Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Al-Shabab Suspect pleads guilty in court

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – A man who was arrested with a cache of weapons in Kayole on Tuesday night has admitted in court that he was behind the grenade attack that killed one person and injured several others at Nairobi’s OTC bus stage.
Elgiva Bwire Oliacha alias Mohamed Seif pleaded guilty before a Nairobi Court on Wednesday that he colluded with others to cause grievous harm to Justus Makau Mulwa and Patrick Ndolo Kinyingi.

Bwire also pleaded guilty to the charge of engaging in criminal activity by being a member of the Al Shabaab terror group when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei.

The 28-year-old man who hails from Budalang’i was also charged with being in possession of ammunition without a firearms certificate, a charge which he pleaded guilty to.

Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei directed that the case be brought for mention on Friday following a plea submitted in court by The Anti Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU).

The ATPU asked for the accused be remanded at the Kilimani Police Station, while a further compilation of facts in the case is done.

Bwire was arrested on Tuesday night in a police raid that led to the recovery of 13 grenades among other weapons.

Police had described him as a prime suspect in a series of terrorist attacks in the country, a day after two grenade attacks hit the capital Nairobi leaving one person dead and 30 others with various degrees of injury.

The swoop was carried out at a residential flat in the densely populated estate of Kayole where the Kenyan man was arrested following what Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere described as “credible intelligence reports.”

“This is a major breakthrough in the war against terrorism in the country,” Iteere told journalists, displaying 13 rusty hand grenades, four pistols, two submachine guns and 717 rounds of ammunitions.

“We have also seized literature for war and others on how to make and use explosives. The suspect is in our custody and he is going to assist us get his accomplices,” Iteere had said adding “the suspect is a member of one of the terrorist cells who have committed several terrorist attacks in the country.”

“We are going to drive these people out of town; we will not let a small group disturb the peace of Kenyans.”

The warnings follow fears that Al Shabaab insurgents who have warned of reprisal attacks may hit target areas within the city to protest a military offensive in their lawless country Somalia.

The military offensive in Somalia was launched after high profile kidnappings of four European women seized from Lamu Island and Dadaab refugee camp in Northern Kenya, including that of Frenchwoman Marie Dedieu who died while in captivity in Somalia. Police have blamed the kidnappings on Al Shabaab.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Clan and Tribal Politics

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo-North America
We all belong to nations, communities (tribes) and clans but these leanings should not dictate the decisions we make in the pursuit of the general good of society.

I promised to provide my perspectives on clan politics when the subject came up in this forum.
Yes, we all belong to a nation called Kenya, originate from some clan, belong to some locality (village) and identify ourselves to an extended family.
All this gives us identity, originality, sense of belonging, and a tradition to rely on especially when trying to explore our lineages.

However, when it comes to the point of making choices on leadership representation, clan, tribe or family lineages should not be the determining yardstick.

Clannism begets favourism, corruption and tribalism, which is a recipe for the entrenchment of negative ethnicity in the national psyche. We fought each other as tribes in 2007/2008 during the PEV. The Hutus and Tusis clobbered each other in 1994 during the Rwanda genocide because of tribal animosity.

We are embroiled in a war with the Al-Shabab terrorist militants in Somalia because of their internal clan related conflicts which dates back to 1969 in the Siad Barre’s military revolution. He failed to nurture strong roots for nationhood which led to his overthrow due to clan rivalry in 1991.

Apparently, the Somali clan problems have spilled unto our doorsteps and our military are risking their lives to protect our territorial integrity.

Ideologically, we cannot divorce tribalism and clannism but we need to remember that, the best tribalist is usually the best believer in clannism and the best tribalist is also likely to be very corrupt.
Since both clannism and tribalism are deep-rooted in many of our Kenyan communities, we need to start taking stock of its negative implications especially on building successful democratic tenets in our society.

Since both clannism and tribalism goes hand in hand, they stifle freedom of choice especially during leadership contests and anchors favourism which destroys meritocracy in public life. In fact, clannism during the electioneering period holds voters hostage; making them support candidates just because they come from their clans and not what they are capable of doing after being elected.

People who don’t mind about clan or tribes are more likely to accommodate other people’s views and ideas; a clear way to mold a better society.

