Tuesday, April 29, 2008


There is a big misconception in Kenya that the Opposition’s role is only to oppose, oppose, and oppose! This often means opposing what the government does. It always means questioning what the government is doing. This is childish ignorance to say the least. Kenyans need to grow to a level where they think of the role of the Opposition more constructively as holding the government to account. The Opposition’s main role is to question the government of the day and hold it accountable to the public. If we all support Hon. Ababu Namwamba and his fellow proponents of the “Grand Opposition”, we will go about our politics in a positive way and we will cause the government to adopt positive proposals.

We all need to understand that the Opposition has the additional job of working to present an alternative government. This may involve bringing together smaller political parties or enticing potentially government parties. This is part of the role of the Opposition in working to present an alternative government so that in case the government fails the citizens have an alternative that they can turn to.

The other major role of the Opposition is proposing alternatives to what the government is doing so the public gets the benefit of political debate between different directions. At one end of the spectrum there are occasions on which oppositions agree with the Government. These tend to be where it is simply in the wider public interest that a problem is fixed. It is where the solution the government is proposing has wide support, and it is hard to disagree with it.

The leader of the Opposition is responsible for representing the Opposition at state functions, meetings with dignitaries and other important events. The way opposition parties work together can influence the outcomes - if they succeed in working together and in building the political numbers they increase their chances of forming the next government.

Any Government has to remain answerable to the public at all times, and a good Opposition can put the spotlight on serious issues and have them resolved quickly. We also have to realize that the Opposition parties do not have the same resources as the Government and the Executive, so they have to work twice as hard to get the same results. The Government has access to government departments and advisers to form their policies, where the Opposition often has to go down different avenues to source the same information. So having legislators like Hon. Ababu Namwamba who have their own personal resources and networks that they can use as they work to bring accountability to our government is a huge advantage to we the common people. The alternative is having an Opposition that is full of people who are intellectually and economically bankrupt. Such people will always stay on the fence waiting to be bribed to support government bills.

Kenyans also need to realize that it is important that the Opposition keep a close eye and ear on what the public is saying, needs, and wants because the Government not delivering often causes problems. These needs a keen Opposition that is full of life and passion to see positive change in the country. There are some issues sometimes caused by Government negligence that become the Opposition’s main platforms.

Having said this, the Kenyan Diaspora Pro-democracy Movement hopes that all Kenyans will understand and support Hon.Ababu Namwamba and his colleagues as they pursue the idea of serving as our Opposition.


Reuters Africa is reporting that Andrew Mwenda and two other staffers of the Independent have been arrested by Ugandan officials.

The Kenyan Diaspora Pro-democracy Movement (KDPM) deplores the arrest of Andrew Mwenda and his colleagues in Kampala, Uganda. It is so sad to note that although the right to freedom of speech is guaranteed under international law through numerous human-rights instruments, notably under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the implementation of this right remains a nightmare in Uganda. The KDPM recognizes that restrictions on the freedom of speech should be the exception and free expression the rule. Thus arresting a leading African intellectual like Andrew Mwenda not only beats the idea of trying to promote the free flow of ideas essential to political democracy and democratic institutions in Uganda but it also curtails the ability of the this young country to promote other rights and freedoms. Mwenda has worked exceedingly hard to promote economic and political ideas in Africa. We would have expected the Ugandan government to see this as being intrinsically valuable as part of the self-actualization of her learned citizens and listeners. Unfortunately, the myopic forces led by greed and the quest for short-term gains do not see this.

The KDPM calls on all think tanks, institutions and governments that work tirelessly to promote freedom of speech and intellectualism to intervene and press for the unconditional release of Andrew Mwenda. We call on all African student chapters and organizations here in the US to organize protests and mail out petitions calling for the release of Andrew Mwenda and his colleagues. We also ask you to call The State Department, Bureau of African Affairs and ask them to intervene:


One more thing, call your Senator or Congressman/Congresswoman and ask him to intervene in this situation. Every call counts. If you do not get him/her, send an email!

Click here to listen to Andrew Mwenda speaking:

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan security forces on Saturday raided the offices of a magazine seen as critical of President Yoweri Museveni's government, arresting three journalists and taking computers, a lawyer said.
Andrew Mwenda is a print, radio and television journalist, and an active critic of many forms of Western aid to Africa. Too much of the aid from rich nations, he says, goes to the worst African countries to fuel war and government abuse. Such money not only never gets to its intended recipients, Africa's truly needy -- it actively plays a part in making their lives worse.

Mwenda worked at the Daily Monitor newspaper in Kampala starting in the mid-1990s, and hosted a radio show, Andrew Mwenda Live, since 2001; in 2005, he was charged with sedition by the Ugandan government for criticizing the president of Uganda on his radio show, in the wake of the helicopter crash that killed the vice president of Sudan. He has produced documentaries and commentary for the BBC on the dangers of aid and debt relief to Africa, and consulted for the World Bank and Transparency international, and was a Knight Fellow at Stanford in 2007. In December 2007, he launched a new newspaper, The Independent, in Kampala.

Journalist Andrew Mwenda has spent his career fighting for free speech and economic empowerment throughout Africa. He argues that aid makes objects of the poor -- they become passive recipients of charity rather than active participants in their own economic betterment.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Bills introduced last week in both the Senate and House would amend the National Labor Relations Act to change the definition of an “employee” to include teaching assistants at private universities, thus allowing them to unionize. The “Teaching and Research Assistant Collective Bargaining Rights Act” (S. 2891) was introduced by each chamber’s education committee chair: Sen. Kennedy and Rep. Miller.

A statement from the sponsors is available at kennedy.senate.gov/newsroom and bill text is available at thomas.loc.gov by searching for “S.2891”.

Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) introduced a bill to replace the current “diversity” visa lottery program with a new program that would issue visas to foreigners who have earned an advanced degree. The lottery is a Congressionally-mandated program that issues 55,000 visas per year to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. Senator Gregg would like to use those visas to attract immigrants holding advanced degrees in science, mathematics, technology, or engineering (STEM) fields.

Bill text is available through thomas.loc.gov by searching for “S.2868”.

Canada’s Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration announced changes designed to attract more foreign students to the country. Effective immediately, international students who graduate from eligible programs at certain Canadian post-secondary institutions can obtain a work permit with far fewer restrictions. Such students would no longer be required to work in specified fields or even receive a job offer before applying for a three-year work visa. The Canadian government “wants more foreign students to choose Canada and we want to help them succeed…Our ability to retain international graduates with Canadian qualifications, work experience and familiarity with Canadian society, will help increase our competitiveness and benefit Canada as a whole.”

More information is available at news.gc.ca/web/view/en/index.jsp?articleid=393209&categoryid=16

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Click on picture to enlarge story.

Rev. John B.Makokha holds a Master of Arts Degree in Missions from the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Nairobi. His wife holds a Master of Arts degree in Linguistics and a Bachelors degree in Education from the University of Nairobi. She also holds a Post-graduate diploma in Counseling from the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST).

Contact information
PO Box 127-05002, Nairobi-Karen
Telephone: 0733477199, +254727549693
Email: jmakokha2000@yahoo.com
Email: anne.baraza@negst.edu
Riruta United Methodist Church:

Thursday, April 24, 2008


We have just finished our meeting with Dr. Jean Arnold, the first Vice President for Inclusion and Equity at Grand Valley State University- GVSU. She is working with President Haas and the entire Grand Valley family to build upon the impressive foundation of inclusion initiatives already in place. One thing that I have learned in that meeting is that Grand Valley State University is making a deliberate effort to learn about the barriers to inclusion and seek ways to develop inclusive strategies to attract and retain a diverse faculty and student body. The university is also developing recommendations on incusionary practices in all aspects of the institution from the offices to the classrooms. It is the hope and aspiration of all those involved to come up with model practices for creating an inclusive community that will be emulated by peers institution all across the nation.

The word "university" comes from the Latin "universitas," meaning whole, and "diversity" means difference. Diversity in the university may seem paradoxical.
I believe that this is a very crucial and vital thing that the nation of Kenya and her institutions can glean from GVSU. American history teaches that “as the first President of America, John Hanson (1715-1783) had quite the shoes to fill. No one had ever been President of this new nation and the role was poorly defined. His actions in office would set a precedence for all future Presidents. He took office just as the Revolutionary War ended. Almost immediately, the troops demanded to be paid. As would be expected after any long war, there were no funds to meet the salaries. As a result, the soldiers threatened to overthrow the new government and put Washington on the throne as a monarch. All the members of Congress ran for their lives, leaving Hanson running the government. He somehow managed to calm the troops and hold the country together. If he had failed, the government would have fallen almost immediately and everyone would have been bowing to King Washington.”

