Of Jubilee, NASA and the ‘Informed Voter’

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto of Jubilee Party

With the political party nominations coming to a close, the countdown begins towards the August 8th elections. The yet to be concluded party primaries have seen a surge in the number of youth seeking elective seats whether as Members of the County Assemblies, Members of the National Assembly, Governors as well as Senators. The general youthful argument being to provide leadership that is a stark departure from the old guard ethnic balkanizing of the electorate as well as the open voter bribery incidences that have marred elective politics for decades. It, however, remains to be seen whether these sentiments are merely populist public pronouncements or whether the youth actually desire to be different in preaching political tolerance and accommodating diverse political views. This badge that many claim to wear with pride and honor is unfortunately just that, a badge. Deep down, many still desire the raw ethnic profiling and making politics about ethnic communities and not policy or ideology.

The social media today, unlike 10 years ago has become a key battleground in the scramble for a favorable public opinion. Unfortunately, it has also doubled up as a platform for bullies and ethnic chauvinists to quash alternative opinions with the hope of anchoring the very same divisive notions that took Kenya to the doldrums in 2007/2008. No Kikuyu or Kalenjin is obligated to support the Uhuruto ticket for re-election. In the spirit of democracy, the power to choose is vested on the voter, even where he or she may suspend reason in electing representatives. Similarly, the alternative leadership presented by the Railonzo ticket is never a do or die affair for the voters. The candidates have a right to sell their agenda to the people, who also have the right to apply or suspend reason in choosing or rejecting their political ideology. Therefore, like in the case of the Uhuruto ticket, no Luo, Luhyia or Kamba is obligated to support the Railonzo ticket.

The 5 NASA Principles during unveiling of their flag bearer at Uhuru Park

Kenyans have for the past 54 years of independence allowed politicians to colonize their mental faculties, operating like automated robots when engaging in civic processes. We have belonged to political parties because our ethnic kingpins subscribe to them, shifting allegiance in a heartbeat when our tribal henchmen change parties. No wonder elected representatives hardly deliver in the roles assigned them. All they need to do is take a swipe at a particular ethnic community or its leading figures and voila, their electoral base reeling in euphoria, fall in line. Aspiring politicians also play this very card to earn popularity within a desired ethnic base then present themselves as party loyalists and defenders of party leadership. But Kenyans already know this. We have read and re-read such analyses but opt to turn a blind eye because we believe that everyone else is playing by these crooked rules. We feign helplessness even when we know very well that we are getting a raw deal and suffering the repercussions with every passing day.

I fall in the bracket of Kenyans that believe that we can do something to change the dominant political narrative. Nothing, however, happens where the will is lacking. For starters, we can actively interrogate the political ideologies as presented by the political parties and coalitions we subscribe to. Secondly, we can look at the individuals constituting a political party or coalition and question their track record in meeting the ideologies they have outlined. There can be no two ways about this. A little bit of research to inform popular statements that we reiterate once spoken by politicians can go a long way into transforming the electorate and especially opinion leaders from ‘Yes Men and Women’ to principled individuals with a grounded idea on the type of future we want for ourselves and our country Kenya.

The Writer is a Research Consultant for Savic Consultants in Nairobi.

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Kenyans Are Not Angry Enough: A Call to Action

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By Ooko Victor

Something is wrong with Kenya. Many of us think that it is entirely with the leadership. Others like me see the leaders as the disease, not the cause. We are the cause, me and you. The leaders we elect are a reflection of who we are. The impunity we see is what we choose every 5 years. Of course it is packaged in glittering campaign slogans, and accompanied with enticing ethnic music and jibes; anything to make ‘our kind’ seem superior to ‘them’, something that appeals to one of our fundamental need: belonging. And we have constantly traded this for good public service; for transparency in government operations; for strict adherence to the rule of law. And no, we never learn.

There are lots of myths surrounding what it takes to be a political leader in Kenya. A popular joke goes that all you need to do is to engage in corruption, capital corruption. Corruption so big that when it is computed, it can adequately sink 500 boreholes in North Eastern Kenya and make you the undisputed kingpin of the region. The capital corruption that awards you enough capital to launch massive irrigation projects across the dry areas of Ukambani and of Coastal Kenya. If anyone stole public money to launch such projects, that person would not be a thief worth having in public service and roaming around freely dishing out proceeds to Kenyans who really deserve it, such a thief, a benevolent thief would have been locked up in the deepest cells available at the Prisons Department. That thief would never get media coverage and public sympathy. That do good thief, who broke away from the code of thieving and plunder would have received a straightforward guilty verdict destined for the hang, and Kenyans would jeer him.

