Posts Tagged Uhuru Kenyatta
If one man offers you democracy and another offers you a bag of grain, at what stage of starvation will you prefer the grain to the vote?
~ Bertrand Russell
This is a question I have spent a considerable amount of time pondering over the past few days: Are we ready to shut up and stuff our mouths with cheap posho at the cost of asking the hard questions about the direction this country is taking and how we got here in the first place?
Some background to the food crisis: Kenyan farmers planted maize as usual but were, however, provided with substandard fertiliser, naturally we ended up with very low yields (a situation not helped by poor rains), NCPB then refuses to buy their maize thus ensuring we have no SGR (strategic grain reserves). Hunger ensues. By the way, this is all happening while we’ve thrown 15 billion shillings at irrigation projects with nothing to show for it except for an outstanding debt that needs paying.
We are then told that private millers allegedly brought in almost 30,000 tonnes of maize within less than a week of imports being allowed (we’re told the ship came from Mexico, on pointing out Mexico is too far we are told it came from South Africa, on pressing we’re finally told it was just floating on the high seas trying to hawk maize to passers-by, jamani). Regarding the importers of the maize, the company at the forefront is called Holbud (UK) Limited
According to reports from Kenya’s newspaper of record:
“Two years ago, Holbud was in the news when the parliamentary committee on Agriculture was investigating how the company won a Sh6 billion fertiliser tender and the quality of fertiliser brought in (which has contributed to the food crisis we face)
Holbud was mentioned in Kenya again in 2004 and it was also about a maize scandal. This time NCPB officials sold 1 million bags of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve to Holbud at “uneconomical prices” which it sold to Zimbabwe “to offset NCPB’s debt to farmers”. Holbud had neither asked to buy the maize nor tendered for it.
Earlier in 2002, the same firm had been allowed to import more than 16,000 tonnes of maize from South Africa, when the Kenya faced a crisis similar to the one we are in today.
Based in the UK, Holbud is run by Hasnain Roshanali Merali, David George Rowe, Mahmood Gulamhusein Khaku and Shaukat Akberali Merali.
But according to court filings in the US, both Holbud and Hydrey (P) Limited are “related companies controlled by Roshan Merali” as the two share directors.
Kenyan government officials say that Holbud was only a transporter of the maize aboard MV IVS Pinehurst, but it named among the importers Kitui Flour Mills, Pembe Flour Mills and Hydrey (P) Limited – meaning that Holbud shipped maize to itself through its sister company, Hydrey.”
The plot thickens…
So GoK then sends its own senior officials to receive this maize at the port that was supposedly bought by private businessmen, it then buys this maize and then sells the same loot to millers (who some say are the very same importers who sold the same maize earlier, so did it even leave the ship?) at subsidised rates. Finally, it then avails unga at 90 bob for the suffering wanainchi. Of course, the same wanainchi will pay for this subsidy from their own taxes since the government doesn’t simply print money. We are subsidising our own flour because the people paid to ensure we have a stock of grains for emergencies (which drought is not actually) either spent their time scratching their scrotal sacks as silos gathered cobwebs, or as some are alleging: they sold off our stockpile to South Sudan and never replenished it.
Some of us would rather we not question the source of this maize or the mechanism by which we have received this subsidy, they feel we should just be grateful to get something to eat. I disagree. I get it, they support your favourite politicians no matter what. Perhaps they even now conclude they have another good reason to buttress stubborn unwavering support for their beloved leaders on the basis that they lowered prices of unga. That’s well within everyone’s right.
But please don’t insult the intelligence of Kenyans by declaring that just because we were starving in the face of unaffordable flour it then follows that we have no right to question the means by which we have received subsidised posho in record time; and this courtesy of millers involved in past grain scandals. We’re not sheep.
The money that pays the rich connected millers to have them ship in, sell maize to GoK, have GoK sell the maize back to them, and then put a sticker on old packets of flour and offer this so called subsidised unga is not from Uhuru’s or Ruto’s (or indeed RAO’s) pocket; it is us, the long-suffering Wanjikus, who will be ultimately paying from our own taxes for this ‘subsidy’ since the government doesn’t simply create money out of thin air but takes it from us, from our sweat. Of course our wonderful leaders won’t be using part of their fabulous wealth to feed us regardless of how much we think they love us and how strongly we feel about them that we’re willing to fight each other to keep them ensconced in palatial public offices and homes.
And do not forget that the fact we have needed this shameful rescue from hunger is itself an indictment on our leadership because it is as a direct result of a lack of planning, pure ineptitude, gross negligence, or perhaps even deliberate and unconscionable sabotage by an unfeeling bureaucracy that you sit there defending.
