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Archive for October 26th, 2009

Posted by African Press International on October 26, 2009

By Martin Mutua

Luis Moreno-Ocampo arrives next week having warned President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to hand over key suspects of post-election violence.

The International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor will be seeking a commitment from the Grand Coalition Government principals that once he concludes his investigations and points out suspects bearing the greatest responsibility, he will get co-operation from the highest offices in the land.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo: International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor

The visit could put Kibaki and Raila in a fix given that at least six ministers from both sides of the coalition are believed to be among the ten prominent suspects in Mr Moreno-Ocampos file. At the back of their minds will be the secret the Argentinian let out when he said Kenya would be an example to the world on impunity.

The prosecutor will also be piling pressure for the trial of lesser offenders through a yet-to-be-created, bu inevitable, Special Local Tribunal.

His visit will be coming only weeks after Chief Mediator Kofi Annan visited Nairobi and warned the window of opportunity for reform before the next election cycle was fast closing.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo, select political scientists, lawyers and European Union diplomats are agreed the key perpetrators of last years post-election violence must be handed over to Moreno-Ocampo since the Government has failed to establish a local tribunal.

“Those found to have committed international crimes cannot be tried in Kenya as they will have to face Ocampo at The Hague,” said Mutula who confirmed Moreno-Ocampos visit is set for Wednesday next week.

In a letter to Mutula dated October 9, requesting to meet the principals on October 13 or14, Moreno-Ocampo stated: “The purpose of the visit would be to explain my duty as prosecutor of the ICC with respect to the prosecution and the prevention of crimes committed in Kenya during the post-election violence of 2008.”

A copy of the letter has been shown to The Standard. Moreno-Ocampo went on: ” The activities of my office should be part of a comprehensive solution that requires the leadership of the Kenyan principals.

Local tribunal

“I appreciate the cooperation received so far from Kenyan authorities and I believe the proposed visit will help to establish a mutual understanding to take further action and implement an effective remedy for past crimes,” he added.

During his visit in Nairobi early this month, Dr Annan warned there was a confidence crisis in the leadership of the country.

Mutula said if Parliament allowed him to take over Imenti Central MP Gitotu Imanyaras proposed Bill and amend it to meet international standards, then the matter would be handled locally. “We will own the process and we will demonstrate to the world that we are able to handle our own affairs,” he added.

The minister says the Imanyara Bill “glosses over” the question of constitutional powers enjoyed by certain constitutional office holders.

AGs powers

He says the Bill has not dealt with the power by the Attorney General to withdraw cases and the powers of the Chief Justice to interfere with the processes.

He said for the Bill to meet international standards there was need to make ensure the AGs powers to terminate cases as well as those of the Chief Justice to interfere are shut out of the process.

But the European Union said they welcomed Moreno-Ocampos visit and expressed hope that the Kenyan government will cooperate with him.

“It is important to for the Kenya Government to do something about impunity that is why we are urging cooperation with the ICC,” added Ms Eaanika Jayawardena, the Charge dAffairs at the Swedish Embassy. Sweden currently holds rotational EU Presidency. Jayawardena said the EU was also equally concerned about the threat on human rights defenders.

“The visit by Mr Moreno-Ocampo includes fighting impunity and the ICC is very important in this war and co-operation with ICC is very important,” she added.

A typical scene during the 2007 post-election mayhem. Photo: File/Standard

She said they had appealed to leaders to speed up the comprehensive constitutional reforms, electoral reforms and the police as well as judicial reforms as had been agreed upon with Annan.

Finalised his investigations

Political scientist Dr Adams Oloo said the message by Moreno-Ocampo was informed by the three-pronged approach of dealing with the post election violence which includes The Hague, Special Local Tribunal and the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

“Ocampo will be seeking the co-operation of the two principals through an assurance once he has finalised his investigations and he seeks their help they would be willing to cooperate,” he added.

Oloo, a political scientist at the University of Nairobi, further says Moreno-Ocampo will be concerned with his mandate of trying the key perpetrators.

ICC concerns

The International Commission of Jurists Kenya Chapter said Moreno-Ocampo would be coming to solicit cooperation and blessings of the two principals to facilitate ICC.

ICJ Kenya Chapter Chairman Wilfred Nderitu said Moreno-Ocampos visit had everything to do with concerns whether ICC investigators could work on the ground and secure prosecutions as well.

“Ocampo will not be starting from a point of 100 per cent ignorance because what he must have seen in the Waki envelope may have prompted him to act,” he added.

