Friday, August 30, 2013

PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA AND HIS DEPUTY HAVE LOST THE REFERENDUM ARGUMENT

BY Joseph Lister Nyaringo
Atlanta, Georgia
To scare the bird is not best way to catch it. When a President and his deputy talk with rancour at government critics before the eyes of the nation, it portrays them as weak and insecure. Indeed, it’s also a poor show of leadership, disrespect to democracy and freedom of expression.

Portraying open anger over an idea or individual shows that you are totally robbed of your peace in private. You cannot kill dissent, or stifle freedom which is entrenched in our laws.

Leaders who get aggravated on every criticism leveled against their government are undemocratic, dictatorial and will make the citizens to feel like they have enemies of freedom controlling their national affairs.

How does the government expect the counties to develop without adequate revenue? Secondly, why are President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto scared of referendum costs when it’s the tax payers who will foot the costs which in the long run, will benefit all sundry?

Just recently, the deputy President spent a whooping Sh100 million to hire a luxury jet for his trip abroad. Besides, the President’s recent trips to Russia and China, with a bloated delegation of 60 people will soon send the tax payers gasping. I therefore disqualify the government’s argument on referendum costs.
While those agitating for a referendum are accused of playing the political card, the government needs to remember that governors and Senators are political leaders elected to safeguard the interests of the 47 County governments as focal points for socio economic development.

Times are over when the Central government in Nairobi used to determine which road, school or hospital should be constructed where and when.

We don't want county governments to beg the President or his deputy for development money which in fact belongs to the tax payers. That is why, even if there was an agreement to increase funding to the Counties, a referendum will be necessary to revise our law on devolution when the situation is conducive. This will help curb roadside declarations and buying political royalty by the executive.

Surely, if the end result of a referendum is to benefit the nation, why should the government feel that it’s a score card on their performance by the opposition yet they have been in office for less than 150 days?

Laws are not carved on stones. I remember former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, in the last referendum campaigns saying that any anomalies in the current constitution will be rectified; implying that although it was passed enmassee, it’s not perfect and therefore can be revised as needed to accommodate the prevailing governance systems and practices.

The hard-line stand exhibited by the Central Government on the matter is a clear demonstration of trying to incapacitate the counties. The executive needs to be reminded that devolution is so popular that if you go against it, you will be riding an empty wagon! You can’t win the argument even with much verbose.
And if it’s too soon to subject Kenyans to another contest six months after the last election, let the Jubilee government increase funding to the Counties and negotiate the right timeline for the referendum when the changes will be legally anchored in the constitution.

I’m sure the Senate, County governments and the political opposition is more than willing to dialogue on the matter. This inclusive approach will thaw mistrust and political animosity which has characterized the referendum debate in the Country.

Portraying arrogance like the one from the URP Party to discipline Governor Ruto as portrayed by former Speaker Francis Kaparo, cannot scale down the clamour to change the law on devolution. Kaparo should be at the frontline to apply his experience in advising the executive instead of adding fuel into the fire on the referendum.

On the other hand, President Uhuru and his deputy need to sober up and focus on serving the nation lest they break down. Their supporters also need to tone down their sycophantic arguments which do not hold any water.

The more persistent the Government gets to halt the clamour for a referendum, the more they are exposing their true colours as enemies of constitutional implementation. Silence to criticism should be the best sheep home for Uhuru and Ruto. Mentioning Raila or Cord in all their public functions shows how they fear the opposition.

My best advice to our CEO and deputy is this, you can force people to obey you in a dictatorship but you cannot make them love you. Encouragingly, Kenya isn't a dictatorship, and therefore, citizens have a right to criticize or hold leaders to account for their actions. In the current global order, if you hate criticism, go private and lead your life and enjoy.

However, since our two leaders accepted the challenge of lead Kenya, let them wear a thick skin like President Obama; who for the last 6 years has never seen a kind word from his political opponents. In fact, Obama does not respond. He operates freely like nothing is happening.

This is a strength Uhuru and Ruto should borrow to enjoy their leadership and deliver services to the Kenyan people before the end of their 5 years term.
We want spurred growth- better infrastructure and improved standard of living in the whole nation. Full implementation of devolution will be a recipe to spur regional development and liquidate historical discriminatory practices in the Country since independence.

