Dear President Mwai Kibaki:
My name is Onyango Oloo and I am writing to you from Montreal to offer some concrete suggestions of how, YOU, as the HEAD of STATE can lead your cabinet and your coalition government out of two apparent quagmires:
1.an external diplomatic stand off with the UK over the question of travel bans affecting Dr. Chris Murungaru, and up to five other cabinet ministers in the coming days;
2. an internal stalemate over the the simmering constitutional logjam.
I am going to suggest some very SIMPLE and STRAIGHT FORWARD steps you can take that may actually see you, believe it or not, climbing back in approval ratings to the giddy days of 2002. Since this earnest and sincere advice may actually, literally save your political life, I strongly urge you to give it serious consideration- especially since it is FREE.
You have been a disappointment to all of us- especially some of us who enthusiastically ululated when you were elected by a landslide in December 2002. You have been an absentee president who has allowed your inner circle to usurp your executive functions- with the disastrous results that we see today. From your daily intelligence briefings, I am sure you are aware that Onyango Oloo is far from being the only Kenyan who holds strongly to these sentiments.
My task today is NOT to lambaste you (I have done that in the past and may very well do so in the future-as in next week or so) but rather to bring your attention to one OBVIOUS FACT:
YOUR GOVERNMENT IS ON THE VERGE OF IMPLODING IN THE COURSE OF THE NEXT FEW MONTHS.
This may not be such a bad thing because it could offer Kenyans a fresh chance of giving direct electoral feedback to the politicians they elected to represent them in parliament almost three years ago.
My task is to offer specific solutions that will forestall that distinct eventuality.
I will use the back drop of your recent trip to Nyanza to map out the elements of a solution to the constitutional crisis that is tearing your coalition government apart and replay the echo of the British travel ban on Murungaru to map out a rapprochement of sorts with what some people prefer to call your "Western development partners".
So to begin with the just concluded
Here is what you said when you were there, accompanied by some of your ministers and assistant ministers as reported by the Standard newspaper:
President Kibaki yesterday handed Mr Raila Odinga a political lifeline with an open declaration he would stick by him because the Roads minister helped him win in 2002.
He spoke with a tinge of nostalgia and admiration about the vigour with which Raila led the presidential campaign, while he (Kibaki) was in a wheelchair, following a road accident in which he broke a leg and hand. He also wore a neck brace because he suffered a fracture in the upper spine.
"I hold you people in high esteem...you campaigned for me when I broke my leg and was just crying at home. I appreciate the effort made by Raila Odinga and his colleagues in ensuring I won," Kibaki said amid applause from the crowd at Homa Bay Stadium.
The President, who is on a three-day tour of Nyanza Province, told the region’s residents his government would not marginalise them. "My government will be run in a professional way, I do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past regime. We will work together with your elected leaders.’’
Kibaki rallied to the defence of Raila, even as one of his closest confidants, Transport minister Chris Murungaru, demanded that the minister quits Government because he voted against recommendations to amend the draft constitution.
I must admit that initially, I was a bit skeptical when I first read that statement attributed to you- because I thought it was just one of those calculated crowd pleasing statements that we have come to expect from the NARC cabinet. My cynicism had been stirred earlier by the near sycophantic buttery remarks coming from Raila Odinga- who only a few days previously had called for mass action while addressing a public rally in his Langata constituency.
What was intriguing was to see the reaction of a section of your cabinet who have built their entire political careers on fighting and alienating the Roads and Public Works minister from the camaraderie and amity enjoyed in inner sanctum by yourself, Moody, Charity Ngilu, Raila and the late Wamalwa Kijana as your Unbwogable Team plotted the demise of the Uhuru Project in the closing months of 2002. Again, it may be better to simply reproduce the appropriate text from an actual Kenyan newspaper- this time being the Daily Nation:
New Kibaki-Raila political rapport angers MPs
Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE and DAVID MUGONYI
Publication Date: 07/29/2005
President Kibaki's conciliatory remarks to the Raila Odinga camp during his recent visit to Nyanza has drawn a quiet protest among some politicians.
A group of MPs held a meeting on Wednesday evening at Parliament Buildings, which considered sending a note to the President to complain about the way he was treating Mr Odinga, whom they felt was not working with the Government.
They were reacting to public speeches made by Mr Kibaki during his just-ended three-day visit to Nyanza.
The meeting, held in the office of Chief Whip Norman Nyagah, was apparently called to work out a political strategy for dealing with the renewed amity between Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga's political camp, according to MPs who spoke to the Nation.
Speakers at the meeting reportedly complained that the President had taken no action against Mr Odinga and three other ministers –Prof Anyang Nyong'o, Mr Najib Balala and Mr Ochillo Ayacko – for having voted against the Government on the Bomas Draft constitution.
The MPs reportedly agreed to send two senior ministers to President Kibaki to present their concerns.
Sources said about 30 MPs, who included four Cabinet ministers, attended the meeting. Discussions at the meeting
coincided with a lack of quorum in the House, which some MPs claimed was a protest at the President's new-found rapport with LDP.