Mr Nderitu said the Government came up with an agreement with Moreno-Ocampo when its ministers visited The Hague and resolved that if by the end of September nothing would have happened then they would invite him to take over.

Nderitu said the Moreno-Ocampo visit was also a delicate balancing act for the principals because while dealing with the question of impunity they also dont want to rock the boat of peace and stability.

“However, they have no choice but to cooperate with Ocampo fully or be prepared for the consequences,” added Nderitu.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Florence Jaoko says the commission had always rooted for a local tribunal because ICC was only going to deal with a few people and if the local systems are still the same then both middle and lower level perpetrators will be left to go scot-free.

Ms Jaoko said Kenya was a signatory to the Rome statute and had already domesticated it adding that even if crimes against humanity had been committed it should be possible for the suspects to be tried locally.

Jaoko also challenged Kibaki and Raila to speak about these issues for Kenyans to know where they stand to avoid speculation.

Parliamentary Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs Chairman Abdikadir Mohamed said the best option would have been a Kenyan process. “There is nothing to celebrate with the coming of Ocampo because this means our institutions have failed,” he added.

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Sacked Kalenjin elders were supporting Raila Odinga in secret deals for 2012: They now accuse Ruto over fallout as the Kalenjins wake up to fight for their own to get the Presidency come 2012

Posted by African Press International on October 26, 2009

Agriculture Minister William Ruto (centre) moments after he was installed as a Sabaot elder. PHOTO/FILE

Agriculture Minister William Ruto (centre) moments after he was installed as a Sabaot elder. The Kalenjin council council of elders was bundled out at a meeting of Rift Valley leaders on Saturday and replaced with a high-powered team, which includes retired generals and top Moi-era officials. PHOTO/ FILE

ByPETER NGETICH and PETER LEFTIE PostedSunday, October 252009at22:30

The leader of the disbanded Kalenjin Council of Elders on Sunday launched an attack on Agriculture minister William Ruto, describing him as showing some arrogance. Mr Said Keitany, who was voted out together with his team, said he had no regrets for supporting Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The council was bundled out at a meeting of Rift Valley leaders on Saturday and replaced with a high-powered team, which includes retired generals and top Moi-era officials. It was meant to be a purely cultural affair but has since assumed political dimensions and is being seen as part of a contest for supremacy in Rift Valley by the top command of the Orange party.

On Sunday, Mr Keitany told the Daily Nation he had no apologies for supporting Mr Odinga because he is the only politician with a reform agenda for Kenya. He said Mr Ruto faces a tall order in dismantling Mr Odingas support on the ground, and that the new council will find it difficult to get the community to support the Eldoret North MP who, he said, still displayed some arrogance. They cannot change that (Mr Odingas support). People respect my opinion and that is why Raila had faith in me in 2007, he said.

Mr Keitany claimed Mr Ruto failed in his bid to become the ODM presidential candidate in 2007 because of the strong campaigns they did for Mr Odinga. Remember Ruto tried to be the ODM candidate in 2007 and failed. He can continue to display his arrogance, but he is still the same Ruto and it will get him nowhere, he said.

It requires wide consultations for any decision to be reached on the council of elders, and I doubt if the new council will add to his presidential ambitions, he said. But he welcomed the new council, saying it was more inclusive, but maintained that he will continue to serve his community in other fora.

The new council is chaired by Maj (rtd) John Seii and includes former Chief of General Staff General Daudi Tonje and retired Army commander, Lt General Lazurus Sumbeywo.

Speaking to the Daily Nation, Agriculture minister William Ruto, the leading politician in the Rift Valley, described the removed elders as imposters who have been misleading their community through their public statements. The former council was perceived as allied to Prime Minister Raila Odinga. It made a much-publicised visit to Bondo, Mr Odingas ancestral home, for a meeting with the Luo Council of Elders in September.

We have had brokers going round masquerading as the elders of the community and making statements which are taken as the Kalenjin stand, and we are happy that the (new) council will have that responsibility now, he said. Mr Ruto, who has declared he will vie for the presidency in 2012, had brought together ministers, MPs, former lawmakers and opinion leaders to the Reformed Church of East in Eldoret Town.

Mr Keitany is a long-time ally of the Agriculture minister as is another sacked elder, businessman Jakcson Kibor. The two were in the delegation of elders that visited Mr Odinga at his Opoda farm in Bondo district which may have been interpreted as an expression of loyalty to the PM.

Mr Ruto said the new team will lead in charting the communitys political destiny, including influencing its political leadership in the national theatre. The Kalenjin Council of Elders, which has been formed after intense consultations among community leaders, will be able to issue statements representing the true position of the community, he said.

