August 26, 2014
August 25, 2014
Whichever way you look at it, the Wazee-Vijana Football match held about a week ago exposed a stark reality facing Kenya-Stockholm’s wazees that could have remained expunged from scrutiny. The wazees were thwacked 14-12. However, this defeat, with a margin of only 2 goals, should be deemed “respectable” and a sports critic could be persuaded to credit the wazees for having put up such a formidable resistance against the young Turks who, nevertheless, relaxed their tempo apparently to encourage the wazees. A report on the match can only be complete if the circumstances that led to the defeat of wazee are highlighted.
In the first place, many wazees who were expected at the match did not turn up and an investigation by KSB into the circumstances reveals a mix-up of both tragic and hilarious reasons. The failure of some key players to turn up for the match meant that the team was incomplete while wazees who turned up were demoralized from the start because they immediately understood that they were going in against vijana at a disadvantaged position. Why did wazee go missing at such a crucial match?
The first reason is that Kenya-Stockholm’s wazees are suffering from a series of conditions that makes it impossible for most of them to avail themselves at social functions. According to investigations, the biggest problem is that many wazee are suffering from a series of old-age ailments that have quietly forced them to retire from active social life, leave alone participating in a football match.
For example, Mzee Kobe told KSB that although he could have wanted to play, he is suffering from diabetes and he has to inject himself with insulin at regular intervals to stay alive. Together with his advanced age, running around in a football field chasing a tiny ball with vijana is the last thinkable activity that could come to mind. Consequently, he went missing although he did not want to make his absence clear because he did not want to demoralize other wazees. What about Mzee Dennis Afande?
He did not turn up because he is suffering from high blood pressure. One morning, he was going to work when suddenly he could not breathe. He was in the underground train and as his condition worsened, he managed to get out of the train at some station after which he signaled for a passersby to call an ambulance. When he arrived at St Görans hospital, he was rushed into the acute department and after all was said and done, he got back to his feet but was told that he had to go in for more checkups because his blood pressure was too high. The final diagnosis was that he was suffering from HBP and he was put on medication. When the football match was announced, Mzee Dennis was just entering into rehab to try and stabilize his condition. Under the circumstances, he could not participate in the match although he did not want to bother others with his personal health problems.
That brings us to Mzee Makopoyo who suffered a stroke last December. He was lucky because doctors told him that it was just a “mild stroke”. Following the attack, Mzee Makopoyo has been taking things easy because the stroke shocked him. When asked by KSB why he was shocked, the Mzee said that his thinking was that he was still a “Mzee Kijana” and that when he got the stroke, reality struck to the effect that the “kijana” in his “uzee” was actually an illusion because “vijanas” don’t easily get strokes. He did not show up at the football match because he was still “in meditation”.
If the case of Mzee Makopoyo is unfortunate, the situation facing Mzee Tobby Kaweza is just sad to say the least. He is quietly suffering from cancer of the spleen and this condition has removed him from social life. Makopoyo is on cancer drugs and a strict diet. He has been told that his disease is untreatable so what can be done is to slow the cancer down in order to prolong his life. He is 56 years old but he has had to take an early pension because his condition can no longer allow him to work. The cocktail of drugs has made him weak and participating in a football match with vijana is the last thing he can ever think about. He told KSB that when it comes to sports and other social activities he used to attend, he is a gone case. He is basically counting his days on earth and just begged to be left alone. This brings us to Mzee Alfonse Mashakani, a veteran Kenya-Stockholmer who has also gone underground.
Lost Touch With Reality
When KSB finally got him on the phone and tuned him “to talk”, he was surprised. He did not even know about the football match because, according to him, he has “lost touch with reality”. He is currently at Huddinge hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage. For several weeks, he has been in comatose although at the time of talking to him, he was heading to rehab within the hospital. He told KSB that as a result of the stroke, he was partially paralyzed and that his greatest priority was to regain his health and evaluate what was left of him as he entered the sun-set of his life on earth. This is the sad reality that the football match revealed. Many of Kenya-Stockholm’s wazees are slowly wasting away as a result of diseases. Mzee Mashakani theorized that he suspected that his condition was a consequence of “over-working” and warned fellow Kenyans to take a break in their lives as much as possible to relax and to exercise.
As for Mzee Timbuktu, his absence from the match was not due to sickness. He had just hooked up with a Swedish sweetheart and that week-end was critical because he had fixed a date which he was not gonna miss because of some football match that had just popped up. He told KSB that after he divorced his Kenyan wife, he has been hunting for some white creature “to keep him busy” and it was not until recently that he hit the jackpot. He landed a divorced Swedish woman (almost of his age) and that for now, football can wait! What this means is that the match was lost, not because all wazees are sick but because there are others breaking new grounds. However, the next case of Mzee Dreams Kayole is unique.
He had planned to play on the material day but then a domestic crisis cropped up. He has been quarreling a lot with his long-standing Kenyan wife and he told KSB that chances are that they will soon be splitting up. When he told the wife that he was planning to play for the wazee team, the wifie took advantage of the situation and claimed that one problem she has with him is that he has wrong priorities. According to the wifie, instead of staying at home to be with her, he was planning “an outing” at some field in the name of football. A quarrel ensured and punde si punde, the mzee’s pro-football mood was totally messed up. He took a kinyuaji to cool down tempers but by the time he was calm, it was too late because the match had ended. He failed to show up.
Mountain of Flesh
As for Mzee Sarakasi, the explanation was hilarious. He is single and on Friday, a day before the match, he had been to some African reggae club. As the club was closing down and guests were sipping their last drops, something magical happened. Just from nowhere, a fat-assed, mountain-breasted, chubby faced and “meaty” white Swedish blond-haired and gigantic lassie in her forties zoomed around and kissed him right on the lips. Mzee Sarakasi said that he was genuinely stunned. The enormous size of the woman’s “fundamentals” is exactly what turns him on and he associated the whole surprise with “a manner from heaven”. Before he could say “bwaii!!”, the lady said that she liked him “so match” and that she has been watching him throughout the night.
A conversation started and as he begun to translate the romantic implications of the abrupt encounter, the lady asked him if he could follow her home for “an extension” of the party. Interestingly, the lady lived just around the corner, a walking distance. Sarakasi had planned to show up for the match but unfortunately, by saa saba mchana, the new couple was still in bed! When he made a calculation of the time and what he stood to gain from the football match as compared to the huge white flesh he was wrapped into, he decided not to mention anything about the match. He decided to consolidate the new find, dump the match and see how things developed. Mzee Sarakasi therefore went missing.
The wazee who attended the match beat all odds to be there. Despite their waning stamina and other circumstances, they are still fit and can run in the field. Kudos to these wazees! I will be talking about the vijana in the next installment.
August 23, 2014
August 18, 2014
Container shipment of goods to Kenya has just hit a new peak. According to the proprietor of Orkar-Inte Container Services, the next shipment will leave Stockholm for Kenya on Tuesday, 26th August 2014. All customers intending to ship their packages are therefore encouraged to pack their goods and send them to Okarinte as soon as possible. Customers who used the service during the last shipment reported safe arrival of goods, all cleared by customs.
For prospective customers who have inquired about the delivery method of packages to different destinations in Kenya, the answer is simple. Once the packages arrive in Kenya, the container winds up at Embakasi container deport in Nairobi from where designated recipients can collect their packages.
According to Clay Onyango, the proprietor of Orkarinte who spoke to KSB, the service does not include transporting packages to Nyalgunga, Lokichogio, Pandpieri, Kario-Bangi and other destinations in Kenya’s interior. The deal is that all packages must be collected from Embakasi in Nairobi.
Clay told KSB that although arrangements can be made to deliver the packages anywhere in Kenya, the service is still not available because of many complications. He said that the key obstacle to such a service would be a dramatic increase in shipping prices, a development which, he said, would beat the very intention of the service.
Secondly, Clay said that with extended delivery services, the risk of theft and goods getting lost along the way would be very high. “My Company does not want a situation where goods get lost on the way”, Clay told KSB. “At the moment, we can only guarantee that the goods will get to Nairobi and that they will be delivered to recipients without fail”, he said.
Once the container leaves Stockholm on 26th August, estimated time of arrival in Kenya is 10th October. Goods that are acceptable include building materials, electronics (including TV sets), furniture, clothes and an assortment of other goods.
For customers intending to send goods, the container will be parked at Frihamnsgatan 7 at Frihamnen in Stockholm from 22nd August to 26th August from 12.00 sharp. Customers are advised to call Orkarinte and book space to avoid last minute disappointments. The number to call is 0762103117 or inbox Orkarinte via Facebook. While booking space, clients will be required to make a deposit of an agreed amount.
The price list is as follows: A single normal moving box is 600kr no matter how many kilos it weighs. A 40-60 inch TV set costs 3000kr while a bicycle costs 1500kr. The safety of good is guaranteed once packed while all packages must be accompanied with a detailed dispatch list describing the content of any booked package.