They said NAK MPs had walked out, leading to a premature adjournment that forced a postponement of the Agriculture ministry's vote.
It was not possible to establish whether Mr Nyagah had attended the meeting, but the Chief Whip was accused in Parliament by
Assistant minister Orwa Ojode of luring MPs out of the chamber.
It was Mr Wamunyinyi, who raised the issue of lack of quorum that forced the adjournment on Wednesday
Yesterday, Mr Wamunyinyi said: "We are rethinking our support for Government business in the House. People are now saying let (President) Kibaki get Raila and his people to come and pass government business in the House."
Mr Wamunyinyi said it will be hard for Mr Nyagah to rally MPs in future to pass Bills or endorse regulations, which are required for conducting a national referendum to approve a new constitution.
Mr Shitanda, who is an assistant minister in the Office of the President, said: "The MPs forced the adjournment because they were protesting against the manner in which the President was handling LDP's indiscipline."
The MPs who met were said to be from National Alliance (Party), Ford People and other Government-friendly opposition MPs.
They reportedly threatened to vote against the government's business in the House.
The protesting MPs reportedly said they would target the referendum rules on the new Constitution, approval of various budgetary votes to ministries and the Forest Bill.
Under the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission Act 2004, Parliament is required to endorse the referendum regulations to be tabled in the House by Attorney General Amos Wako.
The protest is meant to push President Kibaki to stop his growing rapport with Mr Odinga and his party.
Cabinet ministers Njenga Karume, Kiraitu Murungi, Amos Kimunya, Simeon Nyachae and Government Chief Whip Norman Nyagah led other MPs in holding a crisis meeting in the latter's office to register their anger at the President.
While on a three-day tour of South Nyanza, President Kibaki praised Mr Odinga for the role he played during the elections when he was bedridden and vowed to work with the community.
During the tour, which has been described as a milestone in Nyanza politics, the President said: "You voted for me when I was bed-ridden but now I am fine and I thank God for it. And I thank you all. I have resolved to do the job that you gave me and I urge all Kenyans to play their part."
In response, Mr Odinga, who led his Cabinet colleagues Najib Balala, Ochillo Ayacko and Anyang Nyong'o in voting against adoption of the revised Bomas Draft in Parliament last week, said: "The last three days have been exciting and rewarding for me."
The statement by the President apparently annoyed Government friendly MPs who now feel betrayed by a leader they have cushioned from LDP's dissent.
The protesting MPs are said to have argued that Mr Odinga had marshalled his forces to oppose the review process and should, therefore, be disciplined...
One context of the bile spewed in the paragraph above was ironically provided by a leading figure in the Official Opposition, Mutula Kilonzo who hinted in a recent newspaper interview that subtle promises-like ministerial appointments were pledged to certain politicians in the run up to the debate and vote on the Kilifi Draft. In other words, there are political vultures who have been waiting to "harvest" some cabinet seats after an expected purge of the NARC ministerial line up.
It is unfortunate to see such blind hatred, such panic when the politics of chuki, fitina na masengenyano becomes a substitute for statecraft. It is unbelievable and unconscionable in my opinion, to witness elected politicians predicating their whole public life on undermining their cabinet colleagues so that they can have their cohorts, consorts and clan members wiggle their way into this or that plum and posh corner office in the Nairobi Business District. Clearly, when a government degenerates to the level where it is pre-pubescent sulking that governs the conduct of senior government officials then lines must be drawn to reclaim decorum, and more importanly maturity in public discourse.
The flipside of this are the quizzical looks that Raila Odinga has been getting from a certain chunk of his so called "Luo Nyanza" social base that has been perplexed at what they view to be "mixed messages" coming from the LDP linchpin who many of them expected to lead an exercise of grandstanding, upbraiding and excrocriation punctuating your entire Nyanza trip.
The fact that
Raila Odinga decided to, as it were, flip the script and do the exact opposite of what his friends and foes alike expected, has occasioned considerable static and consternation- his allies think he is flip flopping in a dangerously opportunistic manner; his foes think YOU are flip flopping in a dangerously oppportunistic manner.
I must admit that until a few days ago these were my own views if I were to be perfectly candid and up front.
But that was not until I spoke to a man who was born and raised in Bondo, a literal stone's throw from the home of Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga. I am talking about Adongo Ogony- a very trenchant critic of your government- in fact only a few days ago he suggested that you, Kibaki, Must Go- so you can be sure that he is not likely to accept a position with your public relations team any time soon. He happens to be one of my closest political associates and life-long friends- a bond that goes back a quarter of a century.
