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Kenyan Opposition Leader Withdraws From Scheduled Rerun of Presidential elections


NOVANEWS

NASA coalition seeks to foster political instability after Supreme Court orders another election set for October 26

Featured image: Raila Odinga (Source: @RailaOdinga / Twitter)

Kenyan opposition leader of the National Super Alliance (NASA), Raila Odinga, 72, announced on October 10 that he would not participate in the Supreme Court ordered rerun of the national presidential elections initially held on August 8.

Raila Odingda cited the purported lack of reforms within the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as his reason for sitting out the upcoming poll slated for October 26.

The revote was mandated by a 4-2 Supreme Court decision based upon unsubstantiated claims made by NASA that the internationally-supervised elections held in August were marred by massive fraud leading to a ten point victory by incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta representing the Jubilee Party. Odinga, a perennial presidential candidate, in all likelihood realized that he had no real chance of scoring a victory in the revote.

Efforts by Odinga to sabotage the second term of President Kenyatta were revealed in the immediate wake of the election where the opposition figure lost by a margin of approximately 54-44 percent. At first Odinga said he would not seek an injunction to overturn the results as he had done in 2013.

However, he would soon change his mind and filed his objections with the Kenyan Supreme Court. In an unprecedented move never before witnessed in Africa, and only three other times around the world, a majority of justices granted the NASA request in September.

New elections were ordered by the court within two months. Both candidates set out once again on the campaign trail.

Opposition Leader Seeks to Generate Civil Unrest

Attempts to mobilize large demonstrations after the declaration of Kenyatta as the winner in the August 8 election–protests which would deliberately target the official Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC)–failed amid charges by the NASA leader that the panel which oversees the voting process was corrupt and rigged in favor of the incumbent and his party. After Odinga said he would not stand again for office on October 26, the Kenyan parliament, dominated by the Jubilee Party of Kenyatta, passed a bill mandating that if the second leading candidate withdraws from an election, the first one would automatically be declared the winner.

Nonetheless, violent clashes did erupt just one day after the announcement of non-participation by Odinga. The NASA coalition called for renewed demonstrations beginning on October 11 and continuing throughout the remaining days of the week.

According to Al Jazeera:

“In Odinga’s western stronghold of Kisumu, thousands of protesters took to the street, blocking roads, setting heaps of tires alight and engaging in running battles with police. In Nairobi, police briefly used tear gas to disperse protesters who threw stones at passing cars. However, the crowd later dispersed peacefully after speeches from opposition leaders, helped along by the first heavy rainfall of the season.” (Oct. 11)

Although some staff changes were made within the IBEC structures, there was no attempt to unseat the Chairperson Wafula Chebukati who had been cited for removal by Odinga. The decision by Odinga has raised even more questions about the necessity of continuing with the second election.

Kenyan hit by armored vehicle on October 11, 2017 (Source: Abayomi Azikiwe)

Several other candidates garnered less than one percent of the total votes. However, the Supreme Court ruled on October 10 that Ekuru Aukot, who received 27,000 votes in the August 8 elections, should as well appear on the ballots for the October 26 vote. The IBEC has said that the names of eight candidates will appear on the ballot unless they file an official withdrawal Form 24A.

Odinga notified the IBEC of his withdrawal in writing on October 10. The electoral commission noted that the Form 24A had still not been submitted by the NASA coalition.

Political Uncertainty Impacts National Economy

The cost of organizing another election and the obvious weariness of the international community is partly to blame for the resulting decline in economic indicators. Subsequent to these developments there has been an atmosphere of social uncertainty for the future.

Various monitoring missions were deployed to Kenya for the August 8 election from the United Nations, European Union (EU), African Union (AU), the Carter Center in the U.S., the Common Market of Southern and Eastern Africa (COMESA), among others. The NASA rejection of the outcome and the majority Supreme Court ruling overturning the results, which had been endorsed by leading international delegations, has left these bodies in bewilderment.