Those against devolution are enemies to the counties like Samburu, Turkana, Pokot and Garissa. Otherwise, the quest for more funding for the Counties is not a Jubilee or Cord affair but a Kenyan one.

It must be remembered that there is still a red flag on the President's commitment to devolution following the assenting of the revenue allocation bill into law, and whose interpretation is pending in the Supreme Court after a petition was lodged seeking legal opinion on the bill.

Secondly, it must also be remembered that the deputy President campaigned all over the nation with red cards against the current constitution and therefore, it does not surprise any Kenyan when he is fighting tooth and nail to nail Isaac Rutto, the key architect of devolution.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

KENYA’S SHUTTERED DREAM

Joseph Lister Nyaringo
Atlanta, Georgia
Look at the optimism Kenyans had after the rainbow coalition came to power in 02? Kibaki was sworn in on a wheel chair and the nation was united. We saw hope just for a moment.

When the tribal gear accelerated, we started being torn a sunder little by little until it reached a crescendo; culminating to the PEV of 07/08; just because of the clamour to retain power.

I agree with the sage of Buddhism, Gautama Budha that all the sorrows in the world are caused by selfishness; which begets greed for money, power, favourism, nepotism, tribalism, poor values, immorality, murder; name it!

I wish we had 10 leaders; the caliber of ailing freedom icon Nelson Mandela, or even the late Julius Nyerere, who left Tanzania less rich but more united and less tribalized through his Ujamaa philosophy.

Nyerere's foundation continues to solidify the largest Country in East Africa. What went wrong with Kenya? Does the current leadership have the backbone to put Kenya on a good footing? Time will tell but the future looks bleak but not hopeless.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ON EQUITY AND EQUALITY, MOI WAS FAIR THAN HIS TWO SUCCESSORS

The best way to unify our Country is to ensure that there is equity. Every community whether small or large should have a sense of belonging in the government of the day; whether it’s of Jubilee, Amani or Cord coalitions.

Can you imagine we have communities in Kenya who have never had even a senior clerk in a government Ministry since independence, yet we boast of being a diverse nation?

When a government of the day appoints a Cabinet, Parastatal chiefs, Defense chiefs, Police Chiefs etc from government friendly communities and purport to reflect the face of Kenya in their leadership isn’t this bad news?

What will prevent Kenyans from demanding fairness using every available means? What we are seeing in Kenya today is a recipe for open revolt against nepotism and direct favourism. A government representing 42 communities cannot do what they are presently doing for Kenyans in the 21st Century.

No wonder, Moi ruled Kenya with an iron fist but many of us have come to discover that he was far much better that what we saw in former President Kibaki and now perfected by his ‘son’ President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In as much as Moi wasn’t the best for Kenya, he was much fair especially when it came to appointing men and women to serve in his government than Kenyans have been seeing since the year 2002.

It’s tragic that those of us who speak against these vices are branded as purveyors of hate speech when we are merely speaking the reality.

What Kenyans hunger for is the need for fairness, equality and equity from the current government. Nobody is against the President or his deputy but as young leaders with fresh and vibrant minds, they should know better than tearing our Country apart through nepotic mindsets.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

SHARING IDEAS BY JOSEPH LISTER NYARINGO: Uhuru and Ruto should choose between self and national...

SHARING IDEAS BY JOSEPH LISTER NYARINGO: Uhuru and Ruto to choose between self and national...: By Joseph Lister Nyaringo USA The current state of our nation begs for this critical question: how can a government led by sharp and fres...

Uhuru and Ruto should choose between self and national good


By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
USA
The current state of our nation begs for this critical question: how can a government led by sharp and fresh minds encounter too many false starts just 4 months after taking office? President Uhuru and his deputy took office with fervent optimism to lay a firm foundation that will transform Kenya into a regional hub for prosperity.

Is it lack of preparedness from the two leaders after the hotly contested election in March, if the emotions often exhibited by Ruto in Churches are given credence? The President and his deputy have in a couple of times stated publically that they never thought the Jubilee ticket would win the elections.

Another reason perceived to be behind the premature start by the government is the ICC cases facing the President and his deputy. With an imminent case in court, whether you have high chances of vindication, it’s normal to be nervous especially when you are accused of the worst crimes in the history of mankind. There is every reason for Uhuru and Ruto to worry about their future before they worry about the future of those they lead- Kenyans.