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga find themselves almost in a similar position in Kenya today. They are embarking on rebuilding a nation that wants to re-define itself yet the forces that are inclined to maintaining the status quo will do everything to sabotage their noble efforts. On the other hand, those who have been with them during the election “turmoil” and after feel that it is their right to be rewarded for their support to each one of them.

The truth is that Kenyans must learn to sacrifice, live and work together in diversity. “Diversity encompasses the presence and participation of individuals who differ and are similar by characteristics such as, but not necessarily limited to race, age, color, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, disability status and community affiliation.” Diversifying the new government in Kenya will entail including people of various ethnic, academic, religious, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The historically underrepresented populations as well as people with ideas, thoughts and beliefs that have always been ignored in the past will need to be given consideration if the new government is to succeed. In essence, diversifying will mean going beyond rhetoric and translating into policy and action in the appointments and hiring of senior officials.

One scholar rightly said that great achievements are not born from a single vision but from the combination of many distinctive viewpoints. Diversity opens minds and unlocks our potential to solve any problem we may face. Shrewd business people understand that diverse markets require diverse operatives. On the other hand governments and organizations must know the constituencies and markets they seek to serve. Diversity does not pit one ethnic group, social class or culture against another for dominance; it only allows for differences to be employed to solve political, economic, cultural, spiritual and business challenges. Diversity acknowledges and uses these inherent differences to drive innovation as a way of creating better organizational performance and competitive advantage in an institution or nation. Diversity provides a richer variety of approaches to work and problem solving. Diversity strengthens a nation’s, institution’s or organization's resilience in changing environmental conditions. Diversity allows challenges to long-accepted views.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have a rare opportunity to build a new Kenya grounded in diversity. They should not let status quo “tribal chiefs”, alliances or individuals discourage them from attracting, and recruiting diverse candidates to help transform our country for our own sake and for the sake of our future generations. Their inability to seize this opportunity will have wide-ranging consequences now and in the future political and economic health of the whole country.


3.Charmaine P. Clowney, J.D, Best Practices in Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Faculty. PA State System of Higher Education and President, Clowney & Associates.

Monday, April 21, 2008


"I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end." -Margaret Thatcher

Anyone entering politics assuming that it's a sprint to the finish line is in for a huge disapointment. Students of political science will tell you that no politician has ever succeeded by sprinting through politics. You have to go through the school of hard knocks before you can succeed in politics.Surprisingly, the Kenyan politicians seem to have forgotten this important lesson. They think they have already killed the elephant so each one of them is entitled to the biggest and fattest chunk of meat.

To be continued---


Office of Public Affairs U.S. Department of Homeland Security Page 1 of 2 www.ice.gov Ver. 1.05 News Release

April 11, 2008
Contact: Brandon A. Montgomery, ICE Public Affairs
(202) 307-1952

Improvements to Student and Exchange Visitor Program Announced
Proposed increase in fees will support enhancements to Homeland Security’s critical system.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, announced today that it has significantly enhanced the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and, for the first time, is proposing to raise fees to support the improvements.

Millions of students from around the world seek to come to the U.S. to take advantage of our renowned educational system and engage in meaningful cultural exchange. Unfortunately, there have been instances in which individuals have exploited this educational opportunity by overstaying their visas, or using the process as an entry mechanism with no intention of attending classes. After the events of September 11, 2001, Congress required the Department of Homeland Security to implement a better way of keeping track of international students and exchange visitors.

SEVP was the Department’s response to that mandate, and for several years has successfully filled that role. However, the ever-increasing number of students and exchange visitors coming to our country has necessitated several upgrades to the program’s systems and technologies. Dramatic improvements to the current SEVP program are proposed for implementation in fall 2008.

“U.S. colleges and universities are the envy of the world and accordingly attract as many as a million individuals from overseas who wish to attend,” said Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for ICE. “Validating the identity of foreign students, verifying their intentions for entering our country and knowing where they are while they are here is critically important to the security of our country. Today’s proposed new rule ensures that America remains a welcoming place for foreign students to study, while enhancing our abilities to protect our national security.”

The four major enhancements to SEVP:

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the database used to track visiting students, will include improved interactive features for school administrators as well as a simplified application process for foreign students hoping to receive an American education;

Local, customized, one-on-one customer support will be provided by new field liaisons;

Additional ICE agents will be assigned to follow up on alerts submitted by school administrators; and

A new recertification process, as mandated by Congress, will maintain the integrity and reputations of participating schools.

SEVP proposes to increase its fees to comply with regulatory requirements to periodically review its fee structure and ensure its costs are fully covered; and to enhance its capability to improve national security and counter immigration fraud.
Schools currently participating in the program will not be required to pay any additional fees to recertify under the new rule. The proposed fee increases will affect both students and schools:

The rule would double the fee for nonimmigrant students to $200

Most exchange visitor fees would rise from $100 to $180

The fee for au pairs, camp counselors and summer work/travel program participants remains $35

There is no fee for government sponsored exchange visitors
Fee for school certification would rise from $350 to $1,700

Site visit charges would increase from $230 to $655 for each site visit

These changes will ensure that America continues to welcome increasing numbers of international students and exchange visitors while maintaining the integrity of its immigration system and the security of its borders.
Over the course of the next two weeks, ICE will be meeting with members of the academic community to highlight program improvements and explain the new fee structure. The first of these meetings took place today in Washington, D.C.
For more information see the SEVP website at: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/index.htm
# ICE #
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was established in 2003 as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE is comprised of five integrated divisions that form a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibility for a number of key homeland security priorities.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Host: Graduate and Professional Students Association

Come Celebrate Friday, April 18 at 5 p.m.

The End of the Winter Semester Graduate Student Celebration and Awards Ceremony is Friday, April 18, beginning at 5 p.m. Please come and join your fellow students, faculty, the Graduate Dean, and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) to celebrate and recognize the academic achievements of graduating students. GPSA will also be awarding the Graduate Faculty Mentor Award. All graduate students and their families are invited.

The evening will begin with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at 5 p.m. in the Steelcase Foundation Lecture Hall, Room 123, in the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences on Michigan Street. Then at approximately 6 p.m. the awards ceremony will begin in the Hager Auditorium, Room 119, in the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences.

Limited parking is available in the ramp under the building after 5 p.m., enter from Lafayette Ave. There is also a surface lot, the Crawford Lot, available off of Sinclair Ave. NE near the corner of Michigan and College. We encourage graduate students who wish to park near the CHS building to ride together with their families. In addition, the CHS Shuttle Bus, Dash to the Hill, runs between the Seward Parking Ramp/DeVos Center and Cook-DeVos CHS until 6 p.m. After which the Weekend Connector, Bus #50, services CHS, Central Station, DeVos Center, and Allendale every hour. For bus schedules, go to http://www.gvsu.edu/bus.

If the GVSU parking lots are full, you may also choose to pay for parking. In which case Spectrum Health has multiple lots in the area including one on Michigan Street, the same side of the street as CHS, with visitor parking available all evening for $4.

Click on the link below for a map showing the location of Cook-DeVos CHS and the additional GVSU surface parking lot.

Gerald Baraza, Vice President
Graduate & Professional Students Association

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Long-lost article by Obama's dad surfaces
Text Size:
Sen. Barak Obama as a boy with his father, Barak H Obama
This undated photo released by Obama for America shows Barack Obama and his father. Obama's father left the family to study at Harvard when Barack was just two, returning only once. Obama wrote poignantly about this visit in his memoir, remembering the basketball his father gave him, the African records they danced to, the Dave Brubeck concert they attended. Obama, then 10, never saw his father again.
Photo: AP

Barack Obama's dad was such an important but absent figure in his life that he devoted his first book, Dreams From My Father, to the search for details about his father's life and how the quest helped forge a son's identity.

Now, a long-forgotten essay written 43 years ago by Obama's father has surfaced, and its contents reveal much not only about the senior Obama's grasp of economic theory but also the iconoclastic politics that, his son would later write, sent him into the spiral of career disappointment that concluded with his death in 1982 in his native Kenya.

Parts of the article, titled "Problems Facing Our Socialism," have been making the rounds on several small blogs over the past week, but Politico is now reproducing the entire piece in its original form online for the first time.