Kenya being the largest economy in the East Africa region has been considered a secure destination for foreign investment. Despite the strain in relations with the United States since the ascendancy of President Kenyatta in 2013, the country maintained a growth level of five percent over the last several years (2016).

In an article published by the French Press Agency (AFP) on October 11, the plight of small business people was revealed. These operations have experienced a loss of revenue emanating from the ongoing political controversies involving the August 8 national elections.

George Ochienga and Onyango Owino run a blacksmith shop in the Kibera section of the capital city of Nairobi. Their interviews with the AFP indicated that:

“Election seasons stifle the economy in the country, but this year’s protracted crisis, with many weeks of court disputes and street protests, has been particularly bad for business. Mr. Onyango appears hard at work, hammering a glowing shaft of metal fresh from the forge, but his industry is an illusion. ‘There aren’t many orders so I’m repairing some of my tools,’ he said. In recent weeks Mr. Onyango has been forced to fire two of his five employees.”

This AFP report also points out that the annual growth rates do not completely reflect the reality of the majority of the Kenyan people, many of whom are involved in the manufacturing and service sectors. A negative outlook for the coming months dampens confidence and consequently hampers consumer spending.

The series of interviews and analysis then notes that:

“The thousands of minibus taxis, known as matatus, that ply Nairobi providing transport to the masses reported a 30 percent decline in turnover during September, said Simon Kimutai, president of the Matatu Owners Association. ’People move less, that is very representative,’ he said. Meanwhile, in the upmarket business district of Kilimani, Judy Njogu, an assistant manager at a car dealer, says she is selling fewer than five cars a week, compared with at least 10 in normal times. ‘We have a lot of corporate clients and they are a bit skeptical about spending money right now,’ she said.”

Additional internal and regional problems require the immediate attention of the government which is being plagued by ongoing allegations by opposition forces. There have been additional clashes with suspected members of the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab rebel organization.

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses crowd on Sept. 1, 2017 (Source: Abayomi Azikiwe)

Gunmen thought to be from neighboring Somalia opened fire on a vehicle carrying staff near the campus of the Technical University of Mombasa. The regional chief of police chief reported that the attack was launched in Ukunda, which is 31 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Mombasa, the second largest city in the country and a coastal tourist attraction.

Two women staff members at the University died in the attack. Mwangi Kahiro, the acting county commissioner for Kwale County, reported on the ambush in an interview with the Associated Press on October 10. Students in response to the deaths protested against the apparent lack of security in the area.

Somalia is still being occupied by 22,000 troops from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). Kenya contributes several thousands of its military personnel to AMISOM which had made it susceptible to repeated armed attacks by the Islamist guerrilla group.

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Kenya: Why I will not mourn Joseph Nkaissery


NOVANEWS
The Star

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Interior Maj. Gen. (rtd) Joseph Nkaissery died suddenly on Saturday, 8 July 2017. Nkaissery is certainly a notorious symbol of human rights abuse and his death brings to an end one of the saddest chapters in Kenyan history.

On 8 December 2014, the body of Isnina Musa Sheikh, a 48 year-old mother of five, was found in a shallow grave after she was brutally murdered. Hoping for investigations and justice for the mother, northern Kenya residents were perturbed when the now dead Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery called for a press conference and told Kenyans that the woman was a cook for the Somali-based terror group Al-Shabaab.

On the same day, Nkaissery accused northern Kenya leaders (specifically Billow Kerrow) of having a consistent agenda to frustrate the war on terrorism by accusing police of extra-judicial killings. He also blamed two television journalists, Mr Yassin Juma and Mr Mohammed Ali, of having made claims of mass graves through social media.

In June 2016, human rights lawyer Willie Kimani and his client, Mr Josephat Mwenda, and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri, were tortured and killed by police. Lawyers led by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo blamed Nkaissery for the rot in the police force.

Mr Nkaissery, they said, has a “habit of making comments that might be construed to mean that it is okay for the police to be brutal and violent with civilians.”

Nkaissery had previously dismissed police vetting as a waste of time.

