Posts Tagged Moi

Saba saba: Remember remember, the 7th of July, 25 years ago at Kamukunji

At every turn when there has been an imbalance of power, the truth questioned, or our beliefs and values distorted, the change required to restore our nation has always come from the bottom up from our people.

– Howard Dean

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I’m sure most of the abusive and ignorant young keyboard warriors that troll Kenya’s social media today, typing invective in atrocious grammar insulting people who do not share their ethnicity or support their tribal overlords, do not know what today signifies.

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They can’t possibly remember progressive Kenyans of different races, creeds, sex, and ethnicities taking on the despotic Moi regime 25 years ago today to fight for political reform at the infamous Kamukunji grounds.

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What’s worse is that they can’t really see that the reformers are now out in the cold and the KANU boys are back in power rebranded as digital (just as the home guards took power at independence and the Mau Mau were isolated).

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Sabasaba should be a national holiday but isn’t, because we are still not free from the anachronistic mandarins of one party rule.

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They never should have given us freedom to choose

“I have refused to ALLOW MULTIPARTY DEMOCRACY in Kenya because it will divide Kenyans along TRIBAL LINES.Vyama vingi vitaleta UKABILA Kenya.Siku moja mtakubali haya maneno yangu”

DANIEL TOROITICH ARAP MOI
2RD MARCH 1992

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Baba said it, we thought him mad

I look at the slim pickings of the likes of Kiyiapi and Karua, then I look at the close to 100% votes for UK and RAO in their “ethnic strongholds” and I am left wondering: Is this really democracy?

Is the choosing of leaders based on number of votes garnered a good thing for a country where for the vast majority the only criteria considered is the tribe of the person being voted for?

How can we say we are voting for a symbol of national unity when we are engaged in a national contest of tribal chiefs and ethnic coalitions?

This would be comical if the implications of the choices we make (if you can even pretend there are choices) weren’t so grave.

Moi was correct (albeit for selfish reasons): Multi party politics has only managed to bring out the tribalism ingrained in our bones.

What a bloody shame

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Historical injustices: Let’s simply bury our heads in the sand and hope they will all just go away:

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu

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The joke is on us:

So Kibunja (Mzalendo indeed!) has cautioned politicians against discussing historical injustices as the campaigns heat up; saying “Such statements are tantamount to incitement”

Is that so? Should all those people who fought against past injustices and triumphed have followed your narrow thinking where would we be? Should Moses not have questioned the servitude of Israelites to Pharaoh? Should Abraham Lincoln have closed his eyes to the brutal history of slavery? Should Martin Luther King not have brought up the injustice of institutionalized racism? Should Mandela have never endured those three decades behind bars because his statements prior to his sentencing were “tantamount to incitement”?

Would you, Mzalendo, have this job had not courageous men and women such as Maathai, Muite, Leakey, Raila, Imanyara, Murungi, Orengo, Matiba, Rubia, Shikuku, Muliro, Karua, etc, not questioned the past injustices of the KANU one party system under Moi?

PS. For the record, anyone who thinks they have a share in one wealthy individual’s property because he happens to be from the same ethnic stock as them should slap themselves in the face.

When I question how Raila acquired the molasses plant, I’m not questioning all Luos.

When I well up with anger at Moi continuing to process tea at Kaptagich in the middle of the Mau forest, I don’t hold all Kalenjins responsible for this destruction of our ecosystem, I do not for a minute believe profits from this factory have been enjoyed beyond the immediate family of the owner.

When I am baffled at how the Kenyattas came to, allegedy, own so much land, I’m not counting the half an acre my friend Mborogonyo toiled to buy in Molo as being part of the Kenyatta’s holdings, I do not think Mama Ngina has listed Mborogonyo in her will just because he was born in Gatundu.

For how long will poor people fight each other over things they don’t own? Why do you allow yourself to be provoked by questions that have been asked of an individual who, by dint of accident, just so happens to share a language with you and nothing more? Do you see the folly that you would even make enemies of lifelong friends for the sake of a wealthy ruling class? One that doesn’t know you personally and wouldn’t lose any sleep if you and your family were swallowed by a hole in the ground.

Open your eyes.