When we will accept candidates especially in democratic contests and discourses based on who they are and what they want to do for the general public, it will be the final nail on clannism and tribalism in Kenya.

We are in the 21st Century and we want to see diversity in the way we elect our leaders. For more than 4 decades, we have seen leaders elected outside their home area and this is an idea we need to continue embracing in order to tackle negative ethnicity.

In post-independence Kenya, Kibaki, Mboya, and Oneko were elected outside their home communities and although majority of the voters were from their tribes, I’m sure they attracted admirers from outside. This is a culture we need to let sink if we truly want to change Kenya by destroying the divisive monster of tribalism.

We want to see diversity of leadership in contests as reflected through the election of Philip Leakey in Langata Nairobi, Basil Criticos in Taveta, Fred Gumo of Westlands, Elizabeth Ongoro of Kasarani and Shakir Shabir of Kisumu town. With this spirit of tolerance which knows no race, tribe or clan and accommodating people based on their ability and contribution to society, we will build a proud nation.
We want a system where you go to any part of the country, sell your ideas contest for political office, lose or win and life goes on. If we let clannism and tribalism get ingrained in our minds, it will dent talents, relegate best leaders, demotivate people, destroy meritocracy, entrench favourism which will culminate to poor service delivery especially in public life.

Rather than looking at clannism for instance when electing an MP, or civic leader, we need to look at how the candidate’s ability will impact on the social-economic development in the community.
It’s not bad to identify ourselves through our tribes or clans, but we really need to start being like Tanzanians who are proud of their nation before everything else.

We are the strongest in the region but behind Tanzania and latest Rwanda, in terms of how we are nurturing democratic leadership concepts and this one has not earned us any respect.

While in a conference in Arusha in 2007 a friend, who is actually an MP from Kigoma North, for the Chadema party, gave us a lecture on the rigours he went through before being elected as MP. He was the youngest candidate as MP in the whole country. Had no name recognition, no riches, and a fresher from college in Germany. He went through hurdles- including clan politics but won the elections because most Tanzanians are not so much into clan or tribal politics. Today, Mr. Nzitto Kabwe is a shining star for the Chadema party in Tanzania’s parliament and shadow Minister for Finance.

If we can slowly eliminate warped prejudices of clannism and tribalism, especially during decision making in leadership contests, we are likely to build a great country where individuals will be voted not on the basis of their tribe but on what the Late Martin Luther King junior called “the contents of their character.”

Letting these negativities lead the way in building political power bases, lobbying for jobs and positions, havens for favourism and access for national opportunities, our Country Kenya will never move even a single stride.

As a candidate for Bobasi parliamentary seat, I know we come from 3 major clans- Bosansa, Bogetaorio and Masige but to me, this is only important for our identity as a people but it will never be the yardstick under which I will define candidacy or seek for your votes.

You will vote for me not because I belong to your clan but because you belief that I have what it takes to pursue developmental programs which will spur the people’s standard of life.

I’m proud of being Omogusii and a Kenyan citizen from the Western part of our country. I’m appealing to you to support me so that together we can face the challenges facing us while united. I have faith that when elected, I will do a good job for our people. God bless you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

