Friday, December 31, 2010

The Cutting Edge

By THE WATCHMAN Posted Friday, December 31 2010 at 18:08

Crucial number. The number 6 has now taken on an overwhelming significance as far as the delivery of justice is concerned, remarks Francis Ngigi. For him, it goes back to the pre-independence days of the Kapenguria Six – freedom fighters Kenyatta, Kubai, Ngei, Oneko, Karumba and Ngei. Then there is the King’ong’o Six case of the prison warders convicted for murder, and lately, the Ocampo Six suspects of the post-2007 election chaos. “Is there another lot of six coming soon?” he asks.
Justice. As the brand new year begins, there is plenty of unfinished business on the political front, says Jim Webo, who hopes 2011 will be the year to enhance the fight against impunity. “The MPs never consulted us before making the decision to pull Kenya out of the ICC that has shamed the country. And the hasty move was made just because some top people had been named by prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Are these six suspects more important than the millions of Kenyans to benefit from entrenching justice?”
Dead line. Process Insurance Company official Mumtaz Mohammad says his vital Orange Telkom landline, No 444164, has been out of order for nearly a month despite numerous reports to the Customer Care Desk. “In the past 25 days, they have made all manner of promises, which are never fulfilled,” says Mumtaza, who applied for back-up line a month ago. The reference is N/1210/54106 and the back-up application, No D 49540. “If they can’t provide the service refund the deposit.” His contact is
Kenyan player. Soccer fan Allan Kemboi, writing from Eldama Ravine, says he has been keenly following the local and international soccer leagues. He was, therefore, pleasantly surprised to come across a Kenyan name, E. Odhiambo, in the Scottish Premier League. Odhiambo is a striker playing with the currently fourth placed Inverness Caledonian Thistle. “Can someone, anyone, please, confirm that he’s, indeed, a Kenyan and give me more information on him.” His contact is
Swamp of corruption. The WikiLeaks saga of the secret cables by American diplomats, in which they used unflattering language against Kenyan leaders, including President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, should serve as a lesson to us not to be too trusting in dealing with foreigners, says Dave Tumbula. “While pretending to be nice to the Kenyan politicians, the American diplomats duly filed their cables, dragging our country through the mud as the ‘swamp of corruption’. We should never forget that diplomats are their countries’ spies.”
Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

President’s 2011 wish list

President Kibaki addressing the nation on live radio and television broadcast from State House, Nairobi. PHOTO /  FILE
President Kibaki addressing the nation on live radio and television broadcast from State House, Nairobi. PHOTO / FILE 
By JULIUS SIGEI Posted Friday, December 31 2010 at 21:00
In Summary
  • Kibaki revels in the achievements of a good year and says better growth will benefit all

President Kibaki on Friday sent a New Year message of goodwill to Kenyans in which he praised their achievements in 2010.
He spoke of the challenges ahead, including the likely trial of six Kenyans at the International Criminal Court at The Hague over election-related violence that nearly broke Kenya three years ago.
The following is an edited version of his full speech:
“I am delighted to address you, as we usher in the New Year – 2011.  I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. In the past year, we achieved important milestones in various areas of national endeavour.  Among these milestones was the promulgation of the new Constitution.
The focus now is, on the implementation process, so that we can reap the benefits of the new dispensation.  As the New Year commences, I urge MPs, all public institutions and other stakeholders to play their respective roles effectively, in order for us to meet the timelines laid out in the Fifth Schedule of our Constitution.
On the economic front, we have closed the year on a positive note.  The economy recorded a 5 per cent growth rate compared to 2.6 percent the previous year.  
The economy is projected to expand by 6 per cent in the coming year.  An expanding economy means more opportunities for our people.
This is why our sights are set on a double-digit economic growth that creates more jobs.   
This is important because the empowerment of our youth will remain a priority in the New Year.
I wish to note that the Government remains committed to seeking justice for victims of the post election violence.
As will be recalled, two years ago, the Government introduced two Bills namely; the Special Tribunal for Kenya Bill and the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, seeking the establishment of a Special Tribunal to try persons bearing responsibility for the post-election violence.
Although these Bills were rejected by Parliament, the Grand Coalition Government remains committed to a local judicial process and will accordingly take the necessary steps.  As the process of dispensing justice gets underway in the New Year, I urge Kenyans to remain calm and demonstrate tolerance and patience.
We must all take due care to ensure that the process of seeking justice, does not erode the gains we have made in the direction of national healing and reconciliation.
In the spirit of good neighbourliness, I wish to extend our best wishes to the government and people of the Sudan, as they prepare to vote in the January 9th referendum.  It is our hope that peace will prevail during and after the process.
Thank you and God bless you all.”

Ethnicity hurts fight against graft, says Raila

Photo | PMPS Prime Minister Raila Odinga at his Karen home in Nairobi, where he wished all Kenyans a happy New Year.
Photo | PMPS Prime Minister Raila Odinga at his Karen home in Nairobi, where he wished all Kenyans a happy New Year. 
Posted Friday, December 31 2010 at 20:49
In Summary
  • Prime Minister Raila Odinga looks back at a momentous 2010 and tells of his frustrations and joys. Below are excerpts from a question and answer interview.

What were Kenya’s main achievements in 2010?
Related Stories
The coming of the new Constitution is arguably one of our biggest achievements as a nation since we attained independence. Our other achievement is the very positive economic trends. We end the year with the economy growing in the upwards of five per cent, compared to 2.6 per cent in 2009.
What were your main disappointments in 2010?
I am disappointed at the politicisation and ethnicisation of the process of the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Kenyans are very familiar with the ICC process and how we ended up at The Hague. They followed the debate in Parliament as MPs shouted: “Let’s not be vague, say Hague”.
That time, President Kibaki and I were in the House, pleading for a constitutional amendment to allow us to set up a local tribunal to try suspects of post-election violence.
Some said setting up a local tribunal meant only poor youths were going to be locked up, that the President and I did not care about those youths. So the matter ended up with The Hague.
Now you have seen people trying to politicise and ethnicise the process, claiming it is so and so who is responsible for my name being in there. It is quite disappointing.
What are your hopes for 2011?
That a large section of the new Constitution will be implemented and the benefits start being felt. Implementation of this Constitution is a challenge for Parliament and other institutions charged with it, but I am confident we will do it. Only successful implementation will complete the reform process, including those in the Judiciary, police, public service, gender parity, representation and other areas.
Any fears for 2011?
I fear that negative ethnicity is still deeply rooted in our country and our politics features minimal debate about ideology or policy. Instead, discussions feature personalities and ethnicity. Negative ethnicity is a serious enemy of political progress and must be contained. It is becoming very difficult to even constitute a commission or a taskforce in Kenya.
As soon as you begin toying with names, negative ethnicity sets in, people asking for one of their own. Because of negative ethnicity, we are sacrificing quality at the altar of political expediency.
Negative ethnicity is threatening the war on corruption. As soon as a name is mentioned with regard to corruption, people gang up and say “We are being targeted” or “Our man is being witch-hunted” or “We are being finished”. It is bad, sad and scary. Kenyans must guard against this trend because its potential to destroy our country is real. It makes me fear for Kenya in 2011.
What do you look forward to in 2011?
Despite the fear of negative ethnicity, I look forward to 2011 with a lot of hope, courage and confidence. What gives me confidence and courage is the ability of Kenyans to ignore the noise and rally behind a progressive cause.
Politicians will always talk tough, saying they have rejected this and that. But ultimately, when the matter is taken to the people, Kenyans always rise to the occasion and do the right thing.