The scholarly eight-page paper credited to "Barak H. Obama" is never mentioned in Dreams From My Father, nor has the candidate discussed it in any of his many public speeches. (Politico brought the article to the campaign's attention late last week, but aides did not respond to a request for a comment from Obama.)

The paper's substance, though, offers insight into the mind and the political trajectory of a man described by his son largely through his emotional life, his family, and his traditions.
See Also

* Barack Obama's counterpunching style
* Hillary Clinton the straight shooter
* Dems seize rules advantage on trade

Published in the esoteric East Africa Journal in 1965, the year after Kenyan President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta took power and the country declared independence from British rule, the paper takes a gently mocking tone to the Kenyatta government's key, controversial statement of economic policy, titled "African Socialism and its Applicability to Planning in Kenya."

Obama Sr.'s journal article repeatedly asks what the Kenyan government means by "African Socialism," as distinct from Soviet-style communism, and concludes that the new phrase doesn't mean much.

Elements of Obama's argument now seem prescient, others deeply dated, but his central aim – particularly in the context of the heady early days of African independence – was moderate and conciliatory.

"The question is how are we going to remove the disparities in our country such as the concentration of economic power in Asian and European hands while not destroying what has already been achieved and at the same time assimilating these groups to build one country," Obama Sr. wrote.

When he wrote the paper, he was in Nairobi and working toward a never-completed Harvard doctoral dissertation, according to his brief biography in the journal. He had divorced his wife, who was raising his son in Hawaii, two years earlier.

But even back in Nairobi, Obama Sr. also felt free to mock the Kenyan government.
"Maybe it is better to have something perfunctorily done than none at all!" he concluded.

That's the attitude, his son would later find, that took him from a career in the Kenyan governing class to "a small job at the Water Department," and then to unemployment and drink.

Obama Sr., who returned to Kenya after his Harvard years, soon became a public critic of Kenyatta's growing favoritism toward the Kikuyu tribe over Obama's Luos.

"Word got back to Kenyatta that the Old Man was a troublemaker, and he was called in to see the president. According to the stories, Kenyatta said to the Old Man that, because he could not keep his mouth shut, he would not work again until he had no shoes on his feet," Obama quoted his half-sister telling him.

Obama wrote that his father was rehabilitated after Kenyatta's death in 1978, but was by then broken and embittered.

Obama Sr.'s 1965 paper, however, brims with confidence and optimism.

The article, with a loaded term in the title and a casual discussion of socialism, communism, and nationalization, has raised the hackles of some anti-Obama conservatives who have been discussing it online.
Page 2

Greg Ransom, a blogger who unearthed the journal at UCLA's library, calls the article "the Rosebud" that provides the missing key to Obama's memoir. Ransom wrote about its contents recently in a posting with the provocative headline, "Obama Hid His Father's Socialist and Anti-Western Convictions From His Readers."

But Kenya expert Dr. Raymond Omwami, an economist and UCLA visiting professor from the University of Helsinki who has also worked at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, said Obama Sr. could not be considered a socialist himself based solely on the material in his bylined piece.

Omwami points out Obama Sr.'s paper was primarily a harsh critique of the controversial 1965 government document known as the "Sessional Paper No. 10." Sessional Paper No. 10 rejected classic Karl Marx philosophies then embraced by the Soviet Union and some European countries, calling instead for a new type of socialism to be used specifically in Africa.

The government paper rejected materialism (i.e., "conspicuous consumerism"), outlined the nation's goals to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and disease, and also laid out important decrees regarding land use for economic development. Obama Sr.'s response covers these issues, frequently focusing on the distribution of real estate to farmers. Since most Kenyans could not afford farmland in line with market forces established earlier by white British farmers, Obama Sr. argued that strong development planning should better define common farming space to maximize productivity, and should defer to tribal traditions instead of hastening individual land ownership.

In other words, Obama Sr.'s paper was not a cry for acceptance of radical politics, but was instead a critique of a government policy by Kenya's Ministry of Economic Planning & Development, which applied African socialism principles to the country's ongoing political upheaval.

"The critics of this article are making a big mistake," says Omwami, who read the document and the associated internet debate at the request of Politico over the weekend. "They are assuming Obama Sr. is the one who came up with this concept of African socialism, but that's totally wrong. Based on that, they're imbuing in him the idea that he himself is a socialist, but he is not."

Omwami says he'd instead refer to Obama Sr. as "a liberal person who believed in market forces, but understood its limitations."

Sessional Paper No. 10 centered on the new control of Kenya's resources, promoting a form of trickle-down economics in which financial aid would be consolidated in more populated areas with the hope that positive effects would eventually be felt by smaller villages.

Obama Sr. argued against this notion, and Omwami suggests history has proven him correct since most, if not all, small communities in Kenya have yet to benefit from monies that poured into larger cities since the nation's independence four decades ago.

Obama Sr. also looked ahead to what has become a shaping force across Africa, urbanization, arguing that the government's efforts to lure citizens back to the land were futile.

"If these people come out in search of work, it is because they cannot make a living out of whatever land they have had," he wrote.

In retrospect, it was one of several warnings in the paper that would prove true.

"If you understand the Kenyan context, you can clearly see in that paper that Obama Sr. was quite a sharp mind," concluded Omwami. "He addresses economic growth and other areas of development, and his critique is that policymakers in Kenya were overemphasizing economic growth. We had high economic growth for years, but never solved the problems of poverty, unemployment and unequal income distribution. And those problems are still there."

Obama Sr.'s projections and critiques are so spot on, says Omwami, that he plans on assigning the paper to his classes in the future.

Economic Underdevelopment in Nyanza.

Response to Onyango Oloo,

This is a "straightforward" yet "complicated" issue. It is straightforward on the question of underdevelopment of infrastructure, industry and educational opportunities.

It is complicated on the issue of "re-ivestment" and development of "micro-industries" and "small and medium" businesses.

The infrastructure question is simple and straight forward. Luo-Nyanza has been "punished" by successive Kenyan governments for the politicians being viewed
as "anti government" and "non-conformist". In this regard the question is why whole communities would be denied their right of the "National Cake" because of being viewed as rebelliuous. It may be true that there were "Sons of Luoland" that were pro-Moi or
pro-Kenyatta, but many of these did not survive long enough to translate their sycophancy into a following of the prevailing governments.

The irony of it is that Gusii-Nyanza a nd Western Province did not feature any better than Luo Nyanza on the infrastructure despite having many successive "pro-prevailing government" political heavyweights. Let me posit that if Gusii-Nyanza has made any headways in maendeleo it purely from the fact that the area had agricultural potential for TEA and COFFEE. This coupled with sheer hard work and enterprise has brought
Gusii Nyanza to where it is.

Examining the question of educational opportunities for example. In Luo Nyanza I will posit that apart from Kanga High School (built by the pro-Moi Oyugi) the school sending anybody to University are the same ones that were built by the missionaries, colonialists
and the efforts of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Tom Mboya after Uhuru. The list of secondary schools in 1965 having impact are the same ones having an impact today. Schools built by Harambee Spirit do exist but their impact is not significant.

Gusii-Nyanza experienced an explosion of the Harambee movement secondary schools to unbelievable levels. In the early times these secondary schools had little impact with massive failures and exam cheating at mega scales. But with time, crackdown on exam cheating and other factors in question, the schools in Kisii and Nyamira District had an impact. If I may add these schools have had an impact in sending Abagusii students to the US, well beyond the proportional representation of Absgusii to Kenya's population. We need to commend these efforts, rather than deride the community and "blame Nyanchae" or "attribute to Nyachae" efforts of a community achieved without government support.

On Agro-Industry, one of the major undoing of Luo Nyanza CAN NEITHER be blamed on the government NOR the LUO people. Yes, I am talking about the collapse of COTTON and TEXTILES industry ..ie KICOMI. Like Mumias Sugar Company KICOMI had an impact not just on factory workers, but also farmers, transporters
cotton ginneries. When Japanese designed synthetics took over textiles industry, this had an impact on cotton industry. The loser was NOT JUST LUO-NYANZA
but the whole of the United States Southern states were impacted. With cotton gone as an industry Luo Nyanza only had sugarcane left as the major cash crop.

