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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Heroes, Population, Al Shabaab, Inflation, Elections, IMF, ICC, IDPs and my frustrations

At times, analyzing how things in Kenya function can be frustrating, at other times, doing something about it is even more frustrating. To pick just a few;

It is now four years since thousands of innocent people were killed, raped, maimed, and displaced from their homes, for the crime of voting for the ‘wrong’ presidential candidate (belonging to the ‘wrong’ tribe, to be more exact)
Four years later, we still have Internally Displaced People living in tented camps. Four years later, we have culprits, some of whom are well known to the victims walking free as if nothing ever happened. Some of the victims’ homes are still occupied (the homes which were not burnt to the ground), and some of the victims’ properties are still in the hands of the killers.
Internally Displaced People's Camps
So everyone is focusing on the ‘Ocampo Six’ and no talk is made of the culprits who implemented the actual crimes. We have government officials running around politicizing the IDPs issue, with billions of shillings going into maintenance (not so good food, some medicine here and there) of these IDPs instead of dealing with the issue once and for all….(some of these IDPs used to produce tons of food on their farms, yet they are now forced to live as beggars of food)
What frustrates me is that politics (or plain stupidity) is preventing these government people from solving this non-complex issue.
It is a right for any Kenyan to own property and to live anywhere they want. It is the duty of the government to protect all Kenyans anywhere in Kenya.
So here we have these government ministers very busy looking for land to settle these IDPS, yet that is not the solution.
I believe that those living in the IDP camps can still remember where their farms and houses are.
1.       Ensure that there is enough security in the regions that these IDPs came from and assure them of their security.
2.       Take them back to their houses for those whose houses are still there. Give reconstruction money to those whose houses were burnt, while giving them alternative accommodation as they rebuild their houses.
3.       Give them some little start up money, for businesses or farming.
4.       Conduct justice, then reconciliation campaigns in these regions.
5.       For those who had homes but fear going back, for whatever reason, they should just be compensated in cash: Valuate their property, and give them the money so that they can go to wherever they want, after which the government should then take over the  ownership of the property.
6.       Flat compensation should then be given to those who didn’t own permanent property but still lost what they owned.
This would be simpler than the government giving them 50K today, buying land (from Njenga Karume) tomorrow or Uhuru Kenyatta promising to resettle them in Taita Taveta (the land that his father stole from Kenyans.)
>>>One thing that the IDP issue has clearly shown is the class nature of our politics. If our politics was just tribal, then Kibaki would have used that tribalism and dealt conclusively with the IDP issue<<<

I consider The International Criminal Court as a tool of Imperialism, and that is what it is.  That is why it has majored its activities in Africa, the continent with abundance of resources, greedy and cowardly leaders and the continent that is very weak militarily (oh how I wish Gaddafi would have developed those W.M.Ds-Weapons of Maximum Defense)
Every time the face of Moreno Ocampo or his utterances-(which just like Arap Sang,,,I strain to comprehend) appear, it will always be about some African rebel, some African President, some African.… and the qualification for this African criminal is that he must first be an enemy of the U.S, France or Britain. That is why a warrant of arrest will be given to El Bashir and not to Kagame, to Gaddafi (and his family) and not to Ben Ali/Mubarak (and their families), to Gbagbo and not to Ouattara, to the leaders of LRA rebels and not to leaders of NTC rebels etc.
People have always asked why, even after what has gone down in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are no cases or warrants of arrest for Bush and Blair.(….some wonder why there is no warrant of arrest for Mugabe…..for the crime of NOT allowing 7,000 white farmers to own 85% of all land in Zimbabwe…)
The above comparisons are just for clearing up the imperialist nature of the ICC, i.e, even if it arrested Bush, Blair, Kagame and the rest, that wouldn’t make it good. Europeans can have their own court if they so wish, and as Africans we can strengthen our own courts and the African Court of Justice.
Luis Moreno Ocampo with PM Raila Odinga and President Kibaki
Back to Kenya now. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have been going round blaming Raila for their woes at the ICC. They do not have the slightest shame while they blatantly lie to Kenyans, and this is where the frustrations continue.
Some Kenyans have bought this clear lie yet they witnessed the truth themselves. Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki went to parliament twice, asking parliament to pass a law to create a local tribunal to deal with the Post Elections Violence, and Uhuru and Ruto lead parliamentarians in shooting down the bills. Even Kofi Anan came in person and pleaded with these people but they couldn’t listen. They thought that Ocampo would have picked Raila and Kibaki instead (who are the ones that bear the greatest responsibility, in real sense)
Now, here we have Uhuru and Ruto wanting to be presidents of this country, yet they were not bright enough to see the ICC for what it is! Very frustrating in deed. I wish that that court can arrest them (and the MPs who support the ICC) so that they may probably become brighter while serving their sentences in those Hague jails.

