Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Martin Shikuku’s legacy will always inspire Kenyans


Martin Shikuku’s legacy will always inspire Kenyans
 By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
The late honourable Martin Shikuku will not only remain legendary but a living symbol for equity and equality in our nation. I haven’t seen any leader who advocated for the common people of Kenya with great zeal like the former Butere MP. We grew up hearing him and saw him fight for our common good fearlessly even when the system was extremely brutal to dissenters.
He carried himself with humility and humbleness; often mingling freely with all cadres in the society. I personally met him for the first time in 1994 in a setting where most V.I.Ps will never shake your hand; leave alone talking to you but Shikuku, embraced me and my friends; shook our hands; shared a short conversation before walking away to see the big guys.
We were all left puzzled especially being in a society where the mighty carry themselves like small gods and rarely socializes with common people. This trait by Shikuku is very uncommon.  Shikuku’s character was similar to that of the late JM Kariuki and Bishop Alexander Muge, of the Anglican Church. Both loved ordinary people and were fearless while defending justice and truth.
Ask yourself where Kenya will be if we had majority of MPs with similar qualities to Shikuku, Muge and JM Kariuki? On the other hand, suppose Matiba and Shikuku would have taken government in 1992, shall Kenya be the way it’s today under the Kibaki Raila government?
I have the audacity to believe that even though Matiba’s health was wanting, Shikuku would have helped him to pursue an aggressive agenda to reform key government organs and give the Country a new constitution immediately after the first multiparty election. The Country could have been in a better footing today had Matiba and Shikuku taken government.
Its worthy to note that the bad seeds Kenyatta planted in our nation after independence got fertilized by Moi and kept blossoming. When Kibaki took over, he promised to prune it but all was empty rhetoric.  Instead, tribalism and corruption skyrocketed to immeasurable proportions. Kibaki’s economic agenda hasn’t narrowed the gap between the rich and poor. Our nation continues to be treated with the get-rich-quick schemes.
The high revenue collection under Kibaki hasn’t helped much to fight poverty, unemployment or improve service delivery. Despite being an avid economist, Kibaki’s economic agenda isn’t for the common people but for the “big guys.” It’s only a negligible percentage of Kenyans who feel good about his economic policies.
No wonder, the late Martin Shikuku once wondered aloud why corruption and looting was rampant during Moi’s leadership but there was a trickle of crumbs for the poor, but under Kibaki, nothing falls from the high table for the biblical Lazarus.
The ideals Shikuku stood for is exactly what strained the relationship between Kenyatta and two freedom fighters- Jaramogi Odinga and Bildad Khagia. Kenyatta underwent a complete metamorphosis immediately after independence and pursued a path towards enriching his community and family through jobs and land grabbing. This was against the spirit of the freedom struggle.
That is why Kenya will later experience a series of political assassinations under Kenyatta’s presidency whose genesis is unresolved until now.
It’s saddening that after President Kibaki took power in 2002; he pursued no tangible plans to negate the evils of the past but instead perfected it. Our nation is more polarized, disunited and tribalism is on high ebb. The negative signs we see today are not different from what made us hate and kill each other in 2007. It all started when Kibaki destroyed the tranquillity and cohesiveness Moi had entrenched even under his Kanu dictatorship and many Kenyans look back and admire the unity we used to enjoy under Moi.
What can we do as a nation? The best is to learn from our true heroes like the late Martin Shikuku, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Bildad Khagia, Bishop Muge and JM Kariuki, in order to pursue the path which lifts the whole nation.
For honourable Shikuku, you were born; lived according to your purpose and as the nation embarks to give you a heroes’ salute for your final journey, you will always remain in our hearts as one of our Country’s greats.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Miguna Miguna needs to respect his audience

Miguna Miguna needs to respect his audience
I think it's good that Miguna is provided with security. The guy is actually a nuisance even to his audience who can turn amok and hurt him. I watched in disbelief a radio interview he held with Eric Latif of Capital FM, where the author bragged and went as far as saying he was smarter than the journalist.
Thank God, Latif appeared calm, polite and professionally savvy even when Miguna remained on the defensive; often ducking tough questions. Was this not an insult to to Eric Latif and members of the 4th Estate, when an interviewee calls a journalist dumb,; the opposite of the word smart?
How can you respect or entertain an idea coming from a person who belittles everybody he comes across? Is Miguna smarter than all 40 million Kenyans?
Miguna Miguna his sparing no one.; not even curious citizens. He has dismissed the CJ, DPP, the PM and virtually all MPs from his Luo community. He needs to sober up and treat people with respect if he needs their audience.
The altercation between Miguna and his audience in Nakuru this week is a clear indication that all will not be rosy for Miguna as he embarks in a tour to promote his book in the Country.
Has he used his smartness to advance any creative ideas to help Kenya apart from writing a book after falling out with his former boss and a short stint in detention during the Nyayo days?
Good people, we have seen heroes and heroins in our Country. Just yesterday, we lost the former MP for Butere, Joseph Martin Shikuku; a gallant son of Kenya who stood for the dignity of all irrespective of their status in life.
The former MP was detained because of fighting for the common people in our country but he never went round bragging and mocking Kenyan citizens and calling them idiots the way Miguna his doing.
The people's watchman carried himself with dignity. He touched many ordinary hearts and led an ordinary life; mingling with all; loving all while envisioning humility and humbleness.
The late Shikuku had every right to call us idiots because of his struggle but he never did. He answered all questions with respect.
Miguna may be driving a point but his approach will end up scaring even his admirers. In fact, he will scare even journalists who have put his name in the national radar. He doesn’t know the same journalists are digging deeper to understand him and know the original intent of what he is doing.
For me, I don't see what he is up to. If he cared about corruption, let him not approach it from one side of the aisle but go to the bottom of it.
We can trust him if he start posing questions to the ruling elite about mega corruption scandals like: Goldenberg, Anglo- Leasing, Triton Oil, Volkswagen cars deal, Grand Regency sale, Safaricom IPO, land grabbing and the sealed Ndungu Land Report, the pyramid scheme, stashed cash in foreign accounts, the weapons deal to South Sudan, and above all, the mutilation of the constitution by the current ruling elite.
If it’s about soiling the names of political leaders for self gain and cheap publicity, Kenyans have a right to ask him tough questions and if he can’t answer, they will run.
Joseph Lister Nyaringo