Gusii land on the other hand benefited from the expansion of coffee industry in the district in the 1960's and 1970's, but better still from the expansion of TEA INDUSTRY in the 1970's and early 80's. The TEA BOOM is in my opinion the GOLDEN ECONOMIC ERA of Gusii Land. It is TEA and COFFEE returns that fuelled the expansion of educational opportunities in Gusii Land, particularly the Harambee movement, as well as the "export" of the "sons and daughters" of Omogusii to India and the US for further studies. The Abagusii responded well to the new Tea factories
but the prices of tea (unlike cotton) have been steady, while coffe also experienced TOTAL COLLAPSE, not because of MOI (100%) but because of the slump
in world prices (70%), and corruption in the cooperative societies movement, and government neglect (30%).

Let me now compare the performance of sugar-cane industries in Nyanza with say Western Province. Western Province's ONLY successful sugar industry is Mumias Sugar Company. Its success is mainly due to HIGH RAINFALL in the old Kakamega District
as well as the right investment policies from Day 1. The sugar industry built an infra structure that had an impact on small scale agricultural production, stimulating jobs in transportation, road infrastructure, small scale mechanics outfit, and later schools.

Western Province's other sugar industries (Nzoia for example) have only fuelled poverty (monoculture) reducing production of food crop and enriching select few politically connected corrupt mandarins (most related by marriages).

Of Luo Nyanza's sugar industries ONLY SONY had an impact on small scale farmers. Chemelil has done well, and Miwani and Muhoroni have obsolete machinery and minimal impact. If Muhoroni and Miwani had an impact, it the same impact they had
in the eearly 1960's. The Nyanza Sugar zone is bedevilled by low rainfall, large scale farming and dominance by the same people (Mehta Family and either the Manji or Madhvani families).

The sugar belt in Nyanza is also a series of large scale farms that may be owned by "early arrival" political heavyweights (the Odingas, the Omamos, the Aburas), and "post Uhuru Tycoon" families, who own the majority of the land. Others in the zone are farm workers who work at the behest of the few. The "heavy movers" who dominate e verything (including siasa) have very little initiatives (except maybe two mollasses factories, one in production and the other a political symbol).

If micro-industries have featured their impact is only in the Kisumu urban metropolis, and most of the micro-industries are owned by Kenyan Asians. Despite criticism we wtill have to commend this community for creating employment opportunities (Mhindi Mbaya
Kiatu Chake ni Dawa).

On this issue I completely differ with the Marxist- Leninist approach where wananchi would have to wait for Central Government and Central Planning to invest into infra-structural and industrial development. Central Planning and Central government will tend to favor whoever holds the political strings in the political center. Hence when a Moi is in power, that is the only chance to develop an "Eldoret International Airport", without a vision, prior studies etc etc.

Th e challenge to professionals in Kenya (not just Nyanza) is where, how and when should professionals in the community invest in infrastructure, capital development and micro-industry in their home areas. Ndugu Oloo, the question now is whether Luo
professionals and entrepreneurs should view themselves as Kenyans first, or Luo-Homeboys first. The question my brother is "If a Kamau or Ngige puts up a Nails
Factory in Limuru, is he a Kenyan first? or a Gikuyu first?". An even tougher question is, if a Wafula puts up a major bakery in Kitale, is he guilty of favoring his own?

Now unfortunately entrepreneurship is not one of the central pillars of Marxism (ask Deng Xiao Ping), but China has greatly benefited from opening up
its country to investment. For Nyanza, it biggest asset is water (not rainfall). How do we explain the failure of Kisumu Breweries (a water based industry?). OK the so called "Luo Kik uyu-phobes" will point fingers at Matiba and Co. as saboteurs. Suppose
we agree with them (that Kikuyus, Kalenjins and Luhyias do not have the welfare and interest of Luos at heart) who should take the "Steering wheel"? (In addition
to the already existing Wahindis, who are no doubt the biggest inestors in Nyanza).

Right now the next biggest entrepreneurs in Nyanza are the Abagusii. So succesful have the Abagusii been as capitalists that they are giving the Agikuyu a run for their money in the matatu industry in Nairobi, and giving the Kalenjins a run in Eldoret, Kitale, Kericho
etc. In Kisumu Town the Abagusii have taken over maize and vegetable trade, and created a transportation industry from "vacuum" (I mean without political

The question of entrepreneurship relates to personal values (mostly sometimnes reduced to stereotypes). Hence where would a priority be? Micro-business development IMHO will not wait anymore for Central Government rescue. Hence JB Orengo
's argument about it being the Central Government's duty to invest in infrastructure would only make sense if a government sense to development would be unbiased. But even in all countries government based maendeleo will ALWAYS BE BIASED. People cannot
afford to wait for the government any more!!!!!!!!!!!!

To me politicians are the biggest "misleaders" on this issue. Hence for example while Peter Okondo was Kenya's largest real estate heavyweight, his people of Budalang'i continued to languish in the poorest houses in the country. One would argue that Habenga had no "buyers" for his opulent houses. But today if you go to Budalang'i you will see "Red Tiled Loresho type" houses all along the lake shore, all built by individual efforts by "Sons of the Soil".

In the same vein Alego or Gem, with the highest number r of "PhD's per square km" continues to wallow in poverty (mainly Alego, I am not an authorty on Gem).

It is my humble opinion that our politicians have focused on the "blame and complain" style of politics and lost an opportunity to engage their own in efforts to invest in development. Nyanza has the wherewithal, potential, manpower and brains to develop and
extra-governmental development strategy. I contrast this with Kasai in DR Congo. The Kasai people, having been ignored by successive governments, and having been considered as the "wrong tribe" went ahead and developed their home area without government assistance. Through individual and community efforts
they have built excellent hospitals and even a university.

Nandis, not favorites during the Moi regime, still have the sencond highest number of secondary schools in the counytry. Bungoma, ignored by the colonial and post-colonial govern ments has the HIGHEST NUMBER of secondary schools in Kenya.

And in that regard I agree with you that the molasses factory in Kisumu is an excellent example (corruption claims aside) and symbol that ONLY the HOMEBOYS will
lead the initiative for development in a neglected area. In short who knows maybe corruption was involved in reviving the factory, but corruption was always
there and the factory rotted. Meanwhile Agro-Chemical Molasses Company in Muhoroni has faired VERY WELL. The future of sugar cane as a cash crop is in alternative products and NOT sugar. If handled well the molasses factory may be a step in the right
direction. In itself the factory will not have a a major impact, but as a phenomenon (of ONLY HOMEBOYS WILL LEAD THE RESCUE) it is a step in the right direction. But the questions of corruption will not "evaporate" and if criminal intrigue was involved those culpable may have to f ace the music.

My bottom line: Nyanza solutions will have to come from Nyanza, the enabling frame work will have to be Kenyan (not Nyanza alone), but without the right political will, and a development oriented political leadership. NO CENTRAL GOVERNMENT (whether it has 10 LUO cabinet ministers) will bail out Nyanza. The solution lies within the "Sons of the Soil" grabbing the revitalization initiative.


Papa F

The author is a distinguished Professor in a US university.

Monday, April 14, 2008


The Nairobi law courts. Photo/FILE
Publication Date: 4/14/2008

Joseph C. Mumo vs Attorney General & another [2008] eKLR (www.kenyalaw.org)
High Court at Nairobi
R. N. Nambuye (J)
February 22, 2008

The High Court recently awarded Sh300,000 damages to one Joseph C. Mumo for malicious and unlawful arrest.

The facts before the court were that on May 19, 2001, Mr Mumo was arrested on the basis of false information by the defendant, Chief Inspector Joseph Gitau, claiming that he (Mumo), while acting in his capacity as former assistant chief of Gatundu North, had falsely sworn a document.

As a result of the information, he was arrested and confined for five days before he was arraigned in court on criminal charges. He was tried and subsequently acquitted due to lack of evidence.

It was Mr Mumo’s contention that as a result of the said false allegations by Inspector Gitau, his reputation was defamed, that he suffered mental anguish and that his credibility was cast into doubt.

He claimed to have attended court 35 times over a span of tow years and 10 months.

It was this that precipitated his claim for general damages and reimbursement of the costs incurred in the criminal proceedings. He claimed it had taken his family great effort to have him arraigned in court for the hearing of his matter.

The plaintiff also joined the Attorney General’s office as a defendant claiming that it had acted on Inspector Gitau’s allegations and as such could not be absolved of blame.

Mr Mumo gave evidence and called witnesses in support of his claim and reiterated the fact that he had been arrested on false information.

