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Archive for September 11th, 2008

Parliament gets forged papers on Mbabazi

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

By vision reporter

BANK documents circulated in Parliament this week intended to prove that security minister Amama Mbabazi paid a bribe to finance minister Ezra Suruma are false, the banks concerned have stated.

A letter sent to MPs probing the National Social Security Fund and other members on Tuesday claimed that sh460m was transferred from minister Mbabazis account in Tropical Bank to his daughters account in the National Bank of Commerce.

The letter also claimed that later sh410m was paid from the account of Mbabazis daughter, Rachel, to Everlight College Bunga, a school belonging to Mrs. Suruma.

The payments were reportedly made on February 7, 2008, before Suruma approved the NSSF land deal.

We have been following the NSSF land saga very closely. We realise that you lack some very important but secret evidence, the letter, signed by concerned citizens, read.

MPs yesterday confirmed receipt of the anonymous letter, which caused excitement among MPs.

Committee chairman John Odit said he had directed officials from the parliamentary research department to verify its authenticity.

We have received the documents from an anonymous person and we are going to subject it to verification. Its useful information, Odit said.

Other MPs interviewed said they found it in their pigeonholes yesterday. I dont know who placed it there and at what time. However, we are still investigating and to us any information is very useful, one MP said.

Attached to the letter were two bank documents, meant to prove both transactions. One is a copy of a bank transfer of sh460m to Rachel Mbabazi from Tropical Bank. The other is a National Bank of Commerce cheque for sh410m from Rachel Mbabazi to Bunga Everlight College.

However, both banks have denied that the transactions took place. This transaction does not exist at our bank. Therefore, it is forged, said Mohamed Ali Wahra, the managing director of Tropical Bank, in a signed statement.

There was no customer instruction from the account holder to the bank instructing the release of funds. No debit (was) recorded from the customers account.

Tropical Bank further pointed out that the reference code for the transaction, which appears in the forged document, was for a payment of sh5m by another customer that has no relation to this issue.

National Bank of Commerce also denied any payment to Everlight College. The above cheque was never presented to the bank and no transaction has ever been carried out on the basis of this cheque as per banks records, a statement signed by the banks chief executive said.

A close scrutiny of the cheque shows that the signature was forged. Furthermore, it indicates that the cheque book was printed on June 6, 2008 yet the cheque was purportedly issued four months earlier, on February 15.

Rachel Mbabazi said her cheque book was stolen from her car some two weeks ago. My car was broken into on the afternoon of August 29 near Rwenzori Courts (in Kampala). My bag was stolen, which contained office documents as well the cheque book, she said.

I did not make much of it at the time. It was only when the bank demanded a Police statement that I reported it.

According to the Kampala Central Police Station report, dated September 6, the loss of the cheque book for account number 2197006 was reported, the same account number which appears on the fake cheque.

A copy of her bank statement for February and March 2008, seen by The New Vision, also shows that no such transaction took place. In fact, it shows that there was no money on the account in February and she was fined sh5,000 for violating the minimum balance requirement.

Several MPs yesterday met and discussed the document and resolved to ask Mbabazi when he appears before the committee today.




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Who will Raila choose as his spokesman? From which region?

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

PM spokesman Salim Lone retires

Written By:PMPS

Renowned spokesman for Prime Minister Raila Odinga Mr. Salim Lone has retired.

Mr. Lone said he decided to step down in order to spend time with his family.

Mr. Lone who also served as the spokesman for the Orange Democratic Movement party during the height of the political turmoil that engulfed the country after the disputed 2007 general elections has worked closely with the premier for close to 30 years.

Mr. Odinga who attended the brief press conference announcing Lone’s retirement said Lone was instrumental in coordinating the mediation efforts in the country that saw former United Nations Secretary general Kofi Annan steer the process that unlocked the political impasse.

The premier expressed his reluctance to let go his long time ally whose contribution he said had changed the media landscape in the country but accepted his wish to be with his family.

“When Salim told me he needed to leave his position because of its very long hours I would not hear of it but I soon realized the importance when I visited his parents during their 67th wedding anniversary” he told the press conference.

