Archive for the ‘Security’ Category

Kenyans deserve more than a “cool” president

A few weeks ago while attending an African Politics bloggers conference in Nairobi, I met up with two fellow bloggers from Malawi and Zambia at the airport, they were just coming in for the same conference as well. As we waited for the hotel shuttle to come pick us up we chatted a bit about the politics situation in Africa – from President Sata’s health to Uhuru’s case at the ICC.

Jimmy Kainja from Malawi who like me is both a blogger and a journalist ( a lecturer as well) was telling Bruce and I how Kenya seems to have a vibrant president. He was referring to tweets he saw in his timeline a day earlier about Uhuru handing over power to his deputy for a couple of hours as he went to The Hague to deal with “personal issues.”

Then Bruce (our Zambian counterpart) went on about how Kenya has a president who is vibrant on social media and who can generally be described as a down to earth person – sentiments I totally agree with.

I think Kenya has the most accessible president in the whole world. At times I think Uhuru even forgets that he is president and decides to just have a ball, which is not in any way a bad thing.

Who wouldn’t want to see their president enjoy a good laugh?

Then when he goes to functions and start taking selfies with random people or when he invites musicians over to statehouse – man that is my kinda president! I wouldn’t like a president I cannot relate to and that is probably why I would never vote for anybody above 60 years of age – that’s just me.

Serious issues

If we were to rate Uhuru Kenyatta based on how sociable he is then he would probably be the best president in the whole world!

Truth is come 2017 when his first term in office expires we will be rating him based on performance in key areas that we feel need to be addressed.

It is indeed fun to see the president out there dressed in full military regalia – we all love the combat as a fashion statement but in the face of raging insecurity we would rather see our Commander in Chief ensuring that our borders are safe and that no terrorist get into the country to harm innocent citizens.

Read: HAS RAILA ODINGA OUTLIVED HIS USEFULNESS?

The sense of security that is synonymous with the uniform would make more sense when it can be felt by the residents of Kapedo in Turakana County, residents of Moyale and every other part of this country where innocent citizens cannot move on with their lives because of fear of attacks by ragtag militia. Yes, this security should move from instagram and other social media platforms to real action on the ground.

Cost of living

I do not disagree with Bruce Choome or Jimmy Kainja on what they think about our president and our democracy, but all those twitpics and instagram photos do not put food on Kenyans’ tables. Our economy is in shambles.

The cost of living is getting higher and higher everyday, the shilling is at an all time low currently trading against major world currencies at rates we last saw in 2011 clearly indicating the imbalance of trade.

If selfies would fix our economy then Mr. President is definitely on the right track.

How long will this last?

If there is one thing the president is doing right then that thing is PR – I think everyone in his communications department deserves a raise!

But every trained PR or communications professional will tell you that however good the PR Machinery is, if it is not backed up with a good product then it is all a waste of time.

When Kenyan police officers are no longer able to even protect themselves let alone members of the public, when terrorists have the nerve to stage attacks on military barracks, when Kenyan youth cannot get meaningful employment, when putting food on the table becomes impossible then “selfies” will become the most loathed word in Kenya.

It is time the president put half as much the efforts he puts in looking cool into delivering services that Kenyans elected him for, otherwise this popularity that he currently enjoys will fade as soon as it came.              

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For some reason Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are finding it difficult to believe that they are now in charge of the government and keep blaming Raila Odinga and his CORD coalition for their failure to deliver on their per-election pledges and the rudimentary expectations (if I may call them that) that Kenyans have of their government of the day.

With their reaction of taking every podium opportunity they get to respond to CORD, the two leaders and politicians in their corner are falling exactly into CORD’s trap  and at the end of they day failing to deliver on the mandate that they were given by over 6 million Kenyan voters on 4th March 2013.

The biggest concern Kenyans have right now is their security and the government has to be seen to be doing something to tame the crime wave in this country. Far from that though, the government and it’s operatives have taken every opportunity they have to recklessly swing the blame in CORD’s way. By doing that they are in fact making us think twice about who is really in charge of this country.

CORD is in the opposition and it is their work to ensure that they keep the government on it’s toes by challenging it’s decision whether they have a reason to or not – to them it’s all politics. To the government of the day though, it should be a different ballgame. There should be a clear distinction between delivering services that the citizenry expect of their government and politics.

The situation as it is right now is very regrettable as the government is always playing catch-up to CORD’s scheme and if they don’t change this by the end of five years they will have achieved nothing. CORD on the other hand will have successfully ensured that they have achieved their goal – making it impossible for the government to deliver. As things look, Jubilee is spending all their energy chasing its own tail.

It is even a bigger problem when public servants are drawn into this either out of eagerness to please the master or under instructions from the master as was witnessed in the first press statement issued by Ole Lenku in the aftermath of Mpeketoni attacks and the most recent one by Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa where both blamed Raila Odinga and ODM for the current spate of insecurity at the coast.

At the end of the day, Uhuru and Ruto must draw the line between playing politics and actually governing this country. If CORD, ODM or Raila is to blame for some of this things then we want to see action, people taken to court and charged with treason or whatever charges but not names and blame games being thrown left and right at political rallies and press conferences. Forgive us but we expect more from our Commander in Chief and his deputy.

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Dear Raila Amolo Odinga,

I sincerely hope that my letter finds you in good health. I have written many letters before, some to Mwai Kibaki, others to Uhuru Kenyatta but none ever to you.

