Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Made in Kenya

While addressing Kenyans in Minnesota, our MPs Raila Odinga and Omingo Magara attributed the rise in crime to unemployment. It is ironic that they used the same forum to sell custom made attire made by Mr. Odinga's personal tailor in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

That simple action speaks volumes about Kenyan leaders who preach water while drinking wine. Jobs are not a creation of the government but as a result of trade. The government’s role is to stimulate growth and create an environment that is conducive for free trade.

There are many tailor in Kibera Constituency who will be more that happy to serve their MP Raila Odinga. There is a possibility that one among the thousands of tailors who call Kibera slums their home can do a better job than Raila’s personal tailor in Abidjan. I think it will make sense if Raila and his wife give Kibera residents a chance to work.

But I cannot whip Raila too much over this. The belief that foreign made stuff and foreign services are better than Kenyan goods and services is prevalent among our leaders and financially endowed citizens. When Kibaki was involved in an accident, he took a flight to London for treatment denying Kenyan doctors, nurses, pharmacists etc a chance to make a shilling. Recently Moi took a trip to Germany for treatment after being humiliated by the UK government. Moi’s family was denied UK Visas making it impossible for him to seek treatment there.

It reminds me of the Chadian PM Pascal Yoadimnadji who recently died of a cerebral haemorrhage a Paris hospital. It is a shame that Chad had no hospital to take care of the problem forcing him to take a long flight to Paris.

What is shocking is that those selling the ‘buy made in Kenya, make Kenya rich’ launder their suits in London. Without shame, they brag about it. Some Kenyans are known to import drinking water from abroad!

The mentality that foreigners are better than Kenyans drives our government into dishing out engineering jobs to foreign nationals at the expense of their own citizens. Little known to government officials is that there are many successful Kenyan engineers abroad who would be jobless had they remained in Kenya.

I think it is time we dealt with these notions of ‘International Standards’, ‘Foreign Experts’ etc. We should build our own institution and give our people a chance to work. Mama Atieno in Raila Slum, Nairobi, Kenya will be honored to tailor clothes for Raila and Ida.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Useless talk devoid of action

Here are some excerpts from a commentary carried in the Kenyan newspapers. Please have a look and at the end it, give me a guess of the writer’s profession. Ready?

“…the national defence policy should be reviewed…,” the author says.

“… operations of units sharing the national security mandate … should be harmonised. I do not see why the units should not routinely share intelligence and equipment, and support one another in emergency operations,” the author adds.

“…the veil of mystery and secrecy surrounding procurement of security hardware should be shredded,” he continues to argue.

Last but not least, the author says, “…private security is a service many Kenyans are paying for, and there is no reason we cannot enhance it through legislation and license competent private firms to have controlled armouries so that their guards can bear arms…”

You are wrong if you thought the writer’s profession was something other than legislating. At the end of his article, the byline at the bottom of the article says, “The writer is the Eldoret North MP and an ODM-Kenya presidential hopeful.”

In the byline they should have included this: He is also a former assistant minister in the Office of the President and former Minister for Home Affairs.

William Ruto is an example of the breed of people called legislators AKA Members of Parliament. It is common for them to address the public saying this or that should be done. But by whom?

MPs are given a mandate to make laws and amend laws. They have failed miserably to do this. Instead of making laws to rectify flaws, they take the higher moral ground and point the finger at ‘the Government.’ But what is government?

The four proposals –on how to improve security- that hon. Ruto made sound genuine if only Ruto was an ordinary citizen. Hon. Ruto served as an assistant minister in the Office of the President for some time. This position placed him in a position to give proposals on how to improve the security situation of Kenya. What did he do with that position? What will he be remembered for?

Hon. Ruto now admonishes the secrecy behind the National Security budget. This secrecy didn’t start today. It has been around for a long time. The masses have talked about this black-hole for as long as Ruto has been an MP. Did Ruto move any legislation to make the tendering system open to scrutiny by public institutions?

Parliament has powers to approve or reject the executive’s budget proposal. If we went to Ruto’s voting records in parliament, we will for sure find out that Ruto never cast a single vote against the security budget that he now describes as making “little economic sense.”

Most Kenyans will agree with me that nominated MPs Dr. Julia Ojiambo and Ms Njoki Ndung’u cannot be described as noisemakers. We never hear them say this or that should be done. They instead bring in legislation to address their concerns. In 2006 alone, Dr. Ojiambo’s initiative gave us two new bills and one amendment. In this 9th parliament new comer Njoki Ndung’u gave us a bill to address the rising cases of sexual assault and abuse. It is a shame that the biggest noisemakers in the land don’t have their names attached to single bill.