August 17, 2014
KENYA GETS A NEW INTELLIGENCE CHIEF
2006 January 19, 11:28 (Thursday)
SECRETClassified By: PolCouns Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Reasons: 1.4 (B,C,D)
SUBJECT: Kenya Gets a New Intelligence Chief
1. (C) SUMMARY: President Kibaki’s January 16 removal of Brigadier (ret.) Boinett as head of Kenya’s National Intelligence Service (NSIS) removes the USG’s main ally in the counter-terror struggle and one of the few remaining true professionals at the highest level of the Kenyan Government. Boinett’s replacement by an untested Brigadier Gichangi — selected through a process that reeks of tribal cronyism and the use of all instruments of power to stay in power through (and beyond) the 2007 elections — is anything but reassuring. END SUMMARY.
OUT WITH THE OLD…
2. (U) Kenya has a new spy chief. President Kibaki late January 16 named Air Force Brigadier Michael Gichangi, previously the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, as the Director General of the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS). Kibaki’s decision ends both the seven-year reign of Brigadier (ret.) Wilson Boinett, and
months of jockeying to replace him.
3. (C) Boinett transformed the NSIS from a domestic political tool into a modern professional intelligence service with an emphasis on external threats. A former aide-de-camp to President Moi and the last director of the Special Branch (NSIS’s predecessor, remembered darkly by most Kenyans mostly for running the Nyayo House political detention center during the years of one-party rule), Boinett survived not only the 1999 demise of Special Branch but also the 2002 end of the Moi regime. Recognizing that change was needed, Boinett’s leadership garnered the NSIS domestic and international respect for its relative apolitical nature and seriousness of purpose. Reorganized to provide internal, external and strategic intelligence to the President, NSIS proved to be the USG’s single-most effective Kenyan partner — bar none — in combating Al-Qaeda and related terrorist threats in Kenya.
4. (S) But, in the end, the die was cast for Boinett’s undoing at his birth: he was born into the wrong tribe. An ethnic Kalenjin like former President Moi, Boinett was distrusted from the start of the Kibaki administration by many of those Kikuyu tribesmen closest to President Kibaki. Boinett undoubtedly made matters worse by telling Kibaki and his advisors news they did not like to hear — that Kenya remains vulnerable to al-Qaeda attacks, that tribal conflicts were resurfacing in rural areas, that President Kibaki’s Banana team would lose November’s constitutional referendum, etc.
5. (S) The last straw, it appears, was the referendum. Boinett rebuffed efforts to reallocate NSIS resources to aid the Banana campaign (reftel). The Banana team did indeed lose, and by a huge margin. In recent weeks, Boinett was repeatedly refused access to President Kibaki — for the first time in his tenure.
…AND IN WITH THE NEW
6. (C) As fate would have it, word of Gichangi’s appointment reached Boinett and many senior NSIS officials as they — and Gichangi — were dining at the Ambassador’s residence with a visiting Codel from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The NSIS officials — and a visibly angry Police Commissioner Ali — departed dinner “en masse” just as soon as was diplomatically acceptable. (Ali privately relayed he is concerned about the police’s future working relationship with the NSIS — as he himself has had no such working relationship with Gichangi during the latter’s two years as NCTC Director.) Gichangi began showing up for work at NSIS the next morning.
BOINETT’S WORDS TO LIVE (AND SPY) BY:
7. (U) Boinett’s farewell remarks January 17 to the NSIS rank and file received widespread press coverage. In a thoughtful and respectful speech, Boinett relayed what he called “five attributes of great consequence” for the managing and sustaining a robust intelligence service. What lessons Boinett chose to pass on to his troops speak volumes about the man — and his concerns for the future of the NSIS. They thus bear repeating.
8. (U) ONE: The government should continuously invest in “the character of their gatekeepers and its watchdogs.” TWO: The NSIS Director General “should have direct and unfettered access to the Head of State and Government. In order to earn trust, he has to do things right and the right thing without fear, favor or ill will. In so doing, he must be efficient, loyal and balanced.” THREE: “All men and women of the service must direct all their time and energy towards promoting and projecting that which only serves and informs the national interest. FOUR: The Service should operate within the law.” FIVE: The Intelligence Service is a national insurance for counterintelligence. Yet a balance has to be struck between the national security interests and international threats and challenges. Information-sharing with other nation states has been the practice from time immemorial. These partnerships will need to be maintained, taking into consideration mutual respect, national interests, international law and the nature of power and its influence in a globalized environment.”
9 (C) BIO NOTE: Brigadier Michael Gichangi is an ethnic Kikuyu, the President’s tribe which (along with the smaller, affiliated Embu and Meru tribes from the Mt. Kenya area) has an increasing lock on major power positions in the Kibaki government. Gichangi is reportedly close to both Cabinet Secretary Muthaura and former Security Minister Christopher Murungaru. During his just-concluded tenure as head of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, Gichangi fought tooth and nail against the creation of a Joint Terrorism Task Force designed to bring police, prosecutors and intelligence experts into a joint team. Relatively new to NSIS, Gichangi is as well-known for being a political operator as he is a military professional.
10. (U) BIO NOTE (Cont.): Gichangi was born September 9, 1958 in Kirinyaga District, Central Province. A Mang’u High School Alumni, Gichangi joined the Kenyan Air Force as an F-5 pilot in 1977. In 1982 he became an F-5 instructor. From 1986-1991, Gichangi served as a staff officer (planning) at KDoD Headquarters, Nairobi. He worked in a UN observer force in Iraq, 1992-93. He served as an instructor at the Defence Staff College, 1993-96 in Karen, Nairobi. From 1996-97, Gichangi served as a commanding officer of the Air Force’s Flying Wing. He then served as Commander of the Laikipia Air Base, 1997-2001, before being appointed chief of strategic plans and policy at KDoD Headquarters, where he helped draft the first version of KDoD’s “White Paper” on national defense strategy. He has spent the past two years as the founding Director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center.
11. (C) COMMENT: Boinett is just the latest of a series of competent professionals forced out of the Kibaki administration. Anti-corruption czar John Githongo left last year, frustrated at every turn. Chief Prosecutor Philip Murgor was sacked last May for similar efforts to pursue high crimes. And now Boinett, responsible for the transformation
of NSIS into one of Africa’s premier, and apolitical, intel services is shown the door. While Gichangi might surprise us, the methods involved in replacing Boinett with a Kikuyu widely expected to be a willing accomplice in responding to political pressures from State House — perhaps taking NSIS back towards the days of the Special Branch — is troubling. It is the latest in a long line of post-referendum appointments to let tribe trump talent. State House is increasingly willing to drop public pretense as those around President Kibaki angle to do whatever it takes to ensure they stay in power through 2007 — and beyond. Post has let State House know privately that, though this was purely a sovereign decision for Kenya to make, the choice of Gichangi, and the manner of his appointment, puts at risk continued success in our highest joint priority, counter-terrorism.
August 16, 2014
Today, Saturday 16th August, Kenya-Stockholm’s Wazee wa Kazi Football Team will be playing against the “Young Turks” at Enskede IP (Enskedevägen 115) in Stockholm city. The match, which has attracted massive talk within the Kenyan community in Stockholm, will kick off at 15.00 hrs. Hot in the air is whether the Young Turks will live up to expectation by proving their talents against the Wazees for the first time since the wazees hanged boots a few years ago.
The Turks are facing an uphill task because on the basis of the mountains of ugali the Wazees have brought down over the years (as compared to the Turks), the many Januaries they have crashed and the “veteran profiles” of some of the Wazees in Kenya-Stockholm’s football albums, the Turks will have to employ their latest “tichital” tactics mastered through Play Stations and other video games to challenge the Wazees.
It is a promising match which will see Jacob Opande between the posts with Mark Gaya, Dan Aroka and Steve Biko tackling the Turks at the backline. Mark Gaya is famous for having been the pioneer Kenya-Stockholm Football Coach in them days, an illustrious contribution from where the Turks picked the pieces to set up a formidable team expected to give the wazees a run for their money. It will be interesting to see how the Turks will go past sweeper Steve Biko who is known to be capable of “sweeping any moving object” along the way.
Wazee Strategies from World Cup
In the mid-field will be Mwaura Kajora and Don Clay Onyango. Despite the wazees having put on some weight as a result of the “nyama choma effect”, the extra meat that has found a home on the bellies of some of the wazees is expected to be of some advantage by adding extra and critical vertical gravity to propel the fat bodies forward as things get hot in the field. In preparation for the match, both Clay and Kajora have been lifting a lot of metal to keep fit. After three weeks of training, Kajora has reportedly lost 0.02 kgs (the best news for Kajora this summer) while Clay has reportedly developed “2 packs” as he works to fix the other four! In fact, Clay’s excursions in Brazil to watch the World Cup brought a lot of new strategies in the Wazee’s camp which the Turks will have to contend with.
The three key strikers namely Ofore, Joseph Goga and Steve Shabir are the men to tame if the Turks do not want to be Braziled. This is because Ofore and Steve have an inexplicable and unmatched ability to coordinate both in the battle field and off-shore. With the surreptitious and quick thinking Goga linking them up, the Turks manning the backline will have a daunting task, not just in stopping the coordination of thetrio but also in understanding how the combination actually works. In short, these wazees are agile, swift and unstoppable although it remains to be seen whether the many years ya kulea watoi, ugali, nyama choma na mashugli have eroded their speed. You will have to be in the field to be able to judge.
