Would you support the government's effort to defer the case involving four Kenyan suspects at the ICC

Monday, May 12, 2008

Is Dr. Mohammed Isahakia destroying the Prime Minister?

Recent media reports (The People On Sunday May 4, 2008) about a fierce war by officers at the Primier's office barely scratch the bottom of what is really at stake for Raila Odinga and ODM. The man drawing discontent in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is Dr. Mohammed Isahakia, erstwhile head of the ODM Presidential Campaign Secretariat, former director of National Museums of Kenya and former Permanent Secretary (PS) whom Moi sacked severally under controversial circumstances and now the re-invented boss at the critical PM's office.

He is the only PS in the history of civil service re-appointed to public office while still facing misuse of office allegations in court in addition to being past retirement age. He is such a persona that his support base (Muslims) and party (ODM) fraternity do not want him near any decision–making but the Prime Minister is weighed down with him.

He is also the "enemy within" that party bigwigs and strategists tag for spirited sabotage manoeuvres of the ODM electioneering campaigns, misuse of campaign funds, fiasco in cabinet portfolio balance in power-sharing negotiations and short-changing in public service appointments, but who has been planted on the PM as his closest minder.

Recent reports of infighting within the PM's office and disquiet within ODM hierarchy is but a tip of the iceberg as the PM faces credibility questions from his own party. Members of the Pentagon, cabinet ministers and large pools of professional support groups cite lack of integrity by officers in his office. Prime Minister Raila Odinga is indeed in danger of squandering an image build over the years as a man after real change in governance.

Premier's Office in Disarray
The recent squabble might seem to be between Dr. Isahakia and Raila's close political aide, the Secretary of Administration at the PM's office, Mr. Caroli Omondi; but the gulf runs much deeper. On the PM's instruction, Mr. Omondi wrote to the Justice Aaron Ringera-headed KACC asking for a brief on the controversially alleged handover of Grand Regency Hotel by Kamlesh Patni, of the Goldenberg infamy. Mr. Omondi, a lawyer and ODM liaison officer at the on-going Serena Mediation talks signed off as the "Chief of Staff" for the PM.

Apparently upset that Raila had overlooked him in "protocol", Dr. Isahakia is said to have appealed to newfound confidante - the Head of Civil Service Mr. Francis Muthaura - to put the record straight on the pecking order at the PM's office. Motivating Isahakia was the desire to spite the PM amidst suspicion that the PM is already overwhelmed by appeals to cut him loose. In an offhand rude putdown to Raila and Omondi, Muthaura - in the now-famous insolent manner he has come to treat the PM - did not let his buddy down; he was least bothered with courtesies and official channels.

He contemptuously let fly through the media his disdain for Raila; Muthaura was categorical that no one will bother with a reply since government structures had no "chief of staff" and only Dr. Isahakia could author such requests. This is despite the letter downright stating that "I have been directed by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister…" Insubordination is the strategy to Muthaura has chosen to let the PM know his place.

The relationship between Muthaura and Dr. Isahakia is intriguing and a source of great anxiety within ODM. In the heat of disagreements over portfolio balance, the two were used as point's men by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila respectively in heated correspondence, when one-on-one meetings failed. Dr. Isahakia was the errand boy for ODM on "portfolio balance" in meetings with Muthaura for PNU. It through these engagements that the two developed a conspiratorial working rapport.

The Saboteur
Back to ODM portfolio balance negotiations, a red flag was first raised when media leaks begun to portray ODM as constantly conceding on its "irreducible minimum" in portfolio balance. Sources say that "coincidences were too many" when approved "portfolio balance" presentations to PNU were concisely substituted with new ones once in the hands of Isahakia.

"It was baffling. For instance, the strategists would work on a document and fine tune it for presentation. But between Isahakia's offices for the PM's approval, the document would acquire different proposals. Of course the PM would assume that the changes were by the strategy team as it had been presented to him!" said a distraught official. He cited the leak that portrayed ODM ceding Foreign Affairs, Internal Security and Finance to PNU even before any discussion was held as a fake document that was traced back to an Isahakia sidekick at Pentagon House.

It was determined that Isahakia had been "turned" in espionage to ensure a favourable deal for PNU because he was "too compromised" by his past. In his mole role, Isahakia was/has strategically been placed to feed Raila with misinformation. Henceforth Isahakia would not meet alone with Muthaura. He would be shadowed by Mr. Caroli Omondi, Dalmas Otieno and Amukowa Anagwe.

However, Isahakia would pull a first one; he recruited Dalmas Otieno and Amukowa Anagwe into his confidence. At Sagana where 'portfolio balance' was agreed only Isahakia and Muthaura and the two principals were present. It is noteworthy that not even the highest decision-making organ – Pentagon - at ODM was aware of Sagana. Subsequently Isahakia would evade 'his tails' in meetings with his new-found villain Muthaura to fine tune the agreement and finalise appointments to cabinet and civil service that has became the source of fury in ODM.

"It is uncanny how Isahakia connived to meet alone with Muthaura and agree on PS allotments and then tell a tall story as already plotted by them to the PM", said an ODM MP.

Plot to Fix Raila's Reputation
In a much Isahakia's positioning is a source of ire, diehard supporters of the PM fear that it is an insidious long-term PNU plot to politically fix Raila. To begin with among the presidential candidates, it only the Raila Odinga who presented himself as "Mr. Clean" and on behalf ODM promised to fight corruption. In the campaigns, Raila would scold opponents as representing "business as usual" in reference to their alleged corrupt backgrounds in public perception.

"It comes as shocking and alarming to supporters that the PM has within his office people with stained and dubious reputations" , said a professional from Nyanza.

Supporters are worried that apart from Isahakia himself, the latter in complicity with Muthaura is busy recruiting into PM's office wheeler dealer Tony Gachoka as a Senior Assistant Secretary for protocol and a Major Idris who left the armed forces procurement department under a dubious cloud as a Deputy Secretary. This is being done without following laid down procedures indicating the length head of public service, Muthuara is prepared to prop up his friend and go to have PNU-friendly insiders around the PM.

Most of PM's close confidants are lost for words that their interventions to have the PM cut loose Dr. Isahakia have hit a brick wall. Dr. Isahakia continues to call the shots even as he continues, according to ODM insiders, "to mislead the PM into PNU traps at every corner". It is in this light that Raila is said to be quietly shifting political responsibilities to Mr. Omondi prompting Isahakia to wage insurgency in cohorts with Muthaura.

"We sincerely do not know where the Captain got this man and why", said an irate ODM Pentagon member when asked about Isahakia's recruitment as campaign head adding he found the PS "lazy, manipulative and inopportune" . "He confessed to me that he knew nothing about managing campaigns and proved it", he said.

"I can tell you the man is incapable of writing a simple memo", said a former minister whose sentiments were supported by a member of ODM strategy team who had to re-draft "juvenile" memos from Isahakia.

"We don't know this man'
However, insiders told us that Dr. Isahakia as the ODM Presidential Campaign Secretariat head was part of the deal in the contentious and debilitating "Muslim MOU" authored by NAMLEF, the Muslims lobby group that was at the centre of the debate during that 2007 campaigns. In the course of the campaigns, however, it transpired Dr. Isahakia abandoned the Muslim agenda and became a material broker for vested interests in the party nominations, especially Muslim parliamentary constituencies. Furthermore, the source claimed, campaign funds released to the area never reached the intended beneficiaries. They cite a case of Ksh.1m meant for a coordinator who only received Ksh200, 000 from Dr. Isahakia.

"He is responsible for the fiasco that saw us loose ground in North Eastern to PNU as he substituted strategic parliamentary candidates with his cronies in the area for some consideration. Somehow, most of his recommended candidates lost to PNU", said a party strategist from the region who sought anonymity.

As if these were not enough, the Muslim community feels short-changed in the recent PS appointment by ODM which led to a delegation that asked the PM to fire his PS. Sources in NAMLEF say that Dr. Isahakia colluded with PNU to ensure that names for ODM Muslim appointees to PS positions, like the those from other regions, were replaced by PNU appointees.