It is high time we told our MPs to slow down on their rhetoric and use their mandate as MPs to make laws that address what they whine about. These MPs should first exhaust their powers as MPs before seeking presidential powers. Their use of parliamentary powers should be an aptitude for their performance as presidents.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Of eating your cake and having it too

Welcome aboard the Mosaisi Time Travel Machine. Our first stop is Saturday, Nov 17 2002. Since you are now in that day, your brain has no memory of happened between that date and today. On that day, Kibaki’s presidential campaign is heated. The masses are singing yote yawezekana na Kibaki.

You are now in Ngong attending a Narc rally being addressed by Mwai Kibaki, George Saitoti and Raila Odinga among many other Narc luminaries. Now Raila has taken the microphone. The air is rent with Tinga chants.

“Kitendawili?” Raila screams out.

“Tega!” the masses answer him.

“Nauza hewa Napata pesa?” Raila throws his riddle.

The crowd has no answer so Raila asks for mji. He then solves the riddle by screaming out, “Goldenberg!”

Raila tears into Moi and Musalia Mudavadi and accusing them of plotting and executing the Goldenberg. He is saying: "Musalia and Moi know the whole truth about Goldenberg and they should come out clean.”

"Mudavadi was the Finance minister in 1993. He first paid out the Sh5.8 billion in export compensation and then the Sh13.5 billion. I know what I am talking about. I stand for the truth and the VP (Mudavadi) and the President (Moi) should come out and prove me wrong," He adds

I bet he is ready take the bible and swear that Moi and Musalia are responsible for the Goldenberg.

Here comes Professor George Saitoti weeping like a child as he remembers how Baba na Mama wa taifa Mtukufu Rais Mzee Baba Moi used him to do evil deeds.

"Anybody who wanted to serve the nation was not given a chance to do so. A trap was always laid out for you and all the dirt and blame was heaped on you," says the Prof Saitoti.

"Unachezewa kiswahili, unatemewa mate, unawekewa mtego,” Saitoti adds.

He ends by promising to spill all the Goldenberg beans.

Photos from the Profesa Kimya Play at Kisirani 1

Now I want to speed forward our second stop; Saturday, November 26, 2006. You are in Eldoret attending yet another rally addressed by Raila Odinga among others. As usual Raila –and not the other attendees- is going to be the next day newspapers’ headlines.

“Kitendawili?” Raila is shouting.

“Tega!” the crowd answers back.

“Panya alinaswa kwa mtego nikamuokoa!” Raila asks the crowd.

Once again the crowd has no answer … mji … and the answer is … Moi!

In the usual Railaistic ‘overjustifications’ and boastful take on his actions, Raila captivates the crowd detailing his political gains and favors.

"Moi should be grateful. I organised his first meeting with Kibaki at State House. He should thank me by not attacking ODM unfairly," Raila says.

"I came to Moi’s aid when the Government wanted to take away his houses and sue him over Goldenberg during my days as the Minister for Roads," Raila adds.

As usual the crowd applauds. A great leader has spoken! The great leader did not boast of obstructing justice -to save Moi- once. That is why I am taking you to our last stop of the day; Sunday, Feb 4th 2007.

On this date you are not in a political rally. You are in a house of God that we call church. You are in this church to witness Raila swear that he overheard Kibaki promise to run for one term before handing the reigns of Kenya to the late Kijana Wamalwa. Hata Mama Rainbow alikuwa when the promise was made.

After swearing in the name of the Almighty Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; Raila went on to tell the congregation that he saved Moi’s behind –not once but thrice- so Moi owes him one.

In reference to the Kanu-NDP merger, Raila says: "Moi detained me for over eight years. But when his leadership almost sank, I joined him with my National Development Party (NDP) team and enabled him to complete his wavering final term in office."

His braggadocio doesn’t stop there. He collects credit for defending Moi in a cabinet meeting where it had been decided that Moi should face prosecution over his role in Goldenberg and that he should be ejected for public owned -official residence of the VP- Kabarnet Gardens.

"I was censured at the Cabinet meeting for fiercely defending (note that he fiercely defended) Moi but as then Minister for Public Works, I said Moi still deserved to retain his Kabarnet Gardens home," Raila says.

And the congregation answers, “Amen!”

Did you realize what Raila just did? No? Civilized people will say he used his office to obstruct justice. In Kenya it will be just another entertaining piece from a pet politician.