Of course Kenyans know we are facing tough times. We are programmed to fasten our belts for even tougher times. We have doctors who have downed their tools for the third month and counting. The nurses, recently out on the streets for similar pay demands are already threatening to down their tools again, barely a month since resuming work. Students in public universities are disillusioned with lecturers joining the ever-increasing list of aggrieved civil servants with long-standing disputes. And our Members of Parliament, among the best paid in the world, are currently hatching a plot to award themselves Kshs. 3 billion in benefits for being in office for 4 years in which Kenyans paid them slightly over a million shillings in gross pay! As if to add insult to injury, there is also a move to pay another Kshs. 3 billion to Members of Parliament who served between 1984 and 2002, periods of time characterized by unchecked land grabbing and misappropriation of funds set aside for the running of parastatals to name a few. The funds are available, just not enough to improve the plight of common mwananchi; rather, little bits to ensure the comfort of mheshimiwa.

I am an angry Kenyan. I am so angry that when I hear Moses Kuria or Johnstone Muthama speak, I imagine myself holding a bat to their face, certain that the very words I am afraid to hear will stumble out of their mouths. The kind of words that make reliving the 2007/08 post-election violence a certainty. I am an angry Kenyan who cannot trust persons who grabbed land from private citizens and public corporations. A very angry Kenyan who refuses to be ‘cultured’ in the ways of blind loyalties to ethnic crusades. Anyone who wants my trust should earn it. And I expect the same treatment from the world; no apologies. My anger is also directed at my teachers, well schooled individuals who teach me the values of a true leader and a true patriot, only to pull the rag from my feet when the ‘community’ is affected. Preach, preach, preach, but no practice. This makes me so angry!

But I do not let my anger blind me, and neither should you. I will not vote a 6 piece because I want to be politically correct. I will vote the hat that fits; the shoe that is comfortable and the trousers that reaches my feet. I will choose the coat that hugs my medium build, not these reflectors that all preachers seem to wear or oversize jackets that are passed down generations. I will wear the cloth that fits to my character and my ideals; my hopes and aspirations for myself and my country. My duty to those that believe in me to be different, to be better. Not perfect, just better.

Kenya cannot change if we keep doing what our parents and grandparents did. The same thing over and over expecting different results. Why do we put leaders in office? To serve us or to preserve the political party kingpins with hardly any agenda for mwananchi? It is obvious that we will one day awaken from this stupor; we can as well get over with it right away. Pour some cold water on our faces and realize that we deserve more. Government collects more taxes and instead of this resulting to more services, what we get is more corruption and more rewards for parliamentarians and their cronies. Every single play on the chessboard a selfish move to amass even more for the rich and hardly any crumbles falling off the high table to reach the citizenry; de jure kings but de facto paupers. Such is Kenya for you!

It is time that you got angry enough. So angry that you choose to move beyond the angry tweets supporting Amb. Amina Mohammed’s loss at the AU to actually registering as a voter or changing your vote to a place nearer to you. Angry enough to grab a clip board, collect a couple of signatures and run for office yourself like President Obama did not so many years ago in the United States of America and as Donald Trump also did recently. Otherwise, you are just another whining Kenyan with nothing to show for your claims of entitlement. Yes, you pay taxes; it is your right to expect the best. But when you don’t get what you are owed, you fold your sleeves and hit the road. It is time they paid up. I am collecting; are you?

Kenya does not need angels to save itself, Kenya needs you.

Why Ignorance Is Becoming Kenya’s New Normal

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Kenya is warming up to the next general elections. Today, it is close to eight years since the dark glares of the shadow of the post-election violence engulfed our country; tearing lives apart and turning neighbors against each other. Eight solid years since we last saw the glaring consequences of feeding from the raw political emotions of tribal chieftains; of taking it upon ourselves to perpetuate ethnic intolerance and outright hatred at them that we once considered our national brotherhood. Above all close to a decade since we followed through the path of war-torn states and engineered the massacre of fellow Kenyans as well as the uprooting of established livelihoods under the guise that they just did not belong amongst us.