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Unanswered Questions: Why I find it hard to simply board the PK bandwagon

One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.
Cal Thomas

I’m not about to just join the Peter Kenneth hype train and here’s why:
1. I’m not buying that: “supporting PK is a move away from tribal politics” claptrap. Just because PK is biracial and has no indigenous sounding name doesn’t mean he has no tribal roots; otherwise then why would he have represented only Gatanga and not anywhere else? If we really want to move away from tribe how about a minority like a Njemp or even a Shakeel. In fact it might seem like a good idea now to be “Kenneth” but let PK look around and he’ll notice Esther Passaris was forced to use “Muthoni” (and I understand Shebesh is also going the same route calling herself Wambui), to try and connect with a “core” constituency that doesn’t appreciate abstract association. Let the self-appointed social media aficionados in Kenya fool PK that resonating with their deceptive online personas counts for much, but I can tell him for free it does not.
2. I want to know what PK is worth. It is not clear to me how he made his money, money which seems to be of a quantity not to be sneezed at if running a secretariat, constant TV ads and two helicopters is anything to go by. If this money is being given to him by some wealthy benefactors then I would like to know what interest they have in him winning the presidency; the wealthy do not get wealthy by giving away free money.
3. I am very interested in knowing what happened at Kenya Re and in fact the means by which PK came to be at its helm, and what difference this made to the corporations value in comparison to PK’s wealth when he walked away from the smouldering ruins.
4. I want to understand what kind of relationship PK had with a certain former Head of the Civil Service and what was in it for both, especially considering their age difference. You see many years ago, while loitering the roads of my boondocks, I happened to see PK personally driving his grey 4.6HSE in the direction of the Civil head’s home, and that was way before he was MP and I only recognized him due to his role at KFF.
5. Speaking of KFF, where were PK’s fabled management skills during his tenure there? Looking far far back I only see that complete ineptitude has been the hallmark of Kenyan football management since siku za jadi, so much so that our KPL was recently voted the worst league on earth.
6. Then regarding the agitation for multi-party democracy: Where was PK when the bearded sisters, young turks, Wangari Maathai, Muites, Raila, Imanyara, Shikuku, Matiba, Rubia, Jaramogi, Karua, Orengo, Muliro, etc were fighting against the one party KANU regime? This absence alone makes me find it hard to stomach the likes of Kalonzo, Ruto and Jirongo who were in bed with KANU while the protagonists of the second liberation dug in in the trenches and fox holes facing the brutal ancien regime. How will PK own a liberation he was absent from and perhaps cowered from supporting?
7. Managing a CDF fund well, while a good thing, hardly begins to scratch the surface when it comes to executive power as wielded by a president. In fact does managing a CDF exceptionally prove one’s credentials to manage an entire country? a position that calls for more than initiating cattle dip programmes etc and forces one to dive into the deep end of such matters like: dealing with internal security matters like the Baragoi rustlers, Mt. Elgon secessionists, Al Shabab, External threats, international criminals, cartels, exploitative powerful countries, terrorism, a tanking global economy and its attendant issues, a budget that doesn’t match the revenue from an already overtaxed populations, a growing poor majority ravaged with disease, hunger and illiteracy? a position that along with the power of being commander in chief makes one the de facto chief negotiator, thick skinned scapegoat, whipping boy, model parent, and the first responder to the ubiquitous and uncongenial cliché “Naomba serikali”?…

Remember that: “If a politician isn’t doing it to his wife , then he’s doing it to his country.”

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Power 101: Failings of the G7 Alliance and ODM and what they could learn by looking at Moi and Kibaki

“Don’t be fooled: Democrats and dictators alike do what best secures their hold on power” 

~ Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

In a new book by the the two political scientists quoted above, the power and Realpolitik chicanery laid out in Machiavelli’s “The Prince” and Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power” is distilled and updated for our times. The two gentlemen in their book “The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics.” argue that:

The logic of politics – in both democracies and dictatorships – is not nearly as complex as many think. Forget the intricacies of individual states, grand strategy, and the national interest. And for now, let’s forget about right and wrong. Indeed, the real, universal lessons of political life can be gleaned from how leaders survive and thrive when in power.

They then list five simple rules, that are both self-evident and difficult to argue against: (at least to anyone with a modicum of intelligence and an interest in getting and retaining power, which is not necessarily representative of our local politicians)

They write: Although  methods may differ, just five rules shape how they (authoritarian and democratically elected leaders) govern. These rules identify the incentives driving survival-oriented leaders, whether of the Gaddafi or Obama variety.

Rule 1: Keep the winning coalition as small as possible.
Rule 2: Keep the selectorate [pool of supporters] as large as possible.
Rule 3: Control the flow of revenue.
Rule 4: Pay key supporters just enough to keep them loyal.
Rule 5: Never take money out of your supporter’s pockets to make the people’s lives better.