Given his political stances, I was surprised to hear Adongo speak approvingly of the conciliatory chord struck by yourself, Raila Odinga and residents of a region that has justifiably felt very much hoodwinked and short-changed since your adminstration ascended to power. My friend recalled very vividly what life was like during the violent prone Presidential visit by Jomo Kenyatta in 1969-some Nyanza observers to this day insist that the ensuing riots were provoked by state connected forces intent on unleashing state repression. The fact the KPU was proscribed and its top leadership thrown into detention without trial bolsters this historical analysis. Adongo Ogony believes that it was in the immediate interests of some of your closest confidants in the NAK faction for chaos, riots and acrimony to erupt in Nyanza during your recent tour because it would have been the trump card that they have been looking for in precipitating the ouster of Raila Odinga and other cabinet ministers from the region who are deemed by this inner cabal of yours to be "the opposition within NARC".
By not pandering to these blood-thirsty political schemers Mr. President,
you, and Raila Odinga reflected real statesmanship by taking concrete issues to avert what could have been a real national tragedy:
Raila could have, had he so wished, pushed a few buttons of people who are already quite pissed off at you (and you saw it boiling over when Raphael Tuju was booed and shooed away when he attempted to address the throngs);
You could have launched a Mount Kenya wide oathing epidemic simply by trashing Raila in Nyanza and causing a minor insurrection;
You know I am no sycophant, and I am certainly very, very critical of you personally and your government's policies- but I like giving credit where it is due, Mr. President. You did rise to the occasion, and by shunning the easy temptation of ethnic incitement, you won the grudging respect of even some of your most ardent detractors.
In any case, what you expressed that day was a HISTORICAL FACT:-
without Raila Odinga and the Luo community together with millions of Kenyans in all the other provinces in the country- you would never have defeated Uhuru Kenyatta.
That much is incontestable.
What was interesting was that when Raila came for your Nyeri homecoming, the crowds greeted both of you with the same enthusiasm, despite a notorious attempt in your home turf by people like Chris Murungaru to stop Raila from adressing the Nyeri crowds.
The immediate knee-jerk reaction of the frothing mob in your cabinet served to reveal their true faces to the Kenyan people- on the one hand, they keep on saying that you, Mr President, have the final authority when it comes to hiring and firing ministers- yet they throw a fit and sulk when you simply acknowledge well known historical and political facts that describe the contemporary Kenyan reality.
I am pretty sure there are to be found, among the members of all ethnic groups in Kenya- Luos, Gikuyus, Kalenjins, Abagusii, Luhyia, Mijikenda, Maasai, Kambas etc- indidivuals or groups of individuals who would love to see Kenya going the way of Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia or Sudan- that is a formerly cohesive, peaceful and harmonious nation dissolving into sporadic and sustained local and nationwide ethnic based conflagrations to suit the narrow whims of a few pin striped political war lords cowering in Nairobi where they direct their mercenaries via remote control to go after so called "enemy tribes." After all, the Akiwumi Report(which you have officially ignored since it was issued in October 2002) fingered some of these people who even today are sitting parliamentarians and a few are even as we speak, serving members of your own government.
It takes mature political foresight to see that our serious and convuluted political problems cannot and will not and therefore should not and must not be solved through crude panga wielding, mkuki bearing, mishale shooting ethnic based conflicts. Any private, tribal based militias, if they exist- and we know that there are at least a couple of extant proto-guerrilla forces tucked away in various parts of the country- must be immediately disbanded and the politicians who bankroll them neutralized by the country's often very efficient national intelligence services.
In this connection, the current constitutional stalemate, even though it has been completely ethnicized and regionalized must be detribalized and nationalized- in the sense that the elites who are squaring off in the various adverserial corners represent their narrow class and personal interests rather than the long term interests of the nationalities, regions, religions and ethnic groups they claim to clamour for. In other words, when it comes to the Katiba, there should be no Luo, Gikuyu, Kalenjin, Somali, Maasai, Swahili, Mijikenda, Kisii, Mhindi or any other tribal agenda- only a genuine Kenyan agenda. When we start detribalizing and depersonalizing the whole constitutional debate and go ahead and look at the constitution making process from the ujaundiced vantage point and long term perspective of Kenyan children who will be born after December 12, 2005, then perhaps we may find that apparent chasms that has crippled the progress of the constitutional review process in Kenya are but artificial, myopic road blocks erected by people who can not see beyond their distended tumbos.
Given where matters stand today, it looks like the country is on the fast track to a head on collision in the run up to the projected referendum in November. Given the ambiguity over Section 47, there is the real possibility of Kenyans emerging from this murky process with two or even three constitutions each being touted as the "legitimate" and "authentic" version by different fractions of the Kenyan national polity-and that, Mr President, is one of the essential ingredients for the eventual fragmentation and disintegration of this country along highly volatile fault lines that may make the civil war in Somalia look like a kindergarten pillow fight in retrospect.
I happen to be committed to the defeat of the Kilifi Draft that your major allies in the NAK faction rammed down the throats of our people- some people allege that key politicians were openly bribed although it is not for me to say whether this is true or false at this point.