Mr. Odinga gave a chronology of his past association with Mr. Lone with whom he was at one time incarcerated in a police cell at the infamous Nyayo House torture chambers during the former Kanu regime.

The premier said Mr. Lone was also instrumental in the introduction of multi party democracy in the country as he and other activists traversed the country to popularize the new idea.

He regretted that his association with Mr. Lone cost him his nationality after the then regime revoked his nationality for allegedly being disloyal to the country before he was banished.

Mr. Odinga also commended Mr. Lone’s relation with the media fraternity during his short stint as the Director of Communications at the recently formulated Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya.

“Salim steered our media team in a manner never seen in Kenya before because even our former opponents appreciated his professionalism and moved the political communication to another level” he said.

Until his appointment at the premiers office, Mr. Lone served at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva where he climbed through the ranks to become the senior-most Kenyan official at the at the world body

Mr. Lone said he intends to author a book that highlights the events that characterized the power games and political intrigues that threatened to split the country along ethnic enclaves.

He told the press conference that his dream was to author a book on Kenya to enable Kenyans to read literature that was specially tailored to suit the local context rather than rely on outsiders’ views.



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Has Obama’s granny become so big warranting the DC, OCPD and CID bosses to go to her home and investigate a broken padlock?

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

Just because she is the grandmother of somebody who is aspiring to become US president does not necessarily make her stature warrant despatching of the head of the District Administration to her home to investigate a broken padlock. that should be considered misuse of government funds.

The Distric has investigating officers whose job is to look into such small incidents. Maybe the DC wanted to do something so that he and the OCPD, the CID boss could be rewarded by the woman if Obama got to the White House.

What is actually all the crazyness about Obama’s life? He is just a man like all the others who are ambitious to get positions. He will not put food on people’s plates if he gets the position. He will most likely end up being Washingtonised. – API

Thugs break into home of Obamas grandmother

Updated 1 hr(s) 5 min(s) ago

BY George Olwenya

There was a robbery attempt at the rural home of US presidential candidate Barack Obamas grandmother.

Reportedly, thugs sneaked into the residence of Mama Sarah Obama, broke into her kitchen and used a ladder to climb to the roof.

The kitchen also serves as a store for construction materials and food.

However, nothing was stolen, although they broke the padlock.

Siaya DC Boaz Cherutich, OCPD Johnstone Ipara and CID boss Jacob Wafula visited the home in Kogelo village to investigate the incident, on Wednesday.

They said a police patrol base would be set up in the area immediately.

Police are hunting for the suspects whose motive remains unclear.

Mr Ipara said they suspected the thugs were after the solar panel on top of the main house, but were unsuccessful in their attempt to remove it. He said the security light was found missing, adding, “they could have removed it to avoid being spotted from afar.”

The elderly woman said she retired to bed between 1am and 2am, and did not hear any movement outside, as it was drizzling.

She was shocked when she woke up to find the kitchen door open and a ladder outside. “These are just people from around who think that Obama has been sending me a lot of money,” she said.

Mrs Obama said she feared for her safety and had raised the issue of her security with the local chief.

Mr Cherutich said a contractor who was building a perimeter fence round the home had said it would be complete by next week.

Last month, the family put up a barbed wire fence around the home to keep off intruders



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Sudden change of heart by Atwoli in order to keep his board membership

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

NSSF replaces Lumbasyo as board backs minister

By Lucianne Limo

The controversy at the National Social Security Fund has taken a new twist with the appointment of General Manager, Finance and Investment, James Akoya, as the acting managing trustee.

Labour Minister John Munyes yesterday announced Akoya takes over from the embattled Managing Trustee Rachael Lumbasyo on an acting capacity for two months.

“We have discussed the matter with the Prime Minister and NSSF board and agreed to send Lumbasyo on a three month leave, pending retirement,” he said.

Mr Munyes said the axe had fallen on Lumbasyo due to a controversial sale of five plots next to the Grand Regency Hotel, Nairobi.