Talent from Märsta United
That brings us to the two goal-getters who will be expected by the wazee fraternity to deliver that ka punch called victory. Charles Otieno Owiyo aka Otie of Märsta United Amigos Pacheko Dala Pacho International Club in combination with Mzee William of Balozi Champions Kuteklezia Football Club are two dazzling veterans who might as well turn out to be the stars of the day. Whether or not any balls will pass through the Turk’s goalie depends on the two. Otie is very abrasive and, over the years, he has mastered the art of breaking through defences with ease. On the other hand, William has two qualities which will, no doubt waste the vijanas vibaya sana.
That is, Mzee William can jump 10 meters into the air while he has what the experts call “staying power”. The catch is that any ball flying 10 meters in the air around the goal area is a potential score and this includes all corners, loops and overheads. You really need to be there to testify to this. When he jumps, I guess the Turks will only have to stand there with their heads pointing the sky as they wait to see the effect which might be a score.
Secondly, William never gets tied and some Kenyans have postulated that he might have been running a lot of marathon in them days as a young Turk. The Turks should have been practicing round the clock to match his stamina otherwise they will be outflanked. Needless to say, there will be Makozewe who will be playing at the touch lines, recording every detail of the match.
As the curtains of summer closes down slowly with visible changes in the weather, the Wazee wa Kazi-Vijana football match will constitute the ultimate Kenyan evening of the year. Come with your drinks, choma and other edibles. You will be responsible for your own stomach! KSB has a tip that samosas will be up and selling at affordable prices and with so many 2014 Nyama chomazz already history, it could probably be time to come to a closure with this necessary event pitting the tumbo kubwas on one side and six packs on the other. It is a typical wait and see game!
August 14, 2014
Place: Lilla Wien "Little Nairobi"
Add: Swedenborgsg. 20
Pendel: Södra Station
New CD Shujaa Mamadou Ndala
Buy it at iTunes, Amazon, Qobuz and Spotify
August 10, 2014
Hot From The Studio
August 6, 2014
As many relatives, friends and Comrades have aptly said, the death of Dr. Adhu Awiti, former MP for Karachuonyo, was not just devastating from the point of view of the huge void that Adhu’s departure has left behind. The death of this illustrious son of Kenya has also left a formidable challenge among Left-leaning Kenyan thinkers, political activists, fellow travelers and an assortment of Kenyan revolutionaries, active and retired.
Every time Dr. Adhu traversed the wilderness of Stockholm, he ensured that he touched base, not just to interact with the Onyangos, Wambuis, Ndambukis and the Kiplagats of Stockholm but also to avail himself for interrogation especially on core issues touching on the on-going struggle for liberation in Kenya. Adhu even accepted off-forum discussions and invited a coterie of Kenyan progressives in Stockholm to his abode in Nacka for an exploratory ideological analysis of Kenyan politics, past, present and future.
During these discussions, a dominant theme that is worth incorporating in Kenya’s political discourse following Dr. Adhu’s demise is the fate of ideological politics in Kenya and the challenges facing the Kenyan Left following theft of power by two suspected war criminals through election rigging. The situation is even more complicated because of the sudden conglomeration of latter day political opportunists of capitalist orientation within the opposition and the successful posture of imposters and other vultures of reaction as the “champions of the people”.
Although, from an ideological standpoint, there is no opposition to the rotten capitalist Jubilee political gangsters who took over State power, a significant section of the Kenyan masses has been convinced (through hysteria and political demagoguery) that an opposition does exist. The dilemma Adhu’s departure has left behind is that despite his illustrious political career that saw him detained under the former KANU/Moi dictatorship, and despite Adhu’s commitment to the establishment of a socialist Kenya under a democratic workers’ state, the last discussions with him tended to paint a pessimistic future in relation to any immediate intervention by the Left in Kenya.
Adhu’s view was that a new generation of radical Kenyan Leftists will have to emerge to continue with the ideological struggle because the known Left wing Generals had either been absorbed into the capitalist political mainstream, retreated into NGOs, went into political retirement, suffered ideological lethargy, kicked the bucket under different circumstances or betrayed the struggle and started working with the enemy.
In summary, Adhu’s candid view was that the “Mwakenya generation” had basically laid down the tools, either to live quiet lives or to dance with the thieving class of wealth grabbers that they spent the better part of their youthful lives fighting. Despite his pessimism in relation to any possible on-the-ground development of a Left wing movement or Party that could openly challenge the distorted brand of capitalism in Kenya, Adhu was very philosophical about why the Kenyan Left waned soon after the establishment of political pluralism in Kenya in the early 1990s.
The main obstacles against ideological opposition
From the discussions (which sometimes veered towards questioning his position as a former MP under a capitalist and opportunistic party) three key issues stood on the way to the construction of a socialist Movement or Party that could offer a political alternative to capitalism in Kenya. These obstacles, and the circumstances that created them, constitute the fundamental ideological challenges that Adhu’s demise has left behind especially among Kenyans who believe in the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement with a socialist political system of government as the basis of wealth distribution.
The first problem was that following the establishment of a multi-party state in Kenya on July 7th 1990 (aka Saba Saba), Mwakenya, a clandestine Movement whose members are credited with having led the struggle against the one party dictatorship, was nowhere to be seen. At its critical hour, Mwakenya failed to surface from the underground where it had been suppressed (for years by Moi) to transform itself into a formidable political party that could openly challenge KANU and provide a left oriented ideological direction to the masses of the people in the new multi-party dispensation.
Consequently, a plethora of opportunistic political formations crystalized to occupy the opposition space and to fill the gaping void that was created by Mwakenya’s absence from action. Here, political formations like FORD, FORD-Kenya, Ford-People, Ford Asili, Kibaki’s Democratic Party, Mukaru Nganga’s KENDA, George Anyona’s Kenya National Congress and a rag tag of later creations quickly crept on to the scene to take strategic positions within the new opposition as Mwakenya basically disappeared into oblivion.
Known members of Mwakenya whose names continue to dominate the Mwakenya history, political detainees, former political prisoners and other firebrands either remained in their spider holes, continued to propagandize from exile or joined the emergent and mainstream opposition crickets whose pathognomonic feature was ideological bankruptcy. When the dust settled and the first multi-party election was called in December 1992, KANU ended up with no real ideological opposition while millions of Kenyans who viewed Mwakenya as a serious revolutionary force that could play a huge role in Kenya’s political transformation were disappointed when Mwakenya failed to show up in the political market place. What happened? This brings us to the second problem.
Critical failures of Mwakenya
Majority of Mwakenya members and activists both at home and in exile failed to surface to lead the struggle because the revert of Kenya to a multi-party state happened so quickly that the Movement was taken by surprise. That is, the Movement had not prepared politically for a situation where it would operate under an open multi-party system. The critical failure of top Mwakenya ideologues to fore-see the abrupt revert by Moi to a multi-party system deprived the leadership of the ability to prepare, organize and transform Mwakenya from a virulent underground propaganda group to a viable political party that could compete with other emergent parties in the struggle for power. The situation became even more pathetic when known Mwakenya members started setting up ideologically bankrupt parties, a situation which tended to confuse Mwakenya followers who were expecting a socialist formation to give ideological direction in the struggle to vanquish capitalism. The disorientation of Mwakenya members and the lack of direction was, however, understandable. Why?
The Stalinist regime in the former Soviet Union had just collapsed and this development had a debilitating psychological effect on many Mwakenya leaders and followers who believed that the autocratic and dictatorial Stalinist regime that was running a deformed Workers’ State in the former USSR was Socialist. The problem was that although Mwakenya was basically a Left-leaning Movement (from the point of view of its propaganda material), the leaders appeared not to have studied the various Left wing global tendencies that existed at that time to be able to differentiate between the various brands of socialism in the USSR, Cuba, China, North Korea, Vietnam and Eastern Europe.
Although the impending collapse of the USSR was constantly being predicted by other Left wing tendencies (especially the Trotskyists), the USSR remained the perfect representation of socialism in the eyes of Mwakenya leadership and when it collapsed, the leadership was sent into a downward psychological spiral. The lack of understanding of political events in the former USSR and the subsequent collapse of Stalinist states in Eastern Europe sent top Mwakenya gurus into serious ideological re-thinking, giving them no time to regroup after Saba Saba as opportunists took over the opposition. During closed door discussions, these are issues that appeared to have been well understood by the late Adhu Awiti.
Why Mwakenya Failed to regroup after Saba Saba
While the theoretical background of the collapse of the former Soviet Union could be complex and beyond the scope of this contribution, it would suffice to say that the Mwakenya leadership found itself entrenched in uncertainty after Saba Saba. The collapse of the USSR was a major set-back to the international working class Movement and the failure by Mwakenya leadership to understand the dynamics of the collapse led to a lack of explanation of what had happened.
In the ensuing psychological uncertainty, it was impossible for the leadership to re-constitute itself to deal with the multi-party surprise especially in the face of massive international propaganda in the capitalist world that “socialism had fallen”. Another problem was that Mwakenya leadership was mainly based in exile and when the leadership failed to show up in Kenya, local members became demoralized before resignation took over as multi-party euphoria seeped into the consciousness of millions of Kenyans who viewed this development as the solution to the political, economic and social crisis that faced Kenya. In the absence of Mwakenya, the new opposition politicians clothed in opportunism (the Matibas who had worked with Moi for years) became the new heroes as the real heroes retreated to their dungeons.