At the same time I also happen to be a sane, patriotic Kenyan who has lived long enough in Canada to interact with refugees from regional and ethnicized conflicts-from Palestinians struggling against Zionist apartheid, survivors of the RENAMO outrages in Mozambique, UNITA atrocities in Angola, Tutsi-Hutu standoffs in both Burundi and Rwanda, clan based mayhem in Somalia, faith and race based guerrilla wars in the Sudan, elite driven religious strife in the Ivory Coast, resource based, mercenary sustained killing orgies in Liberia, Sierra Leone, imperialist stoked meltdowns in the Balkans and colonial residual resentments in Northern Ireland. So far our small country has been mercifully spared these flare ups which would literally torch our country leaving it one raging inferno from Kaya Bombo to Trans Mara, North Horr to Loitoktok.
That is why I happen to believe that ANY politician who is attempting to survive by playing the divisive ethnic card should be arrested and charged with treason- here in Canada I only see the victims of civil war, not the masterminds who ordered simple villagers to panga their ethnic neighbours to death.
The Kenyan political atmosphere is reeking from the stench of narrow ethnic triumphalism- a triumphalism that is so short sighed that it cannot fathom why it contains the seeds of its own doom.
It is within this context that I cautiously applaud both of you- yourself Mr. President, and your Public Works and Roads minister for resisting the urge to pander to some segments of your real and perceived communities and constituencies. Mr President, and you know I am very stingy when it comes to praising politicians-especially those specimen who vegetate in your very problematic coalition.
But this is one of the few times I have seen you act as the President of Kenya rather than the Capo di Capo of the Mount Kenya Mafia. The Kibaki who showed up in Nyanza is not the Kibaki who was asking cynically whose mbuzi Kimunya had mumunyad.
Mr President, many people who read my frequent digital interventions on matters political, social, cultural, economic, technological, scientific and ideological have formed the impression that I am a very combative, often adverserial person- which is kind of ironic, considering the actual, amiable, reserved personality that some of my readers meet off line. Of course I state my points clearly, assertively and unequivocably. I have the courage of my convictions and that is why I make a point of saying matters, no matter how controversial, openly and in my own name so that I remain accountable for my utterances, analyses and perspectives.
There is another side of my experiences that hardly ever come out in my essays- and that is the accumulated skills I have acquired from the Canadian civil society sector when it comes to issues of peace-building, mediation and conflict transformation.
And it is to this aspect that I want to lean to for a few minutes to make a number of cogent observations about the festering cauldron of conflict that describes Kenyan mainstream politics today.
One of the "tricks" I learned in doing mediation and negotiation within the Ontario and Quebec non-profit context- during times of conflict- whether internal person to person, intra or inter-organizational, or more widespread sector wide or even outright political conflicts- one of the tricks I learned is something known as "Going to the Balcony".
What does "Going to the Balcony" MEAN in the context of mediating conflicts?
It simply means taking a break, pausing to sleep on something, going around the block to mull over something- consulting with key allies- in other words taking a LITERAL break from a pressure cooker situation to get a more detached and sober perspective. Sometimes it makes the difference between life and death, marriage and divorce, war and peace.
That ability to say, wait a minute- Can we just COOL DOWN, go home and come back in the morning to pursue this- that ability sometimes marks the demarcation between a two-bit manipulator of a festering mnunguniko or kinyang'anyiro and a real peace negotiator who can initiate lasting harmony within families, communities, political polities and entire countries.
I consider this ability of "Going to the Balcony" one of the hallmarks of true leadership whether in the micro, private setting of a nuclear family or the macro public setting of heading a national government they way you do Mr President.
And speaking of families, I have been quite uncomfortable with the polygamous analogies that Mr Odinga has often evoked that implies that you Mwai Kibaki, are that Jaduong' in your
duol being catered to by a succession of jostling, often bickering co-wives who have a certain ratiba within a regimented ukewenza kraal.
Apart from the anachronistic, patriarchal and misogynist misgivings I have with the concept, I think that it is not scientifically accurate to describe something like a coalition government as a polygamous marriage in which the President is the lord of the hearth who rides roughshod over a gaggle of political co-wives serving as ministers in his administration.
Rather I see a coalition government such as yours as an organic, democratic partnership of presumed political equals- a partnership where the President exercises real leadership within the context of adhering to the principles of consultative and participatory collective responsibility.
Back to the concept of "Going to the Balcony" a term that was coined by the US author and negotiator,
Dr. William Ury.
I suggest Mr. President, since you are such an avid reader, that you should get your State House staff to order Dr. Ury's book (also available on audio) titled,
Which is a sequel to the earlier classic,
Here is how one of Dr. Ury's disciples has paraphrased the "Balcony" idea:
You need to step back, collect your wits, and see the situation objectively. To do this, imagine you are on a stage. Then imagine yourself climbing onto a balcony overlooking the stage. The 'balcony' is a metaphor for a mental attitude of detachment. From the balcony you can calmly evaluate the conflict almost as if you were a third party. You can think constructively for both sides and look for a mutually satisfactory way to resolve the problem."
"Going to the Balcony" is also known as "Taking the Third Side".
