Thursday, August 30, 2012

Constitution Second Anniversary: What the Media Reported

Below are snippets of what the fourth estate featured to commemorate our constitution's second anniversary;
Daily Nation
Daily Nation gave prominence to Kofi Annan Statement that he released on the eve this anniversary. His statement noted;
The adoption of the Constitution on 27 August, 2010 was a watershed moment in the history of the country; the product of a decades-long struggle to reform the way in which Kenya is governed. It also marked the most significant milestone in the implementation of the reform agenda of the Coalition Government, which both partners had committed themselves to when the National Accord was signed in early 2008.

Kofi Annan's statement also goes ahead to note the missing gaps that we should have implemented at this junction.
There are still some gaps in key areas of constitutional implementation. These include the areas of police reform, in particular the creation of the National Police Service Commission and the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police; and the conclusion of the process to appoint commissioners to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. It is also critical that the issue of gender representation within the National Assembly receives the attention it deserves and is authoritatively concluded before it affects the electoral preparedness timetable. We are confident, however, that these and other outstanding tasks will be completed.
However, he does NOT point out some of the outstanding issues which they pointed out rightly after 2007/8 disputed polls 'famously referred to as Agenda 4' which in my opinion are the reason we still not out of the woods yet. Some of this are; 
  1. Unemployment, particularly among the youth
  2. Land reform
  3. Poverty,inequality and regional imbalances
As we go ahead we hope the other items below will be addressed before the March 2013 poll
  1. Institutional reform: The Police
  2. Institutional reform: The Civil Service
  3. Institutional reform: The Parliament
  4. Consolidating National Cohesion and Unity
  5. Transparency, accountability, impunity

My eye catching event of this day is when the Prime Minister Raila Odinga led the second liberation brigade to Nyayo House [former torture chambers under Moi’s government].
The PM with other 2nd Liberation Fighters. Source PMPS
However, the sad thing to note is that on this day we had a daylight assassination in Mombasa which has left the coast province reeling with violence
Watch Mutahi Ngunyi on the bench as he gives his views;

2nd Year Anniversary since the Promulgation of the New Constitution-What has changed?

Kenya celebrated the second anniversary since the promulgation of the new constitution without much fanfare. On this day [August 27] two years ago Kenya had ushered in the new constitution with celebration and fanfare at Uhuru Park. There was a lot of hope as we set in a new constitution two years ago. However, we seem to have gone back to our old ways. One would have expected this being an important day we would have gone back to see the success that we have achieved so far. However, the air is now filled with talk of 2013 March polls and with it comes fear of a repeat of what happened in 2007/08. So the president through the Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs requested for peace forums to be conducted in all counties and on August 27, 2012 was the culmination of this forums. The agenda for this day was peace. This peace conference that was attended by all branches of government. 
Wisdom of COE
The drafters of this constitution, the Committee of Experts CoE had foreseen a legislature NOT keen on enacting new rules on time and had come up with an inbuilt timetable on which parliament was expected to pass in key legislations to give life to this constitutions. Failure to which the legislatures would be sent packing if citizens petitioned parliament. Any citizen could petition parliament for failing to enact laws as spelt out in the fifth schedule in court and have parliament dissolved on this account. Also, this constitution created Constitution Implementation Commission CIC to track and make sure Parliament and Executive carry out the key legislations required by this constitution following the letter and spirit of the new leviathan.

The Good
Within this span of two years we have had our success especially when it comes to the appointment of new judicial officers beginning with the chief justice, the setting up of Interim Electoral & Boundaries Commission IEBC.
The CIC led by Commissioner Charles Nyachae has live up to its bill and has always been forthright with Kenyan’s on matters pertaining to implementation of the new constitution. Other successes of this constitution have been the Kibunja led Commission, National Cohesion & Integration Commission NCIC that tracks instances of hate speech. This body was created by the COE to make sure that incidences of hate speech similar to those that occurred in run up to 2007 elections do NOT occur again. This body has made sure our MP’s do whip up ethnic vibes in the run up to the March 2013 polls.

The Bad
As much as we have done well in some spheres of implementing the new constitution we are lagging behind on reforming our police force. Currently, we have a reformed Judiciary [however, the CJ has been on record saying it will take a few more years until we achieve international standards]. However, as we approached the second year anniversary the last date according to the schedule on implementing the new constitution that we should have an Inspector General. A new inspector General has not been appointed. The position of Inspector General is a new post created by this constitution. The Police have been of the opinion that they do NOT favor a ‘civilian’. This is a term meaning that they would prefer one of their own ‘rank & file’ to ascend to the new position. It remains to be seen what will transpire.