Here are Kenya’s heroes and heroines, with titles and medals to show for it

By KWAMCHETSI MAKOKHAPosted Friday, December 31 2010 at 18:07

Last year, on Jamhuri Day, President Kibaki awarded 391 Kenyans – the highest number ever during his presidency — orders, decorations and medals for outstanding or distinguished services rendered to the nation.
Gazette Notice No 16224 sets out the names of those who joined the country’s roll of honour, and it is singularly reassuring that awards, medals and decorations in Kenya are not given on account of lobbying, bribery or any underhand deals, quite unlike in Britain, where the Labour Party distinguished itself by selling peerages.
On the list, you will find deserving names such as the State House Comptroller, Dr Nelson Gitau Githinji, and his predecessor, Prof Nick Wanjohi. The two have managed to distinguish themselves in this role in less than two years, earning the first class award in the Order of the Burning Spear and are to henceforth be Chiefs of the Burning Spear.
Also receiving this award is the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Mr Caroli Omondi, who obviously deserves it after three years of doing battle with all old career civil servants who might hesitate in making way for his boss.
Although the Order of the Burning Spear is often awarded to people who show dedication in the armed forces or the civil service, there is always room for an exception. Ms Betty Njeri Tett, who has been Westlands MP Fred Gumo’s waking nightmare in every election, also received a deserved CBS for her long years on the political battlefield.
The 11 Kenyans who received the CBS obviously distinguished themselves more thoroughly than the other 62 who got only the second class honour of Elder of the Burning Spear. No one would argue with putting Ms Judith Wanjiku Kibaki in the second category.
After all, being the President’s daughter is very hard nation building work, but certainly not as demanding as being his State House Comptroller.
Only last year, the President corrected the oversight of his predecessors by awarding Mrs Kristina Wambui Pratt (nee Kenyatta) an EBS, alongside David Awori, the son of a former Vice-President. So no one can say Ms Kibaki is the first presidential scion to receive such an award.
Yet, there is a sense of proportion in putting the First Daughter in the same league as potentates such as Michael Joseph, formerly head honcho of Safaricom, Interim Independent Electoral Commission chair Issack Hassan and National Cohesion and Integration Commission boss Mzalendo Kibunjia.
While on the matter of commissions, the President must always maintain a sense of balance and fairness. By spying regularly on commissions, the President is able to tell which commissioners are working, which ones are idlers and which ones are deadwoods.
Mr Hassan and Dr Kibunjia obviously run their commissions single-handedly, only calling in their commissioner colleagues to append signatures to work they have already concluded in the night.
Such is the keenness of the President that he was able to tell that the chairman of the Committee of Experts, Mr Nzamba Kitonga, deserved to fit in the same distinguished category as the First Daughter.
Since another COE member, Mr Otiende Amollo, had been working harder than the other experts, he was singled out for an EBS. The rest – vice-chairperson Atsango Chesoni, members Abdirashid Abdullahi and Bobby Mkangi as well as director Ekuru Aukot – are third class material who should be grateful for getting to be Morans of the Burning Spear.
Their contribution cannot be rated in the same way as that of say Mr Gichira Kibaara, the secretary for constitutional affairs at the Ministry of Justice, or Mr Daniel Maanzo who faithfully kept the ODM Kenya registration certificate safe from vultures, or even Ms Terry Mungai, who has repeatedly put Kenya on the world map of beauty pageants with her organisational skills. These are deserving EBS material.
As for Ms Njoki Ndung’u, she should be content with the EBS she received for pushing the Sexual Offences Act through Parliament. The foreign experts – Dr Chaloka Beyani, Prof Paul Ssempembwa and Prof Christina Murray – will not lose sleep for not being recognised. After all, these are not the days when Kenya used to issue 23 Germans with medals and awards in one day.
Their work does not even hold a candle to that of Mrs Stella Kilonzo, who has so thoroughly run the Capital Markets Authority that when Ngenye Kariuki stockbrokers weighed the prospect of confronting her last year, they chose to close shop and flee.
Nor do they rate the same group as Mr Ezekiel Mutua, the Director of Information who in his time single-handedly ended the journalist of the year awards. These, too, are the true heroes of Kenya, and they have a medal — MBS — to show for it.

MPs fault AU over Raila's mediation in Ivory Coast crisis

Fifteen MPs, including four Cabinet ministers allied to Eldoret North MP William Ruto, said the African Union erred in appointing Raila to mediate in the Ivory Coast crisis.
Backed by several councillors and the clergy, the leaders gave the strongest indication yet that they would be ditching ODM for the United Democratic Movement (UDM).
They have vowed to rally behind Ruto in the 2012 presidential election despite an expected legal battle at The Hague.
The MPs said they there would be a political divorce between them, ODM party and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Belgut MP Charles Keter was more blunt on their relationship with the PM, saying the association had come to an end with the close of the year.
"Our relationship with Raila has come to an end. It is the end of a chapter in our political history. The new year ushers in a permanent political divorce with him," Keter said.
At the same time, they urged President Kibaki to initiate the process of getting the country out of the International Criminal Court.
On the presidency, Ruto said he had a plan, enough friends and supporters to get him to State House.
He said that those who had schemed against him and named him in the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reports over the post poll violence would not succeed. "We did not plan any chaos, we did not distribute any arms as claimed in the report which has been used by the ICC," he said.
He said his tribulations would soon be over. Information and Communication Minister Samuel Poghisio, and assistant ministers Margaret Kamar, Jebii Kilimo and Adan Duale said Kibaki should implement vote by Parliament on the Rome Statute.
"We agreed to pull out of the Rome Statute as Parliament and that decision on behalf of Kenyans stands," Kamar said.
Duale said Kenyans had a right to pull out of the Rome Statute as the ICC process had been abused for political expediency.
"The ICC and Rome Statute are not a Koran nor the Bible, they are subjected to scrutiny and any country can pull out of it just like Russia, India and China did," Duale said.
Emgwen MP Elijah Lagat said should Raila continue hitting out at them, they would sponsor a no confidence Motion against him.

The New Year promises to be full of challenges

By Biketi Kikechi and Alex Ndegwa
Implementing the Constitution, criminal charges facing six Kenyans at The Hague and President Kibaki succession pose major challenges in 2011.
It will also be race against time for Parliament to enact 49 legislations to enable the Constitution become fully operational. The other weighty matter that has to be dispensed off at the beginning of the year is the appointment of the new Chief Justice to replace incumbent Evan Gicheru before February 27. And with Attorney General Amos Wako set to exit by August, Parliament has its job cut out.
The Hague: Kenya will have to walk the tight rope of politics as the cases of the six Kenyans named by ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo come up.
The Constitution says the CJ should be appointed within six months after the new supreme law — which was promulgated on August 27, last year — comes into effect. It also stipulates that a new Attorney General should be appointed within a year.