Players in the on-going saga who fear that there is a larger PNU plot to isolate the PM from his support bases point out that PNU is already using its manipulation of PS appointments to its advantage in ODM support areas. "I can tell you that other than one Secretary, none of those PSs with Muslim names are ODM supporters", said an NAMLEF official.

The story is the same everywhere; Kanu is busy taunting ODM in Rift Valley since all PS appointees are its supporters to the chagrin of ODM Kalenjin professionals. In Western, ODM was even upstaged by ODM-K and Ford-Kenya where they got one PS each to none for ODM! In addition, Kibaki retained his previous appointees.

More recently, there are unconfirmed reports circulating among Muslims that ODM cabinet and PS positions were "bought" for as much as Ksh30 million and Ksh20, 000 respectively.

'Dirty Hands'
The insinuation of dirtied hands at the PM's office goes back to the campaigns. The issue of misappropriation of campaign funds is not new. At the height of the campaigns, the media cited conflict of interest in the award of tenders at Orange House, the party headquarters. To date, the party secretariat has not accounted for the millions that aspirants on the ODM ticket paid as nominations fees.

What did not attract media attention; however, were the goings-on at the Presidential Campaign Secretariat headquarters then based at Dr. Isahakia's private office at Titan House near Yahya Centre. Information now sipping out reveals that despite public perception that ODM was a well-funded machine; the presidential campaign had to operate from hand-to-mouth most of December as cartels at the secretariat under Dr. Isahakia's command siphoned off millions in procurement deals that nearly derailed the campaign.

"You had the 'Isahakia boys' inflate transport, publicity and security procurements while major needs were left bleeding for want of money. Their trick was to ensure that the logistics for members of Pentagon campaigns teams were well executed to blindside them from seeing the sabotage from within", we were told by a regional coordinator from Rift Valley.

He said Isahakia dillydallied with the roll-out for recruitment and training programmes for presidential agents in an act that many saw as sabotage. At the intervention of the strategy team, this task was personally delegated to Mr. Omondi by the presidential candidate. It is no wonder campaign tuff wars have been extended to the PM's office.

Fraudulent deals
Another case darkens the clouds over Isahakia are revelations about an internal opinion poll that cost Ksh6 million. A member of the media team based at Raila's private offices at Raila Odinga Centre (ROC) House in the Upper Hill area of Nairobi revealed that Isahakia recruited a former Kanu insider and PS Dr. Jeremiah Ngeno and made him "head of technical services".

Dr. Ngeno was meant to be answerable to the high powered strategy team based at Rainbow House in Kawangware but never shared any information with it, choosing instead to chain himself at Isahakia's Titan office. It turned out that Dr. Ngeno never carried out any field work for the opinion poll. Instead, our source said, the couple (Isahakia and Dr. Ngeno) teamed up with Dr. Simbili current PS Planning ministry at the PM's office, and used rehashed data from the national sampling agency from the ministry.

The strategy team that used to advice on itinerary was shut out when it demanded to see the protocol for the poll, samples of questionnaires and tabulations. After evading the team's demands Dr. Ngeno would secretly present "polling results" to the ODM candidate which was used to map out his campaign itinerary in the final days of the campaign. This ensured that the campaign was diverted into investing resources and time in useless trips to regions that had little added value. The heightened poll results showed PNU winning and thus panicked ODM into frantic campaigns.

Too late it would be discovered that in fact Dr. Isahakia, Dr. Ngeno and Dr. Sambili actually used poll results earlier commissioned by PNU through the Ministry of Planning under Dr. Sambili's direction to mislead the ODM campaign. All this time, just like it would happen during the post-election negotiations with Isahakia, that time the candidate would be presented with a fait accompli that Dr. Ngeno was an emissary of the strategy team.

"Sack this man'
"At one time, people just got fed-up and told the Captain to fire Isahakia if he expected a win", said a volunteer who worked at Rainbow House in the ODM strategy team.

"However, to our dismay almost all senior staff at the secretariat were fired except Isahakia", the volunteer said addicting that the PS's management style by deception and double-dealing has served him well, and that "you do not get into a dog-fight with Isahakia and win".

Today, Dr. Sambili having been retained as PS Ministry of Planning in the Premier's Office is working closely with Dr. Ngeno on harmonising party manifestoes for the Grand Coalition Government.

A minister whom Isahakia have worked under in the public service says that "yeye ni mutu wa kukupotosha" (he misleads you) and then pretends to be the one solving the problem.

"Isahakia uses bad-mouthing to the boss as a potent weapon. He has succeeded in isolating the PM from his trusted teams", said a former PS now an ODM MP referring to the dismissal of long-serving Raila aides during the campaign ostensibly due to financial misappropriation. It is said Isahakia has mastered the art of passing the buck to his subordinates. He would set people up by goading them into a deal and then rush to "report".

In this way Isahakia is said to have managed to get rid of former Raila PA Dave Arunga, and Head of Campaign Finance and ODM party secretary general Tony Chege. This was after he had instigated fallout between Raila's personal assistant Serah Elderkin on one hand and Raila's daughter Rosemary Akinyi who was the deputy to Director of Communications Kibisu-Kabatesi on the other. The latter two had questioned the opaque use of publicity money.

The bad blood between Isahakia and the strategy team, many whose names were dropped from PS appointments must be seen in this context. To completely obliterate the team's central role in advising the Premier, Isahakia is lobbying that it be deployed to the party as departmental directors. Indeed, a source confirms that there is a plot to close Pentagon House, which is an important symbol for ODM.

Indeed, the PM is now surrounded by gatekeepers who are Isahakia cohorts. Information indicates that Isahakia is currently up in arms against a new structure in the PM's office that donors have agreed to support. That the recent snide accusations that foreigners are "babysitting" the PM by PNU are part of his counter attack strategy so as not to loose influence on the PM.

Pundits are still out on what next; will this ODM Iago of Shakespearean intrigue survive the bile supping ODM?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Women, youth and Kenya lose in new PS line up

Mwizi Kibaki has lived up to his reputation of tokenism and a knack for the grey haired and tired recycled technocrats of the yester-years. Read the list of appointees and you will not fail to notice that Kenya is Gemanizing the more it is coalescing. It is a tragic lose for women and the youth not to mention the greater republic. By retaining the super-half-centuries, Mr Kibaki has displayed utter contempt for Kenya and Kenyans. He must not be allowed to go on unchecked.

And if Kenyans thought that they had enough of Dr Goebbels Mutua, hold your breath. He is retained, as Dan Maanzo gets a reprieve for being jilted by Judas Iscariot Kalooser Musyoka.

Here is the list:
Cabinet Office
Permanent Sec., Sec. to Cabinet & Head Public Service: Ambassador Francis Muthaura
Private Secretary/Comptroll er: Mr. Hyslop Ipu
Public Communications Secretary & Government Spokesperson: Dr. Alfred N. Mutua
Secretary, National Economic & Social Council: Dr. Julius Monzi Muia
Principal Administrative Secretary: Mr. Sam Mwale
Secretary, Presidential Press Service: Mr. Isaiah Kabira

Ministry of State for Internal Security & Provincial Administration Permanent Secretary: Mr. Francis Kimemia
Secretary, Provincial Administration: Mr. Kenneth M. Lusaka

Ministry of State for Defence
Permanent Secretary: Amb. Nancy Kirui

Ministry of State for Home Affairs
Permanent Secretary: Dr. Ludeki Chweya

Ministry of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Emannuel Kisombe

Ministry of State for National Heritage & Culture
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Seno Nyakenyanya
Secretary, Culture: Mr. Said Athman

Permanent Secretary
: Dr. Mohammed Isahakia
Secretary, Administration: Mr. Caroli Omondi

Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030
Permanent Secretary: Dr. Edward Sambili

Ministry of State for Public Service
Permanent Secretary
: Mr. Titus Ndambuki
Permanent Secretary, Public Sector Reforms & Performance Contracting: Mr. Richard Ndubai