From the point of view of Dr. Adhu, what can be celebrated since Saba Saba is progress in the National Democratic Revolution – a revolution for political and democratic rights that never existed during the days of Mwakenya. While progress in the national democratic revolution has moved the struggle forward, it alone cannot resolve the bread and butter issues. The key ideological challenge for those who want to change Kenya is not to support ethnic alliances for the simple sake of removing one capitalist ruling class and replacing it with another. The big challenge is in setting up a political alternative that can clearly show the way out of the current political, economic and social crisis in Kenya.
Although Dr. Adhu is gone, he has left behind a big challenge of picking up the pieces from where Mwakenya left and building a socialist party that can lead workers to power. There is no short-cut to wealth re-distribution apart from the abolition of the outdated profit system and replacing it with a socialist system that can guarantee ugali on the table for every Kenyan, medical care for all Kenyans, free education at all levels, eradication of poverty and the right to self-determination of Kenya as a Nation. Kenyans can honour Adhu Awiti by continuing in his quest for a just, democratic and socialist Kenya where all Kenyans can live together as equal human beings.
Kenya Red Alliance (KRA)
August 5, 2014
The crisis in South Sudan was avoidable and a self-inflicted disaster created by the political and military leadership of that country. There is no excuse or justification for the war that started on 13 December 2013. Most scholars, researchers and experts on South Sudan generally agree that the underpinning causes of the armed conflict in that country include weak governance, poor leadership, weak institutions, and conflation of personal, ethnic and national interests, including unchecked corruption, particularly at the leadership level. The civilian population, unfortunately, is left to fend for themselves with no functional schools, hospitals or public utilities.
However, the immediate cause of the armed conflict is believed to be President Salva Kiir’s irresponsible political decisions to sack his deputy, Dr Riek Machar, several cabinet ministers and other senior government and ruling party Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) officials, including Mr Pagan Amum, the party Secretary-General. These political disagreements between top SPLM leadership very rapidly transformed into an ethnic conflict, a conflict between the Dinkas and the Nuers, each allied to their respective sub-ethnic groups. This ethnic division was replicated in the army, government and all public institutions. Soon after the armed conflict commenced in December 2013, the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) unilaterally entered Juba, the capital of South Sudan, and took a side in the internal armed conflict by supporting President Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, against the sacked Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer.
The response of the African Union (AU) to the now political-cum-ethnic conflict between the Dinkas, the Nuers and their respective allies was slow in containing the violence at an early stage, deploying a neutral force to protect the civilian population, and failed to follow examples of the UN Humanitarian organizations in providing protection to civilians most vulnerable, particularly women and children. Later, indeed much later, the AU appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the carnage unfolding in South Sudan (the Commission). As far as many AU analysts are concerned, the slow process adopted by the AU in the appointment of the Commission was an afterthought.
The Commission, chaired by Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria (the other members were Prof Mahmood Mamdani, Justice Sophia AB Akuffo, Ms Bineta Diop and Prof Pacifique Manirakiza), had the mandate to investigate human rights violations and other abuses committed during armed conflict in South Sudan and to make recommendations on the best ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities.
To be fair to the Obasanjo Commission, its mandate is a tall order and was unlikely, in any event, to be concluded within the limited three-month period allotted to conclude investigations and submit its report to the AU, particularly as the Commission appears to have an open-ended mandate. Its temporal jurisdiction runs from 15 December 2013.
The Obasanjo Commission submitted its Interim Report to the AU at its 23rd Ordinary Session held on 26-27 June 2014 at Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. And, as expected, the Commission also requested for extension of time to finalize the report (Assembly/AU/19(XXIII)).
The Interim Report, as acknowledged by the Obasanjo Commission, is inconclusive and makes no specific recommendation save to request for extension of time for the purpose of writing a final report. The Commission sees its challenge in implementing its mandate as the exploration of relationship between reconciliation, truth, justice and healing. The Interim Report appears to relegate the issue of criminal accountability to the bottom of its priority list. In its work, the Commission adopted an expansive understanding of the concept of accountability and defined it as encompassing four aspects: criminal accountability, civil accountability (reparation), administrative accountability (lustration) and truth telling. Along the way, the principal objective of the Commission to seek justice—as well as to protect the civilians in an ongoing conflict, recommend for a functional ceasefire, impose sanctions on parties that are in breach of the ceasefire and name individuals responsible for violations of international humanitarian law—got lost in the process. The Obasanjo Commission spent an inordinate period of time travelling to neighbouring countries and interviewing some leaders who, for all practical purposes, are accomplices to crimes that have been or are still being committed in South Sudan. It is surprising that the entire Interim Report has just two paragraphs on accountability (para.84 and 85), comprising 13 lines in the 26-page report.
According to the Interim Report, the Obasanjo Commission recognizes that there is credible evidence of widespread and systematic attacks against the South Sudanese civilian population, rape and sexual attacks on women and girls and widespread destruction of public utilities, infrastructure, public and private buildings, particularly in Malakal, Bentiu and Bor. The Commission also confirmed the discovery of mass graves and interviewed witnesses to the commission about the crimes, including crimes of sexual and gender-based violence. These acts, as identified by the Obasanjo Commission, constitute serious violations of international humanitarian law and are also violations of Common Article 3 of the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocol II of 1977. At this stage, the Interim Report ought to have made specific recommendations on how to address these violations of the laws of war and whether to investigate the perpetrators with an objective to prosecute them.
However, the Commission made no recommendations on what to do with the perpetrators of the crimes. The purported reason as articulated by the Commission is that it was: ‘still in the process of collecting information and investigating various allegations of human rights violations and violations of humanitarian law’. It then concluded that it was ‘not yet in a position to pronounce itself definitively on whether some of these acts [mass murders and sexual attacks] amount to international crimes…’ This conclusion contradicts the Commission’s findings, especially when there is credible evidence of the discovery of mass graves, widespread and systematic attacks including rape and sexual violence and destruction of infrastructure and of public and private property.
I submit that the Commission’s mandate is not to make a legal conclusion on whether serious international crimes were committed, or to identify all possible perpetrators before submitting a final report but rather, to report its findings and recommendations to the AU. It is for the AU to determine whether violations of international humanitarian law occurred by appointing a body of investigators and experts in the field to conduct further investigations and report their findings and recommendations to the AU for further actions.
The Obasanjo commission’s call to the warring factions to respect international humanitarian law without indicating any specific threat of sanctions is not a novel idea. It is, in fact, a standard practice to urge all parties to a conflict to cease violations of humanitarian law and to draw their attention to the fact that responsibility will attach to such actions. It is also common practice to urge individuals in positions of authority or command to take all measures to ensure that those under their command do not engage in violation of humanitarian law. What the Commission did, in urging the combatants to respect the law was, to that extent, not new. Urging combatants to respect rules of engagement is good practice. However, experience suggests that combatants often act when there is a credible threat of sanctions and criminal prosecution. Combatants do not respond to abstract threats.
To underscore the point, when the Commission obtained credible evidence that atrocity crimes were committed, it ought to have recommended to the AU that it appoint expert investigators to investigate alleged crimes with a view to prosecuting the perpetrators.
On healing and reconciliation, the Commission correctly noted that the war of liberation, the multiple conflicts that accompanied it, as well as the subsequent conflicts, have wrecked relations among South Sudanese communities. These factors underpinned the Commission’s conclusion of there being an urgent need to institute genuine national efforts at reconciliation to facilitate healing.
However, instead of making specific recommendations to address these acts of mischief, the Commission laments that ‘once it has engaged further with grassroots communities, and drawing on successful past experiences, [will] make comprehensive recommendations on reconciliation and healing’. There appears to be no sense of urgency on the part of the Commission, considering that various NGOs and UN humanitarian organizations have publicly expressed their concerns about the dire humanitarian situation in the country.
On the question of foreign troops, the Commission ‘[urged] an end to any form of military support to the belligerents that fuel and encourage hardening of positions and continuation of hostilities’. This vague statement alludes to the presence of the UPDF in South Sudan. The UPDF has taken a side in the conflict. Not being neutral, the UPDF has been asked by the international community, including the United Nations and the SPLM in Opposition, to withdraw. The Ugandan government has ignored those requests.
The bias of Uganda in favour of President Kiir’s SPLM faction is demonstrated by President Museveni’s lone presence at the 3rd Independence Day anniversary celebration of the Republic of South Sudan. All of the other leaders of IGAD, currently mediating the peace process between the two warring factions of the SPLM, though invited, declined to attend. On his part, President Museveni, when addressing the crowd in Juba, announced that Uganda lost ‘less than 10 soldiers’ but managed to destroy the rebels. This says a lot about Uganda’s neutrality.
The other armed force in South Sudan is the Ethiopian People’s Defence Force (EPDF). However, EPDF, to its credit, is in the country under the auspices of the IGAD.
The Commission made no findings or recommendations on the unilateral deployment of UPDF in South Sudan and on its refusal to withdraw. The Commission’s silence is significant since presence of the UPDF in the country is one of the reasons cited by SPLM in Opposition for the continuation of the armed conflict.