“Lumbasyo did a good job earlier but the payment and transfer of that property was not procedural. A small matter like that can cost you a lot,” he said.

The minister disclosed that the board had intended to send her home a week before he did it.

“The board was going to throw her out the week before I announced her suspension,” he said.

Recruitment of a new trustee, Munyes said, would be advertised.

The minister, who was addressing The Standard at his NSSF offices, was flanked by the Cotu Secretary-General, Francis Atwoli and Federation of Kenya Employers chairman Patrick Obath, who sit on the NSSF board.

The minister and Atwoli appeared to be reading from the same script after having disagreed publicly on the move to send Lumbasyo on compulsory leave.



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Kenya: Michuki, the no-nonsense minister at work to ensure effectivity while rooting corrupt handlers

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

Michuki orders 700 cars at port destroyed

Updated 57 min(s) ago

By Patrick Beja

More than 700 imported vehicles and cargo in 7,000 containers abandoned at the Mombasa port will be destroyed.

The exact value of the cargo could not be established, because owners did not lodge documents to show their value, but it was estimated to be worth billions of shillings.

Acting Finance Minister John Michuki announced in Mombasa on Wednesday, saying the cars would be crushed and sold as scrap because they had been at the port for long and were more than eight years old.

Imported cars older than eight years are not allowed into the country.

Mr Michuki gave port users up to October 31, to embrace 24-hour operations. Addressing stakeholders, he said the containers had taken up space at the port, and would be destroyed.

“The question whether the goods should continue lying at the port or not has been a subject of public interest. It has been decided that Customs will advertise the vehicles before they are crushed into scrap metal,” he said.

Transport Assistant Minister John Mwau, Environment Assistant Minister Ramadhan Kajembe, Attorney-General Amos Wako, Finance PS Joseph Kinyua, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner-General Michael Waweru and KPA acting Managing Director James Mulewa, among others, accompanied Michuki.

Some imported vehicles at the Kenya Ports Authority yard, Mombasa. Some have not been claimed for years. Photo: Omondi Onyango/Standard

The stakeholders were drawn from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya Shippers Council, Kenya Transport Association and Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) among others.

The minister said officials from the National Environment Management Authority had been directed to deal with containers with cargo that could be an environmental hazard.

Michuki assured a representative of the Ugandan government, Mr Patrick Kyemba, that exporters from the neighbouring country would be allowed to collect their vehicles if they presented ownership documents to KRA.

Kyemba had pleaded with the minister to allow Ugandans more time to remove their vehicles from the port to container freight stations in Mombasa.

During the meeting, Michuki directed KRA and KPA to merge their electronic clearance systems by October 31, to allow quick processing of cargo documents.

The minister said the 24-hour port operation, which was introduced on August 18, had not improved the flow of cargo through the port because of teething problems.

He asked KPA to seek approval for a Sh1.5 billion loan from the Finance ministry, to buy cargo-handling equipment to boost the 24-hour port operation.

Michuki said he had written to Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, asking him to provide more police officers for security during night port


Risks and insecurity

He said there was a high risk of losses at the port due to insecurity, adding that adequate security personnel must back the round-the-clock operations.

Michuki also said he had written to Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey, urging him to ensure that Kenya Bureau of Standards had personnel on night duty.

“After visiting the port yesterday (Tuesday), I wrote to the two ministers so that they can act to ensure the 24-hour port operations succeed,” he said.

At the same time, Michuki announced that idlers would be kicked out of the port to end corruption.

“By October 31, clearing and forwarding agents should operate from their offices in town and not the port. All busybodies must be removed because they promote corruption,” he said.

Michuki said he would convene a port stakeholders meeting on November 10 to ensure his deadline was honoured by KRA and KPA.

He took issue with Coast MPs demanding that KPA managing director must be from the region, saying the port was an international facility.

“This is an international port and should not be treated as a village project. The only reason why one should serve as KPA MD is competency,” Michuki said.

Mr Waweru said KRA would not allow KPA to transfer cargo directly from the port to inland container depots upcountry until it executed Sh500 million-security bond.