Permanent Secretary: Dr (Eng) Silas Njiru
Secretary, External Trade: Mr. Simon Chacha Nyang


Ministry of East African Community
Permanent Secretary: Mr. David Nalo

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Thuita Mwangi

Ministry of Finance
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Joseph Kinyua
Finance Secretary: Mr. Mutua Kilaka
Investment Secretary: Ms. Esther Koimett
Economic Secretary: Dr. Kamau Thuge

Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs
Permanent Secretary: Amb. Amina Mohammed
Secretary, National Cohesion: Dr. Kithure Kindiki

Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Philip Onyango Sika
Secretary, Physical Planning: Eng. John Ndirangu Maina

Ministry of Roads
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Michael Kamau

Ministry of Public Works
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Mark Bor
Secretary for Works: Mr. Gideon Mulyungi

Ministry of Transport
Permanent Secretary: Eng. Abdulrazak Aden Ali

Ministry of Water and Irrigation
Permanent Secretary: Eng. David Stower

Information & Communication
Permanent Secretary: Dr. Bitange Ndemo

Ministry of Energy
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Patrick Nyoike

Ministry of Lands
Permanent Secretary: Ms. Dorothy Angote

Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources
Permanent Secretary: Prof. James Ole Kiyiapi

Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Kombo Mwero

Ministry of Tourism
Permanent Secretary: Ms. Rebecca Mwikali Nabutola

Ministry of Agriculture
Permanent Secretary: Dr. Romano M. Kiome

Ministry of Livestock Development
Permanent Secretary: Dr. Jacob Ole Miaron

Ministry of Fisheries Development
Permanent Secretary: Prof. Micheni Ntiba

Ministry of Regional Development Authorities
Permanent Secretary: Eng. Carey Orege

Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands
Permanent Secretary: Dr. Hukka Wario

Ministry of Education
Permanent Secretary: Prof. Karega Mutahi
Secretary, Education: Prof. George Godia

Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology
Permanent Secretary: Prof. Crispus Kiamba
Secretary, National Council For Science and Technology: Prof. Abdirazak Shaukat

Ministry of Cooperatives Development
Permanent Secretary: Mr.. Patrick Khaemba

Ministry of Industrialization
Permanent Secretary: Prof. John Krop Lonyangapuo
Secretary for Industrialization: Dr. John Musonic

Ministry of Housing
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Tirop Kosgey

Ministry of Special Programmes
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Ali Dawood

Ministry of Gender & Children Development
Permanent Secretary: Ms. Leah Adda Gwiyo
Secretary for Children Affairs: Prof. Jacqueline Oduol

Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation
Permanent Secretary: Dr. James Nyikal

Ministry of Medical Services
Permanent Secretary: Dr. Hezron Nyangito
Director of Medical Services: Dr. Francis Kimani

Ministry of Labour
Permanent Secretary: Ms. Beatrice Naliaka Wasike

Ministry of Youth and Sports
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Murugu Kinuthia, BS
Secretary, Sports: Mr. Daniel K. Maanzo

Office of the Attorney General

Solicitor General: Mr. Wanjuki Muchemi

Thursday, March 27, 2008

As exams and Safaricom scams defraud Kenyans, where is Aaron Ringera?

The bandit government of Kenya is abetting crime and profound theft of public resources as well as destruction of the lives of our future generations. In this regard, the peoples' president and Prime Minister should not be in a hurry to be sworn in because he will be complicit in the illegalities of the state and what is more he will be bogged down by collective irresponsibility.

May be it is time we Kenyans took stock of the actions of some pivotal bandits in PNU, notably George Muthengi Kinuthia ole (sic) Saitoti. The second man we need to train our binoculars on is Amos Kimunya, the youthful and liquid minister for finance. Above all, Kenyans need to ask unassuming questions such as when exam scandals were revealed the other day and while we all know including the illiterate Wanjiku, that the Safaricom IPO is an an overboard deal, one man remains handsomely remunerated in Kenya.

Justice (is he really retired) Aaron Ringera may be remembered by Kenyans for mouthy and pompous vocabulary and his well cut suits than we will ever size him up for the 2.5 million pay check that he draws monthly for nothing more than chasing around small fry and defeated former parliamentarians who inflated their mileage claims. Again, it is not all MPs. He has a knack for cracking the whip on dry economic bones while letting the grand thieves in the grand thieving PNU go scot free. Where is Aaron Ringera, the inept head of the state anti-graft agency?

The Kenya National Examinations Council was caught pants down practising waht coward-in-chief Samuel Kivuitu did to hand over illegal power to bandit president Mwai Kibaki. Kivuitu extended Safaricom's top-up, handing Kibaki manufactured 1m votes to lipfrog the peoples' president Raila Odinga. The KNEC topped-up exam results for some students from PNU-positive zones. What is ridiculous is that as was the case with the Kivuitu top-up, the goons at the center of the KNEC top-up missed the point and even handed ghost candidates impressive exam performances which means they can go ahead and study medicine or law. We complained about it here, now it is a national disgrace. But what has Aaron Ringera done, in spite of his enormous statutory powers? NOTHING, na Kenyans muta do?

The election was stolen. Kenyans turned out in record numbers to bundle out an insensitive regime bent on clinging to illicit power and which was implicated in mega corruption scandals. The goons at the ECK went on an extra-ordinary rigging spree, even handing constituencies like Mathira a voting impossibility with a bloated turn-out of the absurd and ridiculous 115%. Aaron Ringera is yet to ask Kivuitu to record a statement. He won't, because he is PNU-positive and it is only former Kanu operatives who have fallen out of favor with Warlord-in-chief Uhuru Kenyatta that need to be haunted to submission. Aaron Ringera speaks big and farts big, and that is all. He farts with his mouth, empty words but a lot of pungent gasses that look misty with nothing substantive in it. The elction was stolen, na muta do?

