Tuesday, August 31, 2010




Govt to conduct census for Kenyans with albinism

Robinson Simiyu Mkwama, the Kitale watchman who was to be sold to witchdoctors in Tanzania. Government has heeded to a request by persons with albinism in Kenya and plans to conduct a national survey to determine their current population. FREDERICK KATULANDA | NATION

Posted Tuesday, August 31 2010 at 18:33

The Government has heeded to a request by persons with albinism in Kenya and plans to conduct a national survey to determine their current population.

Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya said on Tuesday the Ministry was unable to include a special code for the albinos in the just concluded national population and Housing survey as their petition had come late.

The census results do not therefore include figures to show their current number.

But Mr Oparanya told Parliament the Ministry has taken note of their concerns and was planning to have a special census using the provincial administration.

The albinos through the Albinism Society in Kenya had petitioned the Government on several issues including the national census which they said would help in proper planning of their needs.

The parliamentary Committee on Equal Opportunities has recently questioned the State’s commitment to the protection of albinos and urged the Government to commission a national headcount of people with albinism to determine their exact population.

Parliament last year discussed a petition presented on behalf of the albinos by Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa on measures the Government should adopt to protect them.

Mr Oparanya Tuesday acknowledged the petition saying it was meant to cater for the fundamental rights of the albinos and protect them from ritual killings, discrimination in employment and other problems including total waiver of duty on their skin products such as sunscreens lotions.

He said the council of persons with disability was in the process of proposing amendments to the Disability Act to cater for the special rights of the albinos.

On sunscreens, he said the Finance Ministry has indicated concern on the matter and will soon give details of the agreed policy.

He urged political parties to put in consideration the albinos so that they can nominate one among their nominees to Parliament.

The Minister urged the albinism society to strongly lobby parties to ensure consideration and inclusion.

Mr Wamawa urged the Government to act within a given timeframe to give waivers on sunscreen lotions for the albinos.

UK to help Kenya in joint effort against graft

Kenya anti-corruption commission director Prof Patrick Lumumba addresses a press conference after a meeting with the British High Commissioner to Kenya Rob Macaire (left) at Integrity Centre in Nairobi, August 31, 2010. PHOEBE OKALL | NATION

Posted Tuesday, August 31 2010 at 16:14

Assets stolen from Kenya and stashed in the UK could be recovered in fresh efforts by the two governments.

While Kenya vowed to crack harder on corrupt individuals, the UK Government pledged to help in seizing wealth hidden in its jurisdiction and have it returned.

Anti-graft boss Patrick Lumumba and UK High Commissioner Rob Macaire agreed on the measures after a meeting at the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters on Tuesday.

Besides money stolen from public coffers being wired out of Kenya, corruption networks thrive through shady companies registered locally and abroad.

Prof Lumumba said: “Corruption entails moneys being taken away from our country and being kept in foreign countries and one of the obvious choices for many people engaged in corruption is the UK.”

“The High Commissioner has reiterated to us that his country and relevant organisations within his country are ready and willing to work with us,” he added.

On his part the envoy said the UK would like to see the anti-graft body take to court individuals involved in many unresolved corruption cases.

Besides working with the government agencies, the envoy said his government would involve the society in the fight against corruption.

Visa bans, in which corruption suspects are barred from entering the UK, he said would also be applied.

“We’ll try to crackdown illegally obtained assets, seize them, even return them to Kenya. That’s an area which we had some success in respect of other countries but sadly not yet in Kenya’s case. But it’s an area we have managed to do quite a lot in recent years,” said Mr Macaire.

“We’ve put in more resources trying to do that. We would like to see that move forward in Kenya so that we can act on asset seizure,” he added.

The High Commissioner was hopeful the promulgation of the Constitution and new leadership at KACC would ensure the fight against graft would move up to new levels.

“There are also criminal cases we would like to see brought to prosecution in Kenya with close cooperation with the authorities in the UK. ” he said.

In one of corruption cases an estimated Sh170 million for the free primary education was lost and Prof Lumumba promised to ensure senior ministry of Education officials, would have their day in court.

“The embezzlement was a very sad thing. There have been prosecutions of low level officers. Investigations are going at an advanced stage. We don’t want to engage in drama where you take people to court because there is political pressure. When you go to court you are convinced you can mount credible evidence,” he said.

The scandal caused the UK, which funded part of the education programme through the Department of International Development (DFID), to suspend its contribution.

Mr Macaire said his government had given 50 million pounds (Sh 6.2 billion) over six years to fund it.

“From our point of view we would not be able to go back to the funding through the government unless a number of conditions are met,” he said.

The UK opted to send contribution directly to schools, but has not been done because a system has not been put in place.

Cut off unlisted lines, phone firms ordered

As at August 25, about five million lines had not been registered. Photo/MICHAEL MUTE
Posted Tuesday, August 31 2010 at 17:22

The government has directed all mobile phone operators to deactivate all SIM cards that have not been registered, in a move aimed at curbing crime.

Information minister Samuel Poghisio used the Kenya Communications Act 2009, Section 23, which requires operators to have a directory, to direct operators to struck-off their network all users who will not have registered their SIM cards.

According to Mr Poghisio, the operators have until September 15 to compile their data, and after that all the four operators Safaricom, Orange, Zain and Yu will be required to have the directories in place.

He said that there are some pieces of the legislation that have been sent to the Attorney General for Miscellaneous Amendments.

According to statistics from the industry regulator—the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), and based on operator returns, as at August 25, about 15.3 millions lines had been registered out of the total 20.3 subscribers in Kenya, representing 75 per cent.

This number is expected to have materially changed by August 31 as more traffic was expected as subscribers tried to beat the deadline set by CCK.

Zain Kenya, out of the 2.08 million subscribers that were on its network by August 25, 1, about 1.39 million had registered, which represented 67 per cent success rate.

The industry’s fourth operator Essar Telecom Kenya Ltd which trades as Yu had enrolled about 445,000 from a total of 1.5 million, returning the lowest rate of registration of 30 per cent.

Telkom Kenya’s Orange brand, had registered about 250,000 users out of half a million, which is 50 per cent.

Market leader in subscriber numbers and revenue, Safaricom Ltd, with 16.2 million subscribers had registered 13.2 million lines, 81 per cent.

This means as at August 25, about five million lines had not been registered.

However, Information Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo said that practically most subscribers have registered, considering the fact that many have multiple SIM cards.

CCK director-general Mr Charles Njoroge, said, "this is not optional, all operators must cooperate. It is expected that all lines in the operators’ systems will have been registered, those not will have to be blacklisted. This is part of the requirement in their returns”

He said that the systems will be programmed in such a way that after August 15, all unregistered lines will automatically be deactivated.

South Africa, Cameroun, Tanzania and Nigeria have also carried out SIM card registrations.

In the South Africa exercise, one operator, Vodacom lost at least 1 million subscribers - that is, one million casual users were disconnected.

In Kenya, especially thinking of handsets promotions (buy a handset and get a line free + 100 airtime, there are quite a number of unused lines.

Mr Francis Hook the regional manager for IDC East Africa, in an earlier interview said the migratory users who have three SIMs in their purse/wallet and one in their handset and now must be compelled to decide who is their “true love”… or register all lines) – across all networks, this may result in a loss of at least 2 million subscribers.

This, he says may end up reducing overall “penetration” considerably, at least by 8-12 per cent.

The government had extended the exercise that was scheduled to end on July 31, due to what Dr Ndemo, termed as 'logistical difficulties’, however, now it is determined to crack-down criminals who use mobile phones to commit crime.

Kenya defends Bashir's visit

Written By:Catherine Achienga , Posted: Tue, Aug 31, 2010

The government's commitment to cooperate with the Intrnational Criminal Court to prosecute post election violence suspects was put to question in parliament Tuesday as legislators faulted its move to invite Sudan President Omar El Bashir for the promulgation ceremony on Friday.