If allowed, he explained, it would lead to loss of revenue.



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Kenya: Party struggles and whispers

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

ODM, PNU acid test

By Standard Team

The two major coalition partners strode into further crisis, as party MPs continued to show open rebellion.

Party of National Unity (PNU) affiliate parties threatened to withdraw their support for the party in Parliament over its planned member recruitment drive, while infighting and dissent continued to dog the Orange Democratic Movement.

Even as the affiliate parties representatives addressed a press conference after a two-and-a-half-hour closed-door meeting in Nairobi on Wednesday, The Standard established that Prime Minister Raila Odingas party was not sitting pretty either, as more than 40 MPs have not been remitting their membership contributions, denying the party much-needed finances.

PNU is also in dire straits because members have not remitted a cent since the beginning of the year, according to the partys Council Chairman George Nyamweya.

But the party has immediate worries when Parliament reopens in a months time, after its affiliates met on Wednesday and hinted at future trouble.

“We shall treat PNU as a different entity in Parliament,” said Kuria MP and Roads assistant minister Wilfred Machage (DP).

They said their support for President Kibakis party should not be taken for granted, adding that they would now have to be consulted on everything that comes to the floor of the House for debate.

Asked to expound, the straight-talking Narc-Kenya chairman and Justice minister Martha Karua said: “It is clear which affiliate parties produced 43 PNU MPs activate your imagination button.”

The meeting involved representatives from Democratic Party, Narc-Kenya, Safina and Ford-Kenya. Shirikisho Party of Kenya sent apologies.

But when reached by telephone last evening, the PNU Parliamentary Chief Whip Mr George Thuo dismissed the threats as hollow.

“It (the threat) can amount to something but the risk is not very high because the Government has a lot of support,” he said, pointing at the cross-party support.

“We are going ahead with the recruitment drive; we shall not be held hostage by anyone,” he said.

Wednesdays meeting came soon after President Kibakis move to strengthen PNU was given a lifeline by the Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndungu, who said the party could go ahead and recruit individual members.

Ndungu wrote to the PNU affiliate parties in response to their protest letters over what they alleged was the partys contravention of its own constitution and an MOU that defined PNU as a coalition of parties.

“The legal position taken by this office is that any party is entitled to register individual persons notwithstanding the fact that it has corporate members as well, said Ndungus September 3, 2008 letter.

Karua, who has declared her intention to run for the presidency in 2012, has been at the forefront of opposing the move by Kibaki allies to rope in PNU affiliate parties in next weeks grassroots recruitment drive. She has warned her party members that they risk expulsion if they took part in the PNU elections.

Karua, the Deputy Leader of Government business in Parliament, has differed sharply with the Internal Security minister Prof George Saitoti on the recruitment drive.

Membership fees

But the extension of these contestations in Parliament could spell trouble for PNU.

In ODM, we established that two Cabinet ministers are among the MPs who have defaulted in paying their monthly contributions running into millions of shillings.

As confusion reigns over what action to take against the defaulters, the party is now divided between loyalists and “rebels”.

The Standard has established that 13 MPs have, since their election in the December 2007 poll, failed to remit a penny to the party.

It is telling that most of the defaulting MPs are from the Rift Valley and Coast Provinces, which have bitterly complained of being short-changed in the allocation of top Government jobs.

ODM Treasurer Omingo Magara confirmed to The Standard that many MPs had defaulted but declined to name them.

He, however, said the party had not officially demanded for the cash.

“We have not written letters to them because we believe since the commitments were voluntary, they will see sense in making good their commitments to the party,” said Magara.

Upon their election on the partys ticket, MPs made commitments to pay between Sh20,000 to Sh50,000 per a month, while those nominated by the party were to remit Sh100,000.

“The money was meant to run party affairs. We are not straining financially yet but we look forward to the MPs honouring their commitment,” said the South Mugirango MP.

On Wednesday, party Secretary-General Prof Anyang Nyongo, in a press release to defend the dissolution of the apex party organ Pentagon, said the party leadership was aware of activities to destabilise ODM.