THE GOVT SHOULD ACT ON ECONOMY TO AVERT A NATIONAL CRISIS

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo,
aspiring MP Bobasi in 2012
It’s indeed sad that more than 60% of Kenyans are struggling to meet the costs of basic necessities. I’m not an economist but I was alarmed by President Kibaki’s speech in Othaya where he praised his economic legacy which was also echoed by his Finance Minister. Truly, are the two living in Kenya or they have a different meaning for economic downturn?
Do the two leaders gauge the economic indicators of our nation based on their monthly income or bank accounts and individual investments?
This is a big joke and an insult to the Kenyan parents whose children are currently going to bed on empty stomachs!
Kibaki is a renowned economist but to say the truth, his economic policies have been extremely mean to the poor- more Kenyans live in poverty under his Presidency than his predecessor. That is why I think it will be totally premature to talk about Kibaki’s 10 years legacy when 31 million Kenyans are struggling to put a meal on the table.
Inflation has skyrocketed; the people’s purchasing power is dwindling each day and the power of the shilling keeps plummeting daily. Is this the pumper economic legacy President Kibaki his boasting of after 10 years as Kenya’s CEO?
It’s in Kibaki’s Presidency that we have seen a small class of Kenyans mysteriously rise to riches through unscrupulous (corrupt) means- from middle class income people to multi-billionaires. The same class, including Kibaki himself and several others in former President Moi, and the late Kenyatta’s regimes, accounts for over 40% of the Country’s Gross Domestic product. This is the genesis of the wide disparity between the rich and the poor in the Country.
Though the government talks about economic prosperity like what Kibaki and his finance Minister said last weekend in Othaya, to the average Kenyan, it’s all fiction because the poverty levels in the country remains a paradox. In fact, many Kenyans say, although corruption was rampant during Moi’s regime, people afforded the basic necessities of life like Unga, kerosene, and cooking oil.
It’s worrying to have a government which does not understand the plight of its citizens. In any Country, when citizens cannot afford to feed and clothe, none can boast being comfortable or safe, whether you are a millionaire or a billionaire!

When life is unbearable to your neigbour and you live in material opulence, you MUST feel the pinch inside you if you are humane. This is what Kenyans expected to be a catalyst for our leaders to seek for a quick solution to help the hurting nation.

Not even the ruling class- the President, Cabinet Ministers, Mayors or Provincial administration heads will be safe when you go to Turkana, Mwingi or Kibera and you see young kids gasping because of starving.

We are outraged by the government’s silence on addressing the low purchasing power and the skyrocketing of prices for essential commodities. This outrage will continue increasing even more than what we saw in 2008 from a human rights activist Fredrick Odhiambo who booed down the President during a national celebration. It will soon degenerate to the madness of an entire nation. Outraged people can do anything to drive a point-especially when they are hungry.

Kenyans who gave mandate to the current government will be justified to act in a manner that will prompt the same government to act especially in addressing the urgent economic crisis. They understand that it’s only through governments world over, where citizens’ interests and aspirations are safeguarded.

That is why President and the Prime Minister whom Kenyans gave the mandate in 2007 to manage our national affairs MUST carry out their moral responsibility through commission, and get Kenya out of the current abyss. The two are like fathers in families looked upon to provide solutions to the negative situation in the Country. We will hate to see what is going on degenerate into anarchy or even a revolution which can paralyze the operations of the state.
Here is a distress call from hungry and angry citizens which must be heeded by the grand coalition government partners; the Finance Minister and the central Bank governor to do everything in their power to stabilize the Kenyan currency in order to check the current inflation.

It’s time to talk the talk and walk the walk. The Prime Minister who has been captured by the media in video clips promising the reduction of fuel and Unga prices must remember that Kenyans are watching his words and if it turns out empty, it will be disastrous when the right time comes. The President who appears green on realities over the current inflation and has kept boasting about the economic boom in his presidency MUST open his eyes to see the reality and get Kenya out of the current mess.

Nothing seems to be working-not even the recently signed Bill where the government will control the prices of essential commodities; even zero rating tax on imported maize hasn’t helped anything at all. Political leaders tasked with working out mechanisms to solve the current problems have lost focus and are instead busy strategizing about the Kibaki succession- it’s all about power and not the Kenyan people.

They have failed to remember that the votes they want in 2012 will mostly come from hungry Kenyans who can do anything to make the country ungovernable. All revolutions seen in the world are triggered by the pursuit to overcome a crisis. From the Haitian revolution, French revolution, American Revolution to the match against Ferdinand Marcos and the ongoing Arab Spring; all depict a clear demonstration that people power cannot be taken for granted. People can employ all means to achieve what they want.