Mr. President, as you await the order of Dr. Ury's magnficient tome to land at Ikulu, you can be perusing this other Conflict Resolution document that I found somewhere on the internet.
President Kibaki, there is an even richer concept than Mediation and Conflict Resolution. It is called Conflict Transformation. I know this first hand having participated in a fascinating series on transforming globalized conflicts held at Concordia University here in Montreal in mid February, 2004.
Among the lessons gleaned, I learned that:
1.1) Peace as a Transformative Process:
Peace is not just the absence of war but is, rather, a transformative process that involves a wide range of political, social, and economic forces being at play and in harmony. Peace is therefore related to a variety of such forces, including development, education, media, investment, justice,history, identity, and ideology. Peace involves building community, respecting diversity,fostering sustainable development, and nurturing the growth of dynamic civil societies.
1.2) Peace as Being Rooted in Communities:
Based on our discussions, and related to assumption number one, it would appear that we assumed peace to be less related to diplomacy and state policy than it is to local community initiative and action. That is to say, we identified peace as being a force that burgeons from the ground up rather than being implemented from the top down. We assumed that the peace of peoples can be more powerful and perhaps even more legitimate than the peace of states.
1.3) Basic Understanding of Globalized Conflict as a Phenomenon:
The concept of “globalized conflict” refers to the reality that conflicts do not only affect, and are not only impacted by, those living in primary/violent conflict zones and those living in diaspora communities. Instead, globalized conflict affect and are impacted by those living all over the world. Our discussions revealed an underlying conviction that no conflict is purely localized.With the globalization of the world economy, with rapid flows of capital, people, and resources across borders, and with the internationalization of the media, people of all communities, the world over, are inadvertently involved in all conflict. Whether or not the form of today’s globalization is inevitable, globalization itself, as a phenomenon, seems to imply inevitable involvement. In a globalized context, the distinction between local and international has become a moot point.
It is my firm and sincere belief that if you and members of your administration were to embrace the time tested ideas and methods of Conflict Transformation and if you start looking at "The Third Side" consistently you would be able to emerge out of the looming constitutional log jam with a win/win/win scenario that will ensure that whichever way Kenyans vote in the upcoming referendum, the "victor" will at least have the impramatur of democratic legitimization.
How to do this?
First, the political leaders have to emerge from their bunkers and trenches and put down their rockets and bazookas-without necesssarily having to cede any political territory, believe it or not, Mr. President.
Let me illustrate.
For instance the schemers in your kitchen- Kiraitu, Murungaru, Mukhisa, Nyachae, Muthaura, Michuki, Tuju, Awori etc- want you to be augmented with even more dictatorial powers than your iron fisted predecessor Moi- even though when you ran for the Presidency, Mr President, you sang from a very different hymn book. Your allies managed, through deceit, subterfuge and open bribery to wangle a pyrrhic ushindi in the Bunge recently and are prepare to sneak into law come November. In as much as I find this to completely DASTARDLY and DISTURBING, I say, well, that is what the DP-NAK forces want.
Then there is the broad opposition to the Kilifi Draft- a big contingent being former Bomas Delegates who are rooting for the Zero Draft and a smaller contingent who are adamantly opposed to the Bomas process and outcomes but are even more vehemently opposed to the Kilifi Obscenity and Mockery. Perhaps these two fractions will form one bloc supporting the Zero Draft, perhaps not. If not, let the anti-Bomas, anti-Kilifi civil society faction may come out and separately state their platform.
Then you have NAK's fellow travelers- people like Mutava Musyimi and the Ufungamano Initiative Crowd who have their own draft constitution if you can believe that.
Lastly, there are those cynical Kenyans, perhaps no better symbolized than by former President Moi who never saw a problem with the existing Kenyan constitution in the first place.
Now you know Mr. President-
NONE of these forces can ALONE push through their agenda without meeting formidable opposition from the other forces.
Your schemers will have to drive this country to an outright civil war before a very big part of the country succumbs to the doctored Kilifi Draft.
The Bomas community on the other hand have already felt your regime's rungus, gun butts, tear gas, courts and police cells.
The NCEC anti Bomas anti Kilifi civil society group cannot on their own, push through their agenda without seeking some kind of tactical alliance either with the Bomas team or the Kilifi gang. From the look of things, it appears as if they are gravitating towards Bomas of Kenya rather than hopping on an Akamba Bus bound for Sun N Sand in Kikambala.
The most irrelevant force is the discredited Ufungamano hand wringers, who are actually, as you know, since you still have kahawa na maandazi with Askofu Mkuu Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki from time time- you know that Ufungamano are practically fifth columnists for the Kilifi posse, so I am not going to dignify them with an independent existence.
The Keep the Rotten Katiba Front belong in the past with Daniel arap Moi.
So it is really a face off between the Kilifi Posse with the Bomas Consensus with shifting alliances in between.