In the government's defense, Minister for Foreign Affairs Moses however said despite been a signatory to the Rome statute Kenya has an obligation to honor a resolution by the African Union as a member state.

The AU in January 2009 passed a resolution not to cooperate with the ICC's warrant of arrest on Bashir. and reiterated the same at the heads of state's meeting in Kampala last month until it receives a response from the UN Security Council seeking to defer the arrest warrant against the sitting president for one year.

While reading a statement supporting Kenya's failure to take action against Bashir in parliament, Wetangula expressed regret that the UN Security Council has never adhered to its request while taking issue with the international community for lashing out at Kenya in an attempt to coerce the government to ignore its obligations to the AU.

Wetangula pointed out that by isolating Bashir Kenya which played a key role in brokering peace in Sudan would be jeopardizing the gains made so far towards the completion of the Sudan peace process which is vital to the region's peace and pouring cold water on the CPA agreement which comes to an end in a referendum next year.

He also dispelled allegations that Bashir sneaked into the country on Friday saying he landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after which he inspected a guard of honor before being driven to Uhuru Park, the venue of the celebrations.

Wetangula told a heated parliament that Bashir's visit to Kenya had prompted a meeting between the president and his two vice presidents held on Monday during which several resolutions were arrived at.

This he said included the holding of the Sudan referendum on the date fixed in January 2011, as well as the removal of all impeding barriers facing the referendum commissions and the demarcation of north and south border before the referendum.

Kenyan police implicated in mega scam

Written By:KBC reporters , Posted: Tue, Aug 31, 2010

Police have been accused of colluding with the management of Harambee Sacco to cover up financial impropriety and squander of members contribution to the giant saving co-operative society.

Attorney General Amos Wako said there was clear indication of police culpability while investigating the fraud that has been going on in the Sacco for years now.

Wako said police and the management of the Sacco have been playing a game of musical chairs to cover up looting.

While admitting that the management of the Sacco had grossly misappropriated members' contributions, Wako said he had ordered a forensic audit to be conducted on the Sacco and those involved be prosecuted.

He said vital documents detailing the extent of the rot at the Sacco have either been destroyed or hidden to scuttle investigations into the matter.

MPs however wondered why there has been no action taken on the Sacco's central management committee which they said was behaving as if it was much too powerful to be touched.

The legislators claimed that a letter written to Members of Parliament by some members of the Sacco had indicted the minister of co-operative development for not taking action against the committee despite being informed of the matter while those who blew the whistle in the mega corruption have been sacked from the Sacco.

Speaker Kenneth Marende ordered the relevant committee of parliament to further interrogate the matter and report back to parliament their findings within 21 days.

Meanwhile parliament was on Tuesday told that some duty free shops at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will have to go.

Transport minister Amos Kimunya said reconfiguration of the Airport was underway to pave way for passengers' waiting lounges and some of the shops had to be done away with.

Kimunya said operators whose leases had not expired would be refunded their money and no new leases would be signed as the airport moved to modernization.

Nominated MP Musikari Kombo who had sought to know why there were shops all over the airport wondered why the duty free shops all selling the same items were allocated to one person.

Kombo also sought to know if the said individual was holding the shops in proxy.

Kimunya said the business of the airport was not to lease out shops but to cater for passengers entering or transiting the country through the airport.

The duty free shops Kimunya admitted were allocated to one person who then subcontracted them to other individuals.

African Union defends Bashir visit to Kenya

Written By:Doreen Apollos , Posted: Tue, Aug 31, 2010

Caption: President Mwai Kibaki (L) meets Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir (R) at the promulgation of the New Constitution at the Uhuru Park grounds on Friday. Photo Reuters

The African Union has defended Kenya's decision not to comply with the International Criminal Court's warrant of arrest issued against Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir when he came to Nairobi for the new constitution's promulgation ceremony.

In a statement printed in local dailies, next to a similar one by the government, the African Union faulted the ICC for failing to recognise that African countries were obligated to the union's resolution not to cooperate with the court on the matter after the court ignored the union's request to defer Bashir's trial by one year.

The government on its part stated that whereas it is obligated to the ICC, Kenya has a legitimate interest in ensuring peace and stability in Sudan and the region.

The African Union sought to vindicate Kenya and Chad from blame over the presence in those countries of Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir, who the International Criminal Court wants arrested.

In a statement issued from its headquarters in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, the African Union said the ICC had erred in turning a blind eye on the obligations of member states to the AU's decision made in January 2009 and reiterated at the Heads of state's meeting in Kampala last month not to cooperate with the ICC's warrant of arrest on Bashir.

The statement said in part: "Thus, the decisions adopted by the AU policy organs are binding on Chad and Kenya and it will be wrong to coerce them to violate or disregard their obligations to the African Union."

The AU's request to the UN Security Council to defer the proceedings against Bashir for one year for the purposes of striking balance between peace and justice went unanswered.

The AU also maintained the need for Kenya as an IGAD member state and a guarantor to the peace process in Sudan, to continue engaging peacefully with the Sudanese president on the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement and impending referendum.

The statements by both the AU and Kenya further lashed out countries who are members of the UN Security Council, for being quick to condemn Kenya yet some of them have failed to subscribe to the Rome Statute.

Top Kenyan Comedians to Perform in Stockholm

Written By:Irene Muchuma/KSB , Posted: Tue, Aug 31, 2010

Caption: The Comedians are known for their performance at the Vioja Mahakamani show featured on KBC

Two of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation comedians have won a trip to Sweden to represent Africa in this year's Stockholm International Comedy Festival between 2nd and 4th September.

Mr. Peter Sangale, popularly known as 'Olexander Josphat' and Mr. Matayo Keya Msagani aka 'Makokha' of Vioja Mahakamani programme will join 98 other comedians from around the world.

The comedians left for Sweden Tuesday morning aboard a Kenya airways flight which agreed to upgrade their tickets from economy to business class as an honor for the two who are the only ones representing Africa in the event.

On 2nd September the two comedians will work with Dustin Chafin from the United States and André Jerman from Norway on the same evening at Norra Brunn at 21.00 hrs.

On 3rd September, the Kenyans will work with Babben and Shazia Mirza from the United Kingdom at 22.00 hrs at Södra teatern.

On 4th September, the Kenyans will work with Dustin Chafin, Ismo Leikola from Finland, Ruperto Vanderpo (USA) and Colin Kane (USA) at Södra teatern.

The following is the specific schedule of the performances:

Södra Teatern 2nd Sept at 19.00

Norra Brunn 2nd Sept at 21.00

Södra Teatern 3rd Sept at 22.00

Södra Teatern 4th Sept at 18.00

Kenyan president arrives for COMESA summit

Written By:PPS , Posted: Tue, Aug 31, 2010

Caption: President Kibaki is received by King Mswati III on arrival for the 14th COMESA summit of Heads of State and Government.

President Mwai Kibaki is in Ezulwini, Swaziland to attend the 14th COMESA summit of Heads of State and Government.

The plane carrying President Kibaki and his entourage touched down at Matsapha International airport shortly before 4.00 p.m. local time on Monday and he was warmly received by senior Swazi Government officials led by Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini and the Kenyan High Commissioner to South Africa Tom Amolo who is also accredited to the Kingdom of Swaziland.

The Kenyan delegation to the 14 COMESA summit include Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula and his Trade counterpart Chirau Ali Makwere, and the Kenyan High Commissioner to Zambia who is also the Permanent Representative to COMESA Amb. Dr. Kipyego Cheluget.

The summit whose theme is 'Harnessing Science and Technology for Development', officially opens Tuesday and will examine developments on the regional integration agenda, including progress towards full implementation of the Comesa Customs Union.