In his evidence, he stated the defendant had accused him of falsely swearing a supporting affidavit before Farady Atuti, a person authorized to administer an oath on a matter of public concern. He further claimed the defendant had accused him of harbouring a wanted criminal, Philip K. Kiboi, who had previously been charged with the offence of possessing firearms.

Mr Mumo claimed there had been no foundation upon which the defendant had based his reasonable suspicion or justification that an offence had been committed in order to send his juniors to arrest him.

Denied claims

On cross-examination, Inspector Gitau denied ever having investigated Mr Mumo or that he had come from the same village as Kiboi.

He further denied having accused Mr Mumo of swearing a false oath but failed to call Farady Atuti to testify although he was a key witness as the alleged oath had been taken before him.

The only concession he made was to agree that Mr Mumo had at one time been a chief in his location. In addition to that, he claimed that Mr Mumo’s acquittal by the courts did not mean that he or any other officer had in any way acted maliciously while conducting their duties.

It was the defendant’s view that the plaintiff had not established his claim to the required standards of proof set by law.

The main points relied upon by the defence were that in order to succeed, the plaintiff had to show that the defendant instituted the prosecution, that the prosecution was actuated by malice and that the said proceedings had ended in the acquittal of the plaintiff.

It was therefore their contention that Mr Mumo had not proven malice in the arrest. They further claimed that the mere fact that the plaintiff had been prosecuted and acquitted was not evidence of malice.

They therefore did not think that the plaintiff deserved the reliefs sought before the court and urged the court to find the same.

The High Court in weighing the evidence before it considered the 1995 case of Wasike versus AG where the plaintiff had sought damages for torture and false detention for a period of 42 days during which he claimed to have been severely physically tortured.

After due consideration of the evidence the court in that instance had awarded Sh7,000,000 as special damages and Sh700,000 as general damages.

In the 2000 case of James Kanga versus AG, the Court of Appeal had ruled on the issue of malicious prosecution stating that to prosecute a person was not prima facie wrong, but to do so dishonestly or unreasonably amounted to malicious prosecution.

The burden of proving that the prosecutor did not act honestly or reasonably was on the person prosecuted which burden the court ruled had not been discharged by the appellant.

On assessment, the High Court found the issue for determination to be whether the plaintiff had established liability as against the defendant on the claim of malicious arrest and prosecution.

Technical ground

The defence moved to attack the plaintiff’s claim both on technical grounds and on merit; the technical ground being that the claim was time-barred and that it had been brought before the court in an unprocedural manner, and the ground of lack of merit being that Mr Mumo had not proved his claims and as such was not deserving of any award.

The court observed that it was entitled to revisit the particulars of the claims and then determine whether the content satisfied the ingredient for particulars of malice as required by the rules of procedure.

After a full trial, the High Court found that Mr Mumo’s claim had been brought within the allotted time and that the format in which it had been brought was correct.

The court therefore ruled in his favour on the basis of unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. Under the circumstances, the High Court proceeded to award Sh300,000 damages.

The writer is an advocate of the high court of Kenya


Thursday, April 10, 2008


Whereas the whole world knows that the General election was stolen in Kenya in December 2007 and;

Whereas so many lives have been lost because of a few greedy,arrogant,myopic and unpatriotic Kenyans and;

Whereas too much energy, resources and time has been invested in the peace-agreement and;

Whereas the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has exercised unnecessary patience,sacrifice understanding and patriotism and;

Whereas the Party of National Unity (PNU) and her affiliates have remained childish, stupid, arrogant, unreasonable and untrustworthy and;

Whereas all avenues of giving the people of Kenya hope have been explored in vain and;

Whereas innocent Kenyans of all ethnic groups continue to suffer for no apparent reason and;

Whereas Kenyans cannot continue to be held at ransom by uncouth, barbaric and useless leaders and;

Whereas democracy, peace and tranquility need to be restored in Kenya immediately:

The Kenyan Diaspora Pro-democracy Movement calls for the following

1.The immediate pull-out of the Orange Democratic Movement and her affiliate parties from the current Government "coalition" in Kenya.

2. The calling of fresh general elections to be held in Kenya within three (3) months.

3.The immediate disbarment of the current Electoral Commission of Kenya.

4. The constitution of a respectable, neutral and professional Electoral Commission in Kenya.

5.The suspension of aid to Kenya by all donors until a legitimate government is elected and sworn in Kenya.

6.The suspension and barring of visas on all Government of Kenya officials by the USA, European Union and Nato member countries.

Gerald Baraza,President
Kenyan Diaspora Pro-democracy Movement.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Born to a better day: One woman's journey from a Kenyan village to a Pitt doctorate
Kakenya Ntaiya's path from a dusty Maasai village in Kenya to a Ph.D. program in education at Pitt has been long and arduous, something she has vowed to make easier for the next generation of girls from her hometown.

How Kakenya Ntaiya got from a Maasai village in Kenya to a doctoral program at Pitt and why she's going back.

All good comes at morning in Maasailand
Kakenya Ntaiya had faith that this belief, long held by her fabled Maasai tribe in southwestern Kenya, would hold true this day.

"Yes, all goodness comes at morning," she reassured herself as she strode in dawn's light through her remote East African village of cow-dung huts toward a meeting with a tribal elder -- and her future.

"You are my father," she told him. "I need your help."

Indeed. In the Maasai culture, girls are betrothed as children, circumcised as teenagers and immediately married to a man and a life of servitude to him. Despite that ages-old tradition, here she was, after refusing to marry a man hand-picked for her, asking an elder for permission to further break tribal traditions.

Respectfully, she asked to become the first woman from her village to attend college and to do so in America. She wanted the same opportunity the tribe had provided two young men before her. She needed money, she said, but more so she needed his blessing. She promised never to shame him, nor the tribe, and only wanted to do good.

The tribal leader agreed, but 16 other elders had to do likewise. Sixteen more times she made her plea; 16 more times the morning brought goodness.

That seemed fitting for a woman whose name in Maa, the Maasai language, means morning, when she was born.

And she was born again because those morning meetings with elders six years ago allowed her to seek a better life for herself and other Maasai women. Her struggle for female equality among the Maasai has brought her halfway around the world to arm herself with education and resources so she can return to her village to fight for equity.

Now a doctoral candidate in education at the University of Pittsburgh, Ms. Ntaiya, 28, wants to start a school for girls in her village, providing them with opportunities she had to fight to achieve. She plans to go back, run the school and continue to speak out against child marriages and female genital mutilation.

"I don't want girls to fight and struggle the way I did," Ms. Ntaiya said. "I do not think it's fair for young girls to struggle for education.

"It's a right everybody should be given. If boys are given the opportunity to go to school, why not girls? Why not?"

'A better life'
In asking that question, Ms. Ntaiya (pronounced n-ta-yah) acknowledges her mother's influence, support and encouragement. She honors her mother and motherland by always wearing a striking bracelet her mother made by weaving red, green, white and black beads into the Kenyan flag.

Like most Maasai women, her mother dropped out of school at a young age, married and began a family, first Kakenya and then seven other children. The family lived in Enoosaen, a remote village without electricity or running water about 20 miles from the Masai Mara Game Reserve, where tourists pay handsomely to see lions, elephants and other animals in the wild.

Ms. Ntaiya's mother was responsible for building the family hut, caring for the children, fetching firewood and water, preparing meals and tending to the cattle prized as both a source of nourishment -- drinking the milk and the blood -- and currency.

The family patriarch, a Kenyan policeman, worked in the capital city of Nairobi for a year or more at a time.

As the oldest child, Ms. Ntaiya helped her mother tend to the other children and the cattle, and she worked outside the home to earn money for school fees. Her mother lectured her and the other children repeatedly on the value of education: "I don't want you to live like me. I want you to have a better life."

Like other Maasai girls, Ms. Ntaiya was no more than 5 when she was told whom she would marry. A child himself, her future husband placed a necklace on her, indicating she was betrothed to him.

When she finished primary school, her father said, "Now you're ready."

In Maasai culture, both males and females are circumcised at puberty in "coming of age" ceremonies performed by elders. For women, the circumcision can have such serious potential health consequences that the government in Kenya has tried to eradicate the practice.

Ms. Ntaiya knew that once circumcised, she would be married and her hopes of an education and a better life would be dashed. Displaying the legendary courage Maasai tribesmen once exhibited in killing a lion with a spear, she stood up to her father. She asked to delay her circumcision and marriage until they received the results of her national test for admission to secondary school.

Her father agreed. She prayed.