On 8/8/17 we’ll split the country right down the middle on the basis of tribe as usual, no one will remember the events of the last few weeks.
As for the local farmers, they simply continue to get the middle finger regarding the maize they tried to sell that was earlier rejected, no one offered them a subsidy, GoK is like screw them, let the weevils and rats have a feast. In the meantime, rich millers and connected commodities dealers who knew beforehand before even GoK opened up imports continue to laugh all the way to branches of international banks in the neighbourhoods of their McMansions in the leafy suburbs of Nairobi and other capitals of the world. And we get to have our own money banked for us, the very same monies that will be dished out to us in ninety days to vote enthusiastically for the most generous of our leaders.
On 8/8/17 we’ll split the country right down the middle on the basis of tribe as usual, no one will remember the events of the last few weeks.
“The desire of Kenyans is manifest. They know too well that their invincible, invisible, nameless, faceless, yet omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent rulers are condemned to serve them for life!”
― Levi Cheruo Cheptora
We have madmen on Kenya’s political scene, utterly despicable men that can make anyone with a modicum of sense choke with anger from just hearing them speak. But normally we rationalize that they are lone ranger loose canons that do not speak for the leadership of the country or their parties; because if they do then we really are in funk.
What strikes me as odd however is that the leadership of said parties never comes out to condemn the utterances of these atrocious characters, and that the same scum continue to walk the streets free while their motormouths are on overdrive inciting hatred and selling the ingredients for bloodshed.
Sample some of the statements attributed to them; statements that go unquestioned and receive little or no condemnation from the powers that be.
May, 2014: In the aftermath of the Gikomba terror attacks, Kuria states that the attacks were by Luos and aimed at Kikuyu businesses, and advocates for tribal war.
January 2015: Moses Kuria states the he fixed Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and he is ready to testify at the ICC; Ruto and Uhuru remain silent
June 2015: “That is why I told you to come with your pangas. It is not for slashing only. A man like that (who opposed NYS) should be slashed,” Kuria said; UhuRuto say nothing.
October 2015: Aladwa says: “2017 imekaribia na sisi kama watu wa ODM tumebaki na risasi moja…this time round the outcome of the election ikiwa tumeshinda na watunyang’anye wacha kiumane..Raila ndio awe President lazima watu wakufe kiasi…”; Raila and the CORD leaders stay quiet, Aladwa remains free and merely issues a statement saying his utterances were misconstrued adding that he meant the deaths would be a result of joy and not violence.
June 2016: MP Kimani Ngunjiri tells his constituents that Luos should be evicted from Nakuru, adding “na sasa tunasema ni bahati yake (Raila) sikuwa hapa…Tungeonana”
June 2016: Kuria states “Raila should be careful because he can still bite the bullet. We won’t be troubled by one person forever. He can as well bite the bullet and we bury him next Monday. His protesters will throw stones for just one week and life continues. If it’s war they want it’s what they’ll get.”
As our leaders continue to watch silently as their liutenants beat the drums of war and fan the flames of tribalism, let them know they will have blood on their hands if the country goes to the dogs. If they insist on turning a blind eye and playing deaf to such alarming statements which are attributed to their footsoldiers, then we have no option but to start to think these are their mouthpieces, that this is what they want for us.
Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.
Sometimes one needs to do what’s best for the majority and not keep everyone in limbo over a lost cause. In my opinion RAO should concede so as a country we can move on, I don’t see what purpose a Court drama will serve when every sensible person with a modicum of intelligence can see all a run off will do is make us 6 billion poorer and delay Uhuru’s swearing in.
PS. Can we the non ruling class quit with the gloating and taunting and move on too. The rich ODM supporter is lamenting from the Delamere terrace while the jobless TNA youth runs the street celebrating, the former will retire to Runda and the latter to Mukuru Kayaba: what have we won or lost? The wealthy TNA businessman is activating his business contacts to rake in tenders, the poor ODM diehard is panelbeating the beatup jalopy of a URP struggling middle class father: who is winning?
Open your eyes, you will not gain anything but false pride and an annoying hubris thinking you have won anything when we both know you cannot go to statehouse and demand to be let in because you speak the same lugha as mzee.
Like someone said, if your bank account reads less than RAO and UK’s final tally then get your ass back to hustling, you will recieve no favours from either plutocrat.
A politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat except a man.