Now on to Safaricom, the IPO of a life time. Safaricom is a company that is supposed to be owned by the Kenya government and Vodafone (K) Ltd. The shareholding is 60:40, quite innocuous and innovative. Vodafone is the leading mobile phone service provider in the world. Interestingly, Kenyans did not know something else. By law, Vodafone was only entitled to some 30% shareholding in a Kenyan company. Well it owns exactly that! So what is the noise all about?
Look at the contradiction. Where is Vodafone's other 10%, that makes it own 40% of Safaricom? Now it turns out that Mobitelea Ventures, is an acronym for Moi Biwott Telecoms East Africa. It is registered offshore in circumstances that leave you and I speculating till death. The Guardian newspaper fo UK found out that Mobitelea was registered in Guernsey on June 18, 1999 - several months after Vodafone had struck a preliminary deal with the Kenyan government. Mobitelea's real owners are hidden behind two nominee firms, Guernsey-registered Mercator Nominees Ltd and Mercator Trustees Ltd. The directors are named as Anson Ltd and Cabot Ltd, based in Anguilla and Antigua.
Smart fools. The red flag has always been raised regarding the faceless individuals behind Mobitelea, including an expose by the Mar Group. Nothing has startled Aaron Ringera so far. No, he smells no fishy deal. Talking of fish. Mr Amos Kimunya has presided over the treasury at a time when the economic sector in Kenya was tribalized and trivialized. From irregularly helping mask the faceless goons behind a substantial acquisition of Equity by an alleged Nigerian investor, which boils down to the bandits at SH, to illegally authorizing the sale of the Safaricom shares at the super diluted price of 5 bob/ share at the IPO, it is evident that Kimunya is scandalous. Key analysts of the stock markets are wondering why the artificial undervaluing of the Safaricom issue at 5-bob when recent issues like Mumias were priced at over 10-bob. Is kobole really Safaricom's worth? Some observers opine that the kobole is meant to be the lowest, which will induce weaker investors to offload their shares at the NSE once floated on May 30, 2008 if the demand and prices climb. Ideally, once the prices sky-rocket to say 100-bob, some investors will be keen to offload, meaning the shenanigans are waiting to up the ante and increase their share-holding through the NSE in what is on the surface legit. Kenyans, muta do?
Recently key players at the NSE namely Nyagah and Francis Thuo stock brokers either went under or are under statutory management. Kenyans would like to know how long it took the regulator, Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to see it coming and why the NSE was reported to have loaned out a cool 100million shillings to a sinking venture. Well, you need to see the surnames of the principals in the two rogue NSE dealers to understand why Kimunya is culpable. Aaron Ringera has not moved on the illegal activities. Kenyans, muta do? There are more reasons than one why the IPO should not be allowed to go on. The privatization of state corporations needs to be carried out by a commission which was established under a relevant Privatization Act. Mr Kimunya, in his Jua Kali way of fiscal management, is yet to operationalize the Act which denies Kenyans the transparency that such a massive investment requires. Furthermore, the collapsed rogue brokers sunk with millions of shillings belonging to prospective investors who will be disenfranchized. It is immoral to proceed with the IPO without Kenyans, any sector of Kenyans. Where is Ringera, na Kenyans muta do?
Looking at the exam scandals and the economic rape that Kenyans are paying for, one name keeps popping up like a cancerous tumor. Professor George Saitoti, the crane-necked minister in charge of police genocide and brutality is synonymous with the Goldenberg scandals, exam cheating and police scams. Why has Aaron Ringera not moved on him? With all these reports of scam after scam, what does Ringera's radar await, surely? Does he need to be visited in the dead of the night by a night runner and informed that Mr Wasanga of KNEC should have recorded a statement with his office the moment there was any hint of impropriety? Should he be taught what earning 100-fold the salary of a high school teacher who breaks his back in 40 lessons a week means? He has a job description, but annual reviews tell us that his performance is not commensurate with the perks. He is abdicating his responsibilities. He should have no job now and not in the future either.
But one question remains unanswered. While Kenyans grope in the darkness for answers to a number of questions and more remarkably the exam scandals and the Safaricom IPO where are the state graft agencies? Where is the one man who will likely be remembered for farting loud and doing nothing about corruption. Where is the Right Hon Justice Aaron Ringera? And why do we still need to pay him to fart on his cozzy swing chairs while the corruption lords run away with our little cake? Why?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Kenya elections whistleblower in flight

He could easily pass as one of the many junior and mid-career African students braving the winter cold and rushing through classes at a prestigious institute in The Netherlands. His calm demeanor and quiet exterior belie the inner turmoil and tension of a man forced to abandon his family, friends and career and flee to a foreign land in fear of his life. Still, his eyes have that earnest look that attests to his bravery and determination to speak out in the face of what he terms blatant injustice and outright violation of the will of a majority of his fellow countrymen and women.

The Institute that has for the last 50 years trained thousands of development-oriented professionals, scholars and practitioners from the developing world has been his temporary refuge for almost three months now since he fled Nairobi in early January. He is completing a three-month course on human rights, at the end of which he will have to look for a new place to call home. Such has been his rootless existence since he made that singly bold stand on the evening of 30 December 2007 to speak out on national and international television about the fiasco that was the tallying process at the Electoral Commission of Kenya. He immediately had to go into hiding, moving only in the cover of darkness or hidden in anonymous cars with tinted windows as he sought refuge. At the time, the entire country was gripped with tension and fear.

I first met Mr. Kirui in 1987 when we were both students at Kapsabet Boys High school in the then larger Nandi District to the west of Kenya’s Rift Valley. He was my senior in A level, quiet, unassuming and down to earth. We struck up a cordial though not particularly close friendship. We shared a common heritage, coming from a humble rural background. As first-born boys in typical African families, we both felt the weight of responsibility, not only to excel in school, but also to set a good example for those to follow. We were expected to assume responsibility for our younger siblings and were instilled with a strong sense of purpose, ambition and discipline. Little did I know that after completion of his A level studies; I would neither see nor hear from him again until more than ten years later.

Like many motivated Kenyan students unable to afford a more expensive and prestigious university education in Europe or America, Mr. Kirui turned east and enrolled in a law degree at Bangalore University in India in 1991. The defining moment in his life came when he met a member of the Indian state legislative assembly and an advocate. Mr. M. V. Rajashekaran became his mentor and introduced him to the world of legislative law and practice. Mr. Rajashekaran had a profound influence on Mr. Kirui’s career choice after graduation two years later in 1996. While working as an intern at Mr. Rajashekaran’s office, he was struck by how the Indian state legislatures were performing: “quite efficient and democratic, with high-quality staffing and facilities and good working conditions,” marvels Mr. Kirui.

It was then that he decided to focus on legislative work, as opposed to the traditional core legal training. Upon his return to Kenya in 1998, Mr. Kirui embarked on a journey that would see him rise quickly as a well-respected and accomplished parliamentary official. He became one of a handful of experts in the details of parliamentary rules and procedure working in Kenya today. While at the Kenya School of Law, he became interested in the research capacity of members of parliament and sought to find out whether parliament provided resources and research capability for MPs to do their work effectively. He then sought a research permit from the office of the president to study the Kenyan parliament.

This was an unusual request at the time, since no member of the public, not even former MPs, were allowed into the parliament’s library. The serious lacunae in research and law-making capacity soon became obvious to Mr. Kirui. He made it his life mission to seek every opportunity to assist in improving the quality of parliamentary work by providing expert support for members of parliament and parliamentary staff. In his determination, he decided to double as a parliamentary commentator for Kenya Times newspaper and, in the year 2000, started a parliamentary political talk show on Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation TV. “At the time it was very difficult to allow MPs to appear on shows on KBC,” Mr. Kirui admits.

“I convinced the minister who was then Hon. Joe Nyaga that it was possible to have a TV show with politicians coming in to talk about what’s going on in Parliament.” This was a significant historical moment in the country’s political process. The country was gearing itself for the decisive 2002 elections. Civil society involvement in the political process was at its peak, and Mr. Kirui’s passion for bridging the gap between parliamentary processes and the public found fertile ground. He started supporting civil society organisations and donor agencies involved in electoral, governance and, in particular, legislative issues. As a result, he worked with such organisations as the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and USAID, among others. After the opposition victory in the 2002 elections and the subsequent cooption of hitherto critical sections of civil society in government, Mr. Kirui turned his attention to consulting for interest groups and stakeholders lobbying parliament on specific bills before the house.

“Many of them would like to understand the implications of the legislation, participate in the law making process and lobby to ensure their interests were protected,” Mr. Kirui admitted. As his involvement in parliamentary procedures deepened and his involvement with a cross-section of influential sections of society widened, he steadily gained respect from all interested parties in the parliamentary process. Mr. Kirui contributed in varying degrees to landmark bills that later became key pieces of legislation in Kenya, such as the Central Bank of Kenya Amendment Bill (Donde Bill), the Industrial Property Bill on issues relating to access to essential medicines and the Tobacco Control Bill. He also worked with the Association of Kenya Insurers and other stakeholders.

“Through all this, my experience was to ask, do we have sufficient capacity for the public, the common people to get to know what law is being enacted? Are they participating? I am a believer in public participation in law-making. I do not believe that people just assume that MPs, the elected representatives should carry out house processes without consultation or reference to the public,” he asserts.It was in recognition of his expert knowledge of parliamentary procedure, his dedication and unparalleled commitment to the legislative process that, in 2003, the Parliamentary Services Commission invited him to apply for a position as a fulltime member of staff. It was none less than Hon. Oloo Aringo, the architect of the PSC who extended the invitation.

Although at the time Mr. Kirui had just been appointed to a lucrative position as deputy country director for a USAID parliamentary assistance programme run by the State University of New York, he chose the less glamorous path to join the public service as a clerk of parliament. “I abandoned the USAID project and with it a very lucrative job, but I have never regretted my decision,” he states confidently. Owing to his extensive experience, determination and strong work ethic, he quickly rose through the ranks to become the first staff member in the history of parliament to be posted to the chamber before confirmation. While probation in the civil service takes two years, and promotion to the chamber, a process called ‘robing’ in parliament, takes up to ten years for other staff, Mr. Kirui was robed within a year.