Today, we have forgotten all about they that suffered the greatest pains that ultimately provoked the international community to intervene on our behalf and engage in saving us from ourselves. Even as we celebrate the gains of the new constitution, we fail to remember that it was that dark period that ultimately pushed us towards facing our opposition against each other and seek to strike a compromise that would ensure we pull each other and indeed our country into the future that though we view from different perspectives, we all admit is a shared necessity for our posterity.

The political class which back then was the key perpetrators of the violence, as well as the great beneficiaries of the peace-deal that followed has muddled the public scene with counter accusations over who betrayed their ranks. Who defiled their code of honor and ‘sold’ one of their own to the ‘monster’ that is the International Criminal Court (ICC). No one is talking about the fate of the victims; some of whom to date continue to live with the scars of the past and who, with every day we draw close to the general elections, relive the painful moments they underwent.

The finger-pointing however is not intended to hoodwink the political class! Not at all, the voting masses have everything to do with it. Whether it is the shuttle diplomacy to express solidarity with a colleague at The Hague or blunt dares at each other to explain the roles they played at sealing the fate of their own at the international court, the show is put up specifically to influence the masses and ensure the continued political cushion that comes with running the government of the day.

We are no longer talking about the rising cost of living. We are no longer talking about the dwindling quality of education (the World Bank having recently raised an alarm about Kenya’s half-baked graduates), even as the Law and Engineering students from several campuses across the country pursue accreditation for courses they studied so hard to qualify for in the first place. All these do not grab the headlines; all that does is the political games of who tells the best lies. Of course, no one is interested in the truth. We are busy buying what the politicians are selling, and in the process, playing straight into their political dragnet ahead of the 2017 general elections, where we suspend our problems for their own. We forget what is owed us by the political class and instead, play errand boys and girls at their pleasure.

When a politician openly uses inciting and derogatory language, we choose factions from which to analyze the statements and make prejudiced conclusions. In essence, we quickly forget how the 2008/09 political scene was manipulated to make us the vessels upon which the raw emotions of the political class were manifested to our own detriment. We choose to be used and reused at the convenience of the politicians on every run-up to the general elections and remain whining when the leaders we choose care not about their election promises.

When dusk falls today, we shall still be keen to watch the latest twist of the CORD-Jubilee counter accusations and forget that if ever there was witness coaching, then the political class not only engineered the darkest political period of our post-independence nation, but also denied us the opportunity at getting justice! Talk about being fu***ed both ways! And instead of calling for the arrest and prosecution of those who openly confess their role in the obstruction of justice, we ignorantly cheer at their political bravery and settle on our coaches with bowls of pop-corn to watch the drama as it develops.

Kenyans need to rally behind the pillar of true nationalism and not convenient patriotism if we are ever to learn from our mistakes and deliver our country from the political slavery that currently manifests through our biased political mentalities, either that or we shall forever remain the victims of different political generations that, in lieu of the current trend are bound to perfect the art of using us against ourselves.

Who Will Stand Up for Kenya?

Our country is is crisis. And am not a doomsayer to say this!

To begin with, we are currently playing witness to the attempted open arm twisting of the Judiciary by the Executive. A court order once issued is met by blatant disregard by those of might, while another that openly targets they that have less might is expected to be obeyed to the latter.

And secondly, is a lesson on how to deal with the courts, when you cannot get the judgement you expect, there are two options available, that you either craft up figures to justify the court’s apparent apathy of the economic times experienced, or you go looking for another verdict that suits you best. Mind you, none of these antics has anything to do with trying to read from the same script with the victims, in this case, the teachers who have been at the centre of the pay dispute for close to 20 years now.

This problem will hardly go away. A guarantee however is that, unless it is, then Wilson Sossion and Mudzo Nzili may not be there tomorrow, but whoever will be in charge, just like the preceeding governments, will inherit the right to keep pushing for the debt owed them and their predecessors.

It is a shame that teachers are always at the receiving end despite the nobility with which most of us regard the profession. Well, we may not necessarily have this feeling towards them but when the founding president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta reiterated the three enemies to Kenya’s development that needed to be vanquished, at the top of the list was Illiteracy. And it is the teachers who were the chief agents expected to oversee this transformation. Fastrack 50 years later and today, those same teachers continue to work under arguably disturbing circumstances with very little pay to effectively support their families and advance their individual aspirations. And as the country continues to lose billions of shillings to yet another of the independence setbacks (corruption), government still views an attempt to solve the teachers problem a luxury they simply cannot afford.