The Obasanjo Commission also made no recommendations on violations of ceasefire agreements. There have been two ceasefire agreements. The first was signed by the warring parties on 23 January 2014. It was largely ignored by both parties. The second was signed on 9 May 2014. The protagonists have not complied with the ceasefire and the many breaches are routinely recorded by the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Mission. The Obasanjo Commission, however, ‘welcomed the March 2014 decision of the IGAD Head of States to deploy a regional force…’ but did not expressly condemn the presence of foreign troops in South Sudan or the combatants’ failure to respect ceasefire agreements. Yet, the Commission, in calling for deployment of a regional force, must also be aware of IGAD’s financial constraints. In all its activities, but for donor funding, IGAD often does not meet its financial obligations. Waiting for foreign donors to fund IGAD’s regional force is not one of the best strategies for the AU or South Sudan to protect the civilian population in South Sudan during the present crisis.
Finally, there is the problem of the applicable law to regulate the armed conflict. South Sudan is yet to ratify any of the major international instruments, whether regional or international, that regulate the conduct of armed conflict. As a matter of international treaty law, instruments not ratified by a state-party do not constitute sources of binding obligation for South Sudan, save laws that are already part of customary international law such as the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and its Additional Protocol II of 1977. It would have been helpful for the Interim Report to make some form of recommendation on this point.
Overall, the Obasanjo Commission could do more and could do better to assist the AU in speedily bringing this conflict to realistic conclusion by putting in place structures that protect and defend the people of South Sudan from a political leadership that has gone rogue. The present Interim Report is too vague to provide a useful guide and falls short of expectation.
* Dr Obote-Odora is a Consultant in International Criminal Law and Policy.
First Published at Pambazuka here
August 2, 2014
When the biggest tree of the village falls, birds scatter and creatures that were enjoying its shade scamper for safety. So it was on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, when Adhu Awiti transited to be with his ancestors. How mind-numbing and distasteful is the hour when we can no longer see, listen to and converse with him! The hero for countless has fallen. And as Mark Anthony said of Julius Caesar, “Oh what a mighty fall thou was!”
Dr. Awiti was many things to many people. His wife has lost a loving husband and a life companion. His children have lost a father, a provider and a compass in life. Kanjira and Karachuonyo have lost a great son, a community role model and leader. But to me and hundreds of others that worked overtly and covertly with him, Adhu was a father, mentor, confidante, best friend and symbol of revolutionary disposition. He was a true comrade of mine.
Adhu enlisted discipline, patience and simplicity as natural allies and strategic thinking and tactical analysis as weapons of political struggle. He wore one the thickest skins, always appreciative of criticism and self-criticism, which he viewed as routes to individual self-correction and enrichment. He was a man of cheerful demeanor.
I first met Adhu in December 1980, when I had just joined the University of Nairobi. We had a student re-union in Kisumu and he was a keynote speaker. I was struck by his brilliance and eloquence. In that memorable speech, he reminded the students about their responsibility to the historic national struggle and the need to remain uncompromising.
Dr. Awiti told us that the quest for social justice, academic freedom, political plurality and democracy must remain our eternal battle cry. He noted that the political freedom was the fruit of the revolutionary tree watered by the blood of veterans like Dedan Kimathi, Pio Gama Pinto and Me Katilili as well as the unrelenting sweat and intellect of nationalists like Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Bildad Kaggia. He beseeched us to defend it. I did not meet him again until April 1987, when I had the dubious honour of welcoming him at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. I was a year older there on Sedition sentence.
From this point on, we forged a comradely relationship that has lasted to this day. Even though we were held in Segregation Block, we managed to establish a study circle at Kamiti. Members of this circle included Odindo Opiata, Kiongo Maina , Kamonye Manje, Dr. Odhiambo Olel, Peter Young Kihara, Onyango Oloo and Owuor Atieno, among others. We spent prison time together reviewing our history and struggles; focusing on future revolutionary work. He was later transferred to Nyeri’s King’ong’o Prison where he joined Odenda Lumumba, Onyango CA and others.
On release from Moi’s jail, we regrouped to continue with the struggle. He became the fulcrum of our cell in Kisumu comprising among others Muga K’olale, Onyango CA and Olel. Following the disruption of this cell after the Sabasaba uprising in 1990, Adhu and I fled the country. We reunited in exile and continued to link up with the movement back home and intensify the agitation for return of multiparty democracy. As Moi remained recalcitrant, we were able to secure facility to train a Platoon in guerilla warfare, thanks to Adhu’s extensive international connections. Section 2A was repealed just when the recruits were finalizing their training. These cadres were quietly reintegrated and became active in the opposition.
The sheer tenacity of will Adhu commanded; the tactful and unmatched leadership he proffered; the sobering but penetrating tactical analysis, which was his gift; and the unparalleled generosity of spirit he exuded are virtues that belong to the greatest of ages. Kamoji Wachiira, Adhu’s revolutionary peer, says: “A remarkable comrade has passed on. In the early days we spent many seemingly endless weekend nights working away. Planning, reviewing and summarizing positions and strategies in varied hide-outs and strange dives, ever seeking security and anonymity. Strange hours tough schedule: Arrive on Coast Bus at 7pm. I pick him up at River Road depot. Then “unslept” drop him back at 4.30 am for departure westward. I recall one such night we also had to pick up a Museveni ‘sibling’ coming for Adhu to help get to Malaba. Most of these Museveni siblings were actually cadres not relatives as such. … Disciplined to a fault. A rare gentleman comrade, selfless and devoted always. One of the keenest, most honest intellectual minds we have had in the struggle.”
He evidenced these political skills on the national scene, being a founding member of the underground Workers Party of Kenya – the parent organization of, among others, the December Twelfth Movement – so central in spearheading progressive political change since early 1970’s. Dr. Awiti suffused his service in government with his beliefs about the principles of public service. As Planning Minister, he believed that government should be frugal, effective, and efficient and must be a rallying point where only the committed and selfless serve as leaders at all levels of our society. Before this he teamed with, among others, Prof. Edward Oyugi to found the Social Development network (SODNET) that has been at the forefront of anti-corruption and budget transparency campaign.
Much remains undone, of course, but Adhu leaves us a good legacy and a solid model to emulate. Fare thee well Omin Angela!
By Oduor Ong’wen
July 30, 2014
A Driving License belonging to a Kenyan national resident in Sweden has been recovered in Kisumu, Kenya. The Driving License belongs to Steven Ochieng Nyibule who lives in Ölsremma in Västra Götland. The License is currently at Pel Travel Ltd along Oginga Odinga Street, Kisumu city and Mr. Ochieng is advised to pick it up during working hours. A good Samaritan picked it up and alerted KSB about the loss. Anybody who knows Mr. Ochieng and who may come across this message can advise him to pick up his DL at the mentioned location.
July 25, 2014
July 24, 2014
NAIROBI (Reuters) – A German female tourist was killed in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa on Thursday in the same area where a Russian visitor was murdered earlier in July by a criminal gang, police sources said.
Kenya’s coast has been the scene of a series of bombings and shootings by militants and gunmen that have left dozens of Kenyans dead in recent months. Some Western nations have warned against travel to Mombasa because of the violence.
“A female tourist was shot in Kibokoni area,” Robert Sicharani, head of Tourist Police Unit in Kenya’s Coast region, told Reuters, adding that the case was being investigated. “She was confirmed dead at the hospital,” he said.
He did not give details about the woman’s identity but a police source, who asked not to be named, said she was a 28-year-old German and that she had not been robbed. The source said her Ugandan male companion was injured in the attack.
A Russian woman was killed by a gang which had robbed her companions earlier in July in the same area, which lies near Mombasa’s historic Fort Jesus.
(Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
July 24, 2014
MORE PIX AT KENYASTOCKHOLMPIX.COM
July 16, 2014
Place: Lilla Wien “Little Nairobi”
Addr: Swedenborgsg. 20
Pendel: Södra Station
New CD Shujaa Mamadou Ndala
Buy it from itunes, amazon, qabu
July 15, 2014
The amendment creates an exceptionalism only enjoyed by African leaders. It shields them and their cronies from accountability. This obnoxious law must be challenged by all persons of good will.
The rights of leaders are always tempered and balanced by their duty and obligation to protect the rights of citizens. All acts of a leader must be carried out within agreed legal frameworks.
This decision by the AU leaders is gross abuse of power and a dereliction of duty. ICC’s difficulties in prosecuting Heads of State do not translate into extending immunity to all African leaders.
On Friday, 4 July 2014, the African Union (AU) amended the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to provide for blanket immunity from prosecution for African leaders and their ‘senior government officials’.
The language of the amended Protocol is clear and succinct: “No charges shall be commenced or continued before the court against any serving African Union Heads of State or Government, or anybody acting or entitled to act in such capacity, or other senior state officials based on their functions, during their tenure of office.”
The language of the Protocol protects a broad range of perpetrators. It extends unfettered immunity from criminal prosecution in any jurisdiction in Africa. The amendment also creates an “exceptionalism” that is enjoyed only by African leaders. It shields the leaders and their cronies from accountability. This obnoxious law must be challenged by all persons of good will.
It is regrettable that other democratic states in Africa, such as South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Ghana and Senegal did not stand shoulder to shoulder with Botswana to oppose this antiquated law.
Instead, they allowed themselves to join the ranks of unsavoury dictatorship like Egypt, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); other failing states such as Somalia, Mali, Libya, Niger, Central African Republic (CAR); and ungovernable states like Nigeria whose writ does not cover northern Nigeria, thanks to Boko Haram. These undemocratic states have ceased to represent the interests of their people or to act on their behalf.