This year's COMESA summit will also examine the tripartite cooperation between Comesa-East African Community-Southern African Development Community, and how the region can enhance the use of science and technology for the benefit of its people.

During the Summit, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is expected to hand over the chairmanship of COMESA to His Majesty King Mswati III.

COMESA, whose current membership stands at 19 countries with a combined population of over 400 million people, has an annual import bill of US$ 32 billion against an export bill of US$82 billion.

To spur growth, COMESA's strategy is economic prosperity through regional integration.

UK to freeze assets of Kenya’s graft lords


NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31- The UK government said on Tuesday that it would start tracking down and repossessing illegally acquired assets that are kept in the United Kingdom.

Mr Macaire who was speaking after a meeting with the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) Director Patrick Lumumba argued that the measure would go a long way towards mitigating corruption in Kenya.

He also maintained that Britain was still keen on seeing those behind the Free Primary School Education scandal brought to book.

“That’s an area in which we’ve had success in other countries but sadly not yet in Kenya. It is an area where we have managed to do quite a lot in recent years and have put in a lot of resources but we want to see that move forward with regards to Kenya so that we can really act on asset seizure,” he said.

He further said that Britain would also continue denying visas to Kenyans who had been convicted or suspected of unlawful acts.

“We will continue giving the people of this country our support in fighting corruption and that includes excluding from the UK people associated with high level corruption,” he said.

Dr Lumumba said that the KACC had already engaged the office of serious frauds in the UK which had agreed to assist Kenya in fighting graft.

“And corruption involves taking monies that have been wrongly acquired and keeping them in foreign accounts. One of the countries of choice is the UK which has also promised to work with us and they are already working with us to deal with some of the ongoing cases,” he said.

He further noted that the new constitution would assist in fighting corruption as it put in places appropriate checks and balances.

“This organisation (KACC) can only become stronger and other support organizations such as the Judiciary, the Office of the Attorney General and that of the Director of Public Prosecutions will also be useful as we move forward,” he said.

He also announced that the anti graft body was finalizing its findings on the education sector scandal and would soon make an announcement to that effect.

“Investigations are going on and they are at a very advanced stage. But we still don’t want to engage in drama where you take people to court because there is political pressure. I think there is wisdom in ensuring that you have credible evidence and that is a case that is receiving the highest priority,” he said.

Although he declined to give a time line within which the findings would be announced, Dr Lumumba said the matter was being handled with urgency.

“It is always dangerous to bind oneself with specific time frames. It is unwise to do so but we will deal with it with speed,” he said.

Kenya makes case for Sudan at COMESA meet


EZULWINI, Swaziland, Aug 31 - President Mwai Kibaki has appealed to the international community to appreciate the delicate situation of Sudan and act proactively instead of isolating the people of Sudan.

Addressing the 14th COMESA summit of Heads of State and Government which opened at Ezulwini in Swaziland on Tuesday, President Kibaki emphasized that the people of Sudan should be encouraged to play their rightful role in the community of nations.

“It is my wish that the international community would appreciate the delicate situation of Sudan and act proactively. We should not isolate the people of Sudan,” President Kibaki said.

Noting that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is at a critical stage, the President also called on all COMESA member states to support and encourage the people of Sudan to resolve the outstanding issues in the CPA amicably as they prepare to hold a referendum in January next year.

Said the President: “A number of important milestones including the issues of border demarcation, among others have not yet been addressed.”

The Head of State, however, applauded the Sudan leaders for agreeing to work together for a peaceful and prosperous country, saying so far positive achievements have been realized, most notably being the recent general elections.

On volatile peace and security in the Horn of Africa, President Kibaki urged COMESA members to play a more active role in support of AU and IGAD’s efforts to restore peace in Somalia.

The President pointed out that the lack of a reliable and stable government in Somalia has immensely contributed to the growth of insurgent militant groups in as well as the emergence of piracy along the Indian Ocean coastline.

In this regard, President Kibaki commended the recent decisions taken by the IGAD member states both in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and in Kampala, Uganda to give priority to the Somalia peace and security issues.

The President stressed that peace and security should be given priority in the region particularly this time when Africa commemorates the year of peace and security.

“As we look ahead, we need to give priority to peace and security as a cornerstone for development and our regional integration endeavours,” he said.

Underlining the importance infrastructure in regional development, President Kibaki said Kenya is ready to host the regional infrastructure conference that will mobilize resources for the development of the Northern and Central Corridors.

The President said his Government is already working with the COMESA secretariat to ensure that the important regional infrastructure conference scheduled to be held in Nairobi in October this year succeeds.

“Following the successful North-South Corridor Infrastructure Conference held in Lusaka in April last year, a second conference of its kind for the Northern and Central Corridors will be held in my country in October this year,” President Kibaki said.

President Kibaki expressed satisfaction that COMESA is working in harmony with SADC and the EAC and has come up with priority investment projects to address the challenges the region faces in infrastructure, energy, transport and telecommunications that has affected the region’s competitiveness due to the high cost of doing business.

The Head of State said his Government will also continue to support the efforts by the EAC, COMESA and SADC to pursue the attainment of a grand Tripartite Free Trade Area, as the region works towards a United Africa.

President Kibaki said Kenya takes pride in having remained a dedicated member of COMESA from the time of its formation as a Preferential Trade Area to the present day.

He reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to giving impetus to the customs union process by implementing COMESA programmes and giving the necessary support to the Secretary General and his team.

“We look forward to increased and shared prosperity for our region,” the Head of State said.

Saying the theme of this year’s COMESA summit ‘Harnessing Science and Technology for Development’ is relevant to the region’s development endeavours, the President said his Government is aware of the critical role of science and technology in economic growth and has implemented a wide range of measures intended to promote science and technology.

President Kibaki pointed out that one sector in which science and technology has played a key role in generating employment and wealth as well as reducing the cost of doing business in Kenya is the Information and Communication Technology sector.

In this connection, the President cited the mobile telephony money transfer “M-Pesa” that currently has over 10 million users as an example of innovations developed by Kenyans that has enabled the unbanked in the country to conduct financial transactions in the rural and urban areas using mobile telephones.
“These transactions include money transfer, payment of utility bills and mobile banking, just to name a few,” the President said.

President Kibaki added that the Kenyan experience has demonstrated that scientific and technological innovations can contribute enormously to national development.

He, therefore, said COMESA member states must mainstream science and technology especially in agricultural and industrial production for rapid and sustainable economic development, saying more investment is required in technology related to infrastructure for water and irrigation.

Said President Kibaki: “We can also do so by adopting new and modern methods of farming, including improving our traditional agriculture through innovations such as modern organic farming. It is also critical that we develop our own industries for producing fertilizer and other agricultural inputs.”

The President, at the same time, reported to the summit that Kenya recently launched the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy and signed the comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme under COMESA that are geared towards boosting agricultural production.

“I wish to propose that we commit ourselves to report progress made and the tangible impacts that have resulted from this programme in our next summit in Malawi,” President Kibaki said.

During the occasion, King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland took over the chairmanship of COMESA from Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.

In his acceptance speech, King Mswati urged COMESA member states to work together in coming up with practical solutions to address the economic challenges facing the region.

The King emphasised that COMESA member states should frequently exchange scientific and technological ideas with a view to boosting agricultural production and promoting regional development.

On his part, President Mugabe said COMESA member states must take deliberate steps to make the COMESA Customs Union deliver benefits to their respective citizens.

“It is our pledge to all people of the region that we will deliver a life free of strife and ensure good health, decent housing and good roads,” President Mugabe.

Other speakers included Malawi’s President Bingu Wa Mutharika who assumed the Vice-Chairmanship of COMESA, Seychelles’ Vice-President Danny Faure, African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping and World Trade Organisation Director General Pascal Lamy among others.