“We will not always respond when provoked but our silence does not mean we are unaware of the subtle campaign of destabilization that may be emanating from certain quarters,” said Nyongo.

The controversy over non-remittance is so sensitive that it has been put top on the agenda for the next ODM Parliamentary Group meeting.

“This is a delicate and sensitive issue. It touches on loyalty to the party. It is not a coincidence that most of defaulters are the ones making the loudest noise against Raila on any small issue,” said Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga.

But the outspoken Cherangany MP Mr Joshua Kutuny said he has always been punctual in his remittances. He accused some MPs close to Raila of being among the defaulters.

“Party loyalty is measured by ones financial contributions to the party and I am the most loyal MP. Our names are being tainted as rebels because we are fighting for internal democracy within the party,” said Kutuny.

Reports by Abiya Ochola, Joseph Murimi and Beauttah Omanga



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Zambia: Next few months promise to be exciting (Editorial)

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

Ndola (Zambia) – Now that major political parties have announced their candidates, campaining for the forth coming presidential elections is expected to begin in earnest and the next few months promise to be an exciting time.

There are no major surprises among the candidates so far and the only new person is the acting Republican President, Rupiah Banda who has just been adopted by the MMD.

Patriotic Front leader, Michael Sata and UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema are not strange faces in the presidential contest. For Mr Sata this is the third time that he will be running for the presidency while Mr Hichilema will be having a go for the second time.

In the past there has always been the temptation to dwell on personal attacks and petty issues at the expense of tackling issues that affect the people.

This type of campaigning had not helped the political process and has in fact tended to discredit the way politics are practiced in Zambia.

It is instructive to heed the word of many stakeholders who from the word go have called political players to avoid mudslinging.

The political system must also develop a sense of tolerance and accept that not everyone will have the same views on any issue and that in fact multi-party democracy is founded on tenets that allow divergent views.

Apart from that, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) created an electoral code of conduct to which all players subscribed at the time it was being mooted.

It is therefore imperative that the code of conduct is adhered to as a way of lessening political conflict. The structures such as the district management and resolution committees must also be used to resolve any probems that may arise.

Both the Zambian and international community will be watching closely the way this elections will be conducted, especially that such mid-term elections for the president is happening for the first time in the history of Zambia.

But how the elections is done and what happens thereafter really depends on the major players and these are the political parties and their candidates. It is vital that they exercise restraint and just follow the electoral code of conduct.

A word of caution should also go to the election monitors. They should also desist from issuing alarming statements before verifying facts. Sometimes these statements have adverse effects on the entire electoral process if they are issued carelessly.


API/source.The Times of Zambia (Zambia)

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Islamic militants impose curfew in key Somali town

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

Islamist militiamen have imposed a curfew in the Somali town of Kismayo following four separate incidents in which four civilians were killed in the town by unknown gunmen.

We have imposed a curfew on the town from dawn to dusk in order to make sure its over all secure, Abdurrahman Ali Mohamed, who is charge of security in the town, told APA by telephone.

The curfew started on Monday night and will go on until we secure the town, he said.

Witnesses said the Islamists have placed their vehicles on the main roads and streets in the town in a show of force meant to deter any further security threats.

The militias took control of Kismayo on August 23 after a heavy fighting which pitted them against the clan militia loyal to a former defense minister in the transition federal government, Barre Aden Shire, who is now a member of parliament.

More than 70 people were killed and 100 more wounded during the fighting.



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World Bank VP for Africa due Thursday in Cotonou

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

World Bank vice president for the Africa region Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili is expected in Cotonou Thursday for an 11-13 September official visit from, sources has announced.

Ezekwesili seeks to strengthen the partnership between the World Bank and Cotonou, and will discuss with Beninese authorities efforts to support the countrys economic growth and reduce poverty.

The spokesperson of the World Bank office in Cotonou Sylvie A. Nenonene said as the Vice-President is for dialogue with all socio-economic development actors in the countries she visits, meetings with various sectors are planned.

