“No man who ever held the office of president would congratulate a friend on obtaining it.”
― John Adams
Uhuru might not cooperate with the ICC after all, cooperate here might not mean what we think it means, so before we get our underwear in a bunch we need to ask what is really being demanded. I believe Uhuru has yet to say he intends to completely disregard the court proceedings and thus invite a warrant of arrest from the ICC in the mould of the butcher of Darfur; what I think has been requested is that his actual presence at trials be dispensed with given his busy schedule and status, something that is not unreasonable if you ask me.
I’ve been wondering what it would take away from Bensouda to allow Uhuru to use a video link instead of having him sitting there on his hands, wild eyed and pensive in the dock just listening to testimony after testimony when he’s not required to contribute a thing, perhaps for weeks, and as a result demeaning our office of the presidency (the office, not the man; but the man just happens to be in that office regardless of how or by what margin).
I know he was not president when this cases begun, I know he said it was a personal matter, but I also know that we knew (at least those of us with a modicum of sense) that if he became president then things would somewhat change, in fact those who had their eyes open knew that that very leverage a president has in getting some reprieve from the indignities of trial is what drove team UhuRuto to burn the candle at both ends to deliver ‘victory’ to Jubilee.
I am aware that as usual the ordinary mwananichi cannot see beyond tribe and party affiliation, and so the cabal around Uhuru would have us believe that Raila controls the ICC and is to blame for all of this, that’s bullshit, UK and Ruto asked to take the ICC option themselves, I am also aware that supporters of CORD, who number almost half those who voted, might not be ready to accept UK as ‘their’ president and would love to see him squirm in the dock at the ICC, that’s like cutting off our noses to spite our faces, the guy happens to be our Commander in Chief and as such his humiliation is our humiliation as a country and a proud country at that.
Madam Bensouda, I’d suggest that if Uhuru is willing to continue with this trial and that all he asks is not to have to appear in person for every single sitting unless his testimony is required of course, can you please be a little accommodating. What will it take away from the court to use a video link? It will certainly take away less than it will from us as a sovereign country having to watch the public humiliation of their head of state for months on end.
A friend of mine, a lawyer by profession, adds:
“On the whole ICC saga and UK’s appearance at The Hague, he may have some merit in asking the court to be more accommodating. There have been no cases where a sitting president has been tried by an international court, however there are a few cases in a number of jurisdictions where the law grants presidents special protection (South Africa) Nelson Mandela had appointed a Comm. Of Inquiry in a manner that contravened the law, he was called before the High Court to testify. His lawyers tried to prevent him from testifying given his status as President, however he came and testified nevertheless. On appeal before the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, the CC stated that where a President is called as a witness, special arrangements are often provided for in the way evidence is given. It adds ‘Courts are supposed to ensure that the status, dignity and efficiency of the OP is protected…at the same time however, the administration of justice cannot be impeded by the court’s desire to ensure that the dignity of the President is safeguarded.’ So we see to aspects of the public interest – respecting the office on the one hand, and not impeding justice on the other. The two must be balanced. The court added this gem ‘Except in exceptional circumstances requiring the President to give evidence, the special dignity and status of the President together with his busy schedule and the importance of his work must be taken into account.’ (USA) In 1991 then Governor Bill Clinton propositioned one Ms. Jones, four years later she sued President Clinton for sexual harassment. Merits aside, the Supreme Court, on appeal, stated the following: ‘The testimony of the President may be taken at the White House to accommodate his busy schedule, and that if a trial is held, there would be no necessity for the President to attend, though he could elect to do so.’ The court added that while the President can be tried, ‘High respect is owed to his office…’ When a president testifies, respect for the office, the need to reserve his dignity, and an understanding of the implications of his busy schedule must be carefully considered. (Germany) The German Civil Procedure Codes explicitly state that a President need not attend court in person and may give testimony at home. He may also refuse to give evidence were it to be detrimental to the Federal Republic of Germany or a German State. Those three jurisdictions are what I can find and recall from administrative law. They can be distinguished in some ways. One, this isn’t the ordinary judicial body of a state, it’s an international court. Two, the nature of the crimes may be the ‘exceptional case’ the South African court spoke of and thus are more grievous offences as compared to Mandela’s wrong COI appointment or Clinton’s pre-Lewinsky philandering. My personal opinion is that the ICC has failed to be more accommodating, it is still bound by principles of International Law – of which include the principles created by the courts of states such as South Africa, the USA and Germany. The court has failed to accord even an inkling of respect, dignity and accommodation to Kenyatta – they could have reached a balance of the two aforementioned interests by even sitting in Arusha. UK must be tried for these offences, that I fully advocate for, however, I’m of the view that the Trial Chamber and the OTP should reconsider their stance on how Kenyatta will testify. ”
“In my country, we go to prison first and then become President.”
– Nelson Mandela
“Debt is the fatal disease of republics, the first thing and the mightiest to undermine governments and corrupt the people”
Numbers, huge sums of money, mind boggling debt, billions in expenditure, very few people like these or can process articles about such quickly while dealing with the other hassles and vagaries of daily life in a third world republic.