Other crucial issues will include the vetting of judges and magistrates, the appointment of the new Attorney General, the constitution of the Supreme Court and the constitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission all before August.
Speed will therefore be of the essence in the vetting of judges to create room for the constitution of members of the Supreme Court.
But politics will again dominate public debate as the country navigates the penultimate year before the next general election when President Kibaki calls it a day after serving two terms.
Those harbouring ambitions to succeed President Kibaki include Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto, Gichugu MP Martha Karua and Sirisia MP Moses Wetang’ula.
The high stakes succession battle is likely to trigger early campaigns as politicians position themselves for 2012.
The naming of Ruto and Uhuru by the ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo as being among the chief perpetrators of the post-election violence in 2007 threw a spanner into the pre-election schemes. The others in the list are Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey, Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura, a journalist at Kass FM Mr Joshua Sang and the Postmaster General Maj Gen (rtd) Hussein Ali.
The ICC judges are expected to look at the evidence Ocampo has against the six and decide whether they have a case to answer.
Bitter rivals Raila and his deputy in ODM Ruto gave Kenyans what to expect in 2011 as they closed the year with two high profile political meetings. Raila hosted Kalenjin elders and grassroots leaders in Bondo this week to consolidate his support following his break-up with Ruto.
But Ruto, who is Eldoret North MP, countered yesterday by leading 12 MPs to a prayer meeting for Emo foundation leaders in Eldoret, where it was announced that the New Year would formalise the political divorce between the two ODM leaders.
Yesterday, Mutula Kilonzo, Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara and political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi said 2011 would be a defining moment for the country. They cite implementation of the Constitution, with Parliament required to enact more than a dozen legislations by August and political developments expected on the eve of the election year.
Mutula said: "It’s going to be a challenging year because Parliament has almost 19 laws to pass before August and constitute new institutions. Unfortunately recent experiences show you cannot predict what Parliament will do."
Ngunyi describes 2011 as the "crunch" year, citing at least 16 legislations on constitutional reforms the House must pass or risk dissolution. He noted the various processes in place such as implementation of the Constitution and the ICC prosecutions, which converge in 2012, will require strong leadership.
"At the moment we have two generals. But as Napoleon said one bad general will do a better job than two good generals," Mutahi said.
Imanyara noted: "It is the year that will determine whether we will achieve Agenda Four. We should focus attention on the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution involved in drafting legislations hoping it will function independent of vested political interests."
On political scheming, Ngunyi poses: "Ruto and Uhuru are likely to go for the Samsonian option of collapsing the house with everyone inside knowing Raila will be among the casualties."

2011: The road ahead

Stephen Mudiari | NATION Traffic flows near Safari Park Hotel on a section of the expanded Thika Road, one of the showpiece infrastructure projects expected to be completed in 2011.
Stephen Mudiari | NATION Traffic flows near Safari Park Hotel on a section of the expanded Thika Road, one of the showpiece infrastructure projects expected to be completed in 2011.  
By SAMWEL KUMBA skumba@ke.nationmedia.comPosted Friday, December 31 2010 at 21:00
In Summary
  • Kenyans usher in the New Year with optimism that reforms and the economic gains realised last year will lead to better times in 2011.
  • A 12-lane superhighway, proposed railway line and the Lamu Port fill up the government’s plate for 2011

The year 2011 will mark another milestone for the government in the infrastructure sector as some big projects are expected to be commissioned.
The coalition government has been rated highly, going by the number of finished and ongoing projects.
Transport minister Amos Kimunya has promised that the ground-breaking for the Lamu Port project will be done by mid this year.
“When we are ready, we shall hit the ground and show the locals how they will get involved,” said Mr Kimunya. Lamu County Council chairman Addu Kassim Ahmed, is, however, at a loss, like most residents who say they have been kept in the dark concerning the project.
“I do not know what is happening in regard to the port’s construction. We get information about it from the media. We appeal to the government to involve the council in its plans to construct the port,” says Mr Ahmed.
The port will be a preferred destination as Lamu is closer to Dubai than Mombasa by over 500 nautical miles, and it is near Southern Sudan, Ethiopia as well as Eritrea.
Invitation for bids for the first phase of the port, for the first three berths, was advertised October 13, this year.
The tender specified that dredging is to be to a depth of up to 18.5 metres to allow for the docking of large ships that currently cannot call on ports on the East African coast.
Mr Ahmed, however, supports the project, saying it will create jobs for the residents and revenue for the council.
“Once the port is built, we will benefit. There are fears that outsiders will benefit more but we are telling the government to address that,” he said.
Connectivity to the proposed Lamu port will be by a superhighway and two railway lines: Lamu-Juba and Nairobi-Addis Ababa.
The two are flagship projects in the Vision 2030 blueprint to connect the proposed port to the hinterland.
These projects, it is hoped, will increase development opportunities in northern Kenya besides enhancing exploitation of natural and human resources as well as tapping the agricultural potential.
Regional integration
Similarly, the opening up of the area will help tap into the tourism and manufacturing industry.
This will contribute to regional integration of transport network at national, regional and global level as the longer term plan is to provide a link between the North-South and East-West transport corridors.
“This will facilitate cultural exchange besides the possible future connection of the Lamu-Juba Railway to Douala in Cameroon to form the Great Equatorial land bridge,” states the railway master plan that will eventually link the East and the West.
In the construction, the estimated cost for a single line would be Sh135 million ($1.8 million) per kilometre while the double line would cost Sh240 million ($3.2 million) per kilometre.
It is hoped that the Mombasa-Kisumu-Malaba double line with an extension to Kampala, Kigali, Bujumbura, Kisangani covering a total of 1,400 kms will be completed by 2016 at an estimated cost of Sh337.5 billion ($4.5 billion).
Also projected to be completed during the same year is the Rongai-Lokichogio-Juba single line covering 1,000 kms at a cost of Sh135 billion ($1.8 billion).

The Lamu-Lokichogio-Juba single line covering 1,600km at a cost of Sh225 billion ($3 billion) is projected to be completed by 2020. Later there will be the Lamu-Douala double line connection covering 4,500km to cost an estimated Sh1.08 trillion ($14.4 billion). This is a long-term project, probably to be completed by the year 2030.
The Nairobi-Moyale-Addis Ababa-Djibouti single line covering 700 km is projected to cost Sh97.5 billion ($1.3 billion) and is expected to be completed in 2020.
With Sudan holding a referendum in eight days, it is highly expected that the South will vote for secession from the North.
If this were to happen, there can never be a better opportune time to tap into the business there through the Lamu Port, which once completed, should have a capacity twice that of Mombasa.
There is also the Athi River-Namanga road, whose construction Kenya and Tanzania agreed to simultaneously launch. It is being widened to seven metres with two metre shoulders. It is scheduled to be completed this year.
Biggest road project
Another huge project is the construction of the heavily trafficked road with 250,000 vehicles a day — the Nairobi-Thika road — at a cost of Sh25 billion.
The road’s plan shows that it would become an eight-lane highway with service lanes on both sides. This, literally, makes it 12-laned and is expected to reduce to the standard dual carriage as it proceeds to Thika Town.
This is the biggest project in Kenya’s road network of about 177,800 km. It will be officially open for use this year.
Meanwhile, construction is ongoing and it has several interchanges that will ease congestion.
For instance, construction is ongoing on the Eastern and Southern bypasses at an estimated Sh8.5 billion ($112 million).
The Kenyan Government is financing 15 per cent of the project (Sh1.2 billion) while the Chinese Government is financing 85 per cent (Sh7.3 billion).