Also included in the discussions are the civil society, the private sector and the press on issues about the future of the African continent as a whole, Nenonene added.

Before her arrival in Benin, the last of leg her West Africa tour, Ezekwesili has also been visiting Ghana, Guinea, Cote dIvoire and Togo.



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The changing world order: London invites Gaddafi, Chavez, others to oil summit

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

In a move which political pundits are widely discussing as a great recognition for two of the most controversial world leaders, London disclosed Tuesday that it has invited Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, to the forthcoming international oil summit in the United Kingdom.

For Gaddafi, the December 2008 event could spell his first official trip to Britain since the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, marked by years of Western isolation.

With the duo appearing on the guest list of the British Prime Ministers promised summit, a follow-up to the international meeting of oil producers and consumers in Saudi Arabia over the summer, media and political analysts have been examining the topic critically as an event that would make a huge gathering of world oil producing champions.

Though officials say that Prime Minister Gordon Brown is keen on issues bordering on rising fuel prices; and will be acting to coordinate an international response to rising demand, with the head of at least one key oil-producing nation, authorities ruled out considering the Iranian leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as a suitable guest.

London has consistently voiced out its misgivings over Irans nuclear ambitions under Ahmadinejad.

But diplomatic analysis portend that the presence of Colonel Gadaffi, will draw more headlines, overshadowing all there is about Iran.

It is over two decades since British diplomatic relations with the country (Libya) were severed, after shots fired from the Libyan embassy (in London) killed Woman Police Constable (WPC) Yvonne Fletcher, who was policing demonstrators outside, an EU official commented.

Relations froze further after the bombing of an American airliner over Scotland in 1988.

Since then, the Libyan government has accepted responsibility for the bombing, and general responsibility for the killing of WPC Fletcher, and the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited the North African country to meet the Libyan leader last year.

Colonel Gadaffi has also made a number of official trips to Europe.

There are also fears that it could be difficult to attract high profile guests to the summit, following the previous international oil summit, in Jeddah, in June 2008, which was widely described as unproductive.

However, a spokesman for Downing Street said: The Prime Minister will move on with his determination to act domestically and to work with others internationally to address the functioning of the international oil markets.



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Questioning the removal of Mwatela from the Central Bank of Kenya

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2008

We in API question the move taken by Judy Miriga below. Why is she hard on the central bank for having removed Mwatela who has actually not been fired but elevated. Is is because the minister of finance is a Kikuyu?
Raila Odinga, a Luo like Judy Miriga is part of those who fired NSSF boss. The woman was tuff and would not allow the government to play around with NSSF money. Why is Judy not questioning Raila’s actions there? Are we tribal here? (API)
If this story is true, then Kenyans small and big must stand up in arms to get to the
bottom of this.Finance Ministry is dirty, it must be cleaned right from top including the Minister. Dont give these crooked gang of leadership thugs a chance to run down Kenya for their selfish stomach. They are infested dogs, they need mass action otherwisethey will never get it. Make noise people and DEMAND for JUSTICE, dispite JUSTICE in Kenya has an iron steel padlock.Dont give in. Ask yourself why that retiring agedman Michuki is appointed to Finance Ministry. It is a scam. It is your future people, fight for it. Central
Bank must be investigated. Something is cooking.
Women, it is time to stand up and protect your owns when Legal Justice is unfairly oppressive to women and when Administration is seen to be manipulative.
It must become PUBLIC JUSTICE to protect public funds/money from marauding
shameless bald head thieves. They dont understand gentlemans way people!!!!!!!!!!
I tell you, these thieves will never BULGE. They must be confronted and uprooted by PEOPLE DRIVEN DEMANDS mass action that follows with Kicks and Blows if
possible. Dont be cowed with the polished suits they wear, they are professional thieves.
They will continue to perfect thier act day in day out. Dont give them a chance people,
dont close your mouth as well, go to the mountatin tops if possible, do what is doable.
They will continue to intimidate and silence people from exposing them, dont give them a chance. Civil Society, Vijana saidia akina mama.
Dont stay beaten down people, get up and maintain the struggle we will get there some day people.
I love you all.
Judy Miriga