Now there are about three ways to play this:
(a) Your NAK schemers could try and bribe, intimidate and lie their way to a hollow Referendum victory;
(b) The Bomas Consensus can mass action themselves to a bruising, bloody and exhausting Referendum Stalemate with no clear winner;
(c) A Democratic Alternative to (a) and (b). which leaves Kenyans the real winners irrespective of which faction actually gets the majority of the kura cast come November.
I would like to explore the potential of (c) since that is where I think Kenyans should be headed.
How to do this. Here is
Onyango Oloo's Blue Print on How to Conduct a Peaceful, Participatory, Conflict Free Kenyan Constitutional Referendum With A Binding Outcome in November 2005:
Step One: Create a Multi-Party Referendum Drafting Committee acting in an ADVISORY capacity to Amos Wako, the country's Attorney General. The purpose of this committee would be to work out the modalities, framework and benchmarks for conducting the November Referendum. It should include representatives from all the stakeholders in the constitutional review process: parliamentary parties, the CKRC, Ufungamano, Yellow Movement and other civil society contingents like the NCEC and others;
Step Two: Have this Committee give input to the Attorney General in DRAFTING THE REFERENDUM QUESTION
Step Three: Come up with the Referendum Question. As my contribution to the process, I have ALREADY come up with a suggested question and it is the following:
" Wananchi wa Kenya, having worked very hard to realize a democratic constitution, you are now faced with the choice of deciding which draft of which constitution should be adopted as our new constitution.
Please CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
(a) The Current Constitution;
(b) The Zero Draft;
(c)The Kilifi Draft;
(d) The Ufungamano Draft;
(e) A Hybrid Draft-incorporating all four constitutions;
Please note that you can only cast ONE VALID VOTE for one of the four choices."
Step Four:Have all the stakeholders come to a CONSENSUS on the LOGISTICS and TIMELINES for the Referendum- who will conduct it, where people will cast their ballots etc;
Step Five: Allocate EQUAL RESOURCES for each of the forces campaigning for each of the multiple choices. This principally entails EQUAL TIME on STATE OWNED Media channels like the Kenya Broadcasting Service; EQUAL SECURITY PROTECTION and GUARANTEES AGAINST INTIMIDATION; EQUAL ACCESS TO ANY TAX PAYER-BASED REVENUE allocated to the Referendum Process; COMPLETE FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT,ASSEMBLY, ASSOCIATION, PRE EXPRESSION etc to facilitate effective CIVIC and PUBLIC EDUCATION by each of the forces fighting to win the Referendum;
Step Six: Arrest and Charge ANYONE, irrespective of political affiliation, who tries to use terrorist,criminal and other illegal methods of winnning the referendum for their side;
Step Seven: Declare the Referendum Day a PUBLIC HOLIDAY to allow Kenyan workers to cast their vote. Do not hold it on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday because it is certain to interfere with the worshipping patterns of Muslims, Jews, Christians (Adventists and others on Saturday) and other faith communities;
Step Eight: Train and equip, at State Expense, all agents, monitors and observers;
Step Nine: Invite International Observers. Ask the richer ones (G-8 and other donor countries) to make significant financial contributions as their investment to the democratic development of a stable and prosperous Kenya;
Step Ten: Convert overseas based Kenyan embassies and consulates into Referendum polling stations allowing Kenyan Citizens AND Nationals(meaning Kenyans who may have acquired American, Canadian, Australian,British, Norwegian, Japanese, Indian, Togolese, Zimbabwean, Papuan etc citizenship) to vote in the Referendum;
Step Eleven: Create a Referendum Secretariat that is responsible for the day to day implementation of the above steps;
Step Twelve: Put in place idiot proof ballot papers, and tamper proof polling methods(transparent registration guidelines, indelible ink, transparent ballot boxes, secure polling booths etc) to ensure the integrity of the actual referendum vote itself;
Step Thirteen: Have the counting of the votes happen in a way that does not compromise the integrity of the process;
Step Fourteen: Have all forces campaigning in the referendum make a WRITTEN, LEGAL UNDERTAKING to RESPECT and ACCEPT the outcome of the vote, if it can be demonstrated to be free, unbiased and devoid of rigging and intimidation;
Step Fifteen: Prepare special cells for Referendum Day saboteurs- irrespective of ideological affiliation.
I am sure I am missing something- but this is a FIRST DRAFT and I am not even a constitutional lawyer or anything high falutin' like that....
Now let us turn to Dr. Chris Karathis Murungaru's travel foibles.
he called a press conference in Nairobi to denounce the decision to declare him persona non grata in the UK- and predictably threatened to sue Tony Blair's government for "gross libel".
Mr President, you may wonder, what do I think of Dr. Murungaru's fulminations today?
I have only FIVE WORDS:
Githaka kia muici ni gukaana.
Basically, Mr President, your Transport Minister is kaput.
This is what I think YOU should do:
FIRE HIM IMMEDIATELY.
He is an EMBARASSMENT.
He has brought considerable shame to all Kenyans.