On 30 July 2016, a Friday, the locals at Sheikh Barrow village in Lafey were going about their businesses when Al-Shabab attacked and destroyed Fino telecommunication network mast belonging to mobile telephone services provider Safaricom the previous night.

On their way back, a KDF vehicle was hit by an improvised electronic device planted by the terrorists. One soldier died in the line of duty. After the attack on their vehicle, the KDF, in eight vehicles, went to Sheikh Barrow shopping center, surrounded people and beat them to pulp.

Over eight people sustained serious injuries while one boda boda rider, identified as Ahmed Roble, was beaten to death with clubs by the soldiers. The KDF took away 28 mobile phones and a number of business wares including solar panels from the locals.

Lafey OCPD Bosita Omukolongolo and Joseph Nkaissery denied the claims of harassment, brutality and the killing of the boda boda man.

On 2 November 2015, Nkaissery blamed leaders of the refugee community in Dadaab of failing to fully cooperate with the government in the war on terror.

“A lot of radicalization is going on in Dadaab, the attacks on Garissa University and Westgate were planned in this town. Why are you not working with government to end this menace?” asked Nkaissery.

On 29 June 2015, three men went to the home of 45 year-old man, Farah Ibrahim Korio, an ethnic Somali Kenyan and teacher of Islamic education in Wajir. When they did not find him, they threatened to arrest his wife and five children if they did not disclose his whereabouts.

Farah is still missing even as Nkaissery took his last breath at Karen Hospital.

Between December 2015 and January 2016, over 6,000 people from Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties were reportedly arrested, illegally detained and mistreated by security officials, including KDF and police officers with inside knowledge of the operations by political leaders in the national and county government, human rights defenders, clerics and journalists.
Nkaissery neither acknowledged the scope and gravity of the numerous allegations nor condemned such abuses by security forces.

Hamza Mohammed Barre was taken away by police from his electronic shop in Garissa, four days after the Garissa University attack. Hamza joined the long list of Somali youth who have disappeared mysteriously after they were picked up by the police.

Joseph Nkaissery is adversely mentioned over a military operation in Pokot dubbed “Operation Nyundo” in 1984 by the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission report. According to the report, Nkaissery was in charge of the disarmament exercise that resulted in deaths of civilians, rape and murder in what has come to be known as Lotiriri Massacre.
The Lotiriri Massacre also led to starvation of over 20,000 livestock between 22 February and 22 May 1984.

Prior to the 2013 general elections, Nkaissery was accused of hate speech. He publicly told non-Masaais not to dare to seek elective posts in the Masaai counties of Kajiado, Narok and Samburu.
“We don’t want tribes other than Maasai to contest the seats of Governor, Senator or Women Representative. They can buy farms here, they can do business here, they can even marry our daughters, but we are telling them to leave these positions for the indigenous people” he said.

Nkaissery’s reign as CS for Interior is certainly a notorious symbol of human rights abuse and his death brings to an end one of the saddest chapter in the history our people: A history marked by widespread and systematic attacks directed against civilian populations including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and mysterious disappearances.

And as they say in French, rien n’échappe a la justice de Dieu. Nothing escapes the justice of God!

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The Kenya I want for my daughter