In democratic countries, the lines between the citizens and the state are based on recognition of a citizen’s individual rights which is then framed in terms of what the state needs to do to protect those rights. The state, through its leadership, neither murders its citizens, nor gets away with it subsequently.
The rights of leaders are always tempered and balanced by their duty and obligation to protect the rights of its people. All acts of a leader must be carried out within agreed legal framework. Leaders who fail to follow the law must be accountable for their actions before courts of law. The Protocol adopted by the African leaders on 4 July, turned this basic legal principle on its head.
The new ‘impunity law’ ignores Africa’s history of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s when military dictatorships and one-party state’s governments brutalized their citizens without any form of accountability. Some of these ‘criminal’ leaders of the 70s, 80s, and 90s are still in power today and were instrumental in the adoption of the ‘impunity law’.
More recently, between 2000 and 2014, more than 6 million civilians were murdered in the DRC by its government and the governments of neighbouring states after invading the DRC; in South Sudan, troops from neighbouring states have joined the blood-letting. It is some of these criminal acts that are the forces behind the ‘impunity law’.
Africa cannot close its eyes and hide behind the facts that Bush and Blair have not been prosecuted and therefore African leaders should not be prosecuted. Charity begins at home, and it is important that Africa puts its house in order before it begins finger pointing at leaders of foreign nations.
After all, African leaders pride themselves of “African solutions to African problems”. Well, Bush and Blair are not Africa’s problem; leave them to the ICC to handle. On the other hand, African leaders are Africa’s problems and the African Court must handle them. That sounds fair, doesn’t it?
There are more serious and pressing problems for the AU to address. Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa and the most populous state on the continent, with excellent record of peace keeping, cannot protect its own children from Boko Haram militia; Libya, a wealthy nation, cannot protect its sovereignty as militias divide the country; Egypt, a country with a rich history, is busy murdering its own people; and CAR is heading towards genocide while South Sudan is falling apart through political and tribal vendettas.
Instead of seeking solutions to these, and other grave issues, African leaders are more concerned with protecting themselves from criminal prosecutions.
Any good student of history easily recognizes that mere existence of immunity clauses in any legal framework, regardless of how it is used, is itself sufficient to create conditions under which impunity flourishes. A citizenry that is always abused by those in authority, eventually becomes used to the idea of abuse, develops a compliant mode and fearful, and even possibly an accomplice to his/her degradation and humiliation.
Impunity unites governments of otherwise remarkably divergent political creed: from Cairo to Kampala; Bangui to Harare, these governments share one thing in common – terrorizing the civilian population without accountability. Besides Botswana, the lone sane voice at the AU summit, all states whose constitutions’ guarantee individual human rights and free access to court, ganged up to grant to themselves and their cronies immunity from prosecution for atrocity crimes.
The ability for an ordinary citizen to murder a person and get away with it is already bad enough, particularly when police investigators need to be bribed before they can perform their official duties.
For Heads of State or Government to give themselves a right to murder hundreds or thousands of people, without any form of accountability, vests immense power in these leaders who, whether properly elected, rigged elections or gained power through armed rebellion, have no right to pass such a law without the consent of the people.
The representatives of victims, NGOs and human rights organizations were denied access and the right to participate in deliberations leading to the adoption of the ‘impunity clause’. This is particularly distressing seeing that one of the objectives of the Constitutive Act of the AU, as stipulated in Article 3(h), is dedicated to “promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.”
With the recent adoption of the ‘impunity clause’ to protect heads of state and government from prosecution, this makes the provision hollow and a mockery of justice.
Overall, the decision by the AU leaders granting themselves immunity from prosecution is gross abuse of power and a dereliction of duty. I know from my years of experience in the conduct of international criminal prosecution that the AU’s ‘impunity clause’ can be viewed by some analysts and critics as an abstraction, one that is difficult to get people to care about viscerally.
What is more, the issue of international criminal prosecution is invariably complex, making it even harder to engage the public in a widespread and positive way because of the experiences of the challenges encountered by the ICC in prosecuting past and present Heads of State and Governments. But what is pertinent is to separate the issues that undermines the good work of the ICC from justification being peddled around to demonise not only the ICC but international criminal justice wholesale.
The fact that the ICC has encountered difficulties in prosecuting Heads of State does not translate into extending immunity to all African leaders.
By Alex Obote-Odora, Consultant in International Criminal Law and Policy, Stockholm.
July 12, 2014
The late Vinnie Atieno, whose real names were Vincencis Atieno, was secretly buried in a cemetery in the city of Malmö, Sweden on Tuesday, 8th July 2014. The secret burial came after Vinnie’s sister stripped naked last Friday and stopped the burial on grounds that family members were not involved in the funeral arrangements. Although it is not clear who ordered the burial, it is unlikely that it could have taken place without the conniving of either of Vinnie’s two former boyfriends who are also the fathers of Vinnie’s two children.
As the burial was taking place, Vinnie’s mother in Kisumu, Kenya, was raising the alarm through the Kenyan media to the effect that she was in the dark as far as both the death and funeral arrangements are concerned. Speaking to the East African Standard, Jactone Obong’o and his wife, Scolastica Adhiambo, said that they had been preparing to travel to Sweden to get involved in their daughter’s funeral arrangements when everything went dead. Vinnie’s sister who travelled from Germany to intervene could not be reached by the family by the time they raised the alarm while everybody who was apparently involved in the funeral arrangements in Malmö could not suddenly be reached.
According to reports reaching KSB from different sources in Malmö, Kenyans in Malmö congregated at Vinnie’s house following her death where a decision was taken that her parents would travel to Sweden for purposes of funeral arrangements. At one of these meetings, it is known that the father of Vinnie’s eldest child was present while it is also known that some money was raised towards transport costs of Vinnie’s parents. What is unknown is how after this meeting (whose agenda was to transport Vinnie’s parents to Sweden), someone fixed Vinnie’s burial for Friday last week before her parents could arrive in Sweden.
Another hanging issue is the whereabouts of cash that had been raised towards transport of Vinnie’s parents. According to a source, attempts by Vinnie’s sister (who attended the fund raising meeting) to get custody of the funds was quashed by a Committee because “she did not look like she could take care of the funds”. Further the amount that was raised could also not be established and now with her secret burial in Malmö, the mystery surrounding her death and hurried up burial has simply deepened.
At the funeral, KSB has established that there were only eight people, 4 Kenyans and four Swedes. One of the Swedes is known to have been the father of Vinnie’s child and the question which arises is whether he could have ordered the burial using his child as an excuse to take over the burial process. This is because in Sweden (just like in many countries), only a next of kin can order a burial. In the case of Vinnie, the most credible next of kin who was on the ground in Malmö was Vinnie’s blood sister who had already stopped the burial so how could she have been buried secretly barely three days after the funeral was stopped? Who were the four Kenyans who attended the secret burial and where did Vinnie’s sister vanish especially after she stopped the burial last Friday?
After the burial was stopped by Vinnie’s sister, the funeral Agency knew and understood that there were key issues that needed to be resolved especially the participation of Vinnie’s family in all funeral arrangements so how did they go ahead with the burial even when Vinnie’s parents were raising the alarm in Kenya?
Last Friday, Vinnie’s burial is known to have been attended by many Kenyans in Malmö. Where are they and how could these Kenyans have allowed Vinnie’s funeral to proceed without the participation of members of her family and after they knew and understood the problems that stood in the way. These are fundamental questions that need to be answered. Regardless of the burial, Vinnie’s parents need to travel to Sweden to sort out this matter because the secret burial has denied them the right to pay their last respects to their departed daughter. What has happened in the case of Vinnie cannot happen in any civilized society. In summary, who decided that Vinnie should be buried in Sweden? Kenyans in Malmö must come together to help Vinnie’s family resolve the issue even though she has been buried. It is not the end of the story because a body can be exhumed. The matter is even more painful when the post mortem report detailing the real cause of Vinie’s death has not been released.
Something does not simply add up. A Kenyan dies mysteriously in Malmö, the children are taken over without participation of the Kenyan’s family members, the post mortem report is withheld by the Swedish authorities, a funeral is hastily arranged by unknown people, the funeral is then stopped by the Kenyan’s sister who had to strip naked to stop the process then a secret funeral attended by eight people is then hastily arranged without family consultation before the body is quickly buried when the parents are raising the alarm and complaining about exclusion from everything. This case should not be allowed to set a precedent because today it’s Vinnie and tomorrow it might as well be your family going through a similar agony in this wilderness called Sweden.
July 12, 2014
I must address a subject that I have feared and is long overdue. One that is touchy! My purpose in writing this letter is to tell parents out there what kind of damage they do to their children KNOWINGLY or UNKNOWINGLY when they mistreat their child’s spouse and children. And what kind of damage it does to their relationship with their child and their grandchildren. I do this in the hope that I can prevent this damage from being done to someone else. It is too late for our family.
You want only the best for your children. You want them to grow into adults who are capable of making choices for themselves. This means you need to let them make those choices. This includes whom they fall in love with and decide to marry. Life is a learning experience. If they fail at something, then they will learn a lesson from that experience! You cannot shelter them and expect them to grow at the same time.