He said the Keitany team was made up of self-imposed people who were just political brokers posturing as elders. Commenting, Nyatike MP Edick Anyanga warned against divisive politics in ODM and said a section of MPs were fuelling hatred in the party.

Some people want to endear themselves to leaders they are allied to for their own political mileage without realising they are splitting the party. We as leaders must learn to engage in constructive politics, he said. Konoin MP Julius Kones, an ally of Mr Ruto, said the old team of elders was due for the sack because of their political activities.

The Keitany and Kibor group had its own political interests and could not guide the community well, he said. Also in the new council is former former assistant minister Elijah Sumbeiywo, the Gen Sumbeywos brother, and former deputy speaker Samuel Ngeny.

The gathering on Saturday was presented as a purely cultural affair but was attended by many of the political heavy-weights of the province, among them Cabinet ministers Franklin Bett, Henry Kosgey, assistant ministers William Cheptumo, Jackson Kiptanui, and MPs Lucas Chepkitony, Benjamin Langat, Isaac Ruto, Joshua Kutuny, David Koech, Julius Kones and Elijah Lagat.

Former powerful minister and National Vision Party leader Nicholas Biwott was also present and asked all leaders to push for Kalenjiin unity or risk being politically isolated. Nominated MP Musa Sirma and Kipkelion MP Magerer Langat, seen as Mr Odingas allies, were not present but sent their apologies through the Industrialisation minister.

Push interests

Higher education minister Dr Sally Kosgei, assistant minister Charles Keter and MPs Zakayo Cheruiyot, Peris Simam, Prof Margaret Kamar and Joyce Laboso, who were all said to be on official trips abroad, sent apologies, as did Luka Kigen and Sammy Mwaita, who were overseeing the relocation of Internally Displaced Persons.

Mr Bett, the Roads minister, asked the Tonje team to push the communitys interests when the Interim Independent Boundaries Commission, headed by former MP Andrew Ligale, tours the region. Mr Cheptumo, the Justice assistant minister, said the elders will present the communitys memorandum to the Committee of Experts reviewing the Constitution.

Elders from other communities will be making their presentations to the commission and we expect the Kalenjin Council of Elders to do so, Mr Cheptumo said. The launch of the new council will likely be seen in the context of the perceived battle for supremacy for the Orange party.

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Grand coalition in grand corruption and nepotism: Ministers’ relatives picked as Kenya’s envoys

Posted by African Press International on October 26, 2009

Minister for Foreign Affairs Moses Wetangula  addresses diplomats  from various countries  at a Nairobi hotel, October 12, 2009. Photo/CHRIS OJOW ( Nairobi)

Minister for Foreign Affairs Moses Wetangula addresses diplomats from various countries at a Nairobi hotel, October 12, 2009. Close relatives of cabinet ministers and 2007 election losers are on the latest list of Kenyas ambassadors and high commissioners released by the Foreign Ministry. Photo/CHRIS OJOW

ByPETER LEFTIEPostedSunday, October 252009at16:28

In Summary

  • Close relatives of cabinet ministers and 2007 election losers are on the latest list
  • Four of the new envoys named in the list released by the Foreign Affairs ministry are siblings of cabinet ministers
  • Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka termed the appointments as demoralising to career diplomats

Close relatives of cabinet ministers and 2007 election losers are on the latest list of Kenyas ambassadors and high commissioners.

Four of the new envoys named in the list released by the Foreign Affairs ministry are siblings of cabinet ministers, while four others are parliamentary losers during the last general election.

Also on the list are former provincial administrators believed to have taken sides and furthered the political interests of the three main protagonists during the 2007 presidential election, President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

The full list of Kenyas representatives to the 51 fully fledged missions released by the ministry to coincide with the Public Service Week contains the names of Kenyas new ambassadors and high commissioners or those whose terms have been extended.

That four of the envoys have their siblings in the cabinet while another is a twin brother to an assistant minister of government goes a long way to demonstrate how political connections influence appointments to key positions in government at the expense of merit.

Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka termed the appointments as demoralising to career diplomats who had served the country for decades without being appointed to such positions.

It is very wrong and goes against the spirit of reforming our institutions of governance for people to be appointed simply because they are brothers and sisters of ministers and MPs when we have people who have served in the ministry for as many as thirty years without being made ambassadors, Mr Onyonka stated.

He called for a law to ensure that even presidential appointments met certain standards.