Ruto and Sang meet in defiance of ICC

JARED NYATAYA | NATION From right: Cabinet minister Samuel Poghisio, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Kass FM radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang and Belgut MP Charles Keter during a prayer meeting at Eldoret Sports Club on Friday.
JARED NYATAYA | NATION From right: Cabinet minister Samuel Poghisio, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Kass FM radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang and Belgut MP Charles Keter during a prayer meeting at Eldoret Sports Club on Friday.  
By Gerald Andae Posted Friday, December 31 2010 at 21:00
In Summary
  • MP and Kass FM radio presenter meet face to face at prayer meeting

Two people named by the International Criminal Court over post-poll violence came face to face at a prayer meeting to usher in the New Year.
The function was convened by spiritual leaders affiliated to Emo (Kalenjin for a calling) Foundation.
Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Kass FM radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang were seen in public for the first time since they were named by the ICC chief prosecutor, Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
The move seemed to contravene Mr Ocampo’s conditions, which warned that the people he is investigating should not meet or contact each other.  
Some 13 MPs in attendance, including the Information and Communications minister, Mr Samuel Poghisio, threw their weight behind those named by Mr Ocampo, saying they had nothing to fear.
Emo Foundation is an amalgamation of various churches in the North Rift region.
However, politics took the centre stage, with MPs focusing on The Hague-based court.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga came under sharp criticism from MPs allied to Mr Ruto.  
Environment assistant minister Margaret Kamar for the first time publicly declared her support for Mr Ruto by terming the list that was released by Mr Ocampo as shoddy and unfair.
Rejected local tribunal
Ms Kamar said that she supports Kenya’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute because it had fallen short of the international standards, hence it can not be trusted.
“We thought that the ICC being an international body would carry out fair and accurate investigations but that was not the case,” said Ms Kamar.
She said that they thought ICC would have learnt something when Parliament rejected a local tribunal because they would not trust Kenya’s judicial system, and opted for the ICC because they believed it to be credible.
“Our thinking was wrong, and I now believe that Mr Ocampo’s investigation was politically motivated, hence he cannot be trusted.
“This is why I want Kenya to disengage itself from the Rome Statute,” said Ms Kamar.

Security docket full of challenges

FILE | NATION Internal Security minister George Saitoti (left), his PS Francis Kimemia and Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere at a past meeting. Security agencies have their plates full this year with myriad challenges.
FILE | NATION Internal Security minister George Saitoti (left), his PS Francis Kimemia and Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere at a past meeting. Security agencies have their plates full this year with myriad challenges. 
By SAMWEL KUMBA skumba@ke.nationmedia.comPosted Friday, December 31 2010 at 21:00
In Summary
  • From terrorism, criminal gangs, the new alcohol law to drug cartels, security agencies have work cut out

The government finds itself with a full plate of security tasks it must address locally and internationally this year.

They range from the decision to freeze accounts holding money from organised crime, establishing a drug enforcement agency to fight supply and use of drugs, fighting terrorism and implementing the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act.
All these, according to Internal Security permanent secretary Francis Kimemia, must be done starting Saturday.
Freeze accounts
Mr Kimemia, told the Saturday Nation, that the government had profiled some of the accounts of the various criminal gangs and is set to freeze them.
“We have tracked down even their property and the companies they have formed from the proceeds of their criminal activities and we are taking action any minute from tomorrow (Saturday),” said the PS.
The mandate by the government to freeze these accounts is provided for by the Prevention of Organised Criminal Act 2010.
“The law allows us to freeze such accounts including those linked to al Shabaab and al-Qaeda."
The PS appealed to the government to prioritise projects that would uplift the youth economically so that they are not tempted to join criminal gangs.
“We know all the leaders of organised gangs from the sub-location to the national level. We are only waiting to act,” said Mr Kimemia.
Human trafficking
The government had identified 20 Ethiopians and Somalis in the country who were trafficking humans from the two countries, said Mr Kimemia.
According to him, within a week, the human traffickers transport up to 100 Somalis and Ethiopians to various destinations in Africa and other parts of the world.
Anti-drugs agency
The PS said the government would form an independently funded Drug Enforcement Agency before the end of this month to tackle the drug issue widespread especially at the Coast.
To take the war against drugs a notch higher, the PS said this month, the government would draw a rapid results initiative specifically on two issues: drugs and implementation of the Alcohol Control Act.
Alcohol Control
Another undertaking for the ministry this year will be to strictly implement the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act to ensure there are “more schools” than bars.
The PS said the government was also discussing with her neighbours so that they can share information on terrorism to be able to fight the vice effectively.
“We have instructed all the 286 district liquor licensing boards up to January 15 to give a list of the licences they have issued bearing in mind the new regulations,” said the PS.

There will be special monitors, at least one in every county to ensure compliance with the new Act.
Related Stories
Sudan referendum
“We are also monitoring the referendum in Southern Sudan as we appeal to foreign agencies determined to scuttle the process through vote buying and intimidation, especially here in Kenya that we know their activities and will arrest them,” said Mr Kimemia.
Police Reforms
With the passage of the new constitution there are offices that were created including the inspector general and the deputy together with the ongoing police reforms which we must finish at the earliest opportunity to avoid any inconveniences.
Terrorism threat
The PS said the ministry was aware that al Shabaab is forming an alliance with other groups of extremist Muslims.
“We are installing electronic monitoring devices to record any movements along our borders,” said the PS.

Kumekucha Person of the Year 2010 Is...

Despite her involvement in the Kibaki electroral theft of 2007 (still we are talking about 2010 and NOT 2007 or 2008). The iron lady has bounced back and this year played a critical role politically that impacted the largest number of Kenyans positively. Karua’s gigantic achievements this year include her pivotal role in consensus building that saw the successful passing of the new constitution in parliament and then the successful campaign in the referendum that followed giving Kenyans what has eluded them for over two decades. Not to mention her position in many debates in the August house that has tended to reflect the will of the people.

This is the presidential candidate that Kumekucha would be happy to support and vouch for in 2012. It is our official position that Kenyan voters should quit doing the same thing (electing men) and expecting different results and go for a woman president this time round. One of the things this could do is help diffuse the tribal emotions that have dogged our politics with such tragic results. It is my firm belief that Karua can duplicate in Kenya what the other Iron lady Margaret Thatcher did for Britain (I doubt whether the Brits will see such prosperity again).