Elections Date
We passed our new constitution last year. Our constitution clearly states that the elections will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of August, after every five years. We then have our new attorney general, PROFFESSOR Githu Muigai claiming that there is an issue of interpretation of this section of the constitution! The same is repeated by other experts and our MPs!!
It is clear that those in power today are unhappy that the new constitution denies them some four extra months of hefty salaries and influence. It was frustrating when Isaac Hassan during the final grilling for his IEBC job bowed to the PSC on elections and claimed that the elections could not be held in August.
Those people who settled on August did so for logical reasons:
1.       First, there are usually too many activities in December, and Kenyans wanted a break,
2.       secondly, many regions in Kenya experience heavy rains thus interfering with the election process
3.       and lastly, August is a school holiday month, and so the classrooms can easily be used as polling stations.
In my opinion (an opinion which strangely enough, these law makers cannot see) the elections date should actually be split, so that we can have two elections dates in the month of August, or else we should just prepare for another PEV.
Imagine a situation where a single individual votes for six or seven different individuals on one single day. Imagine further how long it will take to count these votes….isn’t this a recipe for disaster? where a candidate can easily claim that the reason as to why the results are delaying is because they are being stolen? The same argument (of delays) was used to incite people in 2007.
Also imagine a situation where an old Mzee in Nyeri is given a ballot paper for the Presidential, Senator, Governor, Parliamentary, County Representative and Women’s representative and is required to vote for one person in each. The situation will be worsened since we expect to have more candidates now that we shall have independents. This will be chaotic not just for the old, but even for the young and literate Kenyans.
Given that votes are always counted beginning with the smallest representative units, I foresee a situation where the presidential results shall be announced late, a situation which will be unconstitutional, and which will be a good breeding ground for incitement.

I hate to sound like a prophet of doom, but if things remain as they are, then we should expect some more post elections violence come 2012. Some of the reasons I have stated above: First, the election results will delay, giving good ground for incitement due to the anxiety created. Secondly, those who participated in the PEV of 2007 are still walking free, and they probably view themselves as heroes of some sorts.
In 1992, there was a bloody pre-election violence in the Rift Valley, which was organised by Moi and his KANU dictatorship so as to secure a win in the region. The same thing happened in 1997, and in 2002(though in a smaller scale.)In 2007, there was pre-election tension, which was created by Kikuyu-bashing by the ODM guys, and further propagated by the PNU guys so as to polarize all the Kikuyu votes to their side.
Some people claim that the violence was spontaneous, but for many regions, that was not true. I remember immediately after the elections results were announced, some youths (mostly Kikuyu) in our neighborhood went to a neighbor’s house, who was also a Kikuyu and a staunch Raila supporter, and started laughing at him while celebrating their victory: Then he asked them one question “Now that Kibaki has been declared the winner, what do you think will happen to Kikuyus in Kibera and Eldoret?” and the seemingly obvious answer was given, “Some Kikuyus will be killed in those regions” and then a debate in the lines of “but Kibaki will not allow killings in those regions, he will protect his voters…” ensued. This was within minutes of announcement of the elections results, and this was an analysis done by very ordinary Kenyans. The analysis was not based on prediction of spontaneity, but from the kind of campaigns that took place prior to the elections.