His continued presence in your cabinet implies that YOU are a SERPENT presiding over a snake pit of vicious
diamond back rattlesnakes
The very next thing you should do after sacking Dr. Chris. Murungaru is to replace him with
Professor Wangari Maathai-but make her the Minister for the Environment. This implies a MAJOR CABINET RESHUFFLE which should lead to the redeployment of your key allies like Mwiraria and Ndwiga away from their current "eating positions". Throw Koigi wa Wamwere a bone by appointing him as an assistant minister and promote either Kivutha Kibwana or Danson Mungatana to become full ministers. One way of rewarding Kibwana and confusing your foes is to split the Constitutional and Justice ministry into two and leave my former lawyer with the Katiba portfolio. Yes, do something with either Jimmy Angwenyi or somebody from the LDP.. Do something with at least one of your Rift Valley MPs who is not a mundu wa nyoomba.
Announce a major development initiative for Marsabit and actually take the time to visit North Horr.
Schedule a meeting with members of the Maasai, Dawida, Kalenjin and Digo communities to discuss land claims and other natural resource issues.
Announce a major educational, scientific or technological institution for Western Province.
Schedule a high profile meeting with all the significant leaders of the Kenyan Muslim community to discuss their concerns around the constitution, second class status and percieved demonization.
Make a personal call or send a direct emissary to Tony Blair, George Bush, Jacques Chirac, the German Chancellor, the Japanese Prime Minister and other donor leaders assuring them that you are taking firm steps to deal with corruption.
Visit Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.
Send a message of solidarity to the African Union.
Make a public apology to the NEPAD team and invite them to do the peer review.
Meet with the main leaders of the trade union and women's movement in Kenya.
Schedule a meeting with the Yellow Movement and LISTEN to them.
Make a visit abroad to the United States, Canada, or Europe with the express purpose of doing town hall meetings with Kenyans Abroad.
Mr President, I could tell you more, but I am not a state employee, OK?
And speaking of government servants, Mr President, I think you should FIRE
He lies too much.
But BEFORE I GO, HERE ARE SOME VERY IMPORTANT AND PRESSING QUESTIONS and OBSERVATIONS THAT SOME KENYANS ABROAD WANT TO PUT TO YOU:
The first one is from the Mambogani discussion group and is asked by the "El Presidente" of that site known by the online handle of "Mambo":
"1. Why did you let the death of Dr Mbai slide into obscurity?
2. Why did you let Tom Delamere slip away?
3. Do you have even the slightest idea how you will prevent a massacre like Turbi again.
If you cannot answer the above, resign."
This one is from the Nation Discussion Forum and it is from "Ajiambo":
"Mr. Emilio, I am concerned about your amnesty towards a felon formerly known as Dr. Gachara. She literally killed the most vulnerable Kenyans in their numbers: HIV carriers and AIDS patients. Just because there were bigger fish does not mean she keeps her loot, she should have known better.
Do you really care what happens to Kenyans when you have the audacity to forgive such a devil?. Even if she landed the luck by lottery, morally she should remain behind bars!
Mr. Emilio, is it true that healthwise you are incapable. If so, dont you think it would be morally right to step aside?. You already have held the title, and if u truly love Kenya, let someone whose faculties are properly functioning run the country."
From the same forum, "Unbuagable":
"Muheshimiwa Mwai Emilio -
I am talking to you as a son would talk to a father. I, for valid reasons now reside outside my beloved country. As a young kenyan, I could not find work after college, our institutions are extremely corrupt and hardly give young people any chance to further their ambitions. Our constituions guarantees us peace, and wel being. That is a crack right now. We have murder for hire, women being raped at will, a loose First Lady who thinks she is above law just because she shares a bed with you.
Mr Emilio, I as a son of Kenya, am truely embarassed to speak of my country out here. As the father of the nation Mr. Emilio, take charge and do the right thing. Let young people be involved in the evolution of our destiny. The national cake is not just for the few politicians most of whom have been around since independence. it is to be shared by all regardless of race, tribe, gender.
Mr Emilio, Father of our, I hate to say great, nation, please step up or step out.
Son of the Kenyan soil"
From the same forum, "Johns":
I am a kenyan who wished your candidancy well in 2002 election because you and your team (Unbwagable)collectively captured our imaginations, aspirations and even desires. Your side made a lot of promises which till now have not been fullfilled not for lack of trying but wholesome abandonment of the platform on which the very ideals were imagined.
You have allowed the Goodwill which your government was accorded when coming in be swept away into the ocean of despair. Far and foremost kenyans basically elected you for two things: 1) That you would be a bridge to good governance 2) That you would inspire them to want to live again.
Mr.President, as you read this letter, you would agree with me that your effort in ensuring the above has been dismal and wanting either by design or ommission. Kenyans elected you because of the vast experience they thought you would bring onto the table, experience cultivated within and outside government. Prior to 2002 elections, the desire of most kenyans was to see Tribalisms ugly head beaten to the pulp and you became an intergral part of that desire . Unfortunately the outcome has been the reverse of such expectations. Your government has not only allowed tribalism to flourish, it has now become the qualifier for those seeking jobs and favours within the corridors of your very state house.