Kenya enlists help to implement new law


NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31- Prime Minister Raila Odinga is now calling on the international community to assist Kenya in implementing the new Constitution.

Mr Odinga who was speaking during a farewell party for United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka on Tuesday affirmed that the government was fully committed to the obligations made by the new laws.

He said the international community could help Kenya develop a plan for broad-based engagement of all key stakeholders around the transition and implementation phases.

“Many different disciplines may ultimately be called upon in support of constitutional transition. Kenya can certainly do with some support in the form of substantive expertise in state restructuring,” he said.

The PM further proposed that United Nations organs together with other bilateral bodies provide advisory services to the Government and Parliament to help the country beat its deadlines.

He explained that the transition process would herald major changes for Kenyans especially with the devolved governance structures.

“Kenyans have voted for a radically transformed system of governance that they feel will address their fears. Kenya has remained a thoroughly centralised system and embracing the new constitution means ushering in new systems,” he said.

Mr Odinga added that there was need for the government to embark on civic education to sensitise Kenyans on the steps that would be taken to bring the laws into full effect.

“We need to teach citizens about the newly adopted document and the process of implementing it. There is also need for us to embark on civic education on the rule of law if the new constitution is to make a difference in our lives,” he said.

Dr Tibaijuka, who has been replaced by former Barcelona mayor Dr Joan Clos, further commended Kenyans for passing the new Constitution saying they had set an example for the rest of Africa.

“When I was on the commission for Africa I argued for constitutional legitimacy and I insisted that Africans need to discuss their constitutions. If we are going to broker enduring peace and prosperity, we must also agree on the ideological hegemony,” she said.

She added that Africans must not lose their thirst for new laws: “Constitution making is never an easy exercise so what Kenya has accomplished is great.”

Dr Tibaijuka also said that she was fully prepared to join a political career. “I was in Tanzania campaigning and I am proud to say that after winning the primaries with 71 percent of the votes, I am now the unchallenged candidate for Muleba South constituency,” she said adding that she would on Wednesday be sworn in as the area Member of Parliament.

She also thanked her colleagues and donors for the support they had accorded her while she worked for the UN-Habitat.

Dr Tibaijuka is the first African woman to be elected in the United Nations General Assembly as Under Secretary of a United Nations programme.

She served for eight years at UN-Habitat and is remembered for her efforts in promoting water and sanitation in slum areas.

There will always be resistance to change


The NHIF saga has undoubtedly been the most talked about public interest matter in the recent past. Both the print and the electronic media have given the matter extensive coverage over the past few weeks since the infamous or so it seems, move by the NHIF board to gazette the new tariffs.

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions and the Federation of Kenya Employers as expected have been at the forefront in a spirited campaign to halt implementation of the new tariffs and to show they mean business; they went a step further and instituted a court case against the NHIF. To the general public this may just be another one of those tides that come along every so often and is bound to pass but to me and some people I suppose, I see these events to be of serious significance and there is need to look at the matter from all angles to demystify the significance of these events and the timing.

In recent times and in our quest to get a new Constitution we experienced some hurdles emanating substantially from a section of the political class and the clergy who seemed to have some interests which were at variance with a majority of the voters if the results of the referendum are anything to go by.

Unlike in most cases where many a conflict are borne out of the failure of one of the parties to admit the ingenuity of being wrong; in political tussles both parties may actually be right and much that may be of substance may be said on both sides. It is for the electorate to decide which side seems more consonant with its needs to make the appropriate decision.

Back to the matter at hand, it has been argued that the new rates of NHIF contributions are unjustified and would only serve to add an additional burden to the taxpayer. It is a fact that citizens have never welcomed any prospect of increased taxation. In fact, if the subject were to be put to a forum many would be at variance as to what actually constitutes a tolerable tax level.

It is also a fact that for a government to meet its obligations, it needs resources and such resources can only be obtained from the citizens.

Collectivism is a feature that is common to all societies the world over in any quest to implement meaningful change. Our pre independence fathers had this tradition deeply entrenched in their minds and it was passed on from generation to generation.

Whenever there was scarcity of resources or events afflicting the society in general; society came together to foster solutions that sought to ensure greater unity and harmony for the society as opposed to conflict.

Interdependence and sharing was a feature that was evident in all African societies. Every individual had the responsibility to be his brother’s keeper and the duty to contribute to society for the common good was in every individual’s psyche. The founders of our nation sought to ensure continuity of these values by seeking to peg the country’s development aspirations on the concepts and philosophy of African socialism.

Although in their aspiration they may have fallen by the wayside and adopted a more capitalist individualist approach to social development, these deeply entrenched values still ring aloud in our minds.

Reforms in this country have been hard to come by. Healthcare reforms, the issue at hand has not escaped the adversity of the anti reformers. Despite statistics showing that there is a high incidence of unequal distribution of social services in general resulting in exclusion of certain population sectors, the anti reform crusade has largely taken root and has proven to be a real hurdle.

A recent International Finance Corporation/World Bank report indicated that people in sub Saharan Africa have the worst health on average in the world. The region has 11 percent of the world’s population and 24 percent of the global disease burden and lacks the infrastructure to provide even basic healthcare to its people.

The IFC report, The Business of health in Africa: partnering with the private sector to improve people’s lives says spending on health in Sub Saharan Africa is set to double over the next five years. Somebody has to shoulder these additional costs. The last time the NHIF rates were revised in Kenya if my recollection serves me right was in 1989. At the time and throughout this period until recently the NHIF has largely been ineffective in improving accessibility to healthcare for the masses.

The small resource base could only carter for Hospital bed admission costs which in the grand spectrum account for very little of the overall cost of healthcare. The NHIF has since launched an ambitious benefits package that almost guarantees unlimited outpatient and substantial inpatient coverage to its contributors. Individuals will be required to contribute at least Sh150 and at most Sh2,000 to be guaranteed unlimited outpatient coverage for the individual and family.

It is now partnering with stakeholders such as the care givers to ensure greater access through accreditation. Significant milestones if I were to be asked, for which the NHIF should be lauded. I still insist someone has to shoulder this burden and it has to be Kenyans. The argument of increased taxation should be looked at afresh.

Taxation as a means for sourcing and consolidating revenue for government expenditure has been practiced for generations. It was introduced to us during colonialism and is here with us to date. The mechanisms involved in government budgeting and speculating on revenue for public expenditure are a feature of modern day economies.

Government revenue expenditure forecasts are determined by economists employed by government. There are no guarantees revenue allocations for specific objectives actually get to be applied for earmarked projects. We are yet to attain that level of efficiency and probity in public resource management. To constitute a fund such as the NHIF that provides for a direct channeling of earmarked funds to its specific resource fund directly from the contributors serves to lessen the burden and improbity that government budgeting and resource disbursement may present.

The problem with the current Kenyan society is that both the political class and civil service have become so institutionalized in maintaining the status quo out of fear of change and its implications to their status and well being as individuals that they have become recalcitrant to change.

The NHIF is a statutory body that only seeks to fulfill its statutory mandate. It does not act suo moto (on its own). All its stakeholders are meant to participate in decision making. Concerted efforts were made by the legislature to ensure that all possible stakeholders are included in decision making. This is the era of collective policy formulation and decision making in affairs of government.

This is our moment to venture into the unknown. Change and chance are one in our national mood.

(The writer is s public health specialist - charles.maringo@gmail.com)

Some Kenya Census results nullified


NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – Census results in eight districts have been cancelled due to inconsistencies in expected numbers. Most of the affected districts are in North Eastern province and Turkana.

Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya who released the results of the August census at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre named the districts as Lagdera, Wajir East, Mandera Central, Mandera East and Mandera West, all of which are in North Eastern Province which borders lawless Somalia.