She may not be very lovable and she is certainly not as sexy as Charity Ngilu but she can certainly get the job done and deliver results. She may just be the person to help us usher in the brand new Kenya we all so eagerly yearn for.

Despite her involvement in helping Kibaki achieve the evil of 2007 election fraud, she cannot be held fully responsible. The buck stops with the president himself and those close to him have to follow orders and do as instructed. We are not absolving her, she still stands accused for that terrible chapter in Kenyan history but sometimes the greatest achievers are those who have fallen and risen again or made terrible mistakes and still bounced back. Martha “comeback” Karua has surely transformed herself beautifully for the good of the Kenyan people.

First Runner Up: Gitobu Imanyara

Second runner up: Mohamed Abdikadir

I have included comments in red below next to some of the other nominations.

1. Martha Karua

2. Gitobu Imanyara.

3. COE (commitee of Experts)

4. PLO Lumumba (was in contention but it is still too early to start popping the Champaign.)

5. Mohamed Abdikadir (Led a team and indeed achieved a lot-that is why he ended up 3rd. But he cannot take the lion’s share of the credit just because he was in the limelight most.)

6. Manu Chandaria

7. Caroline Mutoko

Met announces end of short rains

Written By:Judith Akolo,    Posted: Fri, Dec 31, 2010

The Kenya Meteorological Department has announced the end of the short rains season.
In a statement, Director of Meteorological Services Dr Joseph Mukabana says chances of widespread rainfall are minimal except that the country will witness windy and sunny conditions as the New Year begins.
Mukabana says areas near large water bodies like the lake basin region could experience light showers while night time temperatures in most areas will drop due to lack of cloudy skies.
Areas around Kitale, Kakamega, Kisumu, Kisii, Kericho, Eldoret Nakuru, Narok and Nyahururu will experience light to moderate afternoon and night showers and thunderstorms over several places at the beginning of the season but reduce in intensity and coverage as the period progresses.
The Northwestern districts of Lokitaung and Lokichoggio, will experience mainly sunny intervals with showers over few places in the borderline areas with Uganda.
Northeastern districts of Marsabit, Moyale, Mandera, Wajir and Garissa will experience sunny weather conditions.
The Central highlands of Nairobi Nyeri, Meru, Dagoretti and Embu, will experience light to moderate afternoon and night showers as the Southeastern lowlands of Voi, Makindu and Machakos experience mainly sunny intervals however light afternoon showers will be experienced in areas in the vicinity of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The Coastal strip of Mombasa, Kilifi, Malindi and Lamu will experience light morning showers over few places at the beginning specifically the south coast but mainly sunny intervals the rest of forecast period as we move into the New Year.

It will be a year full of equity market activities

This year, equity market activities are set to increase significantly compared to last year.
This will be as a result of expected public offerings by several companies.
Among the companies set to shed their stakes include National Bank of Kenya (NBK), Consolidated Bank of Kenya, KenGen and five sugar companies, while Co-operative Insurance Company is set to sell its stake to the public in 2013.
According to sources, the Government plans to unleash its 51 per cent stake to public in NBK this year.
As part of the preparation, the bank’s board recently renewed the contract of the Managing Director Reuben Marambii for two years.
According to Aly Khan Satchu, Mr Marambii’s contract is an indication that the board has trust in him.
"He will use his robust experience to prepare the institution for privatisation," he said.
The managing director has helped turn-around the bank’s losses over the years, putting it back on the profit trajectory.
Raising capital
In the nine months to September, the bank made a net income of Sh1.35 billion compared to Sh972 million a year earlier, driven by a growth in lending that rose by Sh5 billion to reach Sh17 billion.
However, the Government will have to offload its stake at Consolidated Bank of Kenya.
"We are on course to privatise the bank but we still have a few things being examined by a consultant and establish what we really want from the privatisation. The raising of capital will either be by an initial public offering contribution or floatation of a bond in the open market," said the bank’s chairperson Eunice Kagane.
At the first half of the year that ended June last year, the bank posted 145 per cent increase in pre-tax profits on increased lending buoyed by the ongoing recovery of the economy.
Profits rose to Sh 81.4 million compared to Sh 33.2 million in the same period last year.
After a delayed privatisation of the five sugar factories, the action is set to resume mid next year. According to industry sources, "everything" has been completed.
This will be a relief to stakeholders as the process has been in limbo since 2007.

Samburu woman's crusade against killing of the disabled

Related StoriesBy ERICK WAMANJI
Mantelina Nasieku, 14, knows too well what she wants in life- to be a lawyer. It is a miracle that she is alive to declare her dream.
Being mauled by hyenas, strangulation, suffocation, being snuffed to death by tobacco concoction or being poisoned by desert rose juice are some of the things that might befallen her at birth after she was born partially blind.
Some of the disabled children saved from death play at the Samburu Handicap Education & Rehabilitation Programme (Sherp). [PHOTOS: ERICK WAMAJI/STANDARD]
But suffering doesn’t end with children with disabilities. Women too have to pay the price of bringing forth such children. The men issue orders; the women do the execution. Objections to such decrees are met with frown, ex-communication, or battery.