And what would one say about corruption? This cancer which once was a silent killer to the very fabric of our society has reared its ugly head in the open and has too been officially embraced as a measuring standard of doing business in kenya. The other day you asked the public "Kwani amekula mbuzi wa nani" referring to your many minister's who have been accused of abeting and practising this vice. Mr. president, the appearance in itself should cause you to worry and when these are levelled on your own ministers that in itself is an indictment of your own wisdom and ability to lead, more so when you still keep them around as your bosom buddies. You will also agree that your inaction to address these cumulative charges against your officials has prompted one of kenyas friend to act on behalf of your own people, putting you in an enviable position. I am not going to judge your ministers but sir, once too many is too many and for that i commend the British government for handing you a life line which i am praying you will take in resolving your dilemma.
Mr.President, another issue which you have been Awol from is the matter on the constitution. While in opposition you asked for a people driven assembly and your proposal were quite interesting. Fortunately for you and your party (opposition)many kenyans saw your way and adopted the very proposal you had suggested. What happened between then and now sir? How come you now opposed your own proposals; that you are willing and ready to usher in a document which you know will not stand any test of time? Sir, this would be the best time to explain to the entire nation what you trully stand for and wether your beliefs if you have any are good enough to occupy a special place in the sands of time."
From the Kenya Community in Ontario forum:
rom: Abel Onsoti
Date: Fri Jul 29, 2005 4:51 pm
Subject: Re: [kco-l] looking for input in letter to kibaki akabelonsoti
You can reword or put directly to the president of Kenya His excellence honourable Kibaki my views.
1, He should deal with corruption in the cabinet and civil service more firmly than he has done todate. Not doing so, will affect his legacy as a president who came to power with the approval from all Kenyans to end corruption in Kenya and improve the general standard of living of all Kenyans and not just members of his Cabinet. He should remember that all Kenyans had and still have high hopes that him as an economist is better placed to come up with better public policy to reduce poverty in Kenya than the former two presidents.
2, As a president, he should reward those who have served him well in the past and now. Here i have in mind his minister for public works honourable Raila. Just like the president acknowledged in South Nyanza this week that Raila served him well in the last campaign, the president should not let junior members of his cabinet to down play the role Raila played in the last election. It is a fact that Raila made the former Kanu government come down! That in itself is worth rewarding if the current government is out to reward performance and not just being seen hanging around presidency and using that position to better personal ambition as others around president are doing now. This culture of rewarding people who are jusy "hanging" around president should be stop and performance be rewarded instead. So whether, Raila, Awori or Michuki has done well, president should acknowledge that than waiting to buy members of parliament on the floor of the honourable house to support government Bills.
3, The president should get a more effective foreign Affairs minister who can deal better than the current minister in selling Kenyan foreign policy abroad and to handle all diplomatics to Kenya more effectivefull than is happening now. I mean to appoint a person who is capable of dealing with diplomatics to kenya well to earn respect from them all. When this will be achieved, Kenyan government will not be reading happenings from newspapers of what the foreign embassies are doing in Nairobi. What happened between the British Embassy and Dr Murungaru may just be an "ice berg" as to how current foreign affairs minister is not working in harmony with all foreign missions in Nairobi. Yet this is the channel to market the Kenyan foreign policy and to enhance friendships with other countries.
4, The president to let the views of all Kenyans on the constitution debate work without either directly or indirectly trying to control it. If kenyans what a lesser powerful presidency, he should not mistake it to mean a personal attack on him as Kibaki the current president, rather Kenyans are looking at how they can be served better in future by any government to come.
Date: Fri Jul 29, 2005 12:31 pm
Subject: Re: [KOL] looking for input in letter to kibaki ndungu_kahihu
The currency of democratic governments and modern economies is local and international goodwill. The Kenya government is busy squadering this goodwill. Maintaining loyalty to long
term friends is not worth such a loss.
From Kenyaonline one more time:
From: Dickens Odhiambo
Date: Fri Jul 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Subject: TO OLOO -: [KOL] looking for input in letter to kibaki Dickens.Odhiambo@...
1.) Tell the President to READ what Coalition governments are made of and
2.) Remind him we need an Involved and Quick responding President on
3.) Everybody is dispensible (Mortal) including himself.
4.) Ukabila is not a Song for "Kujienjoy" purposes in a podium but he must
kill it in his Regime MKM/Siasa GEMA/WABARA et al
From: "charles wanyee"
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005 17:06:17 +0000
To President Mwai Kibaki,
My name is Wanyee. I would like to know why you have permitted the
Kwale project to proceed, despite it not being in our people's long-term/ best interests?
Ref: The Kwale Titanium-Mining Scandal: A Classic Case of
That is it President Mwai Kibaki.
A Sincere, Patriotic Kenyan Living in Montreal