Download the full results released by Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya on Tuesday morning.

Other districts affected are Turkana Central, Turkana North and Turkana South near the Kakuma refugee camp.

“After the analysis and evaluation, Lagdera (district) has 245,123 people, Wajir East 224, 418, Mandera Central 417, 294, Mandera East 288, 687 and Mandera West 319, 775,” My Oparanya said.

He added: “Other districts affected are Turkana Central (254, 606), Turkana North (374, 414) and Turkana South (226, 379).

He said that the inconsistencies were discovered after an analysis was done following the census in August 2009.

“The rate of increase is higher than the population dynamics. If you look at birth and death rates, they cannot support those figures. Age and sex profiles also deviate from the norm,” The Planning Minister said.

He said they found that the number of men was higher than that of women by three times. “In those areas, we were wondering how men above 35 stay without women. In most cases, there is a balance of 50-50 or women are slightly higher.”

He said that the household size was also not consistent with the population size. “If there is a population growth, you expect households to increase.

The per capita per house is very high and the number of households very few,” Mr Oparanya said.

Population is 38 600 000


NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – The population of Kenya has hit 38.6 million according to the much awaited results of the Population and Housing Census conducted in August last year.

This compares with about 30 million Kenyans in 1999, when the last census was carried out.

Download the full results here.

Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya has released the ethnic tally that places Kikuyu as the most populous tribe.

1. Kikuyu 6,622,576
2. Luhya 5,338,666
3. Kalenjin 4,967,328
4. Luo 4,044,440
5. Kamba 3,893,157
6. Kenyan Somali (nullified awaiting recount) 2,385,572
7. Kisii 2,205,669
8. Mijikenda 1,960,574
9. Meru 1,658,108
10. Turkana (also to be recounted) 988,592
11. Maasai 841,622
12. Teso 338,833

Mr Oparanya said the least populous tribes are:

Embu 324,092
Taita 273,519
Kuria 560,401
Samburu 237,179
Tharaka 175,905
Mbeere 168,155
Borana 161,399
Suba 139,271
Swahili 110,614
Gabra 89,519
Orma 66,275
Rendille 60,437The country’s total population has now hit 38, 610, 097 with the number of men and women standing at 19 million each.

The results released on Tuesday by Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya showed that there were 19, 192, 458 men in Kenya against a population of 19,417, 639 women dispelling previous assertions the ratio was 1 to 3.

The Minister said the census conducted on the night of August 24 and 25 denoted an increase of 10 million people from the previous survey carried out in 1999 when there were 28.7 million people.

“Currently, Kenya is adding one million people yearly to its already high population,” the Minister said and added: “This high rate of population growth has adverse effects on spending in infrastructure, health, education, environment, water and other social and economic sectors.”

He said the trend of the population increase called for an immediate increase in education investments by the government to meet the demands of the growing school age population and the demand for future manpower.

In addition, he said, critical investment would be required in family planning services, health and other social and economic sectors to improve the welfare of Kenyans.

Results for some eight districts in North Eastern and Turkana were however, cancelled due to inconsistencies.

They include Lagdera, Wajir East, Mandera Central, Mandera East and Mandera West, all of which are in North Eastern Province which borders the lawless Somalia.

Other districts affected include Turkana Central, Turkana North and Turkana South near the Kakuma refugee camp.

The Minister said an investigation had been launched to establish circumstances that led to the inconsistencies reported in the districts.

“We expect the ratio of female male to be about 50:50 in some areas, but we were surprised the ratio was three times. There were more men than women, almost three times than women. So we thought something was wrong,” the Minister said.

He said the anomaly was discovered when statisticians analysed the ages of people in those areas to establish the difference between the results of 2009 and in 1999.

"We analysed ages of people and realised that the men were three times than the female, and you know those communities are polygamous, so we discovered that there was a serious problem,” he said.

The Minister revealed that an investigation had been launched to establish the real cause of the anomaly to establish if people from another country had filled the gap or if enumerators had interfered with results from those areas.

“That is what we think but I have engaged the Provincial Administration and we are really going to investigate up to the household level, and if we find that someone was involved in falsifying the figures action will be taken,” he warned.

In the census results released on Tuesday, Rift Valley Province was the most densely populated with 10 million people followed by Eastern Province with 5.6 million people and Nyanza Province which has 5.4 people.

Central and Western Provinces have 4.3 million people each while Coast has 3.3 million people.

Nairobi Province has 3.1 million people while North Eastern Province has 2.3 million people.

Census per tribe

The results show that members of the Kikuyu community are the majority in the country at 6.6 million people followed by the Luhya community which has 5.3 million people.

There are 4.9 million members of the Kalenjin community, 4 million Luos, 3.8 million Kambas and 2.3 million Kenyan-Somalis.

Kisii’s are 2.2 million, Mijikenda 1.9 million, Meru 1.6 million while Turkanas are 988, 592.

Maasai’s are 841, 622 while Teso’s are 338, 833.






Parliament to go on 3-week break

Bashir Row Continues

Treni Ya Zamani

2010 Secondary School Games Review

Laana Ya Familia

2010 Secondary School Games Review

Dual Citizenship

Hesabu Ya Watu

Sharp divisions in govt over Bashir visit

Industrial court suspends new NHIF charges

Former ODM parliamentary aspirant is dead

South Mugirango parliamentary candidate Ibrahim Ochoi of ODM and Water minister Charity Ngilu at a campaign meeting. The constituency’s by-election was held in June. Photo/JACKLINE MORAA

Posted Monday, August 30 2010 at 18:11

Former ODM South-Mugirango parliamentary aspirant Ibrahim Ochoi is dead - three months after staging an ambitious bid for the seat.

Ochoi finished third in the June by-elections behind Manson Nyamweya (Ford People) and Omingo Magara (PDM).

" I find this hard to believe and to accept. As a party, the Orange Democratic Movement has lost a politician of great promise. The people of South Mugirango and the country have equally lost a man who held a lot of promise for our people," Prime Minister Raila Odinga said in statement.

Census and the question of tribe

By Biketi Kikechi and Ally Jamah

Kenyans will today be given the withheld results of 2009 national population census, but one fact is already generating heat - the clustering of the results into tribes and numbers.

The release by Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya, coming hot on the heels of the promulgation of the new Constitution, breaks the rule of the last census in 1999 in which the State did away with tribal clustering.

However, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics yesterday said this year, Kenyans will be told how many they are in terms of tribes, a fact criticised by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC).

The wisdom of this decision may raise questions because of the proximity of 2012 elections, the ugly spectre of 2007’s disputed election and subsequent ethnic violence, as well as the fact that in last year’s counting exercise Kenyans had been told they reserved the right not to tell the enumerators their tribes.

"We know that information about tribe and religion is attracting controversy, but we urge Kenyans to interpret the information positively and responsibly," said KNBS’s Director of Population and Social Statistics Dr Collins Opiyo.

The last census held in 1999 did not reveal information on the two issues, while in the 1989 census, which was curiously released five years late, amid controversy and claims of manipulation, Kenyans had been broken down into ethnic groups.

In 1989, the Kikuyu community was listed as the most populous with 4.5 million (20 per cent) followed by Luhya with 3.08 million at 15 per cent, Luo 2.7 million at13 per cent, Kalenjin 2.5 million at 11.6 percent, and Kamba at 2.4 million or 11.5 per cent of the national tally.

The national debate on the 2009 census will also be characterised by questions on why it took the State a year to release the figures. This is because when the results were withheld last year, speculation went round they could have been held back for ‘doctoring’ because of some surprise growth in the number of certain communities — which in Kenya’s political arena has implications on elections.

The 1989 and 1999 census indicate that the country’s population has been growing by about 10 million annually, and the same trend appears to hold in the 2009 census.