The above bring this critical point to the fore, who will bear the burden of leadership lapses when the President and his deputy will be attending court sessions in Europe? Suppose the citizens rise up and demand for the stepping down of the President and his deputy so that Kenyans can elect new leaders, will this be a popular decision?

Who is to blame for all the challenges bedeviling the new administration? Did Kenyans make a mistake to vote for Jubilee, or did the Judiciary err to give the Uhuru and Ruto, a free hand to vie for office?

The adage of new blooms sweep clean does not apply to the current government. When an infantile leadership still in a celebratory mode for victory fails to quell minor challenges, it leaves many Kenyans in Queer Street.

Majority of Kenyans knows the challenges of leadership but they need to see hope, like they did in 2002 when Narc under Kibaki, came to power. They need reassurance from the government that the myriad challenges they face will be tackled.

Kenyans want government to succeed by fulfilling the campaign promise they made. We don’t want see a situation where the words spoken by the former US secretary of State for African Affairs; John Carson before the last elections coming to fruition.

Despite the fierce court battle which followed the last elections, it will reflect us as a nation prone to doomed choices if the current government fails flat, thereby, justifying Mr. Carson’s warning of far-reaching consequences in the event Jubilee leaders were elected.

It’s upon the President and his deputy to weigh between what is good for them at individual level and 40 million Kenyans who rely on their leadership for the future of our nation. If the heat turns to be too high, resigning from office the way one of the USA Presidents; Richard Nixon did in 1974 as a result of the Watergate scandal will be the best option so that Kenyans will get an opportunity to elect a new slate of leaders with less baggage to steer the nation forward.

We want to see our two leaders thaw the confusion in government. The imbroglio between the President and
Telecommunication companies over the ICC evidence, the discontent from governors over devolution, hostility from members of the public who are hard hit by the tough economy need to be addressed to build public confidence. Besides, we hope the doctors, lecturers, civil servants; the KDF who raised an alarm few days ago about their remuneration has been addressed by the government.

One of the worst challenges facing the government of Uhuru and Ruto is the polarized status of our nation. We are more disunited as a people more than 2008 when the country was embroiled in the post election violence. Ethnic disharmony is on high ebb and continues to be perfected by the government especially through allocation of senior government jobs with no regard to meritocracy, ethnic and regional balance.

How does it help to build ethnic harmony and a united nation, when the Head of anti-terrorism unit Boniface Mwaniki; CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro, Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau; KAA Chief Security Officer Eric Kiraithe; KAA GM Stephen Gichuki are the top names of the team tasked to investigate the JKIA fire tragedy; all from the President’s community?

There is no doubt about the knowledge level and professional prowess of the said individuals but truly, does this picture of open-nepotism boost the diversity of our nation?

Kenya is a nation of 42 ethnic communities but its worrying when 65% of the Jubilee Cabinet is comprised of people from Uhuru and Ruto’s communities. We also have big ethnic imbalance in the army and the national intelligence service.

How can the Jubilee government keep sacking people from perceived ant-government communities and expect not to face resistance? We cannot condone excuses from a government which is full of nepotism and instead of building bridges between the 42 Kenyan communities, its burning them down.

Just recently, the Secretary for labour Kazungu Kambi; sacked the NSSF managing Trustee Mr. Tom Odongo and replaced him with Hope Mwashumbe who is from his region. As if this was not enough, Mr. Zachary Ayieko from Kisii was shown the door as the CEO of Kenya Rural Electrification Authority and replaced with Ng'ang'a Munyu; the President’s tribeman.

If the Jubilee leadership cared about building a united voice after the disputed 4th March elections, professionals like Ole Kiyiapi, Martha Karua, Peter Kenneth, Eugene Wamalwa, and strong voices representing community interests like Abdalla Dida and Musalia Mudavadi should be at the help to help pacify current disunity in the Country.

Remember, Kambas, Kisiis, Luyias, Turkanas, Luos and majority of Coastalians are fully behind the political opposition yet Jubilee is in a spree of axing professionals from the said communities from public assignments and replacing them with their cronies.

Too bad for President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto. Truly, if the heat is too much for our two leaders as the signs reflect, the most honourable thing to do is to yield their positions to pave the way for an opportunity where Kenyans will elect a new slate of leaders able and ready to move the Country forward.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Jubilee government has lost focus on serving Kenyans (Part One)

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
Atlanta, Georgia
We all understand Rome, was not built in a day but even with this ancient adage, the challenges facing the Jubilee government have proved to be so gigantic that it has left many Kenyans in a state of quandary.