At the time Raila tells us he protected 'Moi's house' from the evil Mt. Kenya Government (because that is how he wants us to see it,) he was the Minister for Housing, Roads and Public works and Housing. The Kibaki administration had just taken oath of office. On their plate was an orgy of land grabs that had to be brought to a halt. A Ministerial Committee on Public Properties was formed repossess grabbed public property. It was recommended that Moi, Michuki, Biwott among others surrender government property that was allocated to them. Key to implementation of this report was Raila Odinga in his capacity of Minister for Housing, Roads and Public works. Now we know that Raila used his office to feed the Nyayo Holy Cow with fodder. Today, the time has come for Raila to milk political capital out of his Holy Cow. Like any good farmer, he is reminding his Holy Cow where the fodder came from!

As they say, “what is good for the goose is good for the gander.” Since Baba Moi retained his stolen property, Michuki, Biwott et al retained their too. That epitomises what we call the war on corruption.

Now that you have taken that long trip and learned a lot (I believe), I want you to answer one simple question: On whose side is Raila playing?

My answer will be on his own side. This man who champions himself as a public watchdog is turning out to be the biggest cry baby. Or is it cry puppy? He is now spending too much of his energy detailing how he scratched the backs of Baba Moi and Mzee Kibaki and how they have refused to scratch his back in return. He even has a bible handy to swear by it.

By now you should have noticed the pattern. When sanitizing Saitoti, Raila was in Ngong trying to appeal to the Maasai. When he made his first proclamation of obstructing justice in favor of Moi, Raila was in Eldoret. He was trying to appeal to the Kalenjin. The second pronouncement on protecting Moi was made in Kericho. Same thing! He was trying to appeal to the Kalenjin.

For how long will this Sungura games go on before Raila finds himself painted into a corner? Even in the good old fables, Apwuyo the hare runs of lies and tricks. You cannot eat your cake –of sanitizing corrupt tribal chiefs- and still expect to have it –in terms of being a public watchdog. One thing has to give!

The average Chepkoech was hurt due Moi and his sons milking KCC, CBK -through Goldenberg, etc. Should Chepkoech celebrate Raila as a hero for his role in bargaining for Moi and his cabal’s freedom? Should Atieno and Moraa who were nailed on the cross due to Baba Moi’s 24 year misrule and outright looting welcome Raila’s statements with joy?

The wolves have become too bold to wear its sheep skin as a disguise. They have shed the sheep skin exposing their pelt. We are drunk with euphoria till we cannot see the wolves for what they are! We still expect them to lock up the corrupt and recover our money. In our dreams I say!

This Tribal Monster!

This is in response to .

As political campaigns heat up, the tribal chiefs and increasing the tempo of their drums as they try to awake the tribal monster. Anything and everything that happens is given a tribal twist. The in-thing is attributing crime and government control to the Kikuyu and to a certain extent to the Meru and Embu communities.

The article published by Public Eye made many allegations without giving any evidence to support them. For example, Public Eye alleged that promotions at the Kenya Police and international scholarships distributed based ones tribe. For one to make such allegations, he must also give us his source of information lest we dismiss his allegations as wild imagination.

The allegations that law enforcement is dominated by kikuyus may have no merit considering that the Police Commissioner Maj-Gen Hussein Ali is not a Kikuyu. Other senior police officers at Vigilance House including Senior Deputy Commissioners Lawrence Mwadime and David Kimaiyo, have never publicly identified themselves as Kikuyu. Other officers in the rank of Deputy Police Commissioner like Joel Biomdo, Gideon Mutua, Alice Kagunda, Christine Mutua, Edward Muchori, Mary Mwangangi, etc owe their ancestry to different parts of the country. People selling tribalism will ignore all these Kenyans and only focus on John Michuki as they seek to paint him as the image of the Police.

While I don’t rule out tribalism in the police force, I must remind you that what goes on the in the force is typical of Kenya. We are brought up knowing that you need somebody who knows somebody high-up to hook you with a job or a promotion. We have a police force where applicants bribe to be recruited. Focusing on the tribal aspect of it while ignoring the fact that corruption plays a big role in Kenya’s civil service is setting on the road to Rwanda.

Another wild allegation is that the judiciary is controlled by the Kikuyu. If the author took his time and surveyed all Court Clerks, Magistrates, and Judges; I bet that he would see a shade of all colors. The ethnic composition of our judiciary doesn’t in any way mean that ours is a clean machine. It is riddled with corruption. If you investigated a court in Machakos, you will find out that the clerks and the magistrates who are giving the masses a raw deal are predominantly of Kamba ancestry. That is the same in most parts of Kenya. Martha Karua –devil or angel- is in no way the defector judge or magistrate. Using her Kikuyuness to brand the judiciary a Kikuyu outfit is simply ignoring the real problems as you chase the tribal shadow.