Panga Wielding Youth During the PEV
The victims of PEV expected protection from the government, especially then that they perceived the government as being on their side, unlike in the previous election years, but that was not the case. Four years later, many of them are still living in the camps.
There is now a feeling of hopelessness among these people. Some of those who went back have made plans to relocate from the violence areas until after the elections process is over. Others, especially the youth, have decided that they will no longer wait for the government, and that they will take matters into their own hands-Rather than dying as victims, they will die fighting-since either way, the likelihood of dying is pretty high. The danger is that they may launch preemptive attacks and this will create a situation worse than what was there in 2007.
I made a visit to Likoni at the coast sometime in July, and I met a group of women, who seemed organised, as if they were coming from a church meeting. What I later learnt was shocking. These women were women from ‘Bara’(highlands), and they were coming from a strategy meeting so that they may counter any elections violence that might occur in 2012. I also learnt (from Matatu talk) that they had resolved that they would prepare themselves and they would no longer become innocent victims like in the previous years. In the preparations, they would replace their wooden doors with metallic ones, they would send their school children to live with their relatives outside coast during the August holidays, and that each house would arm itself with a Panga, a Spear or arrows………..and these were women!
Again, if things remain as they are, the 2012 will be a close call between Raila on one side, and the G7 outfit on the other side. Raila on his own, even without the likes of Ruto and Balala is still a heavyweight. It is highly unlikely that any of them will garner the (50+1) % required, and the ground for violence will thus be prepared, especially now that precedent has shown that violence will ensure that all the strong candidates form a government, irrespective of what the constitution says.

The cost of living in Kenya has been increasing steadily since the PNU-ODM coalition government came to power. Some say that it is because the PNU-ODM guys each want a piece of the ‘National Cake.’ Back in 2008, Nairobians protested against the food price increases, and after some time, the government duped the people by bringing in two types of Unga. Expensive Unga for ‘rich’ Kenyans and Cheap Unga for slum dwellers. After a month or so, the cheap Unga disappeared.
The price of Energy, Transport and Food has continued to rise. The government even created a board to regulate the fuel prices, but this board only regulates the prices upwards-even when the international oil prices go down.
Demonstrations were called for mid this year, and frustratingly, very few Kenyans attended these demos. (I have met people who blame us for not pursuing on with the demonstrations, yet these never attended a single demo for the several days that we camped outside the president’s and prime minister’s office!)
When one wonders how poor Nairobians manage to survive through these hard times, say for a household that earns sh6000 a month, money that should cater for transport, rent, food, bills etc, one realizes that we are living in very dangerous times.

This inflation has seen the shilling weaken badly against the dollar, and the government has decided to save the situation by borrowing from the International Monetary Fund. This might be the most frustrating thing that that the ministry of finance has done in the 9 years that Kibaki has been in power.

It is obvious that the IMF loan will be escorted with conditions. The government will be asked to retrench it workers, privatize its national assets, and to open up the economy to investors without any checks. Then the economy will continue to shrink, and life will get harder.