Yesterday, National Integration and Cohesion Commission Mzalendo Kibunjia expressed shock that the Government was planning to release the figures based on tribe. "Why should anybody think of issuing national census on tribal lines? What do they want to achieve by doing that?" asked Kibunjia, whose Agenda Four commission was set up to facilitate and promote equality of opportunity, good relations, harmony and peaceful co-existence between persons of different ethnic and racial communities in Kenya and to advice the Government on all aspects of ethic relations.

He said the new Constitution was taking Kenyans away from tribal thinking. He argued that releasing tribal numerical strengths might tempt some tribes to seek to dominate others in some sectors.

He said for the country to achieve total integration, tribalism in the civil service and other sectors must be addressed.

"I would rather not comment further until I confirm for sure the results are pegged on tribes," said a surprised Dr Kibunjia.

Despite the outcry, KNBS admitted information about the size of ethnic communities in Kenya as well as the number of followers of different faiths would be part of the results to be released.

"The two (sets of) figures attract interest because of their political value. It would be a breach of professionalism if we concealed that information from Kenyans despite the potential for misuse," Opiyo argued.

There was heated debate before the census began last year, on whether or not tribe and religion should be included in the list of questions, with some claiming it might worsen divisions in the country.

Deep scrutiny

Questions are also still being asked why it has taken so long for the data to be made public. Unofficial results released by the Committee of Experts on Constitution Review last December indicated Kenya’s population stood at 39,634,056.

The results will attract deep scrutiny from Kenyans because of fears the long delay was a deliberate action by the Government to ‘doctor’ the results.

Stories abound the results were withheld after the population of a dominant tribe in North Eastern Province and another from Western Province grew by three and two-fold respectively during the enumeration exercise.

According to figures released by the CoE, the population of people originally from Central Province and Western Provinces is close — standing at 4.7 and 4.6 million respectively. CoE had explained it sourced the results from Interim Independent Boundary Review Commission, which in turn must have gotten it from either Ministry of Planning or KNBS. IIBRC needed the figures to guide its work on creation of the 80 new constituencies set out in the new constitution.

Questions are also being raised about the timing of the release immediately after the country promulgated the new Constitution, whose spirit was to tame negative ethnicity that in the past resulted in deadly clashes among communities.

The census data was supposed to have been released on December 31, last year, but nothing has been forthcoming till today.

The last census held in 1999, indicated that Kenya had a total population of 29,549,000 people, with a growth rate of 2.52 per cent. Those results were also released after a prolonged delay, without a proper explanation, leading to speculation and political debate.

Opposition parties accused the Government of deliberately withholding the results to rig the 2002 elections before the figures were made public.

The results were released on January 30, 2001 with Rift Valley having the highest number of people at 6,987,036, followed by Eastern (4,631,779), Nyanza (4,392,196), Central (3,724,159), Western (3,358,776), Coast (2,487,264), Nairobi (2,143,254) and North Eastern (962,143).

According to the new figures expected today, the cosmopolitan Rift Valley is again expected to be at the top with 10.2 million people, Eastern second with 6.1 million people, Nyanza third with 5.6 million, Central fourth with 4.7 million, Western fifth with 4.6 million, followed by both Coast and Nairobi with slightly over 3.4 million each, and lastly North Eastern with about 1.3 million.

Oparanya last week told The Standard the delay was meant to ensure the data gathered had been thoroughly scrutinised for mistakes.

The results may generate political interest ahead of 2012 Presidential elections given Kenya’s traditional ethnic rivalries and culture of ethnic-based political alliance building.

Kenya’s current annual population growth rate of 2.8 per cent is considerably higher than the World’s average of 1.2 per cent.

The population is projected to stand at 51.3 million in 2025 and 65 million in 2050. Last year’s was Kenya’s fifth census since 1963.

- Additional reporting by Beauttah Omanga

Fresh row over the vetting of judges

By Beauttah Omanga and David Ohito

As the carnival mood over the proclamation of the new Constitution wears off and reality dawns, it is now down to business and confronting the inevitable in the implementation of new laws.

And in the spotlight was the constitutional requirement for judges and magistrates to be vetted for suitability before continuing to serve in the Judiciary.

Yesterday, legal experts differed on the exact procedure to be followed, with some arguing that lay people should not sit in the vetting team.

Judges take oath of office on Friday after the new law was promulgated. [PHOTO:


A key item in the national values and principles of governance under the Constitution is the participation of the people as set out in Article 10, which binds all State organs, State officers, public officers and all persons whenever they apply or interpret the new set of laws.

The Constitution creates the new Judicial Service Commission (JSC) at Article 171, and includes in its composition, a man and woman who are not lawyers. Further, another member — who is not required to be a lawyer by the Constitution — will be nominated by the Public Service Commission. This means that the mandate of the JSC includes a key role in picking judicial officers, hence the divergent opinion.


However, Schedule 6 (23) of the Constitution requires Parliament to enact legislation establishing mechanisms and procedures for vetting the suitability of all judges and magistrates to continue serving under the new Constitution.

Yesterday, lawyers differed over the procedures to be followed after a member of the Committee of Experts Ms Njoki Ndung’u in her column in The Standard On Saturday sparked off debate when she called for the exclusion of non-lawyers in the vetting team.

But the chairman of the Kenya Law Reform Commission, Mr Kathurima M’Inoti, said lay-people should be included in the vetting team as this was aimed assessing suitability and not performance.

Said Kathurima said the Constitution provided for vetting of judges for suitability, and there were compelling reasons to include non-lawyers. "We have moved from the dated view that in legal matters, no other opinion matters save that of lawyers. "The JSC with non-lawyers is responsible for, among other things, recommending to the President persons to be appointed as judges. If matters of the law are the concern of lawyers only, we should have expected the new Constitution to create a JSC composed exclusively of lawyers," said Kathurima.

Also supporting the inclusion of lay-people was the umbrella body for advocates of the High Court, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).

Row: Legal experts differ on procedure for vetting of judges Continued from P1 Council Chairman Kenneth Akide said Kenyans from other professions have a say in the dispensation of justice and their participation remains crucial.

"Even though lawyers are the key components of the judicial system, litigants as consumers have a stake. If it is on integrity, the consumer is always the one who bribes the judicial officers and they too ought to be accommodated if we want to get good results," said Akide.

However, Senior Counsel Paul Muite and East African Law Society Secretary James Mwamu differed with Akide’s position, and said only lawyers should be in the vetting panel. The LSK chairman rooted for the participation of the LSK in vetting, saying the body had details on all judges and magistrates.

Chief Justice Evan Gicheru early this month led all judges in agreeing on sets of policies, measures and technical recommendations to guide the Judiciary, to finalise medium and long-term reform programmes in the areas of integrity, professionalism and access to justice.

Handsome Package

Akide said majority of lawyers were for fresh vetting of judges because they, too, had been let down by the Bench and Bar.

He said most judges and magistrates were scared of vetting, and opined that many would opt out rather than face the panel.

"I have talked to a number of judges and magistrates and their fear is derived from the 2003 purge that claimed innocent ones," said Akide. He revealed that under the vetting Bill, those to leave without going through vetting would be given a handsome package, while those who will be found guilty and unfit to serve will only qualify for terminal benefits.


"Given that they are colleagues in the profession, they understand the law and will be competent enough to determine who is fit to serve Kenyans as a judge or as a magistrate," said Muite.

Mwamu suggested that the vetting panel should comprise of two Senior Counsel, two retired judges of repute and a retired senior State Counsel or somebody from the State Law Office.

Civic leaders will not take new oath, after all

By Peter Opiyo

Councillors are not required to take new oaths of affirmation of office, Minister for Local Government Musalia Mudavadi has clarified.

Mr Mudavadi, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, said his office raised the matter with the Attorney General owing to concerns raised by the councillors.

