Posts Tagged William Ruto

There’s a fine line between patriotism and posho

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

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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.

#ThisIsKenya

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In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends – MLK, Jr

“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
Moses Kuria

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.

 

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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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Permutations: ICC, UN Security Council and Kenya’s Grand Coalition

“The only time politicians tell the truth is when they call each other liars”


If you have been surprised by -the master prevaricator- Kalonzo’s bid to insist on going on what appears to be an ill-advised junket to, supposedly, lobby  the UN Security council to grant Kenya (or is it PNU?) a deferral from the ICC process in what seems to be a futile mission (The US and UK will most likely remain adamant in their opposition to such a move, though whether they will actually veto the move rather than simply abstain from or vote against is a moot point), then wonder no more…. It is apparent that the bid to go the route of the UNSC as opposed to simply seeking deferral from the ICC itself is a calcultated move that is based on a game of chances and implications.
You see If the a local court indicted those implicated by Waki/Ocampo 6 then the GoK would have a strong case for deferral at the ICC since they would actually have shown they have started making moves to mete out justice, but such charges would then confirm to the ICC that the six, among others, have a case to answer. On the other hand, if they take the gamble that ICC pre-trial judges will, hopefully, acquit the 6 for lack of enough evidence, then our judiciary would later on argue that a reputable court, which it will be convenient to call the ICC at that point in time, has already cleared the six and hence they can’t be charged again locally (call it a recourse to some form of double jeopardy). Indeed they, read those with the real power, can then go ahead to charge a totally different set of persons (no prizes for guessing who is first on the list).
PS. If the leaked wikileaks cables from Ranneberger have any credibility then I highly doubt that, as a person, Kalonzo would actually like to see Ruto and Uhuru acquited or their case deferred; consider that this is the same man who was trying to get Kibaki out of the way by trying to influence Dubya to prevail on him, Mwai, to step down in his favour based on this, probably misguided, notion that the Central vote would just fall right into his indecisive lap. The very same man was thinking his days in KANU as a Nyayo waterboy guaranteed the Rift Valley was in his back pocket. Opportunism at its worst.
PS. I also doubt the push for the ICC by ODM/Raila is entirely based on a genuine desire to see justice done as opposed to getting a smoother ride in 2012, opportunism at its best. The difference, however, is in the fact that those that now live under the constant fear of joining Charles Taylor in his quarters behind bars at the Hague brought this on themselves; they and their minions, after all, refused to support the formation of a local tribunal on at least two occassions. I also cannot buy this hogwash that Raila has enough influence to dictate to Ocampo the persons to finger and when to name them and even go further and control when judges at the ICC issue summons, that is just plain ridiculous.

This is not checkers, this is a chess endgame being played out….

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