We all have a right to decide what aspect of our ancestry we want to identify with. This right extends to George Saitoti. Napoleon Bonaparte (born Napoleone di Buonaparte) the French Emperor was never born French. Napoleon went on to conquer other countries in the name of France. Your Identity is your choice. We should let Saitoti enjoy his identity as a Maasai moran as much as his half Maasai brothers John Keen and Ole Ntimama.

Once again politicians and the media have pulled the stereotype that Kikuyus are genetically thieves. Public Eye was not left behind. That is why Public Eye said: “We are not surprised how thieves arrange with insiders in bank robbery from the same community to rob the nation.”

I am yet to understand why a Kenyan should make such an outrageous statement. Of what purpose is it to our nation? If the Public Eye team interviewed violent crime victims in the Gusii Higlands, it will be found out that a majority –if not all- were attacked by fluent Ekegusii speakers. These criminals have to date killed dozens of people in cold blood. We have heard of people being killed even after handing over all their money to these murderers. I am 100% sure that the Public Eye team will be red hot if one insinuated that Kisiis are cold killers. When will be start seeing crime as crime and criminals as criminals and not Taita or Ogiek?

Crime is an equal opportunity phenomenon. Perpetuators and victims of crime are as diverse as Kenya is. Attributing crime to one community is irresponsible and prejudicial. Those seeking to milk publicity out of stereotyping others should be condemned with the contempt that they deserve.

ODM is making a big blunder by making this a Kikuyu vs. Kenya campaign. ODM will rather see Mt. Kenya Mafia than see the crime that is corruption. Why? If ODM's campaign platform was to be on corruption in Government, very few of the luminaries will have the credibility to promise us a corruption free administration.

ODM chairman Henry Kosgey will not talk about efficient running of parastatals because we know what he did to Kenya National Assurance and the 4th all African games. His friend Mutula Kilonzo will have no credible words on rule of law because we know a lot about his role in the Goldenberg among many other looting expeditions. For sure Raila Odinga will be the offside if he promised to hold the corrupt individuals accountable after saying in public that he protected Moi from prosecution and handed him the government-owned Kabarnet Gardens. That is why they will rather tell Kenyans to kick the Kikuyu out because the Kikuyu are eating alone.

We need to see beyond the tribal euphoria that our politicians are serving. Mama Mboga in Nyeri is in a no better state than Mama Mboga in Mombasa. Citizens in Funyula and not having 3 meals a day just because their own in a VP. The roads in Nyaribari haven't been transformed into Turnpikes and Autobahns just because their own is minister for roads. On the contrary, the once tarmaked Kisii Kilgoris road that traverses Nyaribari is worse than a cattle track.

The above is reason why Kenyans should be cautious of the they-are-eating-alone and it-is-our-time-to-eat notion. In deed they are eating alone. But the they is no kikuyus or Luhyas. The they is social political and economic class where the Kibakis, Nyachaes, Odingas, Kenyattas etc belong. It is this cabal that is using us as bargaining chips to guarantee them a lifetime of eating. What is in it for you and I? Absolutely nothing!

We need to turn back because we are walking down a dangerous route. Tribalism has no place in modern Kenya. Ask the Baringoans living in abject poverty as the Moi and his sons lord over them.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The reality of being Kenyan

Before reading this article, please read what the late Wahome Mutahi said when he was campaigning to be president.

I will retire to Kisumu State House to receive defectors from the Opposition in Nyando and will smile as I receive cheques for 'projects of my choice' from the defectors. I will forget conveniently that I'm receiving money from the same people I had given relief food.

Then here is something for those who missed EA Standard's Feb O2, 07 edition.

Kham captured a "Kodak moment" of what makes us Kenyans. In Kenya, Mheshimiwa knows it all. Mheshimiwa in Kenya has the same status as that of Paris Hilton or Britny Spears of the USA. Mheshimiwa is an entertainer, an advisor, … an expert in everything! What Mheshimiwa says has to be right.

I was shocked when Prof. Ayiecho Olweny, MP, told the masses that they didn't have to read the Draft Constitution because Raila had read it and found it flawed. How could he say that and be applauded, I wondered. It is not till a friend of mine told me a few days ago that he had not read the draft that it hit me. Prior to that, this friend used to argue like he knew the contents of the draft inside out.

He profoundly lectured me on the demerits of the draft. He always talked about the Imperial president it would create. He showed his fears that the draft would take away land from Kenyans and bla bla bla. So a few days ago, I challenged him to tell me if or not he had read this draft. His honest answer was NO. He happened to be one of the millions of Kenyans who feel safe to let politicians interpret issues for them.