Lately I have felt that I have been inundated with news to do with just such numbers. Whenever I look at headlines all I see are staggering figures bandied about like they were mere exercises in mathematics class, except they are not.
We are in trouble, we have let unbridled expenditure coupled with borrowing at the rate of a drunken sailor take hold of our lives.
Kenya’s gross domestic debt (government’s borrowing from the local markets) had in June this year hit the trillion-shilling mark up from 859 billion twelve months ago.
We already have an external debt burden of Sh800 billion, therefore the national debt comes to about Sh1.8 trillion, which is basically one half of our Sh3.6 trillion economy.
That is not all, we have during this August borrowed another 425 Billion Shillings from China, this means our external debt is now more than 1.25 trillion Shillings, there’s a ceiling on how much we can borrow externally and this ceiling is 1.2trillion which we have exceeded.
And lest we forget: “Debt is an ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slavedriver. ”
While looking at these figures we have to remember that there’s no record of anyone having ever managed to wildly spend their way out of a slow economic growth or to borrow their way out of debt, certainly spending money we don’t have by borrowing more and more while our debt burden rises cannot be good economics.
Meanwhile I read today that in our country a Judicial Service Commissioner ‘earns’ Sh80,000 for every sitting, and that in the last year; the JSC held 247 meetings, meaning a commissioner who attended all 247 meetings took home Sh1.6 million every month in allowances, coming to a total of KES 19,760,000.00 per year. This then led to a situation in which in the 2012/2013 financial year, commissioners gobbled up Sh377 million in allowances for board meetings, conferences and seminars, foreign travel and subsistence, catering service and accommodation, gifts, food and drinks and legal fees.
The CJ had a house bought for him at 310 million, when the initial budget was 200 million.
Remember, while this was going on we couldn’t pay teachers, policemen, and health workers the pittance we offer for their crucial services.
The government also had time to throw in half a billion for offices for a retired president, as well spend another half a billion shillings building a home for him on his private land at Mweiga.
And then there was the plan to blow Sh2.5 billion on celebrations to mark 50 years of Kenya’s independence with: Sh690 million for events management and logistics, Sh286 million for conference and exhibition during the one week celebration, Sh300 million for publicity and communication, Sh365 million for entertainment and a handsome Sh320 million to go towards identifying Kenya’s most prominent personalities.
It also includes Sh50 million for erecting a bronze statue of retired President Mwai Kibaki
And we think MPigs are the worst of the lot?
A man in a bookstore buys a book on loneliness and every woman in the store hits on him. A woman buys a book on loneliness and the store clears out.
~ Doug Coupland
Imagine the shock of watching Janet Mbugua or Lilian Muli shoot herself in the head during a live TV broadcast…..!
On the morning of July 15, 1974 Christine Chubbuck did exactly that. In the middle of reading news she calmly said “In keeping with Channel 40′s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide.” She drew a revolver and shot herself in the head.
But why did she do it? Well it is said her lack of relationships had generally driven her to depression; her mother later said “her suicide was simply because her personal life was not enough. She’d ask guys out to coffee and they’d say no, and not ask back later”
Chris had lamented to co-workers that her 30th birthday was approaching and she was still a virgin who had never been on more than two dates with a man. It is not that she was not beautiful, it is just that she suffered what Wikipedia calls ‘Involuntary Celibacy’. Her brother said that her constant self-deprecation for being “dateless” contributed to her ongoing depression. In the end she chose to take her life while just 29 years old.
So dudes, do not underestimate the pressure the opposite sex have to endure. You might imagine that it is all fun and games with all girls spoilt for choice and rejecting frogs along the easy road to meeting their prince; it is not.
And ladies, we appreciate the difficult position you’re in, but isn’t pretending to be a secondary prude in the face of a scarcity of suitors and then lamenting how men only want one thing self defeating when it comes to combating InCel?
Difficult questions for difficult times…..
Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed. – Mwai Kibaki
“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
~ John F Kennedy
Now the lie is: that only MPs in this country are greedy, they are not. We all are, at least most of us, and would also probably set our own salaries as high as we could if we had the opportunity to do so.
Now the myth is: that MPs need this high salaries in order to run an informal welfare system for their constituents… really? The fact is they need this money to both recoup monies they spent greasing their way to parliament and to continue giving handouts to ensure they are in good stead for re-election (a very selfish motive far from anything motivated by goodness of heart). Now if these handouts even work at all is moot, especially considering 50 to 70% of MPs fail to get re-elected; and with free reign on CDF monies it was hard to even argue that the crumbs given to the hoi polloi came out of the pockets of past MPs.
Now the thing to think about is this: Figures indicate that Kenya’s public sector wage bill has almost doubled from $2.85 billion in 2008-09 to $5.4 billion in 2012-2013 (Source). This is in excess of 50% of the total domestic revenues (revenues stand at KShs 766 Billion ~ $9 billion –Source: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics ), which is way above the international best practice of not more than 35%recommended for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The United States gave Kenya $625 million in aid last year (Source: July 2012 Congressional Research Service) This is about 7% the size of Kenya’s own total revenue. This is money we begged for because we are “poor” and cannot feed our own people or pay our own bills.
