Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sonko Steps aside as senator

Mike Sonko.

I have learnt with surprise and dismay that my name is included in the list of the people being investigated by the Ethics and Anti-CorruptionCommission on their report dated 20th March 2015, allegedly over a tender at the Kenya Pipeline Company. I wish to state as follows:

1. That I have no influence over KPC and its procurement system. KPC is a state corporation with a respectable management team and a board of directors. I serve in none. The only connection I have with the parastatal is that it is headquartered in the county of Nairobi where I am the Senator.

2. That I have not been informed of any wrong doing that I am said to have engaged in. EACC team know where to find me, they have not made any effort to contact me or request for any information or assistance from me. I am therefore left to conclude that the investigations against me are motivated by ill will and malice.

3.Since we all know that CORRUPTION has painfully bled our country for so long and made many tax paying Kenyans to suffer for lack of proper service delivery propelled by greedy individuals. 
We also know that this dragon called CORRUPTION must be fought for our country to prosper. It is because of these reasons and in support of His Excellency the President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive that those mentioned should step aside to facilitate investigations, I hereby announce that I have forthwith stepped aside as the Senator for Nairobi, Majority Deputy Chief Whip Senate, Member Roads &Transport; National Security & foreign Relations and Joint Committee on National Cohesion & Equal Opportunity committees. I will vacate my county office, and only return after my name is cleared. Kenya is bigger than Sonko, Kidero and all the mentioned elected leaders.

In the meantime, I remain loyal to the government and HE the President and will support efforts to build our beloved nation of Kenya. I urge all other elected leaders mentioned to also show goodwill and step aside.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that the allegations against me are utterly false. I will however remain loyal to HE the president and the great people of Nairobi and all Kenyans in general. However the SONKO RESCUE TEAM will continue to provide services to the great beloved people of Nairobi

May God bless Kenya.

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Barack Obama will in July make a first presidential trip to Kenya
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Washington (AFP) - Barack Obama will make a long-awaited return to Kenya this July, visiting his father's homeland for the first time since becoming US president, the White House announced Monday.
During the much-delayed visit, Obama will attend a summit to encourage entrepreneurship and meet the country's controversial leader Uhuru Kenyatta.
Obama's late father was from a small village near the shores of Lake Victoria. He met Obama's white American mother in Hawaii, where they had a son before divorcing.
America's first black president has visited sub-Saharan Africa four times since taking office in 2009, but political scandal has blocked a presidential visit to his ancestral home.
For much of Obama's time in power, Kenya's president Kenyatta had been under investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Kenyatta was indicted on five counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in 2007-08 post-election violence that killed an estimated 1,200 people.
The 53-year-old son of Kenya's founding father protested his innocence until the case was dropped in December.
Prosecutors complained that they had been undermined by a lack of cooperation by the Kenyan government, as well as the bribing or intimidation of witnesses.
A White House official told AFP that Obama and Kenyatta would meet during the visit.
The official, who asked not to be named, said the United States regularly raises "concerns with the Kenyan government about restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms."
"The president's trip will create another opportunity for dialogue with the government and civil society on these issues."
Kenyatta had attended a US-Africa summit in Washington in 2014 but did not hold a bilateral meeting with Obama.
Kenya is seen as a front in the fight against global terror, following a series of deadly attacks that have been claimed by Somalia-based jihadist group al-Shebab.
Many Western governments have since warned tourists against visiting Kenya's stunning coastline, which draws in hordes of visitors and much-needed tourism revenue.
- Forefathers and ancestry -
The White House hopes that a visit will also do more to cement ties between the United States and the African continent, which has received billions in Chinese investment in recent decades.
"Just as President (John) Kennedy's historic visit to Ireland in 1963 celebrated the connections between Irish-Americans and their forefathers, President Obama's trip will honor the strong historical ties between the United States and Kenya – and all of Africa," White House advisors said in a blog.
Millions of Americans trace their ancestry to the African continent, and more than 100,000 Americans live in or visit Kenya each year, they said.
Obama had visited Kenya multiple times before entering politics and in 2006 as a US senator, when he visited his father's home village Nyang'oma-Kogelo and took a very public HIV test.
The president's heritage has spurred domestic controversy, with some hardline political foes claiming he was not born in the United States and so was ineligible to become president.
Obama allies say this is thinly veiled racism and the president has often made light of the controversy.
"If I did not love America, I wouldn't have moved here from Kenya," he recently joked.
Some Republicans accused Obama of trying to stir up controversy.
"I personally think he’s just inciting some chatter on an issue that should have been a dead issue a long time ago," John Sununu, who served as White House chief of staff for president George H. W. Bush, told Fox News.
On the July visit, Obama is expected to take part in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which is being held in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time.
"Hosting the GES is an opportunity for Kenya to showcase its economic progress," said the White House official.
"Kenya maintains enormous potential for economic growth, thanks to the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the Kenyan people."