The in thing today is "Minimum Reforms." Everybody is singing "Minimum Reforms." Ask them what they want to be reformed and you will get a shock of your life. Those who may think they have the best knowledge will tell you: "we want a free Electoral Commission and reduced presidential powers."

When you demand for specifics, they will dismiss you as a Kibaki sympathizer. That is Kenya for you!

I think we put too much faith in politicians. It is time to take charge of our destiny. In Dholuo they say, Mhesmiwa ose rundo jowa mang'eny kendo nyaka koro watang'ne. Go ask for translation.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

High-noon for British Empire

Those who said the sun never set on the British Empire are right!

In 2001, Tanzania signed a single-sourced $40m contract with a British arms supplier BAE Systems (British Aerospace Limited). In this deal, BAE was to supply Tanzania with an Air Traffic Control (ATC) system to serve the country’s eight -yes only 8- military aircraft!

The ATC system in question was described by the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as being a dated technology. The agency said that upgrading the system to meet civil aviation demands would cost Tanzanians millions of dollars. The agency further argued that Tanzania’s needs would have been met with a $5m to $7m civil aviation system.

What is interesting is that the deal was pushed by none other than UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair’s argument was that the deal was good for the UK because it would protect 250 British jobs on the Isle of Wight that were at stake! (Who gives a damn about Tanzania Wanjiku who has to go to bed on an empty stomach to make such a purchase!)

Even more interesting is the revelation by a Tanzanian middleman Sailesh Vithlani that BAE paid him $12m (30% of the contractual amount) through a Swiss bank. The payment was done through Red Diamond Trading –one of BAE’s covert offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands. Red Diamond is the same outfit alleged to have given a Sterling pound 1M to the late Chilean dictator Pinochet.
Vithlani’s business buddy Tanil Somaiya (no relation to Ketan Somaia) collaborated the bribery allegation saying that they (Somaiya and Vithlani) were paid 1% of the contractual amount to make sure the deal was signed and awarded to Vithlani’s Merlin International.

Tanil Somaiya Left Donating bikes to Tanzanian Police

The World Bank and IMF refused to extend a loan to Tanzania for this purchase claiming that it was waste of resources. This however did not stop the deal. The UK’s Barclays Bank stepped in and finance it at interest rates that were much higher than those charged by the Bretton Woods institutions. In the end Tanzanians were left with a huge bill stemming from the UK’s quest to create less than 300 jobs for Britons.

Politicians will always be politicians. In this case, there was more to the storyline than securing 250 jobs. Did the kickback extend to individuals in the UK? Vithlani has no comment because the most likely answer is yes. The zeal by which Blair pushed for the deal suggests that money may have changed hands. This will not be the first time that an East African has dished out money to UK politicians.

Proprietor of Shivacom Tanil Somaiya (Center) presenting an award to Miss Tanzania

During the Goldenberg proceedings, we learnt of the cozy relationship Ketan Somaia has with UK politicians. We were treated to juicy stories about Pattni’s trip to the UK where he attended a Tory fundraiser. Pattni and Somaia were privileged to share a table with former Conservative Party chief and Cabinet minister Lord Cecil Parkinson at the Tory Winter Ball. Pattni didn’t fail to brag about mingling with the likes of Mark Thatcher –the arms dealing son of Margaret Thatcher.

To cap it all, we learnt that upon retirement, Lord Parkinson became the chairman of Somaia’s offshore company, Dolphin Group the mother company of the collapsed Delphis Bank. Lord Parkinson also served as Kamani’s envoy to South Africa as to promote Kamani’s controversial 25-year monopoly in the development of Mpumalanga Game Park of South Africa.

The two Tanzanians in this mess have been linked to many other corruption scandals in Tanzania’s defense contracts. These crooks continue to travel in and out of the UK as they will. The UK’s seems to have a traditional stand of protecting companies and individuals who are plundering Africa. The Pattnis, the Kamanis, the Somaias and now the Vithlanis have a safe heaven in the UK. This reminds me of the colonial era companies like the British East Africa Co. that owned East Africa and plundered it with full support of the UK.

The UK doesn’t seem to mind about corruption as long as the proceeds benefit her and her politicians. For this reason economic hitmen are treated like loyalty while relatively smalltime thieves like neo-colonial Paramount Chief Murungaru are prohibited from stepping on the English soil. After all the UK has to hoodwink us to see them as protectors and not perpetuators of corruption. What the heck! Fry one Murungaru and Africans will sing God Save the Queen.

In this setting, our leaders come out as colonial paramount chiefs who sold their people and land for a blanket and a mirror. And we say we are independent countries!