The Ugly
However, even with the new constitution in place we have seen the emergence of Mombasa Republican Council MRC which calls for the cessation of the Coast Province from Kenya. Its clarion call is ‘Pwani si Kenya’ meaning Coast in not in Kenya.
The other big problem we face as a nation has been the eruption of violence in Tana River delta and the emergence of trouble this week at the Coast after the broad daylight assassination of Sheik Rogo who is linked to have ties with Al-Qaida.
We have also witnessed the rise of tensions and animosity in the country with the Miguna Miguna book tour of Kenya. To me some of these happenings seem orchestrated.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When the American’s were in Town: US Secretary of State Visit to Kenya and the after Shocks

A lot has been written on the US Secretary of State visit to Kenya earlier this month. However, as is the case most of it has been partisan and crucial questions and key observations have been left missing.
I like many other Kenyan’s was NOT privy to the secretary of State visit BUT I made a point to watching her visit unfold on television and read opinion pieces about her visit on our dailies.

One thing that emerges is one part of the coalition was angered by her visit because she outlined her government’s position on some presidential candidates. It is said that she made it clear that the US is NOT pleased with the two Presidential aspirants who are also ICC suspects contending for the country’s top position. She must have made this clear when she met with our president at State House. The TV footage of this visit showed that present on this meeting was the Chief of General Staff Kenya Gen. Julius Karangi.
Her delegation also met with the IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack and made an offer to secure BVR kits which was rejected by the commission.
Clinton with Raila. Source: PMPS

However, the interesting meeting was between the Secretary of State and our Prime Minister. The Secretary of State got a hug from our ‘western & media savvy’ Prime Minister and in his entourage was the Water Minister Ms Charity Ngilu! Maybe, the PM’s office did their homework and knew the Secretary of State being the second woman after Condoleezza Rice to hold the current office appreciates women in power.
However, the missing narrative in this discourse was the Secretary of State meeting with Somali President in Nairobi. I have seen few narratives on this issue mainly from the East African Standard [a weekly publication focusing on the region owned by nation Media Group]
The Secretary of State also met with the head of the Judiciary, CJ William Mutunga. This is the meeting that had some commentators raising eye brows because our Foreign Minister Hon. Ongeri was NOT present in the meeting. But the Secretary of State and her entourage we’re correct in locking out the FM because he is NOT a member of the Judiciary.

The interesting thing is that all this meetings occurred in one day and for that matter on a Saturday [August 4, 2012].

Other talking points of this visit were that the US was now getting to see Africa through the eyes of the Chinese. In fact during her trip in Africa the Secretary had made some comments which annoyed the Chinese and from her meeting with IEBC and Civil Society it appears the Chinese were on hand to question her.

Above all this visit by the Sec. of State highlights the importance the Obama administration attaches to Kenya especially as it approaches the elections in March 2013 and the region and as America changes its approach to Africa. 

Some of the silent features of this visit were the US Embassy in Kenya was not in order because of changes at the US Embassy in Kenya.

Recommended reading: 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Watch: Sauti Sol Documentary ‘Voices of the Sun’ by Lebogang Rasethaba

Kenya is currently buzzing with creativity and the documentary below Voices of the Sun of Sauti Sol made by Lebogang Rasethaba from South Africa is proof.
voices of the sun from lebogang rasethaba on Vimeo.

This documentary also offers some ‘behind the scenes’ shots of Spoek Mathambo and Sauti Sol in studio working on their new EP. Below is a single from the EP they have been working on.
There is also news that Just a Band documentary is being filmed by Wanuri Kahiu 

Prince of China: Raila’s Visit to the East

The Prime Minister meets with the Chinese VP HE Xi Jin ping
Source: PMPS

The Prime Minister’s visit to the East couldn't come at a better time than it did. Miguna Miguna [a former aide to the prime minister turned foe] had just released an explosive book (Peeling back the Mask-A Quest for Justice in Kenya). The usually calm and collected office of the primemister had been caught napping and needed some time to realign themselves and the FOCAC meeting in China offered that chance!

What was interesting to note was NOT the Miguna debacle unfolding [you could say still unfolding because the man is back into the country] BUT what ‘really’ transpired in China. The Prime minister through the office of the Prime Minster Press Service [PMPS] has its own account of what happened and was eager to paint a picture of the prime minister socializing with the Chinese elites and football stars [Drogba & Anelka]. Back here it is an open secret that the PM loves football and calls the shots in Gor Mahia FC. So the timings of these photo ops were NOT coincidental.
Anelka, Drogba & the PM
Source: PMPS
The Chinese might have known this and to play ball into the prime ministers court organized for these photo ops for the prime minister. However, what we the public we’re NOT told is if there we’re any backdoor negotiations that the Chinese had with the PM. Currently, the PM is the man to beat in the next year’s elections and the Chinese having some massive investments in this region would want to secure their investments should the PM ascend to the presidency. So what happened in China leaves more to be desired and the PM’s office has NOT been open on what really transpired in China.

The Prime Minister has been known to have leanings in the west while the president and his men are known to have a soft spot for the East. Therefore, months ahead we will witness a lot of activity in Kenya as different countries try to secure their interests in Kenya.
A toast to......
Source: PMPS