Sometimes the choices they make are not the same ones you would choose for them. They are not supposed to be your choices and you need to wish them happiness and be emotionally supportive of them. That means you do not interfere. You do not instigate, you do not demean the spouse, you do not pass right by that child’s house and go onto another child’s–play favorite’s.
You give your love and you let the chips fall where they may. The danger is; nowadays should parents force daughters/sons to marry persons against their wishes..they’ll marry to please both their parents, society and church. But in turn, out of wedlock misconducts begin. Because it leads the victims jump off their parents’ chosen spouses cages onto hot frying pans of the people their hearts will chemically vie for. That’s why there’s too much sin even inside the church giving birth to death – AIDS and stone cold souls.
If your child and their spouse love each other and are happy with their relationship and their life together, do not try and find things wrong that just are not there! Be happy for them! It is okay to be wrong! So you never thought you would like the spouse, you never thought they would change into a person you could like! That does not matter, your child is happy and you may be blinded by something you should have let go of a long time ago!
If we daughters are so bad, then why are so many of us silent sufferers at the hands of our parents/parents in-laws? Why do we take the hits that keep on coming? It is because we love those children of others that we bring in your folds…..in laws.Parents can sometimes force pressure on to their children. A relationship that was supposed to be enjoyable lacks that time to enjoy their youth and turn their united fists in to fighting tools against the hard hitting parents.
Challenging relationships can offer some of our most powerful growth opportunities. We shouldn’t end relationships lightly at the pleasure of parents or parents’ in-law, even when they prove difficult, especially because, as we shall see, we must ultimately, at some level, engage with the defense mechanisms most prevalent in our environment. But when we have strongly considered all of our options, applied optimally effective strategies, and still determined that the relationship is highly unlikely to become a healthier one, it is then reasonable to remove ourselves from the situation.
My mothers and fathers out there, if your child and their spouse love each other and are happy with their relationship and their life together, do not try and find things wrong that just are not there! Be happy for them! It is okay to be wrong! So you never thought you would like the spouse, you never thought they would change into a person you could like! That does not matter, your child is happy and you may be blinded by something you should have let go of a long time ago!
Do not treat the children of your child’s that you don’t like the spouse of differently than that of your other children’s kid’s. Big hint–The kids who are treated differently know! And they do not understand why! It is hard to have to explain to your child, “Honey, I’m sorry but grandma and grandpa have never liked me, they didn’t want your dad to marry me so they treat you differently,” when your children want to know why grandma and grandpa treats them so differently! Grandparents, it is wrong to put your grandchildren in the middle.
The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget…but my loving husband whom my former admirers would love to hate sat with me humbly for the past 2 years over this matter. At first, he put sense in to my mind back in 2010 to withdraw a lawsuit against my husband. What people have never understood is I did not directly sue my parents. But the attorney company I hired to press the legal charges against Dr Njenga who abused my well being went on charging everyone who was involved. I was so angry at my father when I learnt that actually he signed those procedures which gave Dr Njenga a nod to conduct his psychological abuse on me and I lost my child in a pool of blood in the aftermath.
The media immediately launched offensive attacks against me without considering the post psychological effects I just rose up from. Dr Njenga abuse, my husband jailed, lost child, combined family’s continuous scathing attacks, hired hit-men tracking me everywhere and CID police on my case. I slid to personal psychological defense mechanism system since my husband wasn’t there around me. The people who were around me by then were cowards, big talkers and chicken hearts. I resorted to being my own bodyguard, doctor and media attacks fighter until my husband got released from jailed!
Defense mechanisms which are specific archetypal patterns of behavior that result when human systems – whether on the individual, family, social, cultural, national or global levels – take on particular suboptimal structural configurations. These structural configurations developed in response to trauma, an event that wounded my system, infringing on its ability to meet its human needs for a period of time, to an extent great enough to affect the system’s arrangement of parts. Physical trauma led to structural changes on the physical, as well as on all other levels, while other forms of trauma impacted the more abstract, but equally crucial, structural aspects of my human system. It was very bad with the memories of huge loss of blood, beatings, CID trauma and Limuru ordeal.
Healthy systems, in anticipation of or in response to events or conditions, develop firm, but flexible boundaries. In the wake of a significant trauma, however, a system may develop a more extreme configuration – either overly rigid or overly flexible – that protects itself and its most important elements in order to best survive the immediate situation. Crucial as this response may be for short-term coping, this defensive structure may remain long after the original trauma has run its course, continuing to generate dysfunctional behaviors that inhibit the system’s ability to meet its needs and to develop or maintain sustainable health and maturity.
Trauma – consisting of several types and originating from personal, family, social, global and environmental sources – has grown so prevalent in many of our human systems that it has become normalized. Events and conditions that significantly diminish our ability to meet our evolved human needs have often come to be perceived as inevitable or even desirable. Thus, the resulting structural changes and defensive behaviors associated with trauma have become pervasive, exerting a profound impact on our lives, our institutions and our planet.
This is why dear Kenyans, it’s been a lengthened battle between this tiny army and you. Whether we like it or not, we belong to one country. We remain children of the same blood and culture. A time reaches when we need to put this foggy filth behind us and move on. Am not expecting everyone to like me for already some were full of hate for “their” own selfish reasons and they know it. I am writing to formally apologize, for all the moments of pain and misery that I might have inadvertently caused you, throughout my formative 2 and a half years. I also take this opportunity to forgive you in each and every trauma you’ve put me through!!!!
I therefore take this opportunity to apologize, for my constant bickering with you my beloved dad and mother (when I wasn’t trying my hardest to ignore you). I realize that you are not the annoying, sociopathic space aliens that I once thought. You are, in fact, quite wonderful wonderful people. Thanks to my husband who tirelessly inserted the positive thinking in to my senses of reason and thought that brought major meaningful senses. Now I reached a decision.
Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them. It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength which I missed but I can now see sense in it from the age of 13 when they were not there for me till the age of 29. How many years of parental absence? The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder. I hope you understand this and relieve me of this burden. I do confess though that I did not think you liked me in the past 2 years. They put a live teddy bear in my crib. I have therefore decided to put all this bitterness away and forget it for good.
This is not a condition, but I request you Dad and Mum to kindly accept my husband and child as part of our society. They’re the family I got. Whether we like this fact or not, they’re one of the major things that sent me away. Now am back and request to be accepted back with them. Is that okay Mum? Is that okay? Matthew 19:6
The Holy Bible says at Ephesians 6:4 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Which means I have decided to come back to the dynamic family of the Arungas because I’ll never be provoked to anger again.
To you my dear mama, I was a mama’s daughter right from the time I remember. All my childhood memories have you in their frames. I learnt to walk erect soon enough, in more ways than one, with your unconditional love and affection. You taught me to be thankful, count my blessings, and learn from my mistakes. I couldn’t let you down. You had the vision to look at our family as a team and strengthen my wings to enable me to take off on my own in my early teens. You gave me all the space I ever needed to grow.
You weathered all the storms and turbulences that struck your path and demonstrated with élan, that a woman has many roles to play and being a mother is one of them. Little did I realize then that this was your way of imparting early lessons in motherhood. You braved the loss of your own mother with the composure of a saint. The dignity with which you let go of her was a tribute to her life shared with you. You were there again, guiding my steps when I walked into matrimony. I learnt from your marriage, that the secret of seeing it through the years is in just staying married. You taught me that it takes a lot of courage, patience and selfless love to wade through the difficult times which cloud the happy moments.
You took our child Sinclair into your arms when the world enjoyed the negative relationship that was between me and you. I chanced to see the joy and tears in your eyes which I missed seeing when I was in your arms. You were willing to learn the ropes of being a mother with me once more and better yourself at it, all over again. You had only yourself to compete with. Hats off to that spirit! Your happiness only increased manifold when I placed my daughter in your arms.
You probably felt that the almighty had given you one last chance to work on her in the areas you missed out on, with me. I know for sure that your efforts will bear fruits one day. I know that I shouldn’t have acted like that and that is why I am truly and deeply sorry for making you hurt on both the inside and on the outside, but you must believe me that my love for you will either stay the same or grow to be more because without you my son lacks a grand mother. And it’s reaching a time where your role over him is knocking the door. I am flying back home soon to visit you and make up for the rest personal family matters that I may not discuss here.
To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others. I am ready to rejoin this family again and fulfill this fruitful epistolary of good times that we did miss in absenteeism.
Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence!! May I be forgiven in the name of Jesus Christ!AMEN
July 10, 2014
A family in Kisumu is mourning after their daughter died in Sweden mysteriously. Jacktone Obong’o and his wife Scolastica Adhiambo say their daughter Vincencis Atieno died in Sweden last month and they learnt about her death through her sister, Diana, who lives in Germany. Diana is said to have travelled to Sweden where authorities confirmed the death and told her that the body had been kept in a mortuary to await her relatives. The ailing Adhiambo says Diana stopped communicating after sometime and they are now in the dark about what may have happened to Atieno’s body. According to Adhiambo, Atieno had travelled to the country with her Swedish boyfriend, a Mr Henry Lilja, whom she had met in Kenya.