Rogue woman Luckily for Mantelina and 500 others, they are alive due to a rescue operation.
Mantelina’s zeal is an embodiment of triumph over cultural oppression.
"She has a big appetite for knowledge," says Grace Seneiya, a woman who defied culture to offer a new lease of life and dignity to the condemned babies. From a ‘rogue woman’ to a celebrated figure in the community, today Seneiya, 37, befuddles even her sharpest critics.
"In Samburu, disability is frowned at. The disabled are viewed as a curse, a burden, a bad omen," explains Seneiya as we take a tour of Samburu Handicap Education and Rehabilitation Programme (Sherp). "With this amount of loathing, such babies are condemned to death," adds as her voice falters.
Commit suicideHere, the disabled are called ngoki, meaning curse, useless or demonic. That is why, Seneiya explains, there are not so many disabled adults in the area nor will you even see albinos. They are killed soon after birth in one of the most horrific cultural acts.
Indeed, treading through the thorns and thistles of this near-barren world, the scrubland shrinks as if in shame of the infamy of the atrocities it has silently witnessed and concealed. There is an eerie feel of death here.
So you think that this is a practice of a bygone era? You are wrong. "Just recently, we have had cases of abandoned disabled babies," Seneyia says after a long silence.
Death designs are as varied as they are many. Babies are tethered on spiky scrubs, abandoned in the bush or left in the goat pens. It is mothers who perform the killing. Men issue orders.
Women who defy such orders are excommunicated from their matrimonial homes. Some commit suicide because of frustrations, Seneiya reveals.
Locals seem to have been sworn into silence and interestingly even though the administration or law enforcement is aware of the practice, no one seems to want put in force the rule of law.
Turning point
"There was a time some leaders wanted us to be ejected from this ground arguing that disability does not add anything to the growth of the community. No one is taking action against these dehumanising culture," Seneiya mourns.
The turning point came in 2003 when Seneiya’s and five other women in Samburu were engaged in a workshop in Nanyuki by organised by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation.
"We went to Nanyuki and there was a lady called Sabdiyo Dido from SNV who opened our eyes. She empowered us to think critically and to be strategic in resource mobilisation for our cause. It is after that training that I came out like a possessed person. I knew I wanted to help the disabled. That is how I soldiered on," she recalls.
Not deterredThankfully, this rescue effort required a brief women empowerment effort to kick-start these changes. In Nanyuki SNV wanted to find solutions on the myriad problems affecting women and children in Samburu, and instantly, Seneiya, herself a special education teacher, knew where to place her cards. It has paid off.
"All these children you see here would either be long dead or living miserably," points out Seneiya.
For instance, Mantelina was born partially blind and was left for the dead in the scrubland. She was rescued and underwent surgery and now she can see.
Maralal is a dusty township with wooden structures fashioned from cedar. Men draped in red shukas sit on one side of the street snuffing tobacco and engaging in small talk. Across the street, women, sitting on the dusty grounds supply the tobacco. The irony is that the much cherished drug is the killer dose here for the disabled.
One old man, Daudi Olekentai, doesn’t think there is anything wrong with killing the disabled. "We the Samburu are always on the move. How do you expect us to carry a disabled adult," he poses, snuffs his tobacco, sneezes and requests if we can buy him more tobacco.
To Seneiya, this is a classic impunity but she is not deterred. She hopes a time will come when the disabled will be accepted in the social circles of the community.
"We’re now moving from rescuing to awareness. At least today, they’d rather dump the baby here than kill it. We want them to appreciate the children and show that they can be productive," Seneiya says.
However, such a bold act was and still is considered a perilous enterprise that fires high emotions, fear and hatred with equal measure.
Premium bride priceIndeed, Seneya endured an avalanche of hatred from friends and relatives alike. She was accused of surrounding herself with curses and as such, they swore, she would never get married.
"The nomadic Samburu lifestyle is intolerant to the weak and disabled. As they move for pasture and water, a disabled is considered an extra baggage. During raids, the disabled are usually left behind. A year ago, in one village there was a raid. Everyone fled except two disabled people who were killed," she recalls.
Girls are supposed to bloom to astounding beauties that could attract premium bride price. Disabled girls never attract suitors. The very textile of this society is cut on bravado and bride wealth. Anything that threatens these key rudiments is frowned at and has to be destroyed. Disability, real or perceived, is such a threat.
"For long I used to mount my motorbike and tour the manyattas to inquire about disabled children. At times I would stumble on one abandoned here and another there. Most of the time you find them tethered on a shrub, feeble and shrunk."
"People used to look at meawestruck. They were convinced I was nuts," she says.

Kibaki hails Kenya's gains in New Year message

By PPSPosted Friday, December 31 2010 at 18:52

President Mwai Kibaki has today called upon Kenyans to remain steadfast and ready themselves to steer the country in overcoming any challenges that may confront the nation.
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In his New Year message to the nation, that will be televised from State House-Nairobi, President Kibaki particularly thanked Kenyans for their dedication to the country’s wellbeing and attributed the commendable gains so far achieved by the nation to their hard work.
As a country, the President confirmed that, Kenyans had achieved important milestones in various areas of national endeavour citing the promulgation of the new Constitution.
The President acknowledged, “I thank you the Kenyan people for your dedication to our country. I salute your hard work that has enabled us make the strides we have made as a nation.”
Urging Kenyans to commit the country to God’s guidance in the years ahead, the Head of State affirmed that everyone should demonstrate genuine patriotism in overcoming tribulations that may arise in the process of implementing the new Constitution.
He said, “As the New Year begins, let us thank God for watching over our country.”
Reiterating that the focus is on the implementation process, President Kibaki said that all arms of the government, public institutions and stakeholders must play their respective roles so that the country can reap maximum benefits from the new constitutional dispensation.
The Head of State said, “As the New Year commences, I urge Members of Parliament, all public institutions and other stakeholders to play their respective roles effectively, in order for us to meet the timelines laid out in the Fifth Schedule of our Constitution.”
In the message the President reaffirmed the Grand Coalition Government’s commitment to the establishment of a local judicial process to seek justice for victims of the post election violence.
However, President Kibaki called for calm, tolerance and patience among Kenyans to ensure that the process of seeking justice for the victims of the post election violence does not erode the gains the country had made in the process of national healing and reconciliation.
Observed the Head of State, “Although the Special Tribunal for Kenya Bill and the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bills were rejected by Parliament two years ago, the Grand Coalition Government remains committed to a local judicial process and will accordingly take the necessary steps. As the process of dispensing justice gets underway in the New Year, I urge Kenyans to remain calm and demonstrate tolerance and patience”.
On the economic front, President Kibaki noted with appreciation that the year was closing on a positive note with a growth rate of 5 percent compared to 2.6 percent in the previous year.
Said the President, “The economy is projected to expand by 6 percent in the coming year. An expanding economy means more opportunities for our people”.
Saying the government’s sights are set on a double-digit economic growth that creates more jobs, President Kibaki reiterated that empowerment of youth will remain a priority in the New Year.
The Government, the Head of State emphasized, will continue to strengthen the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, to enable youth access affordable credit with further expansion of the Economic Stimulus programs targeted them.
On security, President Kibaki announced that the government plans to develop a policy and legal framework that provides for the participation of communities and private security providers in policing and therefore enhance security so that wananchi can freely engage in economic activities.
The President reassured that the ongoing reforms in the police force will be sustained to ensure the police service became professional and accountable to the people.
Touching on the regional integration, the Head of State called upon Kenyans to embrace the opportunities that come their way under the expanded East African Community.
“We should also embrace the opportunities that come our way, especially under the expanded East African Community,” the President said.
The Head of State impressed on the people of Sudan to ensure peace prevailed during and after the January 9th National referendum when the country decides her future destiny.
Said he, “In the spirit of good neighbourliness, I wish to extend our best wishes to the government and people of the Sudan, as they prepare to vote in the January Ninth referendum”.
The President wished all Kenyans a happy and prosperous new year, 2011 and urged them to commit the country to God who has mercifully been watching over its affairs over the previous years.