Kakenya Ntaiya meets with her Pitt adviser, Noreen Garman.
Click photo for larger image.
A month and a half later, her prayers were answered. She scored higher than everyone in her school but one boy. Such a performance by a girl had never been seen in the village.

Ms. Ntaiya's father said he would go to Nairobi to find her a high school, but months went by and he didn't return. Her mother and uncles found her a school about 20 kilometers away, but when she returned home at the end of classes in April, her father was there and her sister was excited -- they were to be circumcised. That meant marriage.

Desperate, Ms. Ntaiya negotiated. She would agree to the circumcision if her father allowed her to return to school, delaying the marriage. The deal was struck, she underwent the circumcision and returned to school.

Shortly thereafter, however, her father suffered a stroke that paralyzed him. When she was home from school, Ms. Ntaiya cared for him, forming a bond most Maasai women never have with their fathers. His ailment, and his daughter's care, changed his way of thinking.

Around the same time, Morompi Ole-Ronkei, the first villager to go to college in the United States, returned from the University of Oregon for a visit. Ms. Ntaiya was spellbound by Mr. Ole-Ronkei's American clothing, the glow of success, the possibility he radiated. It was then she knew she must leave.

"I had two dresses, no shoes at all, and I looked at that life," she recalled. "The motivation was if I came to America I would live a better life. I wasn't thinking about a husband, I was thinking about helping my siblings, about how I could help the women in the village.

"I always envisioned a better life and I wanted to reach for that. The way to get it was America."

Her announced desire was greeted as heresy: "What? A woman's going to America? She's going to be a prostitute!"

She needed the elders' help and not just financially.

"I wanted them to help me with their blessing. I had to have blessings from my elders whatever I do. If I don't have their blessing, I'm cursed. I wanted that blessing so I can live happy."

She received it, and the village followed suit, taking their cattle, bead work, chickens, eggs and other items to market and donating the proceeds to her. With Mr. Ole-Ronkei's help, she applied to Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Va.

Before she knew it, she was on a plane, bound for a new life.

A tough adjustment
Tall, lithe and striking -- characteristics of the Maasai people -- Ms. Ntaiya glides across the Pitt campus. She smiles easily and warmly. Carrying a book-laden backpack, wearing stylish black jeans and laughing with fellow students, she's the picture of self-confidence. But in 2000, when she first arrived in the States, she was as lost as an American would be in the middle of the rolling savannah of East Africa.

"Everything I knew I didn't know anymore. All of sudden I didn't know anything."

The adjustment was difficult. Her English wasn't as polished as it is now. Not only was there no one with whom to speak Maa, there was no one with whom to speak Swahili, used by all Kenyans. And she feared she would never again see her village, her family, her people.

Slowly, she adjusted. A year later, her father died, and she went home for his funeral, eliminating her fear such a return trip was impossible. And her desire to succeed in breaking down stereotypes was further solidified when some villagers couldn't accept that she had been attending college in America, choosing instead to tell themselves that she had only gone to Nairobi.

Reinvigorated, she returned to America and her studies. And then one summer, while working in a youth camp in Virginia, she met a fellow Kenyan, Michael Mugoh, at the time an MBA candidate at Lynchburg College. A member of the Kikuyu tribe in central Kenya, Mr. Mugoh had never seen a Maasai woman, but knew of their tribal customs. He was surprised by her American dress, progressive views and beauty.

"I really wanted to hear her story," he recalled, and the story she told amazed and intrigued him. He was instantly attracted to her courage in becoming "a very progressive woman, one who knows where she wants to be and exactly understands where she comes from, very energetic, very interested in making something better than it was, in improving everything."

They returned to their separate schools, and friendship turned to romance. Then a series of events propelled Ms. Ntaiya toward her goals.

In 2004, as Ms. Ntaiya was about to graduate, the Washington Post published a four-part series about her life and her views on female equity, child marriage and female genital mutilation. The series caught the attention of the Global Health Council, which invited her to speak at a conference in Washington, D.C. Among those moved by the series was Kathy Bonk, a Pitt graduate and the executive director of the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, D.C., which works internationally on women's rights issues.

Ms. Bonk attended the conference, where Ms. Ntaiya was on a panel with United Nations Undersecretary-General Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund. Afterward, Ms. Ntaiya told Ms. Bonk she didn't have a job. Ms. Bonk turned to Ms. Obaid, who said she had decided already to hire Ms. Ntaiya the following fall as her organization's first youth adviser.

Ms. Ntaiya worked for the summer with Ms. Bonk's organization and then went to the U.N. group, traveling around the world on its behalf.

In May 2005, Ms. Bonk was set to go to a conference at Pitt and asked Ms. Ntaiya if she'd like to accompany her. Ms. Bonk's sister, Noreen Garman, a professor in Pitt's education department, showed Ms. Ntaiya around Oakland. Ms. Ntaiya fell in love with the education department's program and the campus. She applied, was accepted and began her doctoral program in January.

She's succeeding in the classroom -- she hopes to graduate in December 2008 -- and outside of it. Her story continues to garner attention, with the BBC recently broadcasting a piece about her around the world.

Her romance with Mr. Mugoh continued long distance. Now living in McLean, Va., where he works for a mortgage firm, Mr. Mugoh proposed June 15.

"She had difficulty in explaining it to her mom," Mr. Mugoh recalled. "She didn't know how to say it because in that tribe a girl does not tell her mom she's gotten engaged."

This weekend her self-empowerment continued. In a ceremony outside Washington yesterday, which was to be filmed by the BBC, Ms. Ntaiya married Mr. Mugoh, choosing for herself the man with whom she plans to spend the rest of her life.

Making progress
Without a whiff of complaint, Ms. Ntaiya said all she does these days is study and work, work and study. She's either in class in Posvar Hall, studying in Hillman Library or in the Squirrel Hill apartment she rents, or working 20 hours a week at the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania, Downtown.

Foundation Executive Director Heather Arnett said the relationship is a great fit for both Ms. Ntaiya and the community-based group which seeks equity for women and girls in the region. Among the benefits to Ms. Ntaiya, she said, is learning about grants.

There's already been success. Ms. Ntaiya has received planning grants totaling $50,000 for her village school, the largest a $35,000 donation from the Nike Foundation. And the village has donated a tract of land for her school.

There has been other progress, too: "When I go back home, so many men value me, so many men want to talk to me, so many men wish their daughters were like me. This has changed their minds because they had never seen one like me.

"They look at [me] and see that a girl who has an education can be OK, can still [respect] the culture, the society."

Last month, she attended a lecture by Wangari Maathai, a fellow Kenyan, a Pitt graduate student 40 years ago and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her struggle for human rights and conservation in her native country. Ms. Ntaiya acknowledged the connection between the women -- their homeland, their struggles for female equality, their university -- but lamented that no other Kenyan woman had effectively followed up on Ms. Maathai's work. She hopes to rectify that.

In concluding her address in which she spoke out against injustice, Ms. Maathai noted that a flower does not discriminate in revealing its beauty.

"That's what we should do," she said. "We should be a flower to every person we touch. To every community we should bloom, because then we shall surely enjoy life and feel good about the fact we came and we touched and we did indeed bloom."

"That's my new message!" a joyful Ms. Ntaiya said over the din of a standing ovation. "To continue to bloom, no matter what."

First published on November 26, 2006 at 12:00 am
Michael A. Fuoco can be reached at mfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1968.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Kenyans in the diaspora and Americans of all walks of life have been calling our office since yesterday asking to know more about one Alan E.Masakhalia. Please Alan, tell them who you are. They are just curious to know you!

Gerald Baraza,

10 Things ODM Must Do to Win Back Kenyans

I was among tens of thousands of Kenyans who spent hours on Sunday, April 6, 2008 glued to their respective television sets.

This was the day when the much awaited Grand Coalition cabinet would be finally named.

As a member of both Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) as well as the National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) , I was of course, seething with indignation at ODM/PNU consensus of an obscenely huge government consisting of a President, a Vice President, a Prime Minister, 2 Deputy Prime Ministers, 40 Cabinet Ministers, at least another 40 Assistant Ministers-not mentioning the Permanent Secretaries and the rest of the bureaucracy.

All the same, it was supposed to be a pivotal moment in Kenya’s breath-taking political developments over the last three months.

After hanging on at the edge of our seats, we were slapped with an anti-climatic announcement that there would be no announcement.

On Monday, April 7th, again, after another spell of tenterhooks we saw members of the ODM Pentagon hand deliver a note to President Mwai Kibaki at his Harambee Avenue offices.