E. E. Cummings
Who would have guessed it: special interest groups such as minorities, the disabled, the marginalised, etc, are yet again the recepients of a royal rimming from the politicians we intend to put into office this coming March. The list of persons to be nominated to parliament has been released and, as expected, it is just another instance of the plutocracy flipping us the bird and waving a middle finger right next to our faces… It’s not like there’s anything we can do about it anyway, other than elect the same people to high office of course.
Some of the most disgusting nominations, those informed by the most base of reasons -that of self-preservation at the expense of self-respect, include:
1. Mudavadi and Kioni, the UDF presidential candidate and his running mate, for National Assembly.
2. Beth Mugo, who retired on health grounds and is aunt to Uhuru Kenyatta, for Senate via TNA
3. Ongoro and Margaret Wanjiru, one who stepped down for the other and who is herself on the ballot for Nairobi Senate, for senate via ODM
4. Henry Kosgey and Oburu Odinga, one who is running, another who is a brother to Raila, for National assembly via ODM
Full list below:
UDF National Assembly Nominees
Kassim Sawa Ali
TNA Senate Nominees
TNA National Assembly Nominees
ODM Senate Nominees
Dr Sally Kosgei,
ODM National Assembly Nominees
Dr. Oburu Oginga
Prof Colleta Suda
URP National Assembly Nominees
Adan Noor Ali
One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.
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.”
In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill… we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one. – Plato
Kenyans can guarantee you of two things: the memory of a warthog, and kufuata bendera kama upepo. After the smoke settles in about a weeks time, no one will remember Peter Kenneth’s pitch, a few superficial girls might still have Andrew’s photo as their avatar but that will be it, Kenneth will fade away as have many others before him.
We can run around mouthing our progressive credentials but deep down we are beholden to tribe and dynastic moneyed families; this race, whether we want to admit it or not, is going to be decided between Jaramogi’s son and Kenyatta’s son, other influential cast members will be Moses Mudavadi’s scion, Wamalwa’s brother, and Moi’s adoptive KANU boys Ruto and Kalonzo. Everyone else is wasting their time.
The middle class might identify with Tuju, or Kenneth, or Karua, but unfortunately they have no say in who gets elected, they are just a snobbish minority that a crafty politician pays no heed to, that’s why Sonko and Waititu usually beat to a pulp and then wipe the floor with the likes of Mbaru and Passaris; the real votes, the numbers, are in Kayole, Mathare, Mukuru, Dandora, etc not in South C, or Lang’ata, or Parklands, or Westy.
Voters in slums and hovels do not care for nor identify with Kenneth’s crisp shirts or his scion’s pretty boy swag. They however identify with Waititu being dragged to filthy police cells after having joined them in physically assaulting a wealthy land grabber; they identify with Sonko’s non-conformist attitude and shabby dressing. They also remember who Moses, Jaramogi and Jomo were; they assume their sons are natural born leaders (even though one, even maybe two, of them never held a job in their life)
That is the sad truth my countrymen
“A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem”
In 2007, in the wake of the disputed elections, Ruto was ODM’s most vocal defender at KICC and Uhuru was the first to clinch the ignominious title of an opposition leader defecting to the ruling party. Kalonzo was an opportunist, just as he is today, waiting to benefit from whatever outcome.
Then came PEV and subsequent formation of the coalition, and we had no less than three opportunities to form a local tribunal and we didn’t. RAO, Kibaki and the entire cabinet even once came to parliament to beg members to vote for such a tribunal in vain.
The reason was Ruto, being then in ODM which was not really an equal partner in the coalition, was afraid he would be made the scapegoat. UK probably never thought he could be touched. And so the inevitable happened, Ocampo came calling and now WSR and UK are in the difficult position they are in.
What astounds me is the fact Ruto’s and UK’s supporters and/or tribesmen, even the most learned, take every opportunity to blame RAO for this turn of events, even when we know that our own parliament and the same accused individuals insisted on going the hague route.
It is fine to hate Raila for whatever reason including the fact you only want your “man” in power, but give the devil his due and just admit the hague matter was a poorly calculated move by the gang now operating under the moniker G7.
In any case if anyone stands to benefit, and who fully intends to as the cat was inadvertently let out of the bag by Muthama, then it is Kalonzo –he of the shuttle diplomacy that’s akin to wolves and chickens voting what’s for dinner; he who sacked Mutula from the MoJ the other day for stating clear points of law, and he stood uncondemned. Yet when RAO sacks Balala, a minister who had made it his business to light fires within the ODM boat at every waking opportunity, we get this hue and cry from the G7 brigade.
Let us have an honest discourse: Why is RAO blamed for everything that goes wrong even from choices made by those affected?