We continue to think that it is okay to still meet your teacher riding his old ‘black mamba’  to school while soliciting for funds through Harambees to educate his own children while the foundations they installed in our lives have made us millionaires!

We continue to think it is okay that the teaching profession continues to be associated with ‘low academic acievers’  yet still expect these same people to steer our children into the height of academic success? It is time we accorded the necessary respect to the teaching profession and gave them their slot at the high table as key partners in steering the national development agenda.

The ongoing court case should therefore not be viewed as a win or loss to the teaching fraternity. It should be a wake up call to government and Kenyans to note that the education sector if treated casually will continue being a perennial problem to all stakeholders.

In fact, the assembling of the Salaries and Remuneration Comission ought to have given special attention to the teachers plight. And unless the SRC is oblivious of the pay dispute history, they shouldn’t feign surprise at the open disregard of their authority by the teachers unions. In trying to comprehensively resolve a conflict, it is pertinent that you consider the historical issues that have rise to the conflict in the first place. Coming up with fresh laws doesn’t change the current problems, it just redefines them. The roots of the conflict still need to be addressed.

It really is time that someone stood up for what is right. Instead, the country is focusing on trivial issues surrounding the impeachment of the president (that definitely won’t mature)  and useless counter accusations surrounding the ICC; all clear political gimmicks aimed at diverting public attention from the actual problems bedevelling our country.

Ooko Victor.

Of Kenya, Uganda, Sugar and Brookside…

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Sorry I could not come up with a better title. This one appeals to me best; the tale of two countries, sugar, and a dairy processing giant in East Africa! To top it all, the politicking surrounding this entire issue having created a buzz that just refuses to go down. The big question here however is, does any of the political factions have the farmers interests at heart?

First, this is not the first time that Sugar has dominated the Kenyan political scene. The decline of Mumias Sugar Factory has been in the limelight for quite sometime now. Just recently, the Kenyan Government released Kshs. 1 Billion to help salvage the dying industry. Whether or not the mission is on its way to fruition is not public knowledge. At least not until it is realized that just like there is always an inlet to pour in ‘rescue funds’ in the name of the farmers, there is also an outlet that is very keen on siphoning every last penny off the sugar millers coffers. This angle however remains unaddressed.

The quantity of sugar consumed locally stands at 720,000 metric tonnes. This against a meager 520,000 metric tonnes produced by the local sugar millers. This therefore implies that we have a deficit of around 200,000 metric tonnes, the exact value for which COMESA had allowed for importation into Kenya, in accordance to the agreed on tonnes. What faces us now is the opening of the floodgates that would in turn see the influx of sugar into the country and a massive reduction in the purchasing cost of the same. The flip-side however will be massive losses by the local companies and maybe even their closure if they are unable to keep up.

 

Is it time we interrogated the level of technology of our local industries vis-a-vis the quantity and quality of sugar produced? If Malawi’s sugar production costs are 4 times lower that Kenya’s, doesn’t that point at something that could be done to improve on our current sugar woes?

It is common knowledge that we shall not always be protected from the market forces. Our industries have to keep up or risk losing out. Kenya needs to keep up pace with the rest of the world if at all we expect to compete effectively, not just where we have strengths but weaknesses too. If the sugar industry is so hot a task to manage then we really should consider privatizing it. That way, not only will efficiency be improved and bureaucracy eliminated, the farmers will be in safer hands. As things stand today, the government is perfecting the art of failing. And no matter the step they take, the ghosts of misappropriation of funds are not going away soon.

 

The opposition has a role in keeping the government in check. However, would they have approached the issue any different from the way government has? The Uganda deal aside, the Kenyan market was set to be opened to sugar products from the COMESA region anyway! So, is the calls for mass action just because Uganda was mentioned somewhere, or is it also in protest of Kenya’s trade agreements within the 19 countries in the COMESA region?

The opposition has not only to be realistic but thorough at approaching the whole issue. The elephant in the room is the high costs of sugar production. If they were lower, then maybe even the threat posed by COMESA would have been of no consequence. If we want to sell we must also buy. And that rule of trade will catch up with us one of these fine days, no matter what the opposition thinks.