At a later press conference that same day, held just before the 7 O’clock Kiswahili television evening news casts, Prime Minister Designate Raila Odinga told the Kenyan and international public why he had opted NOT to attend a scheduled Harambee Avenue one on one shin dig with the besieged Kenyan President. Raila revealed how the PNU side had reneged on and retracted from all the agreements on portfolio balance and setting up the Grand Cabinet that had been negotiated over the last couple of weeks. The Prime Minister Designate exposed the insatiable greed for power that had seen Kibaki’s cronies insist on hanging on to ALL the crucial and strategic ministries even after ODM had conceded the Finance, Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Internal Security and other portfolios. The determination of PNU to claw back Local Government, Foreign Affairs and some of the infrastructure dockets was among the main reasons why Raila and the ODM side had concluded that Kibaki and his side kicks were bargaining in bad faith. Raila underlined that ODM was not prepared to be a mere passenger or junior partner in the proposed Grand Coalition because the provisions of the National Accord had predicated the formation of the new cabinet on the principle of equal partnership. It is in this context that Raila had urged Kibaki to DISSOLVE the so called “half cabinet” foisted on the traumatized Kenyan people on January 8, 2008, at the height of the violent post election crisis.

Mwai Kibaki, in a swift live rejoinder via a temporary lectern set up at the entrance of his Harambee Avenue office blamed Raila for the impasse, claiming that he had waited all day for the PM Designate so that the details of the incoming cabinet would be worked out between the two of them. He did say one thing which was revealing when he referred to an “expanded cabinet” rather than the formation of a brand new one based on two partners- ODM and PNU.

Let me quickly say this:

I am GLAD at the current stalemate rather than peeved. In other words, I am not on the verge of dying from anguish. I was more worried when the prospects of ODM entering into a Grand Coalition on the terms prescribed by the intransigent PNU hardliners.

It is a GOOD thing that PNU has proved once again, their power hungry, selfish, undemocratic and two-faced credentials, reminding Kenyans why Kibaki and his kitchen cabinet CANNOT be trusted to keep their word- a trend we started observing way back in January 2003.

It is IMPORTANT to refresh our memories about how Kibaki and his current half cabinet came to be where they are today- it appears that many of us as Kenyans are suffering from a serious case of political amnesia.

There was an election held in this country on Thursday, December 27, 2007. Millions of Kenyans came out to vote and they did so peacefully and largely successfully.

The outcome:

ODM won overwhelmingly in the civic and parliamentary contests. ODM’s Presidential candidate Raila Odinga was leading by more than a million votes when a series of bizarre happenings- returning officers who did not return phone calls; results which were held back; forms which were not filled out properly; strange voters who opted only to vote for the President and not for their MP or local councilor; demented tirades from the ECK chair; claims by ECK employees of vote tampering; Kibaki ministers (e.g. Saitoti, Kamanda, Mugo, Mwakwere) being caught with their pants down supervising the tampering with ballot boxes; the raucous scenes at the KICC; bayonet and rifle wielding GSU militias ordering journalists out of the media centre; a state ordered literal black out- all culminating in the announcement of a blatant, cynical civilian coup installing the defeated Mwai Kibaki as the illegitimately and illegally “elected President” of Kenya.

This announcement, as we recall sparking of a ferocious, spontaneous nationwide orgy of mass anger which quickly turned not only violent but a conflagration with heavy ethnic overtones leading to tragedies like the human infernos in Eldoret and Naivasha where innocent Kenyans lost their lives solely on account of their tribal backgrounds.

We also remember vividly the mass murders and daily brutal atrocities by the police as they shot unarmed innocent civilians included pre-teen kids and brand new infants.

And as all of this was going on, Kalonzo Musyoka- yes the very one who claimed to be Kibaki’s most formidable opponent coming out in his true treacherous colours as Kibaki’s controversial deputy.

This followed a few days later by the pornographic announcement of a "half cabinet" consisting of Kibaki’s cronies- including at least two people openly accused on fanning the violence by bankrolling the murderous goons who went on a panga slashing spree in the informal settlements of Nairobi, Nakuru and elsewhere targeting innocent Kenyans whose only crime was sharing an ethnic background with Raila Odinga, William Ruto, Musalia Mudavadi and other ODM leaders.

Yes it is important to remind Kenyans and the world that Mwai Kibaki STOLE the Presidential vote and then ILLEGALLY announced an ILLEGITIMATE "half cabinet".

In other words, Kibaki and PNU are currently holding state power because they perpetrated a COUP against the Kenyan people.

They should be in court answering charges of TREASON.

Instead, courtesy of the peace-loving Dr. Kofi Annan and intense international pressure from George Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Gordon Brown, Dr. Merkel, the European Union and others, democracy seeking Kenyans were arm-twisted into FORGIVING Mwai Kibaki and PNU for their crimes against the Kenyan electorate and further prevailed upon to accept a peace deal.

But far from being contrite and relieved at the national reprieve, the PNU gang led by Mwai Kibaki proceeded to saunter and swagger on, completely oblivious at the nausea and disgust they were attracting from millions of Kenyans. Within a few days of their being sworn in, two rookie ODM MPs were assassinated in circumstances that did not rule out the complicity of the PNU controlled state organs. Despite attempts to bribe the other side, Kibaki witnessed his forces vanquished in a televised triumph for ODM during the elections of the Speaker and his Deputy.

Quickly assuming the status of an international pariah, the Kibaki led junta found some of its key members facing visa and travel bans to the Western capitals of capital where the Kenyan comprador bourgeois elite loves to stash its ill gotten swag, vacation in and educate their brats.

The National Peace Accord and the ensuing passage of legislation came into force to avert a possible descent into violent civil war largely PROVOKED by war mongers FROM THE PNU SIDE.

I find it CRUCIAL to reiterate these very well known facts because of a startling amnesia in the most unlikely of places- WITHIN THE ODM CAMP.


It appears to me that Raila Odinga and ODM are forgetting that they still have the overwhelming support of the vast majority of the Kenyan people.

It appears to me that Raila Odinga and ODM are forgetting that regionally, continentally and across the world, they still retain the higher moral ground because it is evident that they were robbed of a rightfully won election.

Why do I say this?

I say this when I contemplate the series of OUTRAGEOUS COMPROMISES and CONCESSIONS that ODM has made to the PNU side.

It was bad enough having to countenance Kibaki being referred to as "President" when he in fact was the runner up.

It was terrible enduring the daily smirk of the turncoat so called "Vice President" Kalonzo Musyoka or enduring the barrage of content free propaganda from Dr. Alfred Mutua and the lectures from the illegal half cabinet.

What ODM should NOT have done, is to quietly agree that the Grand Coalition was a more or less PERMANENT arrangement lasting the full mandate of five years- rather than a TRANSITIONAL ONE put in place as arrangements were made to hold FRESH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS within eighteen months or two years at the latest.

ODM should have DEMANDED, from the very outset, the IMMEDIATE DISSOLUTION of the ILLEGAL HALF- CABINET as one of the PRECONDITIONS for jump starting the Grand Coalition government.

ODM should have RESISTED STRENOUSLY, PNU's obscene insistence on a bloated 40 member cabinet. Because it did not do so, ODM’s credibility as an alternative voice for serious change has tumbled down to the abyss and ODM must do a lot of work to repairing this unnecessary damage to its image.

ODM made a serious mistake in cutting itself off from its mass base as it reduced its negotiations with Kibaki and PNU to a very secretive technocratic and bureaucratic affair hermetically sealed from the public scrutiny of the millions of Kenyans who voted for Raila and ODM; the thousands of Kenyans who were killed and injured demanding “Haki Yetu!” and chanting “No Raila, No Peace!”. Because it did not put in place an mechanism of explaining to the people its rationale in making certain serious concessions, it was no wonder that soon many of ODM’s very supporters started getting very disillusioned, convinced that after all the political rhetoric, ODM was really NO DIFFERENT from PNU because both appeared to wananchi to be more obsessed about political power and personal aggrandizement.

Raila Odinga SHOULD NOT HAVE agreed to be showered by the trinkets and trappings of apparent clout (the over-excited security detail, the convoys, the sumptuous lunches with PNU hawks like Karua and Kimunya) BEFORE he was DULY SWORN in as Prime Minister with ALL HIS EXECUTIVE POWERS.