So the burning question is: Why is a country like ours –with a population eight times less than the US’s (US: Population 316M, Kenya: Population 40M), a geographical area 17 times less than the US’s (US: Size 9,826,675 km2, Kenya: Size 580,000 km2), — end up having an almost equal number of Governors (US: Governors 50, Kenya: Governors 47), almost equal number of MPs to Reps (US: Representatives 435, Kenya: MPs 349), and Senators (US: Senators 100, Kenya: Senators 67)?
Even more damning is the fact that the current salary (2013) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year (Source). Yet our MPs are asking for $120,000 a year; this in a third world country which, it needs not be overemphasized, has a GDP 206 times less than the US’s (US: GDP $15.685 trillion, Kenya: GDP $75.888 billion), and a Per Capita 28 times less than the US’s (US: Per Capita $49,922, Kenya: Per Capita $1,802). We also boast of a shameful unemployment rate of over 40% and an average income of just $76 a month, with almost half the population living a wretched and hopeless existence below the poverty line.
Prosecuting activists for releasing bloodied swine outside our disgraced “august” house should be the least of our concerns.
But as they say: This is Africa
“Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”
― Thomas Jefferson
The loud cacophony of the campaigns is a distant memory, the razzmatazz of the manifesto launches all but forgotten, the vitriol and name-calling of the rallies no longer daily fare, and finally we are getting back to our senses as long-time friends who could not see eye to eye over their tribal kingpins start to text each other with requests for that MPesa soft loan required to cover the deficits brought on by our food and alcohol binging in either celebration of “victory” or anger at a perceived injustice of a “loss”.
Well the election results were announced, the ensuing court proceedings have been concluded, and the verdict was read out in about five minutes.
I can only hope we, both those that think they won something and those that feel they lost something, can come to a realization that we are nothing but mere pawns without any real choice in the matter of who wields executive power in this country. You do not choose your leaders, they choose you; they choose you when they need you and that just happens to be at election time, then we are back to the daily struggle for subsistence, that holds true for the vast majority of voters.
Those of us who live in slums and supported Uhuru are still in the same hovels with bloated egos and empty stomachs, our names will not give us entry to the house on the hill. Those of us who supported Raila and live in far flung dirt poor villages are still in the same hamlets nursing our bruised egos while facing the constant threat of hunger, if a retirement package is signed into law for the former PM we shall not be getting a slice of it. Both UK and RAO get to get chauffeured home in luxury limousines, dine on gourmet meals, lie on silk bedsheets, and prance around on cashmere rugs. Their children will go to prep schools and Ivy league colleges. Yours will not.
Nothing will change for you. Nothing ever does for the majority of us when the wealthy are playing their Game of Thrones.
So rather than worrying about power at a grand scale that you really have no control over, sit back and think, think, think; and instead occupy yourself with: things that are within your purview, things that appear small and insignificant, things that can change the attitude of or educate just one single bigoted friend. And let the children know there is hope.
In the words of an American scribe who inspires me and from an article of his I read recently: “Do what you can within reach of your arm, because anything you touch is part of a tapestry that reaches far and wide, even unto the highest and mightiest seats of power. Do what is possible within reach of your arm, make the weak mighty and give the voiceless a clarion call right where you are, where you live and breathe, within reach of that strong, sure arm. Do what you can, always.”
“Those in power must spend a lot of their time laughing at us.”
― Alice Walker
Sorry Mr. new MP; we should not and cannot pay for a burden placed on yourself by your selfish need for re-election
“Those from whose pocket the salary is drawn, and by whose appointment the officer was made, have always a right to discuss the merits of their officers, and their modes of exercising the duties they are paid to perform.”
As newly elected MPs grumble over lowered pay, here’s my two cents: Kenyans need to be made aware that it is not an MP’s job to feed, clothe, take them to hospital, repair their roads, fundraise for them, bury them, etc. An MP makes laws, that’s it; that’s what he’s paid to do.
Now every MP can choose to be a legislator doing what he’s paid to (and probably not get re-elected); or they can choose to perpetuate the culture of handouts and let “wananichi” continue with the assumption that MP’s are cash cows (usually for the sake of of their own re-electtion). But they should only do the latter if it is funded by their own resources; especially as most already spend millions campaigning to get in knowing fully well their salaries won’t cover such expense.
The premise that MPs are an unofficial welfare system still does nothing to to further their odious push for inordinately high pay -especially as there exists a Constituency Development Fund-in the face of mass poverty in the proletariat. There’s really no way to justify higher and unsustainable pay for duties they’ve taken on that are not part of their job description and which in fact create an endemic and problematic culture that fosters misrepresentation of what an MP’s work is, and this to the detriment of future aspirants.
Otherwise MPs might as well come clean and tell the world that their motivation is money, not service, which then means we are looking at future actors in sleaze and graft since it is quite clear that that is but the only other avenue left to recoup campaign spend as well as feather nests while playing daddy to entire constituencies.