Thoughts on the Day of the African Child
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
I want her to live in freedom and safety not in fear and confusion and not surely in a sanitized bubble where everything is rosy. What I want for her is a future where she will not be violated or put down simply because she is a girl.
I am seated by the living room window reading a book, more like staring into it. My mind wanders, occasionally glancing outside to catch a glimpse of my daughter riding her bike. Those who know me can hazard a guess as to the author who makes me ‘tick’ with her affirmation of girls and women – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – but not even her poignant words draw me away from the many thoughts running through my mind as I watch my daughter’s father motion to her not to ride so fast.
You see, my daughter is 12 years old and very independent. One of her favorite pastimes is cycling. I am happy because it pulls her away from the TV and other electronic gadgets that could take her God knows where – I digress. I yearn for the time when as children we could go outside to play and wander kilometers from home. Our parents never worried about our safe return – we always made our way back home exhausted and famished. Sometimes dirty but fulfilled in our adventurous day.
 In 2017 one cannot, unfortunately, let a child, especially a girl, even 100 meters out of sight without thinking the worst! What happened to us? What became of the adage that in Africa a child is raised by a village?
Am I paranoid? I don’t think so. My head is full of crazy thoughts. Will she be able to use hand signals appropriately? Will the chaotic Nairobi drivers be courteous on the roads? Will she fall given the rugged terrain, littered and sometimes non-existent pedestrian paths? What of the predators and pests? Will she remember not to talk to strangers? What of the “strange” stares? Why do we sexualize children? Why can’t a child be a child in this country? Why would an apparently straight thinking adult look at a child and entertain sexual thoughts?
This reminds me of the court ruling that has made Kenya “famous”, that of a judge who ruled that a 14-year-old seemed to have invited sexual advances from an adult! I am personally not surprised that Justice Juma Chitembwe came out top with the worst court ruling – referring to a ruling with a negative effect on women’s and girls’ rights – as the Kenyan law is quite clear that having sexual intercourse (read defilement) with anyone under 18 is against the law and is punishable by a very stiff sentence.
But are you surprised? Are we collectively surprised? Going by recent social media discussions – some rather heated on this particular ruling – it is clear that we still have a long way to go and are very far from consensus that a child is just that – a child.
Now, if the justice system will not protect my child because some in it believe that she can ‘entertain’ sexual advances and ‘consent’ to ‘whatever’ is suggested, should I then continue reading my book or should I be outside watching her like a hawk?
This fear notwithstanding, we as parents have allowed her to venture and at times she has grown wings and gone even further away and out of our sight and we have continued to pray for her safety. But this has not been without incident.  Twice she has fallen and almost been hit by a car.
Men have beckoned her. This made my skin crawl and my insides burn with anger. As parents we soldier on and constantly seek to empower her to know when to run…when to say no…when to abandon her cycling mission, her dad chaperons her now and again. She is one lucky girl, privileged even. Let us take a moment, think about her peers who may not relate or identify with this narrative.
Where do I even begin with empowering her? I want her to live in freedom and safety not in fear and confusion and not surely in a sanitized bubble where everything is rosy. What I want for her is a future where she will not be violated or put down simply because she is a girl. From my experience and observation, for pre-teens and teens it is a critical time, when we should be affirming girls to grow up into confident and empowered young women. Unfortunately, that is when we clamp down on them so hard – be it in school, at home, in public spaces and the larger society.
I am reminded of a question I received when my colleagues from Equality Now and I visited a school to have a conversation on sexual violence, among other issues. It made me wonder, what has happened to adults and the community at large?
A young girl wrote on a piece of paper anonymously: “I was raped just before coming to school and I have not reported because I am afraid. My uncle always assaults me and I am afraid to say”.
One look at the pink flash card and I felt numb, wearing a face of confidence and reassurance but inside I was crumbling. The fact that 90% of the questions from the students were of this nature made me realize that we are failing our children. We are failing a whole generation of girls and destroying their innocence. These experiences have strengthened my resolve to jealously protect and uphold the role of schools as safe havens and spaces that allow our children to grow into their full, unhampered potential.
I yearn for a country where the narrative around girls’ and women’s leadership and participation in public life is positive and uplifting.
As Chimamanda put it, a country where… “We do not teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We do not say to girls, you can have ambition but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise you would threaten the man.”
A country that respects the rule of law and the constitution and especially the provisions that speak to gender equality. It saddens me that, seven years after the adoption of Kenya’s constitution in 2010, the struggle on implementation of provisions that speak to women’s equal representation in political and appointive roles continues.
What will it take, though? How do we kill the persistent narrative that demeans girls and women? How can we increasingly affirm girls especially on their leadership potential? How can we breakdown stereotypes?
As my daughter comes back home, with her father in tow, I put my book aside just to hug her and whisper a silent thankful prayer.
* FLAVIA MWANGOVYA is a Senior Program Officer, Legal Equality at Equality Now. Flavia is passionate feminist and human rights activist and has over 10 years of experience in the gender and human rights field. Flavia holds a M.A. in Gender Studies from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Nairobi.
About Equality Now
Equality Now is an international human rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of women and girls around the world by combining grassroots activism with international, regional and national legal advocacy. Our international network of lawyers, activists, and supporters achieve legal and systemic change by holding governments responsible for enacting and enforcing laws and policies that end legal inequality, sexual trafficking, sexual violence, and female genital mutilation (FGM).
Equality Now is dedicated to creating a more just world where women and girls have equal rights under the law and full enjoyment of those rights. For details of our current campaigns, please visit www.equalitynow.org