Al Shabaab
Very little information is available about Al Shabaab. They have been branded by the Kenyan media as Somalia’s Mungiki, whose intentions are to cause terror to the people of Somalia, while the international media ranks them together with Al Qaeda.
Reports from Kenya say that they have been responsible for the kidnapping of some white fellows, killing Kenyan police and members of the Kenya Army in the last three years.
Info on Wikipedia states that one of the achievements of Al Shabaab has been to bring about food security in the regions that they operate in.
They have also been collecting ransom on ships that use the Somalia waters without paying (which is not necessarily a bad thing since the U.S, French and other naval ships charge protections fees on other ships crossing through these waters……..and why should ships take advantage of these waters anyway?)
When the Union of Islamic Courts took over almost all of Somalia some four years ago, I viewed it as a very positive step-finally the people of Somalia were getting organised under one entity which seemed to get lots of support from the ordinary people. When the Ethiopian forces, with the direct and overt support of the U.S invaded Somalia so as to kick out the UIC and strengthen the ITFG, I was saddened. this is because the ITFG, after being form in Kenya, had failed to get the support of the people of Somalia, and it even had to set up base in Baidoa rather than Mogadishu.
The Ethiopian forces showed their tactical might and managed to push the UIC to small regions of Afmardow and Kismayu, which was a surprising thing since we expected them to get serious beatings from the Somalis in Somalia. Through this, the TFG was able to set base in Mogadishu, but it still didn’t have the support of the people.
The Ethiopians managed to push the UIC away, but it could not occupy Somalia for long, and after a few years, they had to leave…and no sooner had they left than the UIC reconquered most regions in Somalia, and eventually managed to take over the structures of the TFG where some of its leaders became leaders of the TFG, and its chairman, Sharif Ahmed became the head of TFG, and current president of Somalia….hence the current government is not the former imported government, but a more legitimate one.
But before he(Sharif Ahmed) knew it, the new government was facing fierce opposition from a familiar source-the Al Shabaab-Which was once UICs youth wing.
Al Shabaab(Standing)-UIC(Seated)
We have seen women from coast province going on demonstrations complaining that certain mosques were being used as recruiting grounds for Al Shabaab, where their sons are promised a good monthly pay as they fight alongside the militia in Somalia.
When the Minister for internal security made the announcement of the Army going into Somalia, I first viewed it as an invasion of Somalia, which was not acceptable at all. Ahmed Sharif then came out a day later and stated the Somalia had welcomed Kenya’s intervention to deal with the Al Shabaab, which I then viewed it as an intervention, which in this case is acceptable…….then Sharif said that Kenya was not welcomed…..then he later said that it was welcomed……then it was not…… a very shifty President I must say-but his Prime Minister came and said that the Somalia government is fully behind the joint operation to weed out Al Shabaab.
Some Kenyans claim that the Kenya Army will be defeated just because it (the Kenya Army) is a Conventional force fighting against an asymmetrical militia. But that is never the case, if it were, then there would be no need for armies in the world. An unconventional army can only defeat a symmetrical army if the former has the support of the people. In my opinion, Al Shabaab might not be having the support of Somalian people, otherwise it would not have to recruit from Kenya, and it would not have to force people into their ranks-People would either volunteer to join in, or they would just give other forms of support. The Army will need to help build the TFG structures in the zones that they have succeeded, so as to ensure no vacuum is left behind.
But woe unto our army if the Al Shabaab has the support of the masses! Body bags and more body bags are what we shall receive till they leave Somalia.
>>>>One thing that is surely disturbing me is the fact that the French and the Americans want to be involved alongside the Kenyan Forces. The involvement of these murderous states kills any good intentions(if any) that might be in this whole intervention. The U.S assassination drones have been pounding Somalia for many months now, and they do so arbitrarily. The other day, they killed over 50 Somalian civilians, including children. We also saw the indiscriminate bombing of a Somalian coastal town by a French naval ship.The do their bombing without coordinating with the Somali government, and without any intelligence from the ground---Can't they just Keep off?!<<<<