Lastly, The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy has threatened to rally its supporters to boycott the products of the Brookside Dairy Company that is affiliated with the President Uhuru Kenyatta. My opinion is that this is a low jab. It is time we stopped personalizing national issues and actually sought to address the real problems affecting Kenyans. How will the boycotting of Brookside products reduce the cost of producing sugar in the country? Singling out companies associated with personality in the name of fighting for the well good of the entire nation is trivial. Does sabotaging one company that also provides jobs and revenues to the country necessarily contribute to national growth?

The opposition needs to get its act together if indeed they are keen on steering this nation one day. Otherwise, they will remain the whining dog that watches another dog gnaw at a bone they so much wish was theirs.

 

Ooko Victor.

Muslims Should Openly Denounce and Fight Terrorism.

Kenya is a secular state. No religion can therefore claim monopoly over the nation and it’s systems. Christians are more than Muslims, yet they are not any more Kenyan than the Muslims are. We are all children of Kenya.

There may have been historical injustices, unequal distribution of resources and outright disregard to the plight of particular regions of the country. Yet we are far much better off than we were ten years ago. We have a new constitution. We have increased representation. We gave devolved governments. The common man’s plight can finally be listened to.

Today, Kenya finds itself where it was close to 17 years ago. The year was 1998 and the scar though healed, is hardly forgotten. Then there was the Kikambala bombings, and much more recently, the Westgate, Mpeketoni, and Garissa massacres. All having the hallmarks of religious chauvinism and faith based intolerance.

What is disturbing is the great silence from our Muslim brothers and sisters. Why when your friends, neighbors, colleagues and even fellow Kenyans are being butchered? Is Allah really a reflection of the fundamentalist foot soldiers that kill, butcher and maim in his name?

Never have I seen Muslim activists take to the streets to protest these killings! Yet when Sharia laws were being reconsidered, there was disquiet. Or does Sharia law allow this heinous murder of innocent civilians just minding their business?

Where is your anger, my Muslim brother, on seeing all those gory images splashed on social media in the name of Allah and Islam? Where is your loud reaction of pain and disgust? Or do you enjoy it when others die while you walk scot-free for being able to recite the ‘Shahada’? Where is your humanity?

If it were the other way round, I would not have sat down to see anyone persecuted for their faith. This is not just terrorism. This is persecution. This is the crudest form of advancing religious ideology!

It is good that Hon. Duale finally saw the need to crack the whip on Alshabaab financiers and sympathizers. It is even more sad if he knew that these people existed all along. All through Westgate, all through Mpeketoni and now Garissa.

I want to be able to trust my Muslim colleagues. Just as I want to see them vent their anger via social media. I want to see them pray for the victims of Alshabaab in their Mosques. I want them to organize forums with other religions to reiterate their stand on freedom of religion.

If none of these happens, and after every attack you are continually spared, then you lack a conscience. How else can I explain the fact that in 5 daily prayer sessions one cannot find time for a Christian friend under persecution?

And worse still, how can someone who prays 5 times a day still find time in between to help in the senseless killing of Students just out to study?

My questions are numerous. Yet desperation drives me to ask them. Type your response. Or write an article to respond to this. I just need to get your opinion on this.

@Ookoscope on Twitter
Email – victorooko@gmail.com

A Government of Condolences?~Reminiscing the Garissa Attack

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Is the Kenyan Government nothing short of a scavenger that only comes to count and mourn the dead? Are Kenyans at all safe? Does the Kenyan Government really have an idea what they are up to in matters security?

These are the questions on the minds of numerous Kenyans today. From #WestgateMallAttack to #MpeketoniAttacks and now it is #GarissaAttacks. Sandwiched in between is the Thika Road blasts and the list is endless. And what does the government offer in return? Empty reassurances and messages of condolences. We bury our dead and the cycle continues.

The police force is unable to ensure security in the country. And so is the entire ministry that has seen its fair share of sackings and resignations. Only that the new players play under the same defunct conditions. The system is not working. No matter who is at the helm of the chain.

Joseph Ole Lenku was clueless. Yet Joseph Nkaisserry is not proving to be any better. Yes, the tough talk seems a little bit more convincing; but that’s just it, convincing. The actions or inaction continue to haunt us several months later.

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The sequence is the same. Foreign countries; Britain, America, France or Germany issue travel advisories; President Uhuru Kenyatta rubbishes these insinuations as baseless, reiterating just how safe Kenya is; then BOOM! Alshabaab strikes at exactly one of the areas mentioned as the basis for travel advisories.