It was his secondment to the Electoral Commission of Kenya as a tallying supervisor that set the stage that propelled Mr. Kirui to the centre of the intrigue, manipulation and mayhem that bedeviled the critical final steps of the electoral process in Kenya. As a tallying supervisor, Mr. Kirui was responsible for the vote tallying process for one of ten regions comprised of 21 constituencies. This involved supervising junior staff who were meant to be in direct contact with returning officers at the constituency level, to receive and tally poll results by phone, verify them via faxed copies of original documents and finally confirm them by receiving the actual physical copies of original documents (form 16) countersigned by presiding officers and polling agents at the polling stations before the results could be announced by the commission chairman.

What transpired however, according to Mr. Kirui was utter confusion, a breach of the laid down procedures, complete disregard of the need for verification and proper and accurate documentation of the results and what appeared to be a deliberate manipulation of the entire process. It now emerges that none of the tallying and data entry officials recruited by the Electoral Commission received adequate training if at all on how to handle the exercise. Mr. Kirui insists that the recruitment exercise continued to the very day of the election and at the very last minute, people were literally being recruited from the streets.

“They had school leavers from the streets joining the ECK tallying teams. I thought it was questionable, not because they didn’t know what to do, but because they came very late, totally untrained and unprepared. We were then as team leaders asked to train people, yet we didn’t receive any training ourselves.” The Independent Review Committee into the conduct of the elections, according to Mr. Kirui needs to focus in part on structural weaknesses in the ECK that led to such a high level of incompetence of those who were handling the tallying of the results. “The level of incompetence right from the junior officers picked from the streets and put to the job right away, seeing the forms and documents for the first time, without any training, to the highest officials and supervisors who seemed not to understand their roles and duties.”

He adds,” The lack of organisation and lack of training was not just a failure to plan; it was deliberate to create chaos and confusion so it could be easy to manipulate the process.”It was these glaring systemic weaknesses that allowed the process to be flawed, as well as deliberate manipulation of the tallying process that led Mr. Kirui to leave the ECK tallying centre and speak to the press just hours before the presidential results were announced and Mr. Kibaki sworn in as president. Knowing full well the repercussions of his actions, despite the real fear that it could well cost him his life, Mr. Kirui chose to go public.

“The reason I went public was because of what I saw in Rwanda. The consequence of denying and robbing the people of their basic democratic rights, against a situation where you have skeletons of thousands of people buried in one grave. At some stage, I saw the skeleton of a baby, almost 40cm, with diapers still on and the skull had a big hole in it…you ask yourself how and why that level of animal behaviour could happen. I saw our country sliding down that road and I knew I had to do something to prevent that slide, the certain and horrifying prospect of the consequence of a presidency being snatched from a winner. I could see that the country was already in a tense trance. I thought we were getting drunk, and I could see a slaughter and serious massacres 40 or so hours later.

It could have been worse.”In his zeal to try and forestall what he thought was a national catastrophe looming over the land, Mr. Kirui faced the press and made his now famous speech. “It mattered to me that my coming out would make a difference and I am convinced that it did. When I went to KICC to address the press, the situation was already tense; the paramilitary police GSU had surrounded the place. I was sure a bullet would go through my head any time. I believed my intervention would save the situation. I thought Mr. Kivuitu would announce that the elections are nullified, that he would order a recount, or that we would have another election in 12 months or so. I was convinced some action would be taken; little did I know that Mr. Kibaki was preparing to be sworn in at the same time. I thought I was acting at the nick of time.Instead, from then on, Mr. Kirui was a marked man on the run. I hadn’t seen or been in touch with him since the year 2000.

I had been living in Holland since 2001, but happened to be in Kenya at the time. Two days after his press appearance, Mr. Kirui called me in the dead of night. I could tell he was clearly shaken and scared. He confessed to needing any help he could get to leave the country asked if I had any contacts with any foreign embassy that might be willing to help. I made some phone calls and put him in touch with an embassy official I knew, and so begun his extraordinary flight through Tanzania to the Netherlands. It was not as easy to leave Nairobi. His two daughters aged ten and twelve were up country in the village visiting their grandparents.

His wife could not immediately leave with him as she had to fetch the girls from the village. He worried silently about leaving them behind, but knew he would be no use to them at home and dead; he had to go ahead and was comforted by the assurance that they would join him soon. According to him, many friends in the NGO sector and more than one foreign mission came to his rescue, first hiding him in an ambassadorial residence after another, then being driven in cars with tinted windows across town to record his statement and swear an affidavit before a commissioner for oaths and eventually planning an escape route.

By then, his contacts in the police and the National Security Intelligence Service had warned him that certain sections of the police were hunting him down and that his best hope was to leave the country. Some diplomats suggested leaving through Sudan, but the national airspace was under tight surveillance then and small aircraft flights from every single airstrip in the country were grounded. The only option was to leave by road. Uganda was at the time suspected to be supporting Mr. Kibaki. That left Tanzania as the least risky of the available options. What followed was a harrowing, eighteen-hour drive from Nairobi under the cover of darkness and disguise, through Namanga border, via Arusha, to Dar es Salaam.

A week after he went underground, he was finally able to breathe a little air of freedom, but sadly, not in his own country. His well-wishers in Kenya immediately organised an air ticket for him and, after being holed up in an embassy in Dar es Salaam, he was driven straight to Mwalimu Julius Nyerere International Airport, from which he took an overnight flight to relative safety in Amsterdam. When he landed at Schiphol airport, the director of the Institute that was to host him was ready to receive him. A place had been secured for him to enroll straight away as a student in a human rights certificate program.

The diplomatic community in The Hague gave him a warm welcome, especially those who had had any contact with or field experience in Kenya. Most of them were eager to hear his first-hand experiences. These discussions served to embolden the Dutch Foreign ministry’s and, by extension, the European Union’s strong policy position during the negotiation process that Kofi Annan mediated. At the time of this interview, Mr. Kirui was completing the final papers for his course and intended to leave the Netherlands shortly, bound for a new destination (which shall remain undisclosed for the sake of his safety and that of his family).

He still fears for his life and is not assured that he can be guaranteed adequate security in Kenya. His informants in the police force and NSIS maintain that his life is still in danger. Contrary to popular opinion, the opposition leadership was not involved at all in his flight and had no idea of his whereabouts, even weeks after his departure. According to him, “I wouldn’t rely on protection from politicians; I didn’t go public because of politicians. It was my conscience. Who would ensure my security in Nairobi? The government has no control over and has been alleged to lend support to Mungiki. Two members of parliament were killed like dogs in the streets, who am I to survive?”Asked about the witness protection act that was passed during his time as clerk at the national assembly, Mr. Kirui dismisses it as one of the weakest pieces of legislation ever passed by parliament, having been watered down by MPs, who, through their selfish and shortsighted considerations, failed the nation yet again.

The Independent Review Committee on the election debacle will thus have to do without his testimony, at least in person, unless they are able to arrange a videoconference, or accept a signed statement from Mr. Kirui. Asked about his future, Mr. Kirui says he will not depart from his career in legislative issues, but wants to continue doing rigorous research, publishing and building a critical body of knowledge that he thinks is needed in order to improve legislative processes in Africa, and particularly in Eastern Africa, including Kenya. That will be his contribution for the foreseeable future. For now, Kenya’s parliament will have to do without his skills and expertise at a time when perhaps it needs him.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Students awarded grades for exams they never sat

Publication Date: 3/24/2008

Some students who did not sit last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination were awarded impressive mean grades, the Nation has learnt.

The principal of Thurdibuoro Secondary school in Nyando District, Mr Alfred Ochiel, said one of his students who did not attempt the exams was graded.

“This candidate in my school abandoned the exams midway. Normally, such candidates are not graded but KNEC decided to give him a D+,” he said.

Teachers interviewed who did not want their names mentioned said they knew of a student in a city school who was awarded A- mean grade though he did not sit the exam.