Elevation of CBKs Mwatela far from show of gratitude

ByJAINDI KISEROPostedTuesday, September 92008at19:36
MRS JACINTA MWATELA, who was replaced on Tuesday as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, is an extraordinary banker and public officer. Her story and record of service at the CBK offers an illuminating study on what personal commitment to probity by a public official can bring to public office.
Observers who have been keenly following the shenanigans at the Central Bank of Kenya know very well that her replacement and promotion to the position of permanent secretary for the Ministry of Northern Kenya and Arid Lands was not inspired by a sense of gratitude to the 30 years of exemplary service she has given to the CBK.
The truth of the matter is that somebody wanted her out of the way at the central bank in a hurry. It is an open secret that she was not in good books with the clique that wields power at both the Central Bank of Kenya and the Treasury.
Outspoken and uncompromising on issues to do with procedure and probity, she found herself on the wrong side with powermen over the manner in which the multi-million second generation currency printing contract was handled.
Last month, she rubbed the powermen the wrong way by the evidence she gave to the Chris Okemo-led parliamentary committee on finance and public administration that was investigating the Grand Regency saga.
Within the Central Bank itself, it was an open secret that she was among a group the insiders at the bank would derisively refer to with the code name, The Three Musketeers. Mwatela was perceived as the inspiration to a group of three tough women in the top management of the bank, who refused to play to the whims of politicians and influence-peddlers at the Central Bank of Kenya and the Treasury on matters of procedure and probity.
With her exit, the three musketeers have more or less been dismantled.
The manner in which Mrs Mwatela was replaced raises several broader policy questions. Can we really claim to have an independent central bank?
Why does the Government pretend to subscribe to the principal of central bank independence, but in reality treat the affairs of this critical regulator of the financial system as if it were another ordinary parastatal?
If we indeed believed in an independent central bank, the Government should have left the recruitment of the second in command of this key institution to its board.
The issue of Central Bank independence is as old as central banking itself. We need to renew our faith in this principle so that we can keep politicians and the Government away from the Central Bank as far as possible.
IT IS FOOLHARDY TO ENTRUST THE power of issuing paper money to the Government. Goldenberg happened basically because we had a central bank that was willing to cede power to ministers and permanent secretaries at the Treasury.
Why are were driving in the reverse in terms of the need to achieve independence and autonomy of the Central Bank of Kenya?
Last year, the Treasury tried to introduce changes to the Central Bank Act with the aim of introducing a chairman appointed by politicians.
Treasurys argument at that time was that the current arrangement, which allows the governor to hold the positions of both chief executive and chairman of the board was not in line with modern corporate governance practice. Clearly, the intention was to get the Central Bank to cede space to politicians.
Fortunately, that move did not see the light of day. What Kenya needs is a central bank whose commitment to price stability cannot be influenced by either short-term considerations of politicians or the borrowing appetite of those big spenders at the Treasury.
Inflation is the cruelest form of taxation on the people. Yet only an independent central bank, operating autonomously without the influence of politicians, can deliver monetary conditions for non inflationary growth.
We should not allow politicians to come near the conduct of monetary policy. Faced with hyper-inflation, authorities in Zimbabwe recently ordered the removal of zeros from their currency notes.
The idea that inflation can be brought under control by simply deleting zeros from the currency notes is utterly foolish. It is like believing that you spend less on the scratch cards for your mobile phone by buying more bamba 20s.
Monetary policy must be left to an independent central bank run by individuals who do not owe their positions to political patrons.
In 2003, David Mwiraria made a decision that led to the collapse of the government bond market when he announced in the Budget Speech that year, the reduction of the cash ratio from 10% to 6%.
By this move, the minister had freed Sh8.1 billion of liquidity into the marketplace. The 91-Treasury Bill rate went to 1 per cent. When the rates started coming up, it triggered market volatility as never seen before.
What is my point? That politicians must keep away from the Central Bank of Kenya.

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