Groups call for new Kenya leadership

National Civil Society Congress president Mr Morris Odhiambo (in spectacles) is flanked by members as they addresses the Press at Serena hotel in Nairobi on December 31, 2010.
National Civil Society Congress president Mr Morris Odhiambo (in spectacles) is flanked by members as they addresses the Press at Serena hotel in Nairobi on December 31, 2010.  
By AGGREY MUTAMBOPosted Friday, December 31 2010 at 12:12

The civil society wants 2011 to be the year to clean Kenya’s leadership and shield the country from diversionary tactics by politicians.
The National Civil Society Congress (NCSC), under the umbrella of Jukwaa La Katiba, on Friday urged Kenyans to recall Members of Parliament who they thought were perpetuating impunity.
“Kenya is facing a growing leadership crisis. The political leadership is engrossed in crime and impunity and therefore cannot serve the interests of Kenyans,” said Morris Odhiambo, the President of the group.
The new constitution allows the electorate to recall elected legislators who fail to deliver.
“MPs mentioned in corrupt scandals should also quit from their seats since they are also public officers.”
'Flimsy politics'
In its new year’s message, the group said Parliament had kept Kenya at ransom for a long time by engaging in “flimsy politics.” They accused MPs of nurturing their personal interests while deliberately delaying the implementation of the new constitution.
They described Parliament as a fisi-kisirani (chaotic hyena) scenario where suspected criminals are shielded from the law. They were referring to the recent uproar of politicians against the Ocampo list of six suspected post-poll instigators in which some MPs said it had been politicised.
In its aftermath, some leaders hinted at the idea of raising funds for the suspects to get them better legal defence. In fact, Parliament has since passed a motion to withdraw the country from the Rome Statute, the law that created the ICC.
But while the group supports a local tribunal, it said by withdrawing from ICC, MPs would be supporting injustice at the expense of victims.
Rev Timothy Njoya, the outgoing leader of NCSC even called on Kenyans to demand a new poll this year as a matter of urgently “entrenching integrity” among MPs.
“It may sound revolutionary but it actually is. We should have no dichotomy between the people and the Constitution,” he said, arguing that the new laws give Kenyans an opportunity to recreate Kenya through getting new leadership.

December traffic deaths up this year

Deputy Traffic Police Commandant, Samwel C. Kimaru addressing journalists in his office December 31, 2010. He said the number of fatal accidents on December 2010 was 307, which has surpassed the 217 number of fatalities reported in the same month 2009. Photo/SAMMY KIMATU
Deputy Traffic Police Commandant, Samwel C. Kimaru addressing journalists in his office December 31, 2010. He said the number of fatal accidents on December 2010 was 307, which has surpassed the 217 number of fatalities reported in the same month 2009. Photo/SAMMY KIMATU 
Posted Friday, December 31 2010 at 16:15

The number of deaths caused by road accidents in December this year has surpassed that of last year.
Out of the accidents, 85 per cent were caused by Passengers Serving Vehicles (PSVs) driven at night.
Speaking during a press briefing at Nairobi’s Ruaraka Traffic Headquarters, Deputy Commandant, Samuel C. Kimaru said this was attributed to speeding vehicles and drunk drivers.
Mr Kimaru said 307 people died on December this year while 400 victims were affected compared to 217 reported deaths and 255 victims in December 2009.
The data showed 384 people sustained serious injuries while 1,056 victims were reported in the same month.
Mr Kimaru added that 139 people got slight injuries while 711 were victims.
Those who were not injured were 2,878.
He said another factor attributing to the rise of the accidents was mass movement of members of the public during the festive month and increase of vehicle on roads.
“It is alarming and quite astonishing to say that pedestrians were badly affected,” Kimaru remarked.
Out of those who died in last year, 738 were passengers 306 drivers and 240 pedal cyclists.
Another 200 died while riding on motorbikes as 124 succumbed death while being passengers on motorbikes.
“Mostly ladies reportedly resisted to wear helmets compared to men saying their hair will be tampered,” Kimaru remarked.
Kimaru said accidents caused in 2009 were few due to famine and drought in the country.
Kimaru launched police hotline numbers: 020-2603814 and 020-8074602 and appealed to members of the public to volunteer information as part of community policing.
By afternoon Friday, Mr Kimaru confirmed that a total 1,824 traffic offenders had been arrested among them 190 motorists and arraigned in court.
He said that the police will launch a crackdown on unroadworthy vehicles dubbed “Enhanced Traffic Enforcement Operation” immediately after schools re-open adding that the police will not relent its efforts to curb crime.
On corruption, he said 10 officers have been sacked while several were demoted.

Kirima's body to be flown in on Monday

Mrs Maria Kirima consults with former Cabinet minister Charles Rubia (centre) and Bishop Michuki on December 30, 2010 at the late Kirima's Kitisuru home. The burial committee chairman Maina Wanjigi on Friday said his team was making arrangements to have the body flown into the country.
Mrs Maria Kirima consults with former Cabinet minister Charles Rubia (centre) and Bishop Michuki on December 30, 2010 at the late Kirima's Kitisuru home. The burial committee chairman Maina Wanjigi on Friday said his team was making arrangements to have the body flown into the country.  
Posted Friday, December 31 2010 at 12:50

The body of businessman-cum-politician Gerishon Kirima is expected to be flown into the country on Monday from South Africa where he died while undergoing treatment.
Related Stories
The burial committee chairman Maina Wanjigi on Friday said his team was making arrangements to have the body flown into the country.
When contacted, a spokeswoman at the South African High Commission confirmed that arrangements were being made to fly the body into the country.
On his part, Mr Wanjigi, who is chairing a seven-man committee overseeing the funeral arrangements for the former assistant minister in his Kitisuru home, said daily prayer meetings will also take place at the All Saints Cathedral from Monday beginning from 6pm to 8pm.
Similar meetings will be taking place at his Kitisuru home at the same time.
“Another committee has also been formed in his rural home in Murang’a, central Kenya, where he will be buried,” Mr Wanjigi said.
The politician was thrust back into the limelight when his family was embroiled in a dramatic fight for access to and control of his vast property.
Mr Kirima had three wives, one died and another is separated. The children of his first two wives were involved in a dispute with Mrs Teresia Wairimu, whom Mr Kirima was living with in Kitisuru, Nairobi.

CCK says its hands clean in Kencell deal


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CCK Director General Charles Njoroge/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 31 - The Communications Commission of Kenya has defended itself over accusations that its officials received bribes from France telecommunications giant Alcatel-Lucent for the award of the country's second mobile phone licence to Kencell 10 years ago, and the purchase of telecommunications equipment.

Director General Charles Njoroge told Capital newsbeat on phone that the commission used laid-down regulations in the issuance of the license.

"The documents are there and the processes are documented and if anyone would want to see how it was done there is evidence," said Mr Njoroge.

The telecommunications giant is reported to have admitted in an American court that it paid bribes amounting to Sh1.5 billion to Kenyan officials in the deals.

"They are mentioning CCK but the truth of the matter is that we do not deal with equipment.  We deal with licenses," said the Director General.

After CCK awarded the second GSM licence, several companies bid to provide infrastructure and services to Kencell Communications. It is alleged that Alcatel-Lucent made improper payments to the intermediary in the approximate amount of Sh1.5 billion to win the tender.

According to court documents this frame supply agreement valued at Sh6.7 billion included construction of a switching centre, an operations and maintenance centre and base stations for the mobile network.

"When it comes with supplying equipment it is individual companies and so whatever they decide to do whether it is open tendering or not, is their business," said Mr Njoroge.

Kencell was co-owned by French Telecom Vivendi and Kenyan company Sameer.  It was later sold out to Zain Africa.

Alcatel-Lucent was charged by US prosecutors in a Federal Court in Florida with violating the internal controls and records provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices the company admitted it made at least Sh3.7 billion in profits as a result of its bribery.

Following the suit it is reported that Alcatel has reached a Sh10.6 billion settlement with the American Department of Justice.