The appointments also fly in the face of pronouncements by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno that the government would no longer tolerate not only nepotism but also tribalism in appointments to public service.

Speaking during the launch of the Public Service Week, the PM said the government would take stern action against government officials who practice nepotism and tribalism in making appointments to public service.

Mr Otieno on his part directed government officials heading institutions where tribal balance was not enforced to formulate ways of reversing the trend.

Those in the list include Dr Wenwa Akinyi, Kenyas Consul General in Los Angeles, USA. Amb. Akinyi is a younger sister to the Prime Minister. Also on the list is Ms Catherine Muigai Mwangi who is Kenyas ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. Ms Mwangi is a sister of Public Health Minister Beth Mugo and once served as a communications director at Kenya Airways.

Ms Mishi Masika Mwatsahu whose term as Kenyas High Commissioner to Pakistan has been extended is a sister to Transport minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere while the countrys Permanent Representative to UNESCO is Dr Mary Khimulu, a sister of Co-operatives minister Joseph Nyagah. Ms Mwatsahu was first appointed to the post when her brother served as the Foreign Affairs minister while Dr Khimulu is a long serving official of the World Bible Society.

Prof Sospeter Machage who retains his posting as Kenyas ambassador to Russia, is on the other hand the twin brother of assistant minister Dr Wilfred Machage. Prior to his appointment, Prof. Machage used to run a private hospital in Kilgoris town.

Notably, the list confirms Mr Addison Chebukaka as the countrys new high commissioner to London, replacing Mr Muchemi who was recalled several months back but is said to have declined to hand over office.

Contacted, the Foreign Affairs Ministry sought to distance itself from the appointments, saying that the prerogative of picking the countrys ambassadors and high commissioners rests with the President.

The appointment of ambassadors and high commissioners is the prerogative of the President. They are the Presidents representatives overseas so he appoints people he thinks can best represent the country wherever they are, said the Director of Public Affairs and Communication at the Ministry, Prof Egara Kabaji.

The head of the Presidential Press Service, Isaiah Kabira also declined to comment on the appointments when contacted, saying that he had to study the list first.

I need to establish its authenticity first, then we can discuss it, he told the Nation.

Another ambassador with family ties with a top official in the grand coalition is Elkanah Odembo, Kenyas envoy to France. Mr Odembo is a brother in law to the government chief whip, Jakoyo Midiwo.

Among politicians who lost during the last general elections only to find their way to plum ambassadorial positions include former Kilome MP Mutinda Mutiso.

Mr Mutiso contested the seat on Vice President Kalonzo Musyokas ODM-Kenya ticket but lost to Transport Assistant minister John Harun Mwau. Mr Mutiso has since posted to Dar es Salaam to head the Kenyan mission.

Stephen Tarus, a former assistant minister who resisted the huge ODM wave in the North Rift to unsuccessfully defend his Emgwen seat on a PNU ticket is the new high commissioner to Australia, a key diplomatic posting.

Another huge beneficiary of political horse trading is one time powerful security minister Julius Sunkuli, who stepped aside to give the PNU candidate Gideon Konchella a head-start in the Kilgoris by-election.

For his troubles, Mr Sunkuli is the countrys ambassador to Beijing, China, another coveted diplomatic posting. Before his posting, the once powerful minister was running a law firm based at Bruce House in Nairobi.

Mr Kembi Gitura, Kenyas new ambassador to Brussels, Belgium and the European Union also lost his Kiharu seat during the last elections only to land the plum job, as is Kenyas new man in Vienna, Austria, immediate former North Horr MP Ukur Yatani.

Former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner, Francis Sigei who was accused in some quarters of playing a partisan role in the last election is the new high commissioner to Nigeria.

Other former provincial administrators who have found their way to the diplomatic world include Franklin Esipila, the new Kenya ambassador to Ethiopia and John Abduba who is Kenyas high commissioner to Zimbabwe.

The ministry joins a long list of government agencies that have come under scrutiny over the manner in which appointments to key posts have been made.

Ministers have been roundly condemned for breaking laws guiding appointments to parastatals and agencies to handpick their cronies.
Parliament set a precedent last month when it revoked the re-appointment of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) director Aaron Ringera and his two deputies, Fatuma Sichale after the president breached the law.

The Parliamentary Committee on delegated legislation chaired by nominated MP Amina Abdalla is currently scrutinising appointments made by six cabinet ministers to check whether they comply with the law or not. The ministers include William Ntimama, Fred Gumo, Najib Balala, Chirau Ali Mwakwere, Henry Kosgey and Prof Anyang Nyongo.

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