When Kenyan Security Agencies claim to be on high alert, it must be in relation to collecting bribes by the roadsides! Since their efficiency is hardly noted. Either that or they intentionally stay away from loud gunshots until guns run out of bullets. A very costly tactic indeed!

At this rate, Mr. President, there may be no more Kenyans for you to govern. That is unless you are serious on our security.

The 147 souls lost in the hands of terrorists were breadwinners; parents and the youth. Bright young minds out to pursue their education with the goal of transforming the lives of the societies in which they reside. A price they paid for so dearly!

It is apparent that the most concerned persons about the state of Insecurity are the General Public. We don’t have bodyguards, unlike the president and the political elite. They are protected with the best of officers who should be out there protecting the country and its citizens. How can they understand the pains of the family of Miss. Janet Akinyi, terminated for being a non-Muslim student in Garissa?

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The President has once again issued a tearful message of condolence. Seems like this is what the government is best in. Putting on a forlorn face before the cameras and blurting out their #RESTINPEACE phrases. Then the shift focuses on the Opposition and the game of musical chairs continues.

Ooko Victor

Simple Talk Wont Fight Corruption, Actions Will.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State of the Nation address was an early Easter’s gift to the ears of many Kenyans. Citizens who work hard toiling and eating from their sweat. Kenyans, most of whom are overworked and underpaid, yet are still swindled by the political bigwigs who understand little, what it means to pay taxes. People, who under the guise of Waheshimiwa set their own perks in their own terms. People we elect into office in the name of servicemen and women.

Yet close to 24 hours since the address, none in Government has stepped aside! The corrupt persons, or those linked to corruption charges know what is coming their way. They choose to stick it up in office! Typical Kenyan style! Close to 24 hours since the head of state addressed the nation and issued ultimatums, no heads have rolled; nor at least tilted. As the clock ticks, the hours mount. Another weekend as a Cabinet Secretary, a head of a Parastatal or any other capacity as a civil servant is a disgrace to the presidency, the constitution and the citizens of this great republic.

The contents of the report by the Ethics and Anti corruption Commission is damning. The move to publish and forward it to parliament is bold and patriotic. Yet that is hardly enough without actions to complement it. Ms Ngilu is well aware of the allegations leveled against her. She understands the best course of action, not for herself, but for this country. She knows she needs to go. And so does the other four cabinet secretaries aware that the public is keenly watching. The game is the same, let’s hope the rules have changed.

If president Kenyatta’s move is nothing but a mockery of the public, a cheap stunt at hoodwinking the public that the government is tough on corruption, the history will judge him. If the jubilee administration sweeps all the damning allegations against it’s top officials and hope that it will still be business as usual, then they are mistaken. Action needs to be taken to cement the place of government in the hearts of the public; and especially with the elections less than 24 months away. This could just be a make or break kinda scenario. The kind of strategy that leaves the opposition flat footed! And president Kenyatta knows he will be naive to let it pass.

As the nation awaits and the pressure mounts, it is my hope that the various political parties will take a cue from the president’s speech and request their MPs to step aside pending allegations on corruption leveled against them. Former premier, Raila Odinga should have led from the front like yesterday! And better still, why should we have corrupt parliamentarians deciding the fate of their corrupt friends? Will they too have excused themselves from parliament by Monday to pave way to credible deliberations on the matter?

With eyes and ears open for any breaking news, I choose to pen off.

Ooko Victor.

 

This Man Ole Lenku

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It is now slightly more than one month since the heinous attacks meted on the innocent civilians of Mpeketoni, Lamu County. Attacks that dealt a blow to our very own cores and spread a wave of panic in the entire country. At least, that’s how it looked like, back then. soon after, the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Interior and Coordination of National Government Hon. Joseph Ole Lenku blatantly accused the opposition, and especially the CORD leader Hon. Raila Odinga of the acts of atrocities that had bedevilled the coastal county! A couple of days later, his sentiments were confirmed by the president Kenyatta himself citing extensive information from the Intelligence Service! Yet one month down the line and the attacks seem go on un abetted. Lamu county have known nothing but an agonising month in which their loved ones have continued to perish in the hands of criminal masterminds with their government watching. Was Ole Lenku chosen to the docket more for his naivety than for his capability to effectively administer the docket for which he was appointed?