Today though I finally feel the need to do so. Allow me to explain to you just how far we come. your father and I were great friends back in the day, I know you are wondering how come noting that I am barely 30. You see I went to school with two of your younger brothers and a niece of yours. We always had lunch on Mondays at Jaramogi’s Milimani, Kisumu home and he was always glad to have us. I admired him a lot especially because my father almost literally worshiped him. When he died it was a huge blow to us but when you rose to take his place you filled almost every void he left in our hearts.

I have always known you as “the People’s champion” … those years you spent in detention for this country is a sacrifice that we will always cherish and appreciate. You remember I said I wrote to Kibaki and Kenyatta before but let me say if it was not for the free speech that you fought for I would not be able to do so.

Your accolades do not just end there, in 2007 when they stole your victory you sympathized with the thousands that shed their blood in the violence that followed and accepted to be a junior partner in a coalition government for the sake of peace and stability in this country.

Allow me to remind you at this juncture of the words of the former Vice President George Saitoti, words he uttered when you joined KANU. He said “there come a time when a nation is more important than an individual.” May the good Lord rest his soul in eternal peace.

That time that the good Professor talked about is a time like we are currently having in Kenya. Mr. Raila, however well your intentions are, this country is bigger that you and me.

I do not refuse the fact that we need to sit down and talk about our issues as a nation, but those talks cannot happen with ultimatums being thrown left and right. National dialogue is not about You sitting down with the president. It is about Kenyans of all walks of life sitting together – including religious leaders, civil society groups, politicians and ordinary citizens.

We got as much stake as you in where this country moves to Mr. Odinga and I humbly submit to you that you kindly reconsider your “Saba Saba” calls for the sake of this country.

We are still recovering from the effects of post-election violence and we do not want to butcher each other again. Our security is failing us as a nation but it is time you allowed the government to put it’s house in order then we can have this all-inclusive dialoge.

I could have said much but I think it is better that we deal with one thing at a time. Remember that this country will never forget your good deeds if you put if first but we will most definitely never forgive you if you take us to the dogs. How and what we remember you for is all in your hands now sir, make the right choice.

Yours Sincerely,

Another Blogger

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They derive their names from two of the world’s most powerful nations whose battle for dominance in the commercial affairs of the world has led to deep rooted mistrust.

Like the two nations, the battle between China Squad and American Marines is that of economic dominance. A battle over resources  earned from charging protection fees to small business owners in the informal settlements and public transport operators.

In addition to protection charges the gangs also offer protection services to politicians who visit Kisumu and its environs.

The American Marines group under the leadership of “Murder” (popularly refered to as General) is usually contracted to provide security to ODM politicians when they visit Kisumu while China Squad led by a guy who is only known as Boy Akoth has in the recent past been associated to providing security services to TNA politicians as well as those from its friendly parties such as Raphael Tuju’s POA.

Word on the street is that part of this battle for supremacy has everything to do with politics as the American Marines group feels that it is not benefiting from the politicians as the China Squad seem to have already netted the “juicy” TNA politicians whom are alleged to pay protection fees of upto Ksh. 2 M per day.

The two groups wrecking terror in Kisumu are offshoots of the once powerful “Bhagdad Boys” which has since been disbanded after some of it’s leaders “saw the light” while others were either gunned down or are facing long sentences at various prisons.

According to my informant from the American Marines gang, the current feud which played itself in front of police officers was sparked off by a disagreement over the sale of a vehicle which a guy called Bena (from American Marines) sold to Boy (leader of the China Squad). Bena claims not to have received the full payment and was assaulted by Boy around Tuskys Supermarket when confronted over the issue.
The group claims that when Bena went to record a statement at the police station, he was arrested instead. The American Marines group who mainly come from Nyalenda where they operate several butcheries, shops and control the tuk tuk business claims that the more affluent China Squad have the police and provincial administration in their pockets due to their close relations with people in government.

My source tells me that their rivals are more organized than they are. Their gang is somewhat like a religion with “General” as their spiritual leader. Most of their members do not have a say in the gang and what the “General” says is treated like a decree from god.

“American Marines is not even an organized group. We only started calling ourselves that after the conflict started between one of our friends and the leader of the China group which was already existing before the conflict,” he explains

“We called ourselves American Marines because America is a bigger super power considered to China,” he continued.

The two groups have no distinct areas of operation and in some cases you might find them existing side by side. The American Marines group however draws most of its membership from Nyalenda where their spiritual leader resides and owns small businesses while China Squad mainly operate at the Kisumu Bus Park and control the Kondele, Manyatta and Kenya-Re routes.

On Sunday 23rd September, members of the American Marines gang allegedly destroyed the perimeter fence of a private property in Milimani and not even a track load of AP officers could stop them. The gang was said to have been expressing their displeasure over the alleged assault of their Spiritual leader in Nairobi when he attended the AFC/ Gor Mahia match at Kasarani.

Now organized gangs are not a new thing in Kenya. For several years we have had gangs coming up close to electioneering periods and being used by politicians to silence their opponents. How long this trend will be allowed to go on is something that all of us must be worried about.

Previously there was the notorious Baghdad Boys of Kondele operating in Kisumu, though they have since somewhat quieted down the emergence of these new gangs opposing each other in the same town if not nabbed at this early point will end up tearing this town apart.

More on the gangs coming up…  

This post was quoted in the standard newspaper click here to read the entire article