US prosecutors said on Tuesday three Alcatel-Lucent subsidiaries, which provide telecommunications equipment and services, bribed foreign officials to win business in Costa Rica, Honduras, Malaysia and Taiwan.

In a statement on the issue, Alcatel admitted to using third-party agents and consultants to facilitate its business dealings.

"Even in this country by then you know the kind of regime we used to have and we cannot make any apologies on that regime," said Mr Njoroge.

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Kenyan PM calls for optimism in 2011


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Prime Minister Raila Odinga/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 31 - Prime Minister Raila Odinga has sent a message of goodwill with promises of improved governance in 2011.

Speaking at his Karen home on Friday, the Premier asked Kenyans to mark the end of 2010 and beginning of the New Year with hope.

"As all Kenyans across the country and beyond gather with family and friends, I want to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year 2011", he said.

He said despite the challenges that 2010 provided for many Kenyans the country must look back on this year with the knowledge that brighter days are ahead.

Mr Odinga thanked Kenyans for standing in unity and reaffirming their commitment to taking Kenya to a new level through voting in a new constitution that promises better governance.

He said the new constitution marked a turning point in Kenya's history which is the most important event that had eluded that country for many years.

He further said the country is earnestly focused on the implementation of the new laws.

Mr Odinga explained that new constitution will be effective in the fight against corruption and other vices affecting the society like drug peddling, noting that the government has stepped up the battle against the social impieties.

He noted that corruption continued to soil the governments' reputation and called on Kenyans to support the war on graft and stop interfering with the government's efforts to root it out.

At the same time, the Premier said that the government was committed to ensuring that the economy achieves and surpasses the ten per cent growth rate to enable the country achieve the aspirations of vision 2030.

He said the youth have also been strongly factored in the development agenda through the Youth Empowerment Programme which is also supported by the World Bank.

Mr Odinga promised that the government will ensure that youth and women are empowered to enable them play their rightful role in national building.

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Moments 2010: Road to new constitution

Moments 2010: Kenya politics

Moments 2010: NTV landmarks

NTV Moments: 2010 Winners

Moments 2010: Security issues

Moments 2010: A nation reborn

Moments 2010: ICC nightmares

NTV Moments: Losers of 2010

NGOs seek resignation of 'Hague 6'

Nyamira's Ekerubo School leads the way

Fadhili school's fervent plea to KNEC

Newsmakers 2010: Martha Karua

The Reporter's Story

Wanjiru Charged

Constitution Bills Assent

Money Transfers Part 4

Kuresoi Teen Murder

Kirima Death Controversy

Growth of Karate

Business Round Up

Samwel Wanjiru charged over murder threats

KCPE poor candidates

Kirima passes on

EMO foundation on ICC

Kibaki signs bills

Coalition government scorecard

Kibaki should keep his cool as MPs lose theirs

President Kibaki shall serve the national interest better by keeping his cool as enraged MPs lose their heads in righteous rage.
MPs are angry, but their anger is not serving the national interest, so the President better consider the public good before acting, either way, on a Motion to spike the International Criminal Court.
The President should listen to the better judgement of reason, which the ordinary people share. The President should listen, and listen hard, with ears to the wall of public opinion.
Two opinion polls show the majority of Kenyans want the International Criminal Court to handle cases of potential suspects, who are thought to bear the greatest responsibility for post-election violence.
Infotrak opinion survey, released three days after Luis Moreno-Ocampo named six potential suspects on December 15, shows majority of Kenyans trust the ICC as a fair arbiter of justice. They believe since the ICC is not beholden to local rivalries, ethnic loyalties, and partisan political sensitivities it should administer justice for the victims and suspects of post-election violence.
A week later, another opinion survey by Synovate, the former Steadman, confirmed the public has confidence in The Hague. The public expects the ICC process to uproot the stump of impunity, which has been too heavy for local institutions.
A third opinion poll by Infrotrak, coming days after MPs passed a Motion seeking to withdraw Kenya from the province of ICC, shows wananchi have confidence in The Hague, to tame ascendant impunity.
Wananchi believe The Hague-based institution can deliver justice for victims and potential suspects. Justice, so to speak, is a double-edged sword, which cuts both ways. This opinion is informed by experience: Crimes for which ICC wants prosecutions were committed three years ago. But not a single high-ranking person, thought to bear heavier responsibility for it, has been tried. Similar crimes — arson, rape, murder and displacement of population — were also committed during the 1992 and 1997 General Elections, but there were no prosecutions.
Horrendous crimes
There is also no evidence anyone that high shall be tried in a local court for abetting post-election violence. There are no possibilities of such trials even though most of the crimes are within the province of the local justice system.
This system has either been unwilling or unable or both to deliver justice. It is because of this failure that ICC, a court of last resort, became an alternative.
Unless ICC intervenes now, there is a possibility similar crimes could be committed during the 2012 General Election. The people do not want these horrendous crimes repeated.
In the latest Infotrak survey, voters were essentially telling MPs off because wananchi have confidence in The Hague.
While their employers — the electorate — identify with the victims of the violence, MPs empathise with potential suspects. Some MPs are even considering raising money to hire defence lawyers for potential suspects.
About 1,200 Kenyans were killed in the mayhem, and about 650,000 were displaced. Thousands of the displaced peasants are still in refugee camps, three years after the violence. Justice has been delayed, and risks being denied.
Now, MPs want to stop the wheel of justice, which is rolling towards The Hague. They want President Kibaki to support their Motion seeking to withdraw Kenya from ICC jurisdiction to save their high-ranking colleagues the ignominy of trial in a foreign land. They have conveniently overlooked the fact some Kenyans are in cells in Uganda facing terrorism charges. The difference is that Kenyans in Uganda are low class citizens, with voting ambitions, rather than interest to run for president.
The ball is in President Kibaki’s court, tossed into his backyard by a coalition of the unwilling and the unable.
The unwilling and the unable are now telling President Kibaki and the world that, now that they are willing and able they should reclaim the country’s judicial independence from the ICC grip.
It is shameful, they say, and an affront to the country’s sovereignty, they claim, to surrender the prosecution of ‘innocent’ men of high status to a court in The Netherlands, in wintry Europe. They have forgotten about renditions of terror suspects to far-flung Guantanamo Bay.
The new Constitution, MPs claim, gave their newfound willingness and ability new gravitas.
Playing Lot’s wife
Although the new Constitution was promulgated on August 27, MPs, now sizzling with patriotism and love for sovereignty, realised these only after Ocampo cited six Kenyans who could face trial at The Hague for crimes against humanity.
The current resident of State House was once a smug occupant of the corner of the unwilling and the unable. But on the eighth year of his presidency, he saw the light, converted reluctantly, and boarded the change-wagon. Now, MPs want the President to play Lot’s wife, by endorsing a Motion, which the House passed last week, to withdraw Kenya’s subscription to the ICC.
Good sense suggests Kibaki should avoid the self-interest path of some MPs. The President should be guided by the public interest. Wananchi have spoken, and shall penalise duplicitous MPs in the right way, in the fullness of time.
Happy New Year and keep the fire of hope burning even brighter.
Writer is The Standard’s Managing Editor Quality and Production. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of The Standard.