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Why I pulled out of Kenya’s 2017 presidential race


NOVANEWS
Philip Kamakya

Elections in Kenya have become a ritual performed periodically to legitimise the control of power by a few, while the majority remain silent, but enraged, waiting for the opportunity to vent their frustrations. Just a few months before the August 8 poll, all indications are that the type of leadership the country needs to end corruption and tribalism has no chance of rising. Kenya has a long way to go.

In December 2016, I announced my decision to run for election as President of the Republic of Kenya. The pronouncement came after almost a long reflection on the terrible state of the circus that characterizes our country’s politics, which is today driven by the scourges of corruption and tribalism.

Over time, leadership and by extension the presidency, have become a matter of who can galvanize the tribal numbers or groupings using vast amounts of unexplained, and many times illegally obtained, finance. To effectively mount a bid for the presidency, most aspirants have fallen into the temptation to play by the same rules. In the prevailing state of affairs, our own history has shown us that the natural consequence of a disputed presidential election will be violence, if not outright civil war.

This state of affairs doesn’t bother many Kenyans, as over time, they have been conditioned to live in hope that they will be on the winning (eating meat) side. Indeed, Jubilee’s campaign platform is built around the economic opportunities that come with being in power, the latest being that all losers for party nominations will be given state jobs. Matters are complicated today by Jubilee’s premature campaign message is that it has already won 70% +1 of the votes, and the opposition’s (Cord and NASA) reply is that they will not accept a stolen election. A reminder, in case of a dispute, KENYANS WILL ALL LOSE, IT IS A ZERO SUM GAME!

Just how badly Kenya is doing politically, is graphically revealed in a sample of the results of recent nationwide poll conducted by the Jesuit Hakimani Centre (a Catholic Church institution), and published on 30th March 2017, as follows:

a) 80.3% of the respondents did not believe that electing credible leaders was a personal and constitutional responsibility.

b) 88.3% of the respondents did not find the connection between election and issues.

c) 90.3% of the respondents viewed party manifestos as “public relations rhetoric” only meant for campaigns.

d) 76% of the respondents are of the view that more education is a wasted investment.

e) 85.1% of the respondents do not approve of how corruption is addressed.

Our country needs a fresh approach to tackling the twin evils of corruption and tribalism, which not only divide but eventually destroy us. As Kenyans, we need to remove from power the increasing number of politicians and oligarchs who thrive and profit from the destruction of the delicate national fabric that holds us together. What has been sadly lacking in our top leadership is the political will to resolve the problems.

Many have asked me how I intended to solve the two deeply entrenched problems, and my short answer has always been: my honesty, courage and commitment to good governance coupled with my non-tribal approach is all I would need as an executive president to place our country back on its path to prosperity, and greatness.

Articles 10 and 73 of our constitution that prescribe the national values and principles of governance as well as the requirements of leadership for holding public office have been consigned to the dustbin.

The voting public, particularly sections of the less fortunate members of our society, have fallen prey to this addictive corruption driven electioneering, and have been conditioned to look forward to the largesse through voter bribery that comes with elections, simply as a means of buying an extra packet of unga [maize flour, a national staple]. Such voters have learnt to expect and demand hard cash as a condition to participate in campaigns at all levels, including attending rallies. The catchwords to describe funding campaign activities are “mobilise and facilitate”. Nothing comes for free. For the middle and upper classes, in many cases, it is a question of which side their bread is buttered.

