Sunday, April 12, 2015

Commerating the Garissa University College terrorist attack Victims

Thank you AKIN (Association of Kenyans in Norway) and KESAN (Kenya Student Association in Norway) for organizing this service where we commemorate the victims of Garissa University terrorist attack. 

Like most other Kenyans, I was deeply saddened by this heinous, cruel, inhuman and murderous acts by the terrorist against innocent students and security forces. 

No amount of rationalization can give solace to my heart and those of the affected students and their families. The acts were brutal and heinous period.

As we offer our condolences and sympathies to the families of those who lost their dear lives, the many injured and hundreds traumatized, let us also pray that the almighty God may give them strength, solace and inner peace. Let us also pray for the President of Republic of Kenya Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta and his government that God may give them courage and wisdom to deal with the terror threat facing the country.

This is really a very difficult time for the victims and their families. They need our support and consolation physically, materially, psychologically and spiritually.

I learnt of the tragedy about two hours after it started unfolding. I was doing my morning ritual of perusing over the news headlines on my smartphone. I did this as I lay in bed as it was a free day when a news item about Garissa University terrorist attack got my attention. 

I screamed, Oh my God, it has happened. I said to myself these words because Garissa University is not a strange place for me. Two years ago my nephew was a student there when it was a teachers’ college. 

During the two years I feared the worst could happen. This was the time when sporadic attacks were happening all over Garissa town. Churches, bars and restaurants were being attacked. 

Every time this happened I would ring my nephew to find out whether he was safe. He consoled and reassured me that it was happening down town and they had received strict instructions to stay in the college premises. Therefore, when this happened I easily could relate to the hundreds of parents and families across the country with students in the campus. 

As the tragic event unfolded into the 12th hour, my prayer was that as many students as possible should survive unhurt. But as the number of fatalities kept rising from 6, 12, 16, 17, 20, increasing to 60 my heart started to beat fast. But when finally the figure shot to147 I was completely heart broken and devastated.  

This was catastrophic. Families have lost their dear daughters and sons. The nation has too lost promising young people and future leaders. 
Dear Kenyans, the lesson we can all learn from this and previous terror acts, is never to allow another terrorist attack to occur. We can do this if we take it as our collective duty to be our brother’s keepers. We can do this by doing these three things.

First, we should endeavor to stand united as country during a crisis. It is said that, “a house divided cannot stand”. If we face terrorism as one united people, it will never succeed. But if we allow terrorist to divide us either on political, ethnic, religious and ideological lines, then we become prey to their manipulations and annihilation. 

Second, let us support the government and armed forces even when they error because the opposite is not a viable alternative. Support does not mean that we do not criticize and point out mistakes. But by our criticism we should not put them into a defensive mode where they lose focus and proactivity, as we shall all suffer. 

Third, we must do our civic duty as citizens to minimize, mitigate and protect ourselves from terrorist attacks. In law there is something we call contributory negligence. That is, although a third party may be responsible for injury caused to you, the damages you are paid reduce proportionately to your inaction or omission that aggravated your injury. There are a number of things that we as citizens can do. 

One, stop corruption. Corruption directly and indirectly aid and abet terrorism and crime. 

Two, stop greed for money or easy wealth. Greed for money make us drop our guards and do things that compromise our very existence. 

Three, know your neighbors and what they do for a living. Report suspicious characters within your neighborhood. Be vigilant. 

I know and trust that together we can defeat terrorism.

Thank you. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Huge water reserve discovered in Turkana County Kenya

iTV- last updated Wed 11 Sep 2013

Water comes out of a pipe in Lotikipi. Photo: ITV News
A massive aquifer that holds enough water to meet all of Kenya's needs for 70 years has been discovered, ITV News can reveal.
The pool, which was found more than 300 metres underground, is so large you could pour Loch Ness into it approximately 25 times.
The aquifer was found 300 metres below the ground in Kenya. Credit: ITV News
What is an aquifer?
  • It is an underground layer of water-bearing material, such as gravel, sand and silt.
  • Water can be extracted from the materials by using a well.
The newly discovered Lotikipi Basin Aquifer could provide water to Kenya for 70 years.
But just as importantly the aquifer is replenished from distant mountains. So it should never run dry, assuming it is managed properly.
We now have a tool that could not only help Kenya, but it could help other countries facing the issues of water scarcity.
The Lotikipi aquifer is much larger than the other four discovered in north west Kenya. Credit: UNESCO
Lotikipi in numbers:
  • The aquifer is approximately 100 km (62 miles) by 66 km (41 miles).
  • It has a surface area of 4,164 km2.
  • It contains an estimated 200 billion cubic metres of fresh water.
  • Lotikipi alone holds 900% more than Kenya's current water reserves.
UNESCO and the Kenyan government - funded by Japan - have been using satellite, radar and geological technology in a bid to find supplies of water.
Water comes out of the pipe on the Lotikipi plain. Credit: ITV News
Earlier this year, they discovered five aquifers in north west Kenya and began exploratory drilling on two. As well as Lotikipi, a much smaller pool of water was found in Lodwar.
The discovery of Lotikipi will be officially announced on Wednesday (11 September) when the Kenyan government will also reveal how they plan to use the resource for the good of the country.
The tribal people in Lotikipi sing a water praying song in front of the pipe. Credit: ITV News
UNESCO is also exploring possible new water sources in other Africa countries such as South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Abou Amani, a UNESCO scientist who is part of the team who discovered the water told ITV News:
I'm not saying this could solve all of the problems because from finding water to providing water to the population is another step because we need to have investment, we need to put in place infrastructure and so on.
But we have seen the system and the fact water is there, and that is extremely important and it could be a game changer within the country.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Choose Peace