We understand all is not rosy world over; including the developed world like the USA, where for the past one week; angry protestors have carried out demonstrations in major cities expressing outrage over unemployment and the poor running of the nation's financial systems which they say is the reason for America’s economic downtrend.
However, the level of commitment from government operatives and legislators in Congress is extremely encouraging. In fact, the US Congress has been working even beyond midnight; trying to get a quick fix to the economic crunch. We expected to see the same from our legislators, the President, his deputy and the prime Minister if they truly cared about the hurting nation.
While I yearn to become MP for Bobasi constituency, there are pertinent national issues which affect all our people across the board and we cannot shy away from it. I understand the resiliency of Ababasi, the larger Gusii and all Kenyans for working hard to put a meal on the table for their families but we must keep a watch on the government because it controls a greater percentage of our lives.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CHANGE THROUGH ISSUE ORIENTED POLITICS

BY JOSEPH LISTER NYARINGO,
NEXT MP, BOBASI CONSTITUENCY.
My fellow Kenyans from Bobasi and beyond,
I salute you with profound gratitude happiness and love. I wish to share with you the following message centred on our pursuit for servant leadership for Bobasi through hope, tempered on change. Kenyans worked tirelessly to promulgate a new constitution after many years of waiting patiently and hopefully. We all can see and celebrate the short term impact of the new laws and to be honest, there is blight light at the end of the tunnel for our nation.

In the West, political campaigns are dominated by the candidates’ stand on issues like civil liberties, minority rights, healthcare, security, unemployment, the environment and education. These issues shape the debate and give the voters chance to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate. The candidate, who is more articulate and focused, gets the victory while the one who appears weak and whose plans are not in tandem with majority interests, aspirations and believes, suffers defeat.

In Kenya, the 2012 election fever has hit a crescendo in villages, towns and caf├ęs. Voters are debating heavily on t leadership patterns- individuals the nation will vote to power since we are totally in a different dynamic as a result of power devolution under the new constitution which altered the hierarchical pattern of the Country’s political representation. The voters will be voting for the Country’s chief executive, gubernatorial candidates, Senatorial, MPs and County representatives amongst others.

Besides, many voters do reminisce the horror, catastrophies and social evils, which have dominated our Country since independence. A minority will look back and see a milestone because of the gains they have made on individual capacity, but the bottom-line, Kenya, has continued to be drained, derailed, mismanaged with inept, grandiose manveurs for self-enrichment, corruption and violence all mooted by the ruling elite since we attained independence in 1963.

The disparity between the rich and the poor continues to grow wide and wider. Those who cannot afford a loaf of bread forms the easy prey and target by politicians during the campaigns. These politicians love to operate under this negative adage: “make the people poor and you will dominate and control them, empower them and they will question you and take power away from you”

It’s indeed sad that Kenya has continued to produce millionaires all these years when majority of our people live below a dollar a day. I feel ashamed that those we have been electing bottom- up don’t care to develop a contingency plan to address the rampant problems which have continued to bedevil our nation. From poverty, famine, corruption, rampant insecurity, to increased road carnage, and to the suffering of vulnerable groups in the society, all continue to strangle majority of Kenyans on a daily basis. The people Kenyans have continued to entrust with leadership have failed completely.

As we stride towards the 2012 elections, the best gift Kenyans should offer those who have been given the opportunity to serve and lift our nation from the present degradation but failed is a red card during Election Day. They don’t deserve to be re-elected. Even the new entrants MUST be screened so that people knows what they stand for.

Indeed, if one is given a mandate by the people and fails to think about them, fail to empower them, or articulate their issues as an elected representative, there is no reason why that person should be given the mandate to lead again! A good shepherd MUST love his flock, feed them, water them and provide them with a good shelter.


I have decided to go for MP since a believe it will keep me closer to the people of Bobasi; provide me with the opportunity to put into practice the vision I have for the constituency as well articulating my ideas in Parliament to help the larger Kenya. Remember, it’s not easy to wake up one morning and say you want to be this and that, unless there is a burning desire behind it popularly known as PASSION. This passion is not egoistic or for personal glory, but noble, people driven and primarily lifting humanity. This is the MAJOR reason why I want to become MP so that I can put into practice the desires I have for our people in the political discourse.

We cherish our democracy where voters use the ballot to bring to power the men and women with the capacity to work for the robust future. And if they make a mistake to vote wrong people, they live to suffer for 5 years and even beyond.