Another candidate in the city who was disqualified after being caught cheating was later given a B+ score by the examination council.

The outcry over the integrity of the examination council compelled Education minister Sam Ongeri to form a 15 member committee chaired by Kenyatta University vice-chancellor Oliver Mugenda to investigate the results.

In Rongo, a candidate who was expelled from school and did not turn up for the exams was awarded an A-.

His head teacher was shocked to learn that the boy had “passed” so highly.

Education PS Karega Mutahi has downplayed the gravity of the matter.

Knec secretary Paul Wasanga said the anomalies will be part of the investigations. He said the team should be given a chance to unearth the details about the computer error or any other cause of the cheating”.

Mr Wasanga said with 276,000 candidates, each sitting 22 papers, such mistakes were bound to happen and if discovered the matter will be dealt with accordingly.

He said results for candidates who did not sit exams could have been released if other students erred by shading wrong index numbers.

However, the examinations chief said he could not rule out anomalies.

Mr Wasanga accused some principals of malice for “releasing result slips to the wrong hands and then turning to condemn Knec which they form part of as de facto officials.”

He said some candidates could have forgotten their index numbers and marked wrong ones therefore enabling the computer memory to produce results in the programmed formula.

He explained that the committee would investigate in detail the errors because in some instances, candidates who sat half the exams or did not complete due to unknown reasons also got results.

A principal said one set of results was given in February and another one in March when those who did not sit exams were awarded mean grades.

Kenya Post Primary Education Teachers Union secretary general Wanyonyi Buteyo said they would move to court to have the council dissolved because it had compromised the integrity of the country’s academic standards and certificates.

Mr Buteyo said the minister was delaying justice but forming a probe committee in a clear case of incompetence.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Shocking revelations on KCSE fiasco

We have been asking the question of the validity of the 2007 KCSE results. Now the country is getting revelations of more irregularities. Read on

By Lillian Aluanga

Last year’s Form Four candidates could have another shocker coming their way because the new pecking order drawn by the national examinations body has even more relegations and surprises.

The "slight adjustments" for which Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) recalled the results of 4,438 candidates will see some schools fall back by as many as six slots from the position read by Education minister last month. The shocker awaiting parents and schools is contained in a second quietly revised KNEC list released to a handful of leading players in the education sector. It shows a remarkable decline in the fortunes of some schools that enjoy a national profile.

In some cases, however, some schools could come out better.

In the new list, which has the first 102 names, St Paul Secondary — which was in position 83 in the statement read out by the minister last month — does not feature at all. St Patrick Iten moves up from 82 to 69, while Chemelil Sugar slides from 69 to 74.

In the results released on February 28, Busara was number 40. In the revised ranking, done on March 7, a week after the results were released, Busara drops more than 20 places. As a result of this it loses its place in the top 50 and lands at position 61. In the new ranking, Busara’s performance index drops from 9.4347 to 8.8695.

Kabarak High School has moved from position 51 in the February list to 47.

Although Mangu High School remains at the top even in the new ranking, its performance index shifts slightly from 11.2634 to 11.2097.

But even the idea of a school with more than 100 candidates posting a mean score of 11 has stirred interest.

According to the new list, Loreto High School, Limuru, moves up to position three from four. Precious Blood Riruta, which was ranked third on February 28, is now fourth in the new list.

Maseno School now moves into the top 10 bracket after the revision of the results, up from number 11 nationally.

In the new ranking Sunshine Secondary School exits from its ninth position nationally to 11. Initially placed at position 50 with a mean score of 9.2555, Bura Girls’ High School in Taita Taveta District has moved up to 46.

But even as it shot up, its mean score dropped from 9.2555 in February to 9.1222.

Results recalled

In Taita Taveta District alone, at least 30 out of 43 secondary schools results were recalled.

Seasoned teachers from top performing schools yesterday widely conceded that never in their lifetime had they seen results being recalled or rankings revised.

A section of head teachers and parents angered by the bungled exam results have vowed to go full throttle to get to the bottom of the matter.

The new list was drawn before the constitution of a probe team, to "look into questions and concerns raised over the 2007 results" by Education minister Prof Sam Ongeri this week.

Students of Bahati Girls’ School , Nakuru, celebrated the KCSE results with joy when they were first released. Tables have turned and they have been dropped from position 14 to 17.

"The anomaly experienced in processing the mean grades in this year’s KCSE was highly regretted," said the ministry in an advertisement signed by KNEC chairman Prof Raphael M Munavu.

The ministry maintains the flawed results were as a result of a ‘computer error’, but the problem is limited to mean grade calculation. Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Prof Olive Mugendi heads the probe team.

The attack on the integrity of Kenya’s exams, curiously in the environment of an equally flawed election process, has already been criticised by school heads. They want an independent body to oversee the remarking.

The minister, however, says the argument "defies logic", because it affects only 0.6 per cent of the candidates who sat the exams.

Some schools have threatened to go to court to seek orders for the review of the original papers written and submitted by candidates.

Parents at Friends School, Kamusinga, where the results of at least 30 students were affected, have set up a committee to draw up a suit. The school registered a massive drop in all subjects and was ranked at position 29. Friends School has been in the top-10 bracket for the past three years.

Maseno School is not celebrating even after moving to position 10. Instead, the school’s board is preparing to go to court and demand a remarking of two subjects.

"It is simply not possible for a school to drop in all subjects at once given that they had the same teachers. We are going to court and want to see the original scripts, the marking and how the averages were arrived at," said a parent at Kamusinga School.

In Maseno, the board detected a pattern where students who got A in English ended up with A- in either Kiswahili or Maths.

Another head teacher from Nyanza Province said exam cheating is on the rise and the ministry’s handling of the issue is disappointing.

"The process of marking exams is clear and rigorous. The manipulation of results could only have been done within KNEC’s higher ranks, long after the examiners had done their work," the principal said.

Cheating rampant

He added: "I have never heard of any place in the world where exam results have been recalled. KNEC has broken the record."

The principal said it was "unusual and has never happened" that in a school with more than 100 candidates, the lowest has a B+.

The law of "natural distribution", the principal said, does not allow for a school with more than 100 candidates to get a mean score of 11.00.

Even more unsettling are unconfirmed reports of the lengths to which some head teachers went in colluding with their students to ensure they were among the top schools.

In one school not more than 30km from Nairobi, several Form Two students are said to have spent a night at a hotel delivering answers to the exam questions.

In yet another school, Form Four students were reportedly asked to buy cell phones, which were to be used to relay answers.

"Exams are the culmination of the whole delivery of learning and teaching. If professionalism isn’t embraced and seen to be practicsed in the way examinations are handled then everything is wasted," says Mr Christopher Khaemba, the outgoing Alliance High School principal.

Results of at least 30 students at the school were affected.

Khaemba said since the ministry had already taken a stand on the issue, an independent commission should be set up to find out what really happened to last year’s examination results, which he describes as "extremely random".

Khaemba points out at several issues that he says are highly unusual of examination results. He cites the example of Limuru Girls’ which has more than 119 A’s in Mathematics and only 19 A’s in English.

"I haven’t seen this before. I don’t know how it is possible for the same students to score that many A’s in Mathematics and perform so poorly in English. After all, girls are known to do well in languages," he said.

Several head teachers in Western and Nyanza provinces are also calling for remarking of the exams to get a true reflection of the results.

A head teacher in western Kenya says most schools in the region were affected. He says something about last year’s exam results does not add up.

He too says the ‘randomness’ in this year’s results says a lot more than meets the eye and that it is misleading to blame the anomalies on a ‘computer error’ alone.

"We have prepared these students for a long time and know what they are capable of doing," he said.

"I have been in this profession for many years and have a general idea of the trends. This year’s results were not reflective of the students abilities and it is clear there was deliberate tampering," he added.

He cited the example of a school, which traditionally has its index 1-10 students scoring straight A’s but had at least five of its top students this year scoring lower grades.

