing on her believes; a great ingredient for effective political leadership. In the national limelight, Martha Karua scores highly; she has never been embroiled in any scandal or corrupt malpractices. She is a calculator, a politic, crafty and a strategist. I personally support her for taking a stand on the PNU saga. She realizes that being in PNU with Uhuru and the likes of Saitoti and Kalonzo Musyoka, is like an egg trying to dance with stones.

 Unlike Uhuru Kenyatta, who relies on political mentors to spur his ambitions, Karua catapults herself with no dependence on the walking stick of political godfathers. She takes her torch, lights it up, carries it and points it to the direction of her motion. Karua’s political CV is centred on how she has conducted herself since Kibaki became president IN 2002, more than when she clamoured for the reintroduction of political pluralism in the Country. This is the yardstick many Kenyans will use to track her record as a Presidential material. It can be remembered that during the counting and tallying of Presidential votes last year, she took a position to influence the outcome of the polls which remains very unpopular to many Kenyans today.

 Majority of citizens think she stifled democracy through tribal hegemony and being part and parcel of a flawed election process that resulted in the worst ethnic violence in Kenya since independence. The honourable Minister’s quest for the Presidency will always be equated to egomania but not the ideals of patriotism, democracy, equity and equality. Majority of Kenyans cannot tell where the Minister stands on egalitarianism, justice, fairness and building firm democratic institutions in the country. Political leadership especially the presidency must be diversified.

Kenyans should be prepared to elect even an Ogiek tribesman or woman to run the affairs of this Country. In my own view, leaders from the Kikuyuland should take a break from Presidency if they expected other communities to trust and embrace them in future political alignments. This is why I concur with the deputy speaker in Mathira, where he urged Kikuyu leaders to forget the Presidency in 2012. It’s ironical that by virtue of the current President being a Kikuyu, strong ambitions for his succession comes from his community initiated by: Karua, Uhuru and Saitoti.

 Kenyans wants leaders who are compasional and empathizes with their aspirations and predicaments. They are tired of politicians who talk about patriotism and democracy but are nepotic and dictators. That is why it will be fair if the popularity ratings conducted by pollsters reflects the tangential roles the rated leaders have played to change the lives of Kenyans in the economic, social and political spheres. Leaders whose interest is power and self glory must be rejected.

That is why the Karuas, Uhurus, Saitotis, Railas, Kalonzos, Bifwolis and Jirongos or this country must convince voters that they have the recipe that will spur the lives of Kenyans if they expected to be supported in 2012 for the Presidency. A good politician must be prepared to bequeath to Kenyans a leadership legacy; an immortality the he or she will be remembered for even if its 100 years to come.

Style that will better the interest of this nation even if its 100 My final word to Martha Karua and others with presidential ambitions is that the desire to lead is not a quest for greatness. It’s a passion to be the people’s servant in good and bad times; providing with guidance and direction by sharing their aspirations and predicaments to achieve their destiny. Those whose motive is to be elected in order to get avenues for power and ethnic enrichment must be rejected by voter