One of the managers in my campaign recently requested me to stop admitting to the public that I did not have the billions of shillings that other leading presidential candidates had at their disposal. He stated that I would get no support at all if I were candid about my limited finances. I replied that we were campaigning on a platform of integrity and honesty, to which he stated that it was important to give the false impression of having the billions, and proceed to beg, borrow or steal in order to conform. As a last try, he asked me whether I would accept funds from a drug lord and saw his disappointment at my emphatic NO! He left soon thereafter in search of a more lucrative campaign. Such is Kenyan politics.

There is a whole industry of service providers for election campaigns, all of who assume that the candidates running for office, have come upon limitless funding, and therefore should splash it around without insisting on value for services. It is evident that this feeding frenzy is informed by the fact that significant amounts of the available cash spent during elections in Kenya generally comes from proceeds of corruption, crime, including narcotics trafficking for which no accounting will be required. Almost all service providers to the electioneering industry suddenly present all manner of products at inflated rates.

Large sections of the print and electronic media spend four years playing an oversight role over government, and society generally, but in the countdown to elections on the 5th year, they become deaf and dumb, and the unfortunate purveyors of all things negative to society. Cash handouts determine the direction, extent and flow of news coverage. The Kenyan media must restore its credibility, and continue to cover and critique all sides in the political contest.

The presidential campaign in Kenya is largely driven by negative tribalism. The main formations coalesce around a tribal leader, after which, everyone else is a traitor or spoiler. Tribalism has today risen to the point where many Kenyans (28%) have declared that they will not vote, to protest against the perceived choices, which they consider indistinguishable from one another, in their negative attributes.

This negative voter sentiment transforms to apathy in the belief, sometimes justified, that the outcome is predetermined, by an electoral system that is neither free nor fair. As the Hakimani survey proves, eventually elections will become a ritual performed periodically to legitimise the control of power by a few, while the majority remain silent, but enraged, waiting for the opportunity to vent their frustrations.

Based on the above considerations, having not held political office, but equipped with relevant and valuable public service experience as a former and very effective Director of Public Prosecutions, I had in December last year offered myself to Kenyans as a reform and radically different presidential candidate capable of dealing with corruption. Most reactions to my announcement were disbelief and skepticism, confirming how disengaged we had all become.

I was repeatedly asked the simple question about where I would obtain the required support from a tribal base, and whether I had the billions of shillings required, to throw around in the countryside.

To all these, I responded that I believed Kenyans were not inherently corrupt or tribal, but driven into this state of decadence by the tribal chiefs, who dominate our present day politics. I insisted that all that Kenyans needed was a credible option, a candidate who historically had proven him or herself as non-tribal and not corrupt. I remain convinced that Kenyans do indeed, hope and pray for the day that they will have such a leader and government.

Today, I have come to the realisation that I announced and embarked on my bid for the presidency too late in the present unregulated, and free for all, circumstances. The IEBC [Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission], the official referee in the general elections, has set the official campaign commencement date as June 28, 2017. However, President Kenyatta, for the last year or so, has led the country on premature and illegal campaigns. The opposition candidates have reacted by giving chase, so as not to be left behind. Recently, when I requested the IEBC to order a stop to the unlawful campaigns, the lame response from the Chairman was that IEBC had no capacity to enforce the regulation on campaign timelines.

Generally, IEBC appears to already have lost control of a contest which, to many, has become a matter of life and death, going by the prevalence of violence.

Kenyans should note as follows:

i) This violation of the election rules constitutes grounds for challenging the eventual outcome in the Supreme Court.

ii) If the aspirants pick and choose the regulations to obey, with impunity, we will end up in anarchy and chaos.

iii) The rationale behind the limited period for electioneering worldwide is designed to ensure minimum disruption to a country’s social and economic affairs. This is particularly true for developing countries, like Kenya, where elections are extremely disruptive.

iv) Failure by IEBC to enforce the limitation to the campaign period is likely to result in tribalism, clanism, and even general competition being inflamed to the point of violence. Kenyans only need to refer back to the PEV in 2008, and its catastrophic consequences.