Many are wondering whether it’s a deliberate move by the Jubilee government to create a crisis and find a quick fix in order to build public trust; which to me is a populist maneuver for leaders with a confidence crisis.

What we are seeing in President Uhuru’s government is not a sign of good things to come for the Country.

It is purely a normal phenomenon for citizens to have high expectations for any new government, especially when all
campaign promises are still fresh in their memories.

Kenyans expected a new approach in governance from the Uhuru and Ruto led government especially since we are under a new dispensation which has many safeguards to spur social, economic and political development in the Country.

Nobody has forgotten the fact that even great leaders in different spheres always start from rocky bottoms before they are able to effectively pursue the path which is appealing and is productive to the aspirations of the population they serve.

What we cannot dispute however is this: the foundational structures that a new government puts in place will always define its failure or success. The Jubilee government hasn’t been able to say or do anything tangible that will nurture patience and confidence from members of the public.

Many Kenyans are asking these queries: Will the Jubilee government rise to overcome the adverse circumstances it’s currently in and claw their way to the waned public confidence? Or will it blow off all the Policy promises they made on a wide variety of issues which, if pursued to completion will prosper the country?
My consolation to President Uhuru and his deputy is this: great personalities have dusted their ways from the ground to rise into giants in business and national leadership depending on the catastrophes they were in and how they managed to tackle it on their way up.

Notable examples are, Abraham Lincoln who overcame many odds to become one of the greatest US Presidents in the 19th Century. Even the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs faced challenges which almost crumbled his company at inception but by the time of his death, Jobs, left Apple a global ICT giant.
Is the Jubilee leadership ready to put aside all the sideshows which have dominated their 100 days in office and focus on the campaign promises they made to Kenyans?

Are they ready to understand and accommodate the fact that political opposition in any democracy is a solid reality and that if the President and his deputy hate criticism, then they have no business staying in political leadership.

Thinking they will wake up one morning to find jubilations all over the Country about their performance is a pipe dream. Come on Mr. President and deputy, you fought to get it, live with it or quit and be a regular citizen rather leaving Kenyans in Queer Street.

The condemnation mooted towards Cord leaders is cowardly, infantile and dictatorial. In fact, it has become so monotonous that many Kenyans think that the Jubilee leaders are incompetent to lead the nation.

You can’t talk negative consistently about the political opposition and expect to vanquish them. Remember, Wananchi knows that Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka are not on the steering wheel to take responsibility for Jubilee’s current quagmire.
The current circus on the security of the two Cord leaders has dented the image of the Jubilee government and if Kenyans were to go for an election, Uhuru and Ruto will suffer a humiliating defeat.

What is the role of political advisors like Prof. Sam Ongeri and Joshua Kutuny, when the leaders they serve continue to make myopic and nauseating decisions detrimental to the aspirations of the nation?

It’s not the first time that Uhuru and Ruto have faced challenges in their political careers. In 1992, Ruto, Cyrus Jirongo, Sam Nyamweya, and Isaac Ruto through the YK 92, sneaked Moi of Kanu back to power despite the harshest opposition from Kenneth Matiba of Ford Asili.

The deputy President did it again in 2007 while in ODM when he managed to galvanize the Kalenjin vote for Raila Odinga. The election results were disputed which culminated to the formation of a coalition government between Kibaki and Raila.

President Uhuru has equally faced challenges in his political career. He unsuccessfully vied for the Presidency in 2002 but lost. It was a tough balancing act to stand as leader of opposition in parliament against a government led by his tribesman; Mwai Kibaki. He finally dethroned himself as opposition leader and joined the Kibaki government.

All hope is not lost; Kenyans want service delivery. They want to feed, clothe and educate their children. Above all, they want security. The Youth, whose platform Jubilee rose to power want jobs.

It’s very clear that if Kenya was a multi-national company, President Uhuru, and his deputy would have been fired long ago as CEOs based on the way they are handling the current crisises in their government.

I think the worst is yet to come when our two leaders will start attending the court sessions in Europe, whose outcome may be an outright acquittal which many of us are praying for, payment of fines or life imprisonment.

While the future looks bleak, all hope is not lost. We want the government to succeed so that our nation will be at par with the developing world. The Millennium development goals and Vision 2030 are all staring at us as a nation.