It is only 8 days to the 4 th March 2013 general elections and there is no better message to the electorate and politicians than Charlene Mugo’s appeal to the people of Kenya. Watch the video and internalize it. 

It is your duty as a citizen to ensure peace and tranquility prevails before, during and after the elections. The children and everyone else in Kenya need to realize their dreams. Elections' chaos and violence will endanger these dreams.

Let Charlene Mugo achieve her dream to become a surgeon.

Let your vote be the only weapon.   

Choose Peace.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Obama’s Message to Kenyans on the Eve of March General Election

President Barack Obama has chosen the power of video to deliver his message on the impeding Kenya general elections to be held on March 4, 2013 to the people of Kenya. He appeals to Kenyans to reject intimidation and violence. He implores them to choose freedom, fairness and openness. The elections should be free and fair, he adds.

For those who dispute the outcome of the elections, he asks them to use the Courts rather than the streets to resolve the disputes. We vividly remember the main course of violence in the last election was the rejection by one of the antagonistic parties to seek justice from the Courts. Obama reminds that with the new constitutions, institutions and mechanisms for resolution of disputes are in place. Anyone that feels wronged should seek this path rather than the route of violence.

Obama also stresses the neutrality of America in the election. He says that America has no preferred candidate nor does it support or endorse any of the candidates. For America the message is clear “Let the people Decide”. Obama’s administration seems to distance itself from the position taken by countries such as United Kingdom and some European Union governments that warn Kenyans on who to elect as their president.

Kenyans should listen carefully to what Obama is saying for the sake of our beloved country. Don’t let anyone scare you as to who to elect as your president. The choice is yours. Also don’t listen to those who threaten you with sanctions for opting to support some candidates and not others. Shun those who cry wolf just in order to create a scenario for dispute, conflict, hatred and even violence. Don’t entertain rumors, perceptions, allegations and outright lies for the sake of hating one candidate over another. Let us avoid pitting one candidate against the other, one community against another and one region against the others. We are all Kenyas and so should we remain during elections campaigns and after the elections. We should not dare our country apart for the sake of elections.

Listen to those who say what they will do to improve your lives, standard of living and your general welfare. Ask those peddling lies, rumors, allegations and hatred to stop. Freedom of expression does not include insincerity and deception. It is a fair play for the sake of the people, peace and tranquility. Let us discuss the pressing problems facing the country with sobriety. The sensitive, divisive and emotive issues should be interrogated after the elections when the tension and pressure of elections have subsided. Let us carry out the dialogue through the institutions and mechanisms established by the constitution and not election public rallies.

Kenyans are peaceful people and can deliver a peaceful violence free election.  Let us do it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The New Political Face of Kenya

Peter Kenneth and Raphel Tuju
The new constitution gives the people of Kenya a golden opportunity to elect into public office people who represent a change of the political face of Kenya. Whether the electorate will avail themselves this opportunity, given the political parties alliances that have unfolded in the recent days, is not certain. To do this, they will have to vote for candidates outside these political alliances.

Martha Karua
The judiciary offers a good example of what change of leadership, through infusion of new blood, means. The appointment of Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and other new faces to the judiciary gave it a boost of the change of image it required. Today, the judiciary gradually is gaining the confidence of the people. If the other arms of the government, the legislature and the executive, are to have the confidence of the people, a change of the political leadership is need. This cannot happen if the electorate is going to recycle the same old politicians back into leadership of these institutions.

Prof. James Ole Kiyiapi
There are three compelling reasons why the political face of Kenya needs to change. Firstly, in order to end the domination of Kenyan politics by two families: The Kenyatta and Odinga families. The politics of Kenya since independence have revolved around these two families. The rivalries between the Jomo Kenyatta and Oginga Odinga dominated during the Kenyatta presidency and by proxy the Moi presidency. Their sons Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, entered into the scene in 2002 and through proxy dominated the politics during Kibaki presidency too. Exit Kibaki and now it is full blown domination by the two sons. If in the next ten years Kenyans are to avoid the unfolding domination by these two families, a new face of leaders is required.