As matters stand, the lawfully permitted five weeks of official campaigns will be very costly. To conduct campaigns for several months is unsustainable for any bona fide candidate, of modest and accountable means. Tragically, most Kenyans do not financially support political causes, and only do so when it appears likely to be successful. Matters have been further complicated by the ever-changing IEBC timelines, making it difficult to plan or budget for a campaign.

As a champion for the rule of law, I would be remiss if I joined the bandwagon of bending and breaking the law governing the election process, particularly campaigns. A government led by me would ensure the strict enforcement of the election laws and campaign regulations to minimize interference with the lives and economic activities of the Kenyans.

In addition, on the December 6, 2016, upon declaring my candidature for the presidency, I immediately requested the Mr. Joseph Boinett the Inspector General of Police (IG) for the provision of an armed police bodyguard for my personal security, both as a former Director of Public Prosecutions and a presidential candidate. Despite attaching a letter from Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, as then Chairman of PAC dated February 28, 2006, and a letter of 1 March 2006 from the Amos Wako, the then AG, directing that I should be provided with adequate security, the IG summarily, and casually, rejected my request on grounds that it was not within an alleged police policy to provide me with a bodyguard, and further that I would be provided with security after presentation of nomination papers to IEBC, sometime in May 2017.

I protested, indicating that the failure by the IG to provide me with security was, inter alia, discriminatory, and the application of double standards, but to no avail. Subsequently, assurances by the Mr Joseph Nkaissery, Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Coordination, that the matter would be looked into, not surprisingly, have come to naught.

The lack of personal security has therefore prevented me from traversing the country (not necessarily holding campaign rallies) like all other presidential candidates and party leaders, to market United Democratic Movement (UDM) as a political party, or my candidature generally, given the current violent nature of campaigns, political activity, and insecurity in the country generally. In most cases, pictures have been published of the politicians (including opposition) being protected, or whisked to safety by their police bodyguards. Why have I been denied security? What is unique about my case? Whose interest is the IG serving?

It is clear that the refusal to provide me with security was deliberately calculated to ensure that, for security reasons, I would not be able to engage in any political activity at all. The effect being that I would only have myself to blame, if I exposed myself to risk. The irony of the IG’s decision is that all other aspiring presidential candidates have adequate government security, whether currently serving in government or not.

The upshot is that, having reflected, and consulted with my family, friends and supporters, with profound regret, I have decided to pull out of the 2017 presidential race. I, however, assure Kenyans that this is not the end of my determination to bring about positive, corruption-free, detribalised politics to our country. I end with a quote from an American Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, in the recent US elections:

“This campaign was always about our citizenship –taking back our country from a political class that serves only the big, the powerful, the wealthy and well connected. Election after election, the same empty promises are made and the same poll-tested stump speeches are given, but nothing changes. While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them.”

So, too, as I suspend my candidacy, I assure all Kenyans that I will continue the difficult journey of pushing for the awakening our citizens to the critical need for radical change if we as a nation are to survive and return to the path of prosperity, self-respect and patriotism. I remain a member of UDM and shall continue to support all its activities, and I encourage aspirants to seek nomination through the party for all categories of elective positions.

In the meantime, I thank the many Kenyans I met along the relatively short but difficult journey and who encouraged and supported my quest to bring about positive change to the politics of our great country. And to those who believed that in me, they had found a transformational leader, with the unique ability to steer our beloved country away from the path of destruction through tribalism and corruption, I urge that you do not surrender your hopes and aspirations for the restoration of our country to the path of sustainable peace and prosperity. I will continue to walk with you in engaging and agitating for radical change in the affairs of our beloved nation.

To the many “undecided” voters who may not vote, unless there is a truly transformational candidate, I appeal to them not to abdicate their civic duty and ensure to vote on election day, for the candidate that best represents at least some measure of positive change, taking into account the following advice of Montesquieu:

“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of the citizen in a democracy.”

Finally, I assure Kenyans that I will keep my options open for the presidential elections in 2022.

GOD BLESS KENYA.

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