New Jersey USA

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kibaki succession and politics of betrayal

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
The two leaders in the grand coalition government President Kibaki should hold with esteem are Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, because of their positive role to his 10 years Presidency.
That’s why I think that Raila and Kalonzo are the most betrayed by Kibaki. As he strides towards the end of his political career, he does not appear to favour any of the two to succeed him.
This has sent tongues wagging especially in the Vice President’s camp, which have been holding their breath for payback time from Kibaki. They feel that the President should return the favour which Kalonzo extended to him in 2007 during the disputed Presidential election results.
What shall we conclude about President Kibaki who has been in politics since age 28 and who unsuccessfully vied for the Presidency twice before clinching the seat in 2002?
Shall we conclude that he is a principled leader and not a rewarder of political cronies or an unthankful person who dumps those who helps him to ride to his glory?
The Vice President had every right to turn Kibaki down when he offered him the Vice presidency and join Raila’s protesting camp over the disputed presidential election results. Perhaps we would not have the current coalition government, since it would have changed the political equation in the Country.
It’s also remembered that President Kibaki's victory in 2002 is largely attributed to the role played by Raila. The deputy Premier, just like the Vice President, even if both leaders don’t speak openly, must be feeling that Kibaki owes so much.
I'm 100% sure that the Vice President’s heart bleeds more than Raila’s especially when he sees the succession debate from the President’s community shaping up negatively to his presidential ambitions.
Its true Kalonzo saved Kibaki during the inevitable hour in 2007; a period viewed by many as the most desperate in the President’s political career. It can’t even be compared with 2002 when Raila Odinga, used the phrase “Kibaki tosha” at Uhuru Park.
Several political events have kept the Vice President extremely sceptical. First of all, a party formed by State House insiders- UDF, is spearheading Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi to succeed Kibaki.
It remains to be seen if Kibaki will eventually support Mudavadi and if he does, will he succeed in convincing Uhuru Kenyatta to forego his ambitions to support his fellow deputy PM?
If he doesn’t, Mudavadi should not expect any support from the President’s backyard and his exit from ODM will be seen as the most miscalculated political move in recent history.
Secondly, the pact this week which brought together Uhuru’s (TNA), Kiraitu’s (APK), Kimunya’s (PNU) and Kiunjuri’s (GNU),all from Mount Kenya, has left Kalonzo in tenterhooks.
Kalonzo may look passive and sound calm on State House’s silence over his Presidential quest but he bitterly feels betrayed by a community whose man he stood with and accepted to take the number two slot when the Country was smouldering.
When the campaign hits a crescendo soon, Kenyans will hear alot from the Akamba community who have continued holding their breath; hoping that since their man helped to legitimize Kibaki’s grip on power, Kalonzo would have been his preferred successor.
Watching the vigour with which Uhuru Kenyatta, Peter Kenneth, and Martha Karua are campaigning for the top seat, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi should not bank on Kikuyu votes. Even if Kibaki will rally behind one of the two, it’s unlikely that the community will deny their own and vote for an outsider.
The formation of the G7 alliance gave a new lease of life to the Vice president where he thought that the group will automatically endorse him. However, key figures in the alliance are expanding their energy and resources to advance their campaign on the national radar. This is a clear demonstraton that the success of the alliance to rally behind one presidential candidate is elusive.
It’s ironical that UDF, URP and TNA parties led by Mudavadi, Ruto and Uhuru respectively were all born almost at the same time except the Wiper party of Kalonzo and New Ford Kenya of Eugene Wamalwa. If these party leaders believed in a similar ideology and unity of purpose, why can’t they rally behind one candidate?
In the coming election, the 1992 and 1997 history is likely to repeat itself when a fragmented opposition would not beat former President Moi. This time round, the Moi, will be none rather than Prime Minister Raila Odinga.