He said the AG’s office stated that under the new Constitution, they are not classified as State officials and therefore they are not required to take the oaths.

"Mayors, council chairpersons and clerks are not members of the County Assemblies. They are not therefore State officers in the new Constitution," said Mudavadi.

He was addressing councillors from the 175 local authorities, during the signing of their performance contracts in Nairobi yesterday.

Mudavadi told them the AG referred to sections 74 and 260 of the new laws in making the clarification.

The minister also said his ministry was working hard to ensure that consequential legislations that seek to classify cities and towns are ready in a year, while that on the structure of the counties to be available in 18 months.

Mudavadi, his Assistant Minister Lewis Nguyai and Local Government PS Karega Mutahi, urged the councillors to change their attitude as the new Constitution requires them to be responsive to the needs of the people.

Citizen arrests

"You will feel the pressure from citizens on demands that you must be accountable. It is possible for citizens to arrest you if you are corrupt," said Mr Nguyai.

On the Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATF), Mudavadi said the ministry has been facing challenges on explaining the use of the fund to Parliament and Controller and Auditor General, given most local authorities have not effectively used the funds.

He asked them to ensure the Sh12.3 billion disbursed this year was properly used, or risk the fund being scrapped altogether.

"There have been excellent usage of LATF in some local authorities, but a larger number are not using the fund properly, thus giving us problems with Parliament and the Auditor General," said Mudavadi.

Will youth now stamp political authority?

By Stephen Makabila

Last Friday, Kenyans ushered in the second republic after President Kibaki promulgated the new Constitution at the historic Uhuru Park.

With new laws to propel the country into the future, however, questions abound on what stake the youth, who constitute 60 per cent of the Kenyan population, have in the second republic.

President Kibaki did not miss this point at the Uhuru Park fete when he assured the youth of a bright future under the new Constitution.

"The new Constitution gives us renewed optimism about our country and its future. I see in the youth of Kenya a lot of promise, energy and creativity," Kibaki noted.

The Head of State further expressed confidence the new laws would transform the lives of the young majority and challenged them to seize the opportunity presented to them by the new laws.

He said the new laws give better structures of governance that would present the youth with many opportunities leading them to attain their goals and dreams.

Brighter future

Kibaki noted his Government was committed to a brighter future for the young generation.

However, observers question whether young people have the ability to bring in politics of generational change and break the hold on politics by veterans of the 1990s and beyond.

With the National Assembly going to have two chambers, political observers predict veterans, some of whom are serving ministers in the Grand Coalition Government, may opt to go for senate seats, paving way for younger people to secure some of the 290 parliamentary seats come the 2012 General Election.

"Most ministers are likely to opt for senators’ seats or governors’ positions, meaning there will be new and younger faces in the 11th Parliament," said lawyer James Mwamu, the secretary of the East African Law Society.

There are also leadership opportunities in the 47 county governments to be created once the new Constitution is fully implemented.

The Executive Director of the International Centre for Policy and Conflict, Ndung’u Wainaina, says the youth had a unique opportunity to express, exercise and define their destiny through the August 4 referendum.

"The media has in some way failed young people of this country who have sacrificed for their motherland. Some politicians, on the other hand, have been the single biggest impediment to change in their quest for power and self aggrandizement," noted Wainaina.

Past lessons

He went on: "Lessons of the past offer ingredients of tomorrow. It is time we all start a new people partnership for truth, accountability and justice to oversee a true and meaningful new Kenya."

According to Mr Wainaina, youth have played a part in pushing for change and some even paid with their precious lives in past struggles.

But despite their efforts to gain some foothold in national politics, Kenyan youth have over the years failed to be visible enough.

Kibaki noted at Uhuru Park that the new Constitution is also a promise that all Kenyans, young and old, man or woman will unleash their full potential.

In the run-up to the referendum, the youth were asked to debunk negative actions of stone throwing and hooliganism and adopt the right values to drive the ongoing reform agenda.

Centre of politics

The youth on their part wanted more and well defined leadership slots entrenched in the new Constitution as a testimony that the Government was keen on promoting the young generation.

During and even much earlier before referendum politics gained momentum, several youth movements emerged, with their leaders scheming on how to put more young people at the centre of national politics by assuming leadership responsibilities.

Simama Kenya, Political Parties Young Leaders Caucus, and National Youth Movement for ‘Yes’ were some of the groups that emerged to champion interests of the youth.

Youth lobbies were also formed to campaign for the Draft, among them the Western Youth Alliance and ‘Vijana ni Yes’.

Political Scientist Adams Oloo of the University of Nairobi argues it may not be easy for the youth to stamp their authority politically because of the ‘nature of Kenyan politics’.

"Ethnicity, regionalism and religious factors dictate politics in Kenya and we have a long way to go for the ‘youth factor’ to cut across," said Dr Oloo.

Moi University Communication lecturer Masibo Lumala says it is important for youthful leaders to repackage the message they pass across.

"If they talk about general change, let their change message be well-tailored, convincing and backed up by action," said Dr Lumala.

Simama Kenya, which was launched by Jimmy Kibaki has already suffered a setback, after Jimmy who was its patron, pulled out of it ahead of the referendum.

empower youth

Simama Kenya’s aim was to empower the youth ahead of the 2012 General Election, but had been seen as a vehicle that could have been used by Jimmy and his allies to ride to Parliament.

It had projected to economically support youth of between the ages of 18-40 and reconcile communities that were pitted against each other during the 2007/08 post-election violence.

The chairman of the National Youth Movement for ‘Yes’, Maina Njenga, admits the youth have been sidelined in leadership positions and in the running of the country’s affairs.

Mr Njenga added that the youth had been misused by politicians during the 2008 post-election violence following the disputed presidential election and called on them to unite.

"The youth should advocate for peace. They should shun politicians inciting them to violence," he said.

The Western Youth Alliance chairman Ben Ombima, who doubles as the ODM Youth national chairman, says finances have been their setback.

"We have a stake in the leadership of this country and we are going to secure some positions when they are created under the new Constitution," predicted Mr Ombima.

Political Parties Young Leaders Caucus Convener-General Caleb Burudi believes all is not lost in pushing youth to play a major role in national leadership.

The caucus, he explained, brings together young people in leadership positions and has already attracted youth leaders from more than 24 political parties.

Mr Burudi, who is the chairman of Federal Party of Kenya, noted the main agenda of the caucus was to champion the interests of the youth.

"During the violence witnessed following the disputed 2007 presidential election, youth were used, killed and arrested. Time has come for the youth to unite for a good cause," said Burudi.

He added that poor leadership, corruption, unemployment, and violence adversely affect the youth.

"For a long time youth leaders have been purely used to mobilise supporters and even fan violence for the selfish gains of politicians. This is the trend that we want to depart from," added Burudi.

MPs divided over Bashir visit

By Anthony Gtonga and David Ochami

MPs differed over the controversial invitation of Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al Bashir for the promulgation of the new Constitution ceremony. Some said Kenya’s strategic interests in Sudan as a guarantor to that country’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) overrides International Criminal Court’s (ICC) arrest warrants on al Bashir, and its obligations under the Rome Statute. But they failed to clarify if the invitation and failure to arrest him violated Kenya’s International Crimes Act and Article 2 of the new supreme law. Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale and his Nyando counterpart Fred Outa expressed fears the country may not release suspects of the post-election violence to the ICC.

Speaking in Naivasha, the two said the move to shun the Rome Statute, which Kenya is a signatory to, was a smack on the face for victims of the post-election violence, who were seeking justice.

Interest Of The Poor

Khalwale dismissed those saying the Government was guided by the African Union (AU) resolution.

"It seems the big boys in this country do not have the interest of the poor people who died in Darfur," he said.