The head teacher is incensed by what he calls the ministry’s "trivialisation" of the issue by saying that the number of students affected was negligible.

"The anomaly should never have happened. The Education minister doesn’t know what he is talking about. He wasn’t even the one in office when all this was happening. How can he possibly explain what happened?" he posed.

"How is it possible that a school shoots up more than 50 places at once? The move is usually progressive, when a school is either coming up or dropping," he says.

The head teacher said more than 20 students in his school were affected by the anomaly. He suggests that examiners should be recalled to cross check last year’s results.

He said concerns raised by some examiners over what they perceived to be cases of cheating were not taken seriously.

"I know there were some examiners who raised concern over cases of cheating that had been detected among some schools but these reports seem to have been ignored," the head teacher says.

"The examiners know which schools cheated. They should be recalled to come and help resolve this issue," he says.

Friends School principal, Mr Simon Nabukhwesi, who is also the Western School Heads Association chairman, says urgent measures must be taken to curb cheating in national examinations.

"Let us have these examination papers coming in complete with pictures of the candidates and details such as the index numbers printed on every page," he says.

This, he says, would reduce cases of having extra copies, which have often found their way into wrong hands.

But even as pressure mounts on the Kenya National Examinations Council over last year’s KCSE results debacle, Prof Ongeri appears to suggest that the matter is being ‘blown out of proportion’.

The minister has already ruled out remarking of the exam saying the number of candidates affected was ‘negligible’.

At least 4,000 out of 276,000 candidates were affected.

"Results released by the minister are always provisional, giving room for correction and complaints within 30 days. We registered a 99.4 per cent success rate. The error did not affect subjects, but aggregates so resitting, remarking or cancelling the examinations is null and void," Ongeri said.

Also adding its voice to the exam results fiasco is the Orange Democratic Movement parliamentary group, which dismissed the team set up by Ongeri to probe the matter.

The parliamentary group said the team cannot be trusted to carry out an inquiry and demanded that an independent body be established to work with the police in getting to the bottom of the matter.

The 15-member team has 18 days to carry out investigations and present the report to Ongeri. KNEC has also given all schools and candidates up to April 30 to raise any other questions associated with the 2007 KCSE results.

Khaemba suggests the establishment of parallel examining bodies of high standing as one way of improving the credibility of national examinations.

"We can have competing examination bodies as is the case in other countries like the UK, where you have exams administered by Oxford or Cambridge, and then allow the schools to choose," he says.

The outgoing head wonders why mock exams done at the district and provincial level do not record glaring irregularities like those seen in the national exam.

"We now have provincial and district examinations being handled better than national one. How is this possible?" Khaemba poses.

"If the Government is willing to spare resources, the remarking can be done. The scripts are still there. All it needs is to set some time aside, say in April, and then remark the exam," he says.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Making the Reconciliation work for all

Mr Kibaki has a way of reinventing himself; at least we think he forced himself into history books against the backdrop of a stolen election. By turning up in parliament to debate and vote for the crucial bill meant to legalize his peace deal with Mr Raila Odinga, he became the first president to do it in Kenya. But that symbolically was not enough. The president literally sat in parliament to await the final document to entrench the deal into the constitution and before he retired to State House, he had signed it into law. That is vintage Kibaki, the man Kenya has not known for five years.

There was more. While contributing to the bill, Mr Kibaki joked about letting James Orengo single-handedly write the constitution. All these things that we have been saying, he knows them and he can write a new constitution, he quipped. As expected, the house went baaah with laughter. It is good that ends well. But where did it begin?

While the powerful men and women endorsed the entrenchment of the peace deal in the constitution by 200 votes to nil, other Kenyans are counting loses. The peace deal has to hold, it must never fail. Kenya should not be allowed to go that way again, ever. In order to prevent the recurrence of the slaughter of innocent lives and destruction of property, Kenyans have the best opportunity in our lives to step back and reexamine ourselves. Why did it begin in the first place? Why did we see the level of bestiality that we witnessed? Because we have lived a big lie for a whole half a century. It was bound to come; thank God it came during this generation.

Now back to the reconciliation and national healing. Kenyans hurt each other; lives were maimed and disfigured while livelong investments were reduced to ashes. Nothing is more painful than the over 2000 lives lost in gory death rituals at the hands of militia and the trigger-happy police. So, while the smiling MPs kiss and hug and high-five to celebrate the success of the Kofi Annan miracle for Kenya, we should look back at the pile of earths jutting out of countless homes.

Those raw earths mark a very unfortunate entry into 2008 for countless Kenyan families whose loved ones are buried therein. They paid the ultimate price. From Onyango to Kipkoech to Wasike to Karanja to Omar, Kenyans of all tribes were felled by fellow Kenyans either taking the law into their own hands or acting at the behest of shadowy power barons and financiers with stakes in government power. To the funding warlords, only one thing made sense to them, propping the illegal regime in power to serve as a conduit to intimidation and award of government tenders and contracts. They care less, and did not even show up at the funerals of the dead youth and women. To them, dead combatants are a statistic.

An election was stolen. Start with the cabinet strong men and women, beginning with Saitoti whose reelection in Kajiado North was contested against the backdrop of allegations of importation of premarked ballots. Talk of Maina Kamanda, croco-coward Mungatana, Koinange street client Mwakwere and the thief in chief Kibaki. The ECK was complacent and complicit in that heist of the electoral victory. Karua, Me Chuki, Kimunya and premier Warlord Uhuru are culpable. So are Murungi and the blood thirsty church that went on leave while Kenyans slaughtered each other.

We foresee that the powermen and women will negotiate a way out of their guilt with blackmail and other tools in their arsenal. What happens to the displaced Kenyans, suppressed to a PR figure of half a million? What happens to the lost time, which was not spent tending the crop and animals. What happens to their children who went to school without fees because the parents were rendered jobless and their savings destroyed. What happens to the broken families, forced to separate from their loved ones simply because they had dared experiment with cross-cultural, inter-tribal marriages?

If this reconciliation is to make sense to the mourning homes and agonising villages, amnesty must be sought for all the incarcerated youth and women. They must be set free and let to reunite with their families. There is simply no justification why Saitoti should contemplate judging anybody when he himself is tainted and guilty. The police lack the moral authority to prosecute crime, they are criminals, worse than the arsonists. Martha Karua's courts cannot proffer charges against convicts because the CJ presided over an illegality by participating and presiding over a twilight swearing-in of bandits. A criminal like the CJ cannot prosecute and judge other alleged criminals. There ought to be no two standards to the law. It must apply ruthlessly and without prejudice to the law-breaker.

If we need the reconciliation to be celebrated by all Kenyans, address the land question now. We have published a borrowed expose here on how Kibaki, Moi and other operatives own Kenya. This must be reversed. A productive country is measured on how well it utilizes her natural resources. Moi's and Kibaki's land acquisition, together with those of the Kenyatta families provided this country with breeding grounds for pests and snakes. They are under-utilized by people whose only land is actually a 3-by-6, their graves. Why do they need land the size of Nyanza province when they cannot take it anywhere? If they got it through the right channels it may be another story. But these people used their exalted positions to benefit from the state largesse. This must be reversed and there is no better time to do that than now.

The villager who is nursing gunshot wounds, the family whose father was felled by a gunshot, the woman who was raped by goons, and the elder who was forcefully circumcised and infected with HIV must be included in the reconciliation. There must be recompense for the maimed, the imprisoned, the dead and the prime beneficiaries of the peace deal. If Kenyans had accepted the heist and said live and let live, the world was not going to bother. The truth be told. It is only after the world witnessed the bestial way in which goons were chasing and cornering harmless Kenyans that they were jerked to a catastrophe in the making. Only when the police were got on camera dousing homes and mowing down armless youth did the world wake up to a Kenya that was sinking to the abyss. Kofi Annan did not come to Kenya because he liked what the peoples' president Raila was saying. Certainly it is not what Disinformationsmeister Mutua was saying.