Strategists in the two camps bracing for 2012 elections would do well to thoroughly study this five rules since a cursory glance will tell you that both groups consist of loosely connected motley coalitions of tribes and regions; both are narrowing the scope of their appeal to a large apolitical voter block that has little time for cheap demagoguery, lies and ethnic cocooning;  only one is in a position to control revenues but not in entirety; both parties cannot seem to pay enough to retain loyalty which is evident with the constant party hopping and shifting alliances by the tribal chiefs and stooges who pass for MPs here; and with the majority of the voters poor definitely high inflation coupled with rising cost of living and falling wages is surely taking money out of a core constituency of supporters, except that the people’s lives aren’t getting any better, however if the supporters are taken to be the wealthy kind that fund campaigns then of course no money is being taken out of their pockets to better the wretched masses’ lives (which is not exactly very astute they being so few in terms of votes)

They then summarise thus: All politicians are alike; how they are constrained differs. Just like autocrats and tyrants, leaders of democratic countries follow the Five Rules of politics as best as they can – they, too, want to get power and keep it. The conventional impression that democrats and autocrats are world’s apart stems only from the different constraints they face. Those who rely on a large coalition – democrats – have to be more creative than their autocratic counterparts.

Exactly, the choices before the two groups is that between a strict following of the five cardinal rules set out, or yet to be seen levels of creativity, and I cannot bet on much creativity out of the ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ bunch of usual suspects that we’ll inevitably have on our ballot papers in 2012.

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Our very own 1 Percenters conniving to foist us with yet one more CiC from their ranks

It is not power that corrupts but fear. The fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it. – Aung San Suu Kyi

Besides the noise and rancour being generated by the attempt to move the election date in contravention of the new constitution, this in itself occasioned by the fact our so called leaders have simply pulled down their masks and are openly asking to be allowed a few more weeks of sucking at the tit of public monies, there’s a lot else that can be said of the 2012 polls, especially the presidential polls.

For obvious reasons, jokers will have to think twice before running for president because there’s no fallback to parliament in the event of a loss, so really who should and who shouldn’t bother running?

A casual look at our past presidents: Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki;  shows that the majority of Kenyans always go for the quiet (at first), sneaky and dumb/or pretending to be dumb, but ruthless and deep pocketed chief executive.

The hot headed and populist types like Jaramogi, Mboya, JM Kariuki, Ouko, Raila, Ruto, Karua, Kenneth, and even Kalonzo, never stood/don’t stand a chance of leading this banana republic since they just don’t fit the mould, they are not part of the top 1% who actually call the shots and would not have firebrands take the reigns of power.

This I explain using Russell’s observation: “Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.”
and Plutarch’s ancient advice: “Imbalance between rich and poor” is the “oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” (of course in Kenya you have to have the money, loads of money, to buy votes, it’s that simple)

Watch out for the wealthy, quiet and aloof types like Mudavadi, or perhaps even Uhuru, they are the kind of “leader” our risk averse, money grabbing voters prefer. That is the reality of politics in this country.

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Threat of the Muslim Brotherhood was a ruse! It’s about Money

One of Mubarak’s excuses for not stepping down from power was the feeble excuse that the country would be left rudderless and prone to succumbing to the extreme Muslim Brotherhood and their agenda to turn Egypt into a theocracy. Of course this has not happened. I believe that I can’t be the only person wondering what is it about leaders in the developing world and a knack to hang onto power even when they have neither the vitality, international propping nor the popular mandate to govern. So I did a cursory search on the web and came up with startling motive for these despots to refuse to walk away.

You see, according to conservative estimates by banking and finance experts and investigators, the fortune amassed by Egypt ’s former president and his two sons (both billionaires) is in the region of $70 billion. These includes funds in secret offshore bank accounts and investments in residences and real-estate properties reaching from Rodeo Drive in Beverley Hills to Wilton Place in central London and Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheik tourist resort.

Since Mubarak has been president for 30 years, he has accumulated that little fortune in record time at something like $2 billion or more annually. He and his family are now worth approximately two and a half times the gross domestic product (GDP) of Kenya, four times the gross domestic product of Paraguay, five times the GDP of embattled Afghanistan, and more than ten times the GDP of Laos.

Hosni may be the richest man and they the richest family in Africa and among the richest on earth. All this happened, incidentally, in a period of time in which millions of Egyptians – at least one in every 10 – lost their farms, whith more than 40% of Egyptians living on less than $2 a day.

Even worse, the Egyptian military, according to one expert, owns “virtually every industry in the country,” and it still raked in in excess of $35 billion in “aid” from Uncle Sam in the past three decades.

Former head of intelligence,

The fall of Mubarak

Omar Suleiman, appointed Vice President by Mubarak just days before his own ouster, has been in charge of the prisons of Egypt which hold an estimated 6,000 to 17,000 so-called dissidents and other prisoners of conscience, as well as holding suspected terrorists in Bush’s Global War on Terror; this was the man Obama expected to oversee a transition to “democracy”

And then we wonder why our African leaders hang onto power to their very last breath….

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