In Nairobi, Assistant Minister Kambi Kazungu and Mosop MP David Koech criticised Prime Minister Raila Odinga for disowning the wanted President. "Kibaki does not need to consult the Prime Minister on this minor issue," said Kazungu, referring to Raila’s claim he was not informed about the invitation.

"The President has authority to invite anyone. This cannot be questioned unless you want to strip him of his powers," said the assistant minister. Koech said: "The President of Sudan had a right to be here as the legitimate leader of Sudan."

Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi argued that as a guarantor to the CPA, "Kenya needs to engage Sudan".

The visit by Bashir surprised many and has sparked outrage locally and internationally.


Kenya's population grows by 10m over a decade

File | NATION Kenya’s population increased from 28.7 million in 1999 to 38 million last year. The figures released this morning are expected to include the growth of various ethnic and religious groups. Planning minister Wycliffe Oparanya says the information helps in national development plans.

By Nation Team newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted Monday, August 30 2010 at 22:00
In Summary

The goodies provided for in new laws to be shared according to data in census report

Kenya’s population has increased by about 10 million people, or one third in a decade, the 2009 population and housing census, whose results will be released Tuesday morning, is expected to show.

The total count is a little over 38 million, up from 28.7 million in 1999.

Planning minister Mr Wycliffe Oparanya told the Nation on Monday that the national figure is “about 40 million”, meaning that population growth has been steady at one third over the last two decades.

Between 1989 and 1999, the national population grew by 34 per cent from 21.4 million to 28.7 million.

Mr Oparanya said the captured data will be representative of the 47 counties created by the new Constitution.

“The detailed results would also show population growth among various ethnic and religious groups in the country,” he said.

The minister, who spoke to the Nation by telephone from Mombasa, said that apart from the national statistics, the data collected gives details according to districts, constituencies and wards.

Mr Oparanya said giving the population of ethnic and religious groups should be taken positively because it will assist in general national development plans.

He said that, for the first time, population growth would be captured at intervals of five years, a development he said will make it easy to capture the data of both the young and the elderly.

“The report will help the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission draw up the boundaries of new administrative units and constituencies,” he said.

The new data will also help identify underdeveloped areas in terms of technology and those lagging behind in education.

“The report will be crucial in poverty index surveys and help the government design better ways of dealing with the situation,” he explained.

The minister defended the government against allegations that the results had been suspiciously delayed, saying that the report had not taken longer than previous ones.

Mr Oparanya said the results will be released Tuesday at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

“We have already briefed the President and the Prime Minister about the results and the two principals will not be attending the function,” said Mr Oparanya.

He spoke as top officials from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics held a meeting with journalists, where they revealed that the findings of the census will only be based on the 158 districts that had been created as of December 2008.

The Director of Population and Social Statistics, Dr Collins Opiyo, said that the processing, editing, evaluating and analysis of the data collected on the night of August 24 and 25 last year, had already been completed.

We are all set to go

“We are all set to go … Kenya will be the first African country to release comprehensive census results within one year after the enumeration exercise,” said Dr Opiyo.

A total of Sh8.4 billion was spent to conduct the count.

The release of the findings had previously been postponed several times because of what the government termed “complexities in data analysis”.

Apart from the total number of Kenyans, the results will also show the population distribution by administration and political units as well as by settlement patterns.

“We shall also be sharing data on social and economic characteristics of our population such as education levels, employment status, disability status, ownership of household equipment, housing conditions and available amenities.”

Others include data on tribe, refugees, disability, religion, Information Communication and Technology amongst others.

UN protests over Al-Bashir's Kenya visit

UN Security Council members vote during a UN Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York. PHOTO / FILE

By NATION TEAM newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted Monday, August 30 2010 at 22:00
In Summary

If at all the Security Council acts, it might issue a statement urging Kenya to respect its obligations to the ICC, says Salim Lone

The United Nations Security Council will determine the punishment to impose on Kenya for hosting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir last Friday.

On Monday, the UN said member-states were required to comply with resolutions passed on the Darfur crisis and the subsequent requests from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This came as more countries, the national human rights agency and MPs criticised the government for inviting Mr Al-Bashir to the promulgation of the new Constitution.

Mr Sarhan Haq, the UN spokesman in New York, USA, said the Security Council expected all signatories to the Rome Statute that created the ICC to arrest and hand over the Sudanese president to The Hague.

“The basic point is all resolutions of the Security Council call for compliance to requests of the International Criminal Court on the Darfur crisis. It is the duty of all member states to respect their obligations to the ICC and we expect their compliance,” he said by telephone interview with the Nation.

Mr Haq said since the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber had reported Kenya to the UN Security Council for allowing Mr Al-Bashir to step on its soil, member states would meet to take a decision.

Even though Mr Haq was non-committal on the likely action against Kenya, Mr Salim Lone, a former director of Communications at the UN, said the Security Council was only likely to urge Kenya to respect its obligations to the ICC.

Respect her obligations

“If at all the Security Council acts, it might issue a statement urging Kenya to respect her obligations to the International Criminal Court. It is not a situation which the Security Council is likely to take a vote on,” he said.

A source said Kenya had been reported to the Security Council several times in the last 10 years over allegations of shielding wanted genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga, who has been indicted by the International Tribunal Court for Rwanda (ICTR) based in Arusha Tanzania, with little effect.

On Monday, Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Thuita Mwangi said the decision to invite Mr Al-Bashir was taken by a government committee in charge of the invitations that was co-chaired by the Head of Civil Service, Mr Francis Muthaura, and Office of the Prime Minister permanent secretary Mohammed Isahakiah.

The committee, he said, also invited Southern Sudanese President Salva Kiir.

“The letters were sent to both President Al-Bashir and Vice President Kiir. The committee even decided to go against protocol to invite both the President and the Vice President. When you are to invite guests, you don’t invite Foreign Affairs minister, you invite the Head of State,” Dr Isahakia said.

However, Lands minister James Orengo was categorical that ODM was kept in the dark over the invitation.

“If the point was to be seen to be encouraging engagements which promote regional peace and stability, then there should not have been any problem to announce his coming.

“I think there is some mischief in this because Kenya was seen as coming out to openly respect human rights. Mr Al-Bashir could have come on another day, perhaps to attend an Igad meeting,” he said.

Reports by Bernard Namunane, Fred Mukinda and Caroline Wafula

Sudan's leader ‘honoured’ to attend fete

Hezron Njoroge | NATION Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir (centre) speaks to an aide after attending the historic promulgation of the new Constitution at Uhuru Park last Friday.

By WALTER MENYA wmenya@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted Monday, August 30 2010 at 22:00
In Summary

Country was represented by the President, not the First Vice- President, for protocol reasons

The government of Sudan on Monday expressed its gratitude to Kenya for inviting President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to the constitution promulgation fete last week.

A statement from the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan in Nairobi said the President was “honoured” to participate in the celebrations.

“Highlighting the importance of this historic event and in the spirit of the cordial relations between the two countries and the crucial role that Kenya played in the peace process in the Sudan, the Government of the Sudan was honoured to participate at the promulgation ceremony at the highest level represented by His Excellency Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, the President of the Republic of the Sudan,” read the statement in part.

The statement further sought to clarify the reason that Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit did not attend the celebrations.

“Though the invitation was extended to both the President and the First Vice-President, it was agreed that, due to obvious protocol considerations, the country be represented by the President.”

Kenya has been under immense local and international pressure to clarify its position on the ICC.

The visit by President Al-Bashir has also caused confusion in the government, with one half arguing that Kenya had committed a diplomatic blunder and another maintaining that the invitation was in order.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday said the Sudan leader’s presence at the historic event as a blot on Kenya’s international reputation.

But a section of ministers and MPs led by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka defended the government for hosting Mr Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for genocide and war crimes.