It is hence too early to say whether the Kenyan Soldiers are heroes or not, with time, we shall get more information about the Al Shabaab, and the motivation behind the intervention.
It is never good to give heroehood or vallainship before getting the whole picture, and that is what the Kenya government did on 20th October, Mashujaa day. The government, both PNU and ODM sides were quiet when Muammar Gaddafi, the African Shujaa was murdered by a coalition of over 20 countries. On the same day, they unveiled a statue of Tom Mboya, right in the middle of the City, and declared him our “national hero.”
It is no doubt that Mboya was a brilliant orator and a smart politician-But that doesn’t make him a hero. It must be remembered that as European Colonialism was dwindling in Africa (thanks to the struggles of our real heroes), US imperialism was on the rise, and Tom Mboya was its representative in Kenya. It must also be remembered that while the likes of Makhan Singh, Bildad Kaggia, Chege Kabacia and many others heroes had suffered a lot while building the trade unions movement in Kenya and in the region, Tom Mboya fought their efforts, and the efforts of the Workers, and killed the true Workers’ movement-And his bad fruits are still seen today in the scarecrow called COTU.
What is frustrating is that they have placed his statue right in the middle of the city, where hundreds of thousands of people pass trough daily. It would have been better if they had hidden him at Tom Mboya Social hall in Buruburu.
Kenya has true heroes. Kibaki could have given us a statue of the many women heroes that we’ve had. The statue of Mekatilili Wa Menza would be a good replacement (The statue has to be replaced-once we take over the state) for the current joke. They could have erected a statue of Field Marshal Muthoni (still alive), who was the only woman to take the highest military rank in the MauMau, and one of the very few female officers in the Anti-Colonial guerillas of the 50s. It would be a great honor to her, to the hundreds of thousands of women who participated in the freedom struggles, and to the many who are still continuing with the fight.
If I were to choose between Tom Mboya and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, I would choose Jaramogi a million times more. Jaramogi never left the struggle, he never surrendered, even in his old age.
Oginga Odinga
Of course, most of his students like James Orengo, Raila Odinga and many others have failed terribly, but his mantle shines on still.

With the world population hitting 7 billion the other day, we surely need more heroes to fight for the environment that we are living in. we need people who will stand up against the capitalistic greed that disrespects and destroys the environment for profits.
As ecologist Barry Commoner once said, "Pollution begins not in the family bedroom, but in the corporate boardroom."
It is expected that some “activists” will rise against the rise in population, and they will mostly pitch tent in Africa, under the guise that Africans are too many, they procreate a lot, and that our resources are little. Throughout this year, there has been a huge campaign against couples having children, as private companies advertise pills in the name of “family planning.”
What we must understand is that African is one of the most under populated continents in the world. Africa is the second largest continent, yet we only contribute 1 billion people to the 7 billion on earth. China alone contributes around 1.5 billion, while India contributes over 1 billion souls. It is well known that India, China, U.S.A, Europe, and several other countries COMBINED are LESS in size as compared to Africa. It is also a fact that Africa is an extremely rich continent in terms of resources; from Sunshine to Rain, from Oil to Forests, From Fish to Herbs…..the only resource that we desperately lack is a huge human resource-people. Where there are no people, there is usually no development.(http://mamluks.blogspot.com/2010/05/emancipate-yourselves-from-mental.html)
Of course we remember that one of the strategies that the colonialists used when they began invading  Africa was to de-populate the black man through diseases, actual killings etc. they did the same when they were conquering America, now they will try the same by using the “We are too many in the world today” card.
If anyone feels that there are too many people in the world, let them pitch tent elsewhere, and not in our under populated Africa.
Genocidaire Paul Kagame
>>>>Rwanda President Paul Kagame has already taken the “too many people” excuse too far. It is reported that in Rwanda, a law was passed early this year, which legalised the castration of poor Rwandese people. Kagame believes that the population of Rwanda is too high, and the only way to deal with the situation is to castrate between 700, 000 and 1 million poor people, because it is the poor people who give birth to many children. Castration is permanent. He prefers to castrate them and leave them in poverty, rather than to remove them from the poverty.
What worsens the situation is that most poor people in Rwanda are Hutu and it is the government which decides who is to be castrated—So what this guy is really doing is genocide on another front. The fellow who was the minister of health in Rwanda during the tabling and passing of this bill is now the current Secretary General for the East African Community, Mr.Richard Sezibera. Could they be testing a new depopulation technique for Africa? Sad! <<<<

Benedict Wachira
3rd November 2011