The world, from Washington to Westminster to Berlin and Paris was shocked by the level of deaths in Kenya. Those who paid the ultimate price are the ones who drove the urgency into an arrogant world that had let Rwanda sink only a decade earlier. We cannot afford to let the departed be forgotten. While we think of resettling the displaced, let us spare a moment for those who are forever displaced. While we compensate the living for their lost businesses, we ought to compensate for the death of the true heroes of our third liberation.

We must build a tablet reminder with a vow never to allow vote theft in Kenya ever again. We must honor our departed with a suitable plaque on which must be embossed their names and the reason they died:

These people died after Mr Samuel Kivuitu participated in an illegality by agreeing to issue a victory certificate to a petty election thief called Mwai Kibaki. They died to free this country from election thieves and corruption. By paying the ultimate price, they forced Kenyans to reexamine cheating in national elections, national exams and land as well as national resource allocations. They died to inspire the rewriting of a new people-friendly constitution. After their deaths, many more children were born to a safe and fair country and this country looks back at that period to draw lessons never again to let it repeated.

That is the message we would like to see embossed on all the plaques in the country declaring the travesty of 2007 a turning point and a governance watershed in Kenya.

This message must live for generations, in each of the burnt-out business, church, home and street. Kenyans must use this as a repugnant reminder never to let it happen again.

Reconciliation must trickle down to the homestead, for when the trauma of a lost son and a miscarried foetus is overcome shall we join and sing together the beautiful words of our national anthem. Before that is done, the tune and the words are irritating noise and a nuisance to Kenyans.

Kenya must move forward, but we must not forget to immortalise the travesty that was committed in December 2007. By keeping the memory alive, we will be spurred to avoid a repeat of those scenes of butchery that we witnessed. Kenya must never allow cowards like Kivuitu to claim to burn and die with us for we know for sure that he is unshaken by the consequence of his cowardize and betrayal. Nor should we ever condone the impunity of power barons.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Loss for women in newlook bloated coalition cabinet

Kenya's poorly kept secret is in the streets. A draft of the bloated coalition cabinet is in our hands. Changes may be made but we expect this to be retained to a large extent in the newlook club of men in a country where women make up 52% of the population. And the biggest casualties: women and the youth. In a cabinet that is meant to appease the aggrieved ODM and the thieving PNU, bandit president Kibaki is expected to announce the coalition cabinet once parliament rubber-stamps the peace and reconciliation accord that was penned between him and Raila. Parliament is currently going through the ritual of giving it a nod. Mr Kibaki is personally in attendance to ensure that the new lease of life that he bought by disappointing his stony brigade in PNU does not fall flat on its face.

The movers and shakers are therein and notably William Ruto is set to land the coveted and contract-rich ministry of Roads & Public Works currently held by Kimendeero John the-rattlesnake-Me-Chuki. Michuki is set to retire from the cabinet and assume the role of an untouchable power-broker. We suspect he hates to be curtailed by the legal and constitutional requirement to report to the peoples' president Raila Odinga whose new stature is sure to eclipse the hands-off, feet-off, eyes-off style (or lack) for which bandit president Kibaki is known.

Set to lose their positions are Muthaura whose docket is likely to go to the respected Nobel Prize winner for 2004 Wangari Maathai. Mr Paul Muite can lick his wounds back to government to head the public prosecutions docket while the experienced Dr Sally Jepng'etich Kosgei is set to return at the apex of the Public Service as the Minister in Charge.
The other losers are set to be bandit veep and traitor-in-chief Kalonzo Musyoka who will retain a depreciated VP's slot without anything else. Musalia Mudavadi is likely to return to where he was at the height of the Goldenberg scam, to double up as minister for Finance in a trade-off that is likely to leave PNU grinding their teeth.

Mama Rainbow, Charity Kaluki Ngilu is set to make a sensational return to Afya House as the minister for Health in answer to our earlier prayer. She confirms Anyang Nyong'o pronouncement last year that she was ODM's first Minister.

As we await the confirmation of this list, we can only ask the notorious thieves who are known to dip their jiggers-infested fingers to keep off the jars of government finances. As we have declared before, we will watch out for you and we have earmarked some ten ministries that we shall watch closely. Known thieves are heading back to a weakened government and we contemplate that the fight against corruption is likely to take a back seat as the protagonists outdo each other while trying to recoup their loses.
Notable first entrants to the cabinet include James Orengo who led the ODM mediation team of legal experts. He is set to fly the flag some 30 years after his maiden entry to parliament in the '70s. Mungiki-backed firebrand and former UoN students leader Kabando wa Kabando is set to enter the cabinet after he floored Mutahi Kagwe in acrimonious elections in Lucy Kibaki's native Mukurweini constituency. The trappings of power are sure to entice the two and particularly Jimmy whose checkered political life includes a sojourn in the cold after showing signs of standing up to Luoland's foremost kingmaker and Peoples' President Raila Odinga.
We are sad that this trend is unlikely to be reversed in a country where every MP wants to fly the flag. What we can foresee for sure is an even bloated list of assistant ministers in an attempt at geo-ethnic balance. The Kenyan tax-payer is yet to see the last of politicians, one commission after another is formed to investigate themselves and hoard evidence of government and state impropriety with no action in sight.
If allowed to stand, this list is definitely an insult to the electorate who were bombarded with commitments to gender and age considerations in appointments. It will be hard for the thieving PNU and the pro-reform ODM to convince anybody that having only three women in the cabinet at colourless positions is commitment to the welfare of women. Indeed, PNU will be making a blunder if they do not consider a woman for the DPM's slot. It need not be Ms Karua. PNU has Dr Shabaan, and Kenda's Chebii Kilimo.
Bado mapambano.
1. President - Emillio Mwai wa Kibaki
2. Prime Minister - Eng. Raila Amollo Odinga
3. Vice President - Kalonzo Musyoka
4. First Deputy Prime Minister & Minister For Finance -Musalia Mudavadi.
5. Second Deputy Prime Minister & Minister For Internal Security - Kiraitu Murungi
6. Minister For Planning - Amos Kimunya
7. Minister For Justice & Human Rights - James Orengo
8. Minister For Constitutional Affairs - Martha Karua
9. Minister For Roads & Public Works - William Ruto
10. Minister For Co-operative Development - Sam Ongeri
11. Minister For Education for Higher Education - Prof. Peter Anyang Nyong'o
12. Minister For Education for Basic Education - John Munyes
13. Minister For Housing - Kabando Wa Kabando
14. Minister For Foreign Affairs - Moses Wetangula
15. Minister For Science & Technology - Prof George Muthengi Saitoti
16. Minister For Defence - Joseph Nkaisery
17. Minister For Special Programmes - Dr. Naomi Shaaban
18. Minister For Local Government - Uhuru Kenyatta
19. Minister For Environment & Natural Resources - Henry Kosgey
20. Minister For Communication, Information & Broadcasting - Joseph Nyagah
21. Minister For Water & Irrigation - Omingo Magara
22. Minister For Livestock - Samuel Poghisio
23. Minister For Trade - Soita Shitanda
24. Minister For Fisheries - Dalmas Otieno
25. Minister For Youth Affairs - Danson Mungatana
26. Minister For Gender Affairs - Mohammed Kuti
27. Minister For Sports - Musa Sirma
28. Minister For Agriculture - Bonny Khalwale
29. Minister For Energy-Mwangi Kiunjuri
30. Minister For Health - Charity Ngilu
31. Minister For Lands-Noah Wekesa
Minister For Home Affairs - Chris Okemo
33. Minister For Transport - Chirau Mwakwere
34. Minister For Regional Development - Dr Wilfred Machage
35. Minister For Tourism - Najib Balala
36. Minister For Labour - Alfred Khangati
37. Minister For East African Community - Mutula Kilonzo
38. Minister For Public Service - Dr Sally Kosgei
39. Attorney General - Amos Wako
40. Head Of Public Prosecutions - Paul Muite
41. Secretary To The Cabinet & Head of Civil Service -Wangari Maathai
We can only ask a question: What is Attorney General Amos Wako doing in this reform government?