The second reason is to end the domination of Kenyan politics by KANU. KANU has ruled Kenyan in the last 49 years. The entry of NARC in 2002 and PNU-ODM coalitions in 2007 did not change KANU dominance as the new parties were off springs of KANU. To end KANU dominance Kenya needs a new face of fresh politicians who have had no flirtation with KANU in the past. The two main alliances fronting for the next elections, Jubilee alliance and CORD alliance are nothing new but reminants of KANU.

The third reason is to end the domination of Kenyan politics by tribal arithmetic and alliances. Voting in Kenya is tribal. The main ethnic communities tend to vote as a block for the candidate from their tribe. Even where they vote for other candidates, their choice of alliance is mainly determined by their tribal interests. The two main alliances, Jubilee and CORD are tribal in nature as they bring together tribal groupings in order to counter their rivals in other tribal groupings.

The analysis above begs the question - who are the new political face of Kenya? These are candidates who have nothing to do with the two dominant families, KANU off springs and tribal alliances. Can we find such candidates, especially in the presidential race? Yes. Peter Kenneth, Raphael Tuju, Martha Karua and James Ole Kiyiapi. These are the true new political face of Kenya. The electorate ignore these new leaders at your own peril.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Interview on Forthcoming General Elections in Kenya

In a recent interview with the editor of African Press International TV Sammy Korir, the author of this blog talks on various issues touching on the forthcoming general elections in Kenya 4 March 2013:  Insecurity and terrorism, rule of law, integerity and leadership clause, ICC cases, corruption and coalition making among others.

Part 1


Part 2


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Leadership and Integrity Clause a Slippery Ground for All Seeking Public Office

The Big 4 Presidential Candidates 

Kenyan leadership and democracy may be becoming of age with the entrenchment of the Leadership and Integrity Clause in Chapter Six of the Constitution. The clause read together with Article 10 on National Values and Principles of Governance is a slippery ground for all seeking public office in the country’s leadership. It is quite difficult to see which of the current politicians, presidential candidates and other aspiring candidates for public office will remain standing when the clause is strictly applied. For now application of the clause may be urgent in determining whether the two presidential candidates facing trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto should be in the presidential ballot papers in the next election or not.  Nonetheless, the determination will have wide ramifications for political ambitions of many aspiring candidates. Most will be left lying down seriously scathed politically.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s reference to the decisions on integrity and leadership in cases of the Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Barasa and the appointment of Mumo Matemu as the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission chairman is a subtle pointer of the judiciary thinking. In the circumstances, it may be a matter of time before the Supreme Court slams the doors shut on the ambitions of the two politicians and many other political aspirants. When the decision falls, jubilations among politicians will be short-lived as one politician falls after the other on the slippery ground.

Kenyatta and Ruto should seriously be preparing for the eventuality that they are blocked from contesting for presidency. Who will take the helm of leadership in their respective political parties if the clause is interpreted adversely against their ambitions? To a keen political observer of the Kenyan politics it may seem that Kenyatta is doing precisely that. The entry of a former self-declared presidential aspirant, Mutava Musymi into The National Alliance Party (TNA), at first as a presidential nominee contestant against Kenyatta, and later the withdrawal of his nomination candidacy in favor of Kenyatta, is telling. He could be the “Prince” in waiting under the wings of Kenyatta for the leadership of TNA in case the latter is incapacitated as a result of the ICC trial. In contrast, in Ruto’s United Republican Party  (URP) such leadership positioning is not clearly visible.

The other self-declared presidential candidates cannot rest comfortably in their political loins. For Musalia Mudavadi of United Democratic Front (UDF), the Goldenberg scandal may haunt his integrity. Raila Odinga may have skeletons hidden in his yet to be widely opened closet. The maize scandal, molasses deal, and nepotism and corruption allegations by Miguna Miguna may blemish his integrity.  After all Miguna Miguna might not be a mad man running away with Odinga’s clothes. Could Odinga be really naked? Stephen Kalozo Musyoka could also not be the clean man he projects himself to be. If his political career is closely examined unpleasant things may be unearthed. There is already allegation of land scandal involving the current Vice President.

When the Supreme Court gives its opinion on the leadership and integrity clause as requested by the Attorney General, not only Kenyatta and Ruto will be casualties, all political aspirants will be put on notice and they will have to fight for their political lives. The field will be set wide open for candidates who pass the integrity test while the old recycled politicians’ political careers may be prematurely terminated.

To the surprise of all, the next President of the Republic of Kenya may be a man or woman that Kenyans have not given much attention to until now.