Having offered myself as candidate for Bobasi constituency, I will continue to appeal to all voters that in me, they have a candidate, who stands for peace, tranquility and harmony. In me, they will always cherish the humbleness and meekness that dominate my character. I mixes freely with all; treating all with dignity, respect and empathy irrespective of their status in life. They will be proud to have an MP who believes in servant leadership through people empowerment. The reason why I think I can do a good job and I will always repeat this before and after election, is because, I will involve voters when running or managing the affairs of Bobasi constituency. It’s a big mistake or illogical to detach yourself from the people whose problems you want to solve and purport to be working for them.

Mine is a deviation from a one man show which is behind the stagnation of social- economic development not only in Bobasi but the entire Country. As believer in transformed leadership, I want to ask the people of Bobasi to bank on me and trust that I will actively participate in the legislative process to ensure that all issues of Bobasi people are addressed in the national assembly (Parliament) without fear or intimidation. I know I’m not a coward but brave and ready to defend the truth no matter how unpopular it will be to existing establishments. After all, my key interest is and will always be the good of Bobasi, Gusii and Kenya. My background on Trade Unionism speaks volumes on my tenacity especially sticking to the truth despite existing challenges from establishments. You can review it on our website: www.listernyaringo.org.

When voters cast their votes wisely, when they vote in leaders who are mindful and interested in public service and positive change for Kenya; chances are, we will see less of the many impediments and challenges facing us today. The negativities we have experienced and continue to experience like: The Hague trials, the post-election violence which characterize every election, the Wagalla massacre, the injustices, the insecurity in our villages and urban centres, the rampant road carnage, the famine that has reduced some of our people to eat herbs like antelopes, the debilitating learning conditions in our schools and the struggles our farmers face in their efforts to increase production and the graft (corruption) and tribalism which has continued to dominate the Presidencies of the late Kenyatta, Moi and currently Kibaki, will all be things of the past.

A general election is a very important occasion for any nation’s calendar. This is the period when the power of the poorest man or women in Kenya is at par with that of millionaires. This is actually the most beautiful thing about democracy, where citizens exercise their rights to vote in a candidate (s), who will define the fate of a nation not only for 5 years in our situation but also the future. That is why Kenya’s success or failure is pegged on the hands of men and women we elect to manage and control the factors of production. We’re bound to suffer if we misuse the ballot to usher wrong leaders into leadership who lack focus, creativity, management skills, and are hell-bent on pursuing the “self” rather than the collective good.

I want to remind all Bobasi voters in this forum to observe keenly from now to Election Day on leaders whose key motive is to rise politically only for fame, riches, to be heard and seen. Secondly, those who make voters an after-thought after being voted in MUST be rejected through the ballot because we have experienced their leadership incapability and inefficiency. Let us not buy their lies, tricks, sweet talk and fiction. More importantly, constituents who understand how monetary enticement from the incumbent and his predecessor has robbed the people of Bobasi off good leaders for almost 3 decades, should act as the best catalysts to change our people’s mindset so that they START getting in love of a candidate’s issues rather than match boxes, shawls, kensalt or cooking fat or money during the campaigns.

I know we have the capacity to advise those we meet in on a daily basis to ignore leaders who use hand-outs to lure them for a vote since such leaders love to see our people in poverty and deprivation so that they can control, manipulate and dominate them. They know that in the 21st century, socially, economically and academically empowered people are very hard to manipulate and that their moribund ideas are not in tandem with the modern dynamics of life.

As we keep focusing on issues which matter for Bobasi and Kenya, before elections, I want to remind you that this Facebook forum has yielded so much fruit. It has enabled us get committed people on the ground currently helping us to build a support network in the existing polling centres of Bobasi. Although the impending boundaries review which will split Bobasi into two remains an impediment especially on committing people to our campaign, we have continued to involve everybody in whichever side of the hail especially those who are willing. We continue to constantly engage over the phone, private emails and virtual meetings. God willing, we will launch our campaign Manifesto end of this year. I promise to update you each step I’m making because this is not about me but for all of us.

Please, I urge each one of us to play a fractional role in our campaign by pointing out what we need to do, how we need to approach our voters, how to remodel our message to make it flow clearly to the voters. This is the surest way to win the elections so that we can start the long journey of changing Bobasi together. I end with this quote by Abraham Lincoln, “the ballot is stronger than the gun.” Yes we can!