Ole Lenku holds a Diploma in Hotel Management from the Kenya Utalii College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce (Marketing) from the University of Nairobi which he acquired in 2009. According to a resume posted on the Utalii College website, Ole Lenku had worked exclusively in the hospitality industry and was the General Manager of the Utalii Hotel before his appointment as Cabinet Secretary. Having held no open position in government that dealt with matters of national security or high-level public administration, questions have arisen as to whether he is capable of handling Kenya’s worsening security crisis especially in the wake of the Westgate Shopping Mall attacks in September 2013 and the recent killings in Mpeketoni.(Adapted from Wikipedia). There similarly continues to exist a lax response from the police force on insecurity all over the country and the pressure seems to be rising.

Just how does one move from being a hotel manager to being heading the docket in charge of security in the country? I honestly see nothing but the glaring disconnect abound! Kenyans are right in calling for sanity in th security docket. Kenyans are right in calling for moral as well as political responsibility from the various officials appointed to national offices! If Uhuru cared so much from Ole Lenku, he would as well have appointed him the State house Controller and made him his business! At the moment, he is nothing more than a national nuisance jostling within the oversize chair with the hope than one day he will grow to it in it. By going around in churches and public gatherings accusing the opposition of recruiting mercenaries to cause chaos…is one really offering solutions aimed at alleviating the situation?

Away from issues of insecurity and on to matters liquor; Kenya has so far seen the loss over 100 lives due to the consumption of illicit brews. The death toll is ever rising as ultimatums after ultimatums are issued. The last time I heard, the CS was waiting for one more Kenyan to succumb to the lethal brew for ‘heads to start rolling!’. Seriously? I am obviously not a fan of mediocrity and especially from people who seem to be out on a trial and error method of managing the national security issues. I’d rather we had someone competent to fill in this docket. Someone well versed with the intricacies of security to be able to engage on policy issues without waiting for notes dished out to him by the advisory panel. That person is not this man. That person is not Ole Lenku.

Enough with the Words; Actions Please!

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The Interior CS yesterday grabbed the headlines with his blatant allegations naming the opposition CORD coalition as being behind the recent spate of attacks and terrorist activities in the country! Whether it is another case of heated rhetoric or the results of a careful and comprehensive investigation is yet to be revealed. This more brave and direct attack in comparison to President Uhuru’s assertion that blanketly laid the blame on ‘political leaders’ leaving pundits to draw conclusions for themselves is the latest twist following the Mpeketoni attacks close to a week ago in which more than 60 people were killed and property of great value destroyed. The Mpeketoni attacks has further given fresh impetus to the tribalism debate that has for long been an underlying factor in shaping political ideology and waging support.

The CS claimed that the opposition was using Mungiki, MRC and Alshabaab operatives to cause chaos and depict the government as unable to govern the nation. Such claims have serious weight and especially coming from a cabinet secretary; a person appointed to expertly coordinate and ensure the security of every single person in the country; citizens and visitors. As much I may not agree with the decision by CORD insisting on their rallies; their activities are well within the constitutional thresholds and so is the government and especially the Police in giving them the green light. What then is the fault by the CORD brigade that elicit such outbursts from the outspoken CS? Is he powerless in a docket deemed most powerful in the country? Is his own house not in order as to provide a single and justified direction for the country to follow?

The Director of Public Prosecutions listed nineteen politicians from across the political divide to record statements over hates speech and the prosecution over the same have begun. The Inspector General of police on the other hand ordered ‘unknown leaders’ from North Eastern Kenya to record statements over the clashes in their respective areas! The law charges specific people, not groups. Judges hand sentence to individuals. Just like Keriako, the IG needs to address individuals; hoping that he is acting on intelligence collected and not hearsay! The police need to step up their game. If Raila is killing Kenyans then he should be jailed! The same applies to Kalonzo Musyoka or Moses Wetangula! No tribe was taken to The Hague; specific leaders were! Ole Lenku definitely knows that!

Evidence of the opposition coordinating with either the Mungiki or MRC or even Alshabaab should be availed. The whole country awaits and highly welcomes such course of action. In fact, only the sitting president is immune from prosecution while in office. Everyone else is bound by the laws of the land. We need to know if Raila is destroying the same Kenya he helped build; Or whether all this is a well-orchestrated government propaganda aimed at covering for their deficiencies in guaranteeing Kenya and Kenyans their security.

Enough said; Action please!

Ooko Victor.