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Lupita Nyong'o at home in East Africa for Disney production

The actress is in Uganda to film 'Queen of Katwe'

Agence France-Presse
12:41 AM, Mar 30, 2015
Updated 9:11 AM, Mar 30, 2015
NEW PROJECT. Actress Lupita Nyong'o is in Uganda filming the movie 'Queen of Katwe.' Photo by Mike Nelson/EPA
NEW PROJECT. Actress Lupita Nyong'o is in Uganda filming the movie 'Queen of Katwe.' Photo by Mike Nelson/EPA
KAMPALA, Uganda – After a film about a king of Scotland, Ugandans are getting excited over a new movie about a "queen," starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o.
The Hollywood star, born in Mexico to Kenyan parents, jetted into neighboring Uganda a few days ago for her first job in East Africa since taking the 2014 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 12 Years a Slave.
"I'm loving the food, I'm loving the people, I'm loving the style," she said ahead of the start of production for the film Queen of Katwe.
"I don't feel like leaving. People just have an innate style, so I'm taking notes. And I'm really loving working on this film."
The Disney production, directed by Mira Nair, is a biopic looking at chess coach Robert Katende and his star pupil Phiona Mutesi, who grew up in Kampala's Katwe slum.
After happening upon chess as a famished nine-year-old, Phiona, now 18, quickly developed a talent for the game and became a national champion, going on to participate in international Olympiads and becoming a Woman Candidate Master (WCM).
Nyong'o is portraying Phiona's mother, Harriet Mutesi, in the highest profile film project to come to Uganda since the 2006 movie The Last King of Scotland about Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, which garnered an Oscar for Forest Whitaker in the title role.
An alumna of Maisha Film Lab, a training initiative for up and coming East African filmmakers founded by Nair, Nyong'o said the movie was an "empowering story about what’s possible if you allow yourself to dream".
"I didn’t know that chess could make such a difference in people's lives, a fundamental difference in how they look at themselves and deal with the life ahead of them," the 32-year-old told reporters at a press conference with Nair, Katende and Mutesi.
"It's not very often that you see a positive image of Africa on screen."
Despite her Kenyan roots, Ugandans are also proud of Nyong'o, and part of her Oscar speech is painted on the wall of a local cafe. But she has reportedly gone unrecognized by some locals since arriving.
"It's so lovely to be around people that are my complexion all the time, that's been a breath of fresh air," said Nyong'o, wearing a long, tight-fitting black and white gown by local label KWESH.
"What I love about being in Uganda so far is that I can be myself. I don't feel restricted."
Queen of Katwe will also star Selma actor David Oyelowo, with 20 street kids as "chess pioneers".
Katende's chess programme is now running in five Kampala slums as well as in former camps for internally displaced people in northern Uganda, and he hopes to expand it to Kenya.
He said Nyong'o was "so humble" and "down to earth" despite being a film star.
Phiona, who has been sitting exams, arrived in her school uniform as Katende had not told her about the event until the last minute to avoid distracting her.
"I don't believe it... I'm meeting Lupita. This is overwhelming," she said.   Amy Fallon, AFP/Rappler.com

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Marianne Kitany, Chief of Staff at the Office of the Deputy President, during a Parliamentary Accounts Committee hearing. Her name and of many URP leaders are said to be in the highly-anticipated graft list. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA |
Marianne Kitany, Chief of Staff at the Office of the Deputy President, during a Parliamentary Accounts Committee hearing. Her name and of many URP leaders are said to be in the highly-anticipated graft list. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA |   NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary

Partnership between TNA and URP hangs in the balance after State of the Nation call to resign
The glue that holds President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto together is the same that now threatens to tear them apart following the disclosure to Parliament of a confidential list of public officials on anti-corruption radar.
The purge ordered by President Kenyatta during his State of the Nation address from Parliament buildings on Thursday leaves the partnership between TNA and URP hanging in the balance.
This comes after the ICC ties between the two were drastically loosened after President Kenyatta’s case at The Hague collapsed.
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto came together under the umbrella of the Jubilee coalition mainly to fend off crimes against humanity charges against them at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
At the time, they mobilised their allies in Parliament to water down the Leadership and Integrity Act which operationalises Chapter 6 provisions of the Constitution.
Thus, Parliament opened the way for public officials charged with serious crimes to remain in office until convicted.
Since the President’s case at the ICC has been terminated, there is a feeling that the bond between the two leaders could be weakening, given that President Kenyatta has less baggage than Mr Ruto, whose case has proceeded at The Hague unsurprisingly smoothly.
The list compiled by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has names of 175 Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, parastatal chiefs, MPs and other public officials.
In fact, the list hit very close to the heart of the Ruto wing after the name of his chief of staff, Ms Marianne Kittany, appeared. The inclusion of Ms Kittany’s in the list is comparable to former International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo’s initial list of six post-election violence suspects — among them President Kibaki’s right-hand man and then head of public service, Mr Francis Muthaura.
Other URP-allied officials in the list are Agriculture and Livestock Secretary Felix Koskei, who offered to stand down yesterday after initially appearing to demur. Also said to be in the list — whose full details will be known on Tuesday when it is tabled in Parliament — is the Investment Secretary in the National Treasury, Ms Esther Koimett.
The list also contains names of TNA-allied officials and MPs, as well as opposition MPs and governors, the majority are said to be allied to URP.
Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia, who are from Central region, as is the President, are carryovers from the Kibaki regime and not so close personally to Mr Kenyatta.
As such, the feeling in the URP camp is that TNA, to which President Kenyatta belongs, has declared war on them despite helping him to ascend to the highest political office in the land.
For political scientist Adams Oloo, the President may not have been targeting URP as such, but the opposition Cord.
“Before he released the report, he must have shared it with the Deputy President. I think the President was targeting the Opposition, which has been accusing his government of abetting corruption... by releasing a list with names of opposition leaders. In so doing, he was saving his coalition from being vilified,” said Dr Oloo. 
Although the government appears to have tempered its diplomatic charm offensive to free Mr Ruto from the ICC burden, the President maintains that his government is committed to seeing his deputy absolved from the ICC case.

Lupita in Uganda

From 6000 pearls to just 1: Uganda. Excited to be back in East Africa to work with #MiraNair on#QueenOfKatwe#MaishaAlive #nofilter

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