The couple are said to have lived as husband and wife for five years and even had a child before separating. However, Adhiambo disputes that the two were married. “The man never came to my home and had never officially introduced himself to the family. He did not pay dowry so I cannot say they were married,” said Adhiambo. After parting ways with her initial boyfriend, Atieno is said to have moved in with another man, who later abandoned her with an 11-month-old child. Adhiambo says she last spoke to her daughter on May 23, when she promised to send her some money. She, however, did not keep the promise.
“I kept sending messages to her inquiring about the promise, but she never responded,” she said. According to her, no clear information has been forthcoming about her daughter’s death as there has not been any communication between the relatives and friends in Sweden and the family. “All their phones have since been witched off. Her Kenyan friends who promised us a ticket and visa to enable us to travel to Sweden have also gone quiet,” she said.
According to her, none of Atieno’s two boyfriends has agreed to bury her remains, although they are said to have assumed custody of the children. The family is now appealing to the Government to help them trace the whereabouts of their daughter’s body.
July 8, 2014
This is to inform Kenyans and all concerned that Mrs. Jane Owili and Mr. Charles Orwe have lost their mother in Kenya after a long illness. Consequently, the entire family has been plunged into deep mourning. An “Open House” has been established at the residence of Mrs. Jane Owili at Drakensbersgatan 37 in Hornstull where relatives, friends and well-wishers continue to pour in to condole with the bereaved family.
The late Mama Jane and Charles was admitted at a Kisumu hospital where she left a huge bill of Ksh 2.5 million. A major funds drive is planned for Saturday, 12th July at Hornsgatan 137 (T-Hornstull) from 14.00 hrs. Those who will be unable to attend the funds drive can show their solidarity by supporting the family through account number 5611102368 at Nordea. All contributions will be greatly appreciated.
A support Committee is in the process of being set up to mobilize all people of good will to show solidarity with the bereaved family. Further information can be obtained by contacting Mrs. Owili at 0739778560 or through 0762718020 or 0737610687.
We at KSB convey deep condolences to the bereaved family during this time of great shock and sorrow. Losing a mother is not an easy experience and we hope that the family will gather the strength necessary to go through this difficult moment of great shock and sorrow. May the almighty God rest the soul of the departed Mama in eternal peace.
July 6, 2014
I first met Vinnie Atieno last year in October. She was an incredibly beautiful girl and I told her so. I met her in a mall with her daughter. We exchanged numbers and become friends. I only went to visit her in her home once but we talked a lot on the phone. She passed away on 16th June 2014 at the tender age of 28.
I attended a meeting that would be the start of a series of meetings that would determine where Vinnie would be laid to rest. The whole family situation was complicated to say the least. On one side of the family was her mother in Kisumu and on the other, her sister in Germany.
Vinnie had come to Sweden 8 years ago and had 2 children; one, a 7 year old boy who’s father was a Swedish guy. Vinnie divorced her son’s father and met another Swedish guy; the father to her second child (a girl, 10 months old).
At first, I obviously thought that Vinnie would be buried in Kenya but I later found out she would be buried in Sweden so her children would be able to visit her grave one day.
Anyway, the Kenyan community in Malmo rallied together and met on different occasions to discuss the whole matter. A newly formed Kenyan organization (Kenyans United in Sweden – Skåne) was responsible for making a lot of the necessary arrangements.
A meeting was held on 28th June at my friends’ house to raise money to assist with the air travel costs to bring a few members of Vinnie’s family from Kenya for the funeral which was to be held on Friday, 4th of July.
From the onset, Vinnie’s death has been shrouded in mystery. For starters she died in her home and did not wake up after sleeping. The results of her postmortem were not released. We did not know what killed her.
On 28th June her aunt from Switzerland and sister from Germany were present. A lot of people contributed money to assist the family and the only thing we were told was that we were all welcome for the funeral and there would be a reception after the funeral.
The funeral day
I had planned to attend the funeral and woke up concerned about what black dress to wear. I was mentally prepared for a sad, nostalgic day.
I went to meet my friend so we could go to the funeral grounds together. She had to step out of the house shortly but she had been hosting Vinnie’s family and Vinnie’s aunt came to the house to change into a black dress. I took a taxi with Vinnie’s aunt and a few other people to the funeral grounds.
That’s when I found out that no one from her family in Kenya had flown in to Sweden and the sister did not want the funeral to proceed.
We got to the grounds at around 1pm in the afternoon and the drama that ensued was nothing short of being in a really horrible movie.
Vinnie’s sister did not want Vinnie to be buried because she said she suspected that Vinnie’s second boyfriend killed Vinnie. Yes, a murder accusation.
She claimed that he was trying to rush the whole thing so that the truth could not be uncovered. Apparently she had spoken to someone in the Kenyan embassy in Sweden who said that they have to stop the whole thing because foul play was suspected.
First she tried to talk to the funeral director and explained her part of the story. He said that he had no idea Vinnie’s family in Kenya had all these objections and he said he would try to talk to the Swedish family side so that the burial could be halted.
She was being emotional and combative and the funeral director told her if she did not calm down she would be arrested by the police.
I think at some point the police were called because she was causing a scene and had no underwear on. Yes, no underwear on. She flashed her privates to the funeral director once. I was in a state of shock.
Things got worse when the father of Vinnie’s daughter drove in to the funeral grounds. Vinnie’s sister rushed to him, started to hit him and hurl all kinds of accusations at him. Shortly, the police arrived. Big and tall Swedish policemen; with guns and all.
They tried to calm her down and had a long conversation with her. They were also in a state of shock. She was telling them, “You Swedish policemen are nothing compared to German police.” That girl was showing no fear.
The funeral director emerged from some meeting to tell her that Vinnie would not be buried on that day, till her mom came from Kenya.
Meanwhile many Kenyans had convened for the burial and had no idea what was happening. There was a service held in the chapel and a whole group was outside the chapel and another group was inside. According to her sister, the group inside was betraying her. The service ended Mats left and the police left. They should have stayed.
Pussie flashed several times
Her sister started hurling insults at Vinnie’s son’s father and at Vinnie’s mother in law, accusing them of taking Vinnie’s daughter father side. Then she started screaming and displaying her private parts. Who knew I would ever write this sentence on my blog. She did that several times.
We turned in shame; we did not know what to do. We did not know how to stop her. A girl tried everything she could in vain.
After that, some people went home, some people went to a reception hosted by Vinnie’s mother in law.
The day was horribly embarrassing for all involved. Everyone felt that all these grievances should have been aired before a funeral date was picked. The case is complicated but I don’t know how effective stripping naked is to get your point across.
We have no idea what is happening in Kenya, if her mom will travel. I think people contributing money out of their free will should not be taken lightly. A new funeral date has been picked but who knows what will happen in this saga. As my Tanzanian friend said, “Can’t she be left to rest in peace?”
July 5, 2014
The CORD fraternity is dumbfounded by news that a court of the Kenya Judiciary has issued an order against the Principals of the coalition ordering them not to convene any mass action in Kenya on the 7th July 2014 and stating that the said Principals shall be personally liable for any damage during the protests they convene.
From the very outset I wish to reiterate to you Article 37 of the Constitution of Kenya which states that:“Every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities”.
Mass action is just a common phrase to describe the exercise of this constitutional right and is not a legal principle that can rend itself to interpretation of the court outside the confines of Article 37.
It must then be taken to mean that the Kenyan court has ex-parte, without wanting to hear any representation from us, and without due regard to the indefeasibility of our rights as citizens of Kenya, decided that I, my co-Principals and the entire CORD fraternity, cannot enjoy any of the rights granted to us by Article 37 of the Constitution.
Further, against all principles of Constitutional law, dictates of responsibility of government and basic common sense, the court has purported to create a hitherto unknown legal responsibility for the conveners of an assembly to be personally liable for the independent personal conduct of all attendees.
In what we now call the dark days, the Judiciary became an ally of the Executive in the abuse of the rights of people, particularly those who fought for greater democratic space. We all remember how Judges like Norbury Dugdale were kept as watchmen for the Executive and readily issued any order, however outrageous, that was needed to stop the exercise of fundamental rights that the State considered to be a threat to its dictatorship.
Rulings like the one issued against CORD today only fortify our concern that Kenya is marching backwards to the dark era, instead of forward to a happier, freer society that we long desired and fought for.
It is disheartening to see that we are going back to those days and that it is happening under the new Constitution.
Kenyans have put their faith in this Judiciary and in you as its Chief Justice to restore the constitutionalism that was abused in the years past and to restore, preserve and protect their liberties against all threats from the State.
You must not let Kenyans down. We hope that this matter will receive your urgent attention and intervention. On our part, we in the CORD fraternity shall ignore this attempt at unconstitutionally delimiting our rights and shall continue with our planned assembly and demonstration as was intended by the people of Kenya when they promulgated the Constitution. The Constitution is on our side.
RT. HON RAILA ODINGA,
LEADER, ODM/ CORD COALITION
JULY 4, 2014.
July 4, 2014
Hi. It is with deep sorrow that I write this. I am the sister of the late Vinnie Atieno. I want anybody who can assist me because I am puzzled about the whole situation. Theres no way thet strangers can arrange for her burial without the family’s concerns being addressed. They have planned to burry her tomorrow which me and my family is against. We first want to know the results of the postmortem and they are saying they cant release it untill August. So I don’t understand why so I want people to join hands with me and help me stop the burial that is planned for tomorrow afternoon. Thanks and God bless you all
Diana Obonyo: email@example.com