ODM should have maintained the IDEOLOGICAL OFFENSIVE instead of acquiescing to this ridiculous suggestion from PNU that their respective manifestos should be"harmonized". PNU’s credo is unabashedly NEO-LIBERAL in orientation and in practice. ODM’s manifesto projects the party as pursuing a SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC ORIENTATION.

Why should Kenyans be prepared for a wedding between a night runner and his nocturnal victims?

ODM should have soberly analyzed the TRUE OBJECTIVES of the United Stated and her Western allies. It is becoming abundantly clear, especially if one carefully studies the utterances of Ambassador Ranneberger, that the US is more interested in a superficial “peace” (read political stability) rather than a sustainable JUSTICE and that is why the Nairobi-based diplomat had no serious qualms with the proposal for an overweight cabinet.

Because of the above miscues and serious errors, ODM came on the brink of ceding ALL POWER to the gang they had decisively vanquished at the 2007 polls.

It is therefore something of a very mixed blessing that Kibaki and his PNU cronies have decided to reveal themselves even further.

The current impasse thus gives ODM, and especially its kinara Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a very welcome BREATHER which will allow ODM to RECOUP, REGROUP and REPOSITION itself.

Given what I have said above, it is obvious, at least to me, what steps ODM should take.

The first thing ODM should do is to APOLOGIZE to its followers, and indeed to the Kenyan people of allowing itself to be hoodwinked into this conspiracy for a bloated cabinet. If ODM, especially through Raila Odinga, does so immediately, publicly and unequivocally, it will recover a lot of lost ground and regain the goodwill of large sections of the Kenyan populace.

Secondly, ODM should carry out a national campaign to sensitize the public about its position in the ongoing negotiations to put a Grand Coalition into place. They should continue exposing the duplicity and chicanery of the PNU clique.

Thirdly, ODM must insist that the Grand Coalition is a TRANSITIONAL measure with a shelf life not extending beyond two years from now and that it must be a preparation for FRESH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS giving either ODM or PNU or any other party for that matter an UNDIVIDED MANDATE to govern Kenya.

Fourthly, ODM must LEAD the process of coming up with a new democratic constitution WITHIN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS.

Fifthly, ODM should pursue the serious case it has launched against the PNU leadership in the Hague- provided of course, that it does NOT have MORE skeletons in its closet.

Sixthly, ODM must avoid the stigma attached to MDC in Zimbabwe by not appearing to taking all its cues from Washington, London, Berlin and other Western capitals.

Seventhly, ODM must ratchet up its interventions within the African Union and other Pan Africanist platforms within the continent and the African Diaspora.

In the Eighth place, ODM must clearly articulate its vision when it comes to unemployment, poverty eradication, gender oppression, the rights of marginalized Kenyans and most crucially its approach to peace building and conflict transformation. For instance ODM must NOT be seen to ENDORSE the current bloodthirsty Kibaki policy in dealing with the situation in Mount Elgon or the indiscriminate rounding up of Agikuyu youth on the pretext of flushing out alleged Mungiki members.

In the Ninth place, ODM must persuade the Kenyan people that WANANCHI TOO are SHARING POWER- not just a handful of the elite belonging to two mainstream political formations.

In the TENTH PLACE, ODM must place on the PUBLIC AGENDA the possibility of walking out of the Accord and seeking a fresh mandate from the people through PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS should the present PNU created quagmire persist for another two weeks.

Those are my suggestions. I am sure that NOT EVERYONE AGREES WITH ONYANGO OLOO on this one.

But then again, what else is new?

Onyango Oloo
Nairobi, Kenya


Hallow Sir,

Receive greetings from a Kenyan yearning for justice

Sir, I realize that you are one of the highly paid citizens in East and Central Africa.

I therefore hope that this means Kenyans get services that are unparalleled in the region.

Sir, I have two concerns, the first is the unending Mobitelea. I don't know what mobitelea is, am not sure whether it is shadowy or not and so are most Kenyans.

Why cant your esteemed office clear the air on this. Isn't your office the one which ought to investigate this matter and give Kenyans the assurance they seek.

Secondly Sir, if indeed the electoral commission was compromised through pressure or even through bribes, isn't your office supposed to stand for integrity/ Any investgation in the offing?

Sir, as you read this from integrity house – Kenyans long for the truth on these two matters.

Please help

I remain looking forward to a positive response

Yours Sincerely

Alan E Masakhalia


Sir, you recently stated that the agreed on bloated cabinet of 40 won't be an extra burden on Kenyans.

Sir, how exactly is this the case?

40 ministries means – 40 ministers earning more than a million shillings a month.

It further means at least 40 assistant ministers taking home a million shillings a month.

It means 40 permanent secretaries taking home more than half a million a month.

It also means 80 official limousines for the ministers (each does get two).

It further means 40 more fuel guzzlers for the assistant ministers

The 40 permanent secretaries also get to be driven home – a home that also ought to belong to the government (aren't they housed?).

Don't forget the 80 drivers for the ministers and their assistants.

Plus the 80 or more body guards, who would rather be combating crime in Kariobangi.

Sir, please help me see things from your point of view – no extra cost?

Yours sincerely

Alan E Masakhalia


To say that by mid 2002 I had grown tired of Moi would be an understatement; the truth is that I wanted him nowhere near power. Infact I even wanted him out of Nairobi and completely out of our lives. I concurred with those who asked him to pitch camp at Kabartonjo and look after goats.

Now I know better

With the benefit of hindsight I can now give credence to the saying "you never know the value of something until you lose it". That I would even be mentioning Moi's name years after I angrily voted him out baffles me.

But I have made up my mind – I wont suffer in silence, I must speak up,

I must confess - I miss Moi.

I bet you really must be wondering why I would be so passionate about a man, who only a few years ago we all loved to hate.

This is why

· First, he handed over power to NARC peacefully and without a fuss. Now I know that it takes a real man to lose honourably

· Moi was always in the spotlight. Simply put he was all over the place. He went anywhere and everywhere, commenting on anything and everything. But, at least we were always sure of who was running the country. I woke up everyday knowing who was really in charge and went to bed every evening not doubting as to who exactly was steering the country forward.

· It is now that am realizing that he did infact have a lean government. Back then I was blind to this fact and we kept on criticizing his cabinet of 26 as being too large. Now we are contemplating 44

· There was no RIFTY VALLEY MAFIA then.

· It is now that am realizing that Moi's government had no sacred cows. Apart from Moi himself nobody else was above the law. In 1991 even Moi's ally – THE TOTAL MAN was arrested and sent to jail. (akala mahindi na maharagwe mabichi). Just like a father , all children were equal – and any mistake was punishable.

· It is said that "power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely". Moi had a firm grip on his family so that none got drunk with power, none of his family members went on the rampage slapping and terrorizing citizens. He also never referred to fellow citizens as 'mavi ya kuku' or as 'kubaff'.

· Moi led for 24 years until we took peace for granted. There was no single month in which 1500 Kenyans lost their lives – we could only see this on TV. No wonder others mistook the recent tribulations for Rambo movies.

· Moi was indeed a great man. A man whose word at least meant something. A man who kept and honoured promises and gentlemen's agreements. A good example is the IPPG deal when Moi assured the opposition that they would also get a chance to select ECK commissioners. Moi honoured this promise. Others have to be pinned down into signing binding documents so as to be compelled to keep their word – and even then they keep applying delay tactics.

· During his reign, there was no single day when the heavily armed military was unleashed on rioting citizens armed with only stones and whips.

· Its also now that am realizing that Moi was indeed the peoples president. He spent the better part of his time coming up with projects that benefited the common man eg the Jua Kali sector, HELB, the NYS etc. He even personally helped build gabions to fight mumomonyoko wa udongo. Kenya even attempted to make a car – the Nyayo Pioneer. But now we are bombarded with concepts which the common man cant comprehend eg the dialectics of the stock market, the lowering of importation tariffs etc etc

Moi was always campaigning – he never operated from an ivory tower. He always popularized himself in Kakamega, Kwale, Kacheliba, Westlands, Nyatike, Butula ete etc. KANU was baba na mama at all times. He never waited until an election was 2 months away so as to form a party. He knew that you cant stay mum for 4years 8months and the out of the bleus form a new party, campaign for 2 months and then win. He knew that 2 months of campaigning would never deliver statehouse – not in Kenya.

You see why I miss Moi ?

If only God could bring him back

If only Kenyans could get him back in 2012 !!!!!!!!!!!

Yours truly

Alan E Masakhalia