Despite the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the helicopter crash in which former Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti and his Assistant Orwa Ojode perished, the perception that the crash was a well-organized political assassination has persisted. In the Kenyan Parliament, MPs have openly alleged that the Kibaki government is trying to cover up the alleged assassinations by frustrating the new Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the tragic accident which happened on June 10th 2012.
Charges have even been tossed to the effect that families of the departed MPs have deliberately been kept out of the investigations as part of a grand cover-up. Chris Briers and Tim Carter, two Eurocopter specialists who had been flown in by Saitoti’s family to represent them in the investigations, had to return to South Africa because of multiple frustrations.
The demand by the bereaved families that the wreckage be stored in a 4 foot container until they can be stripped, had also not been acted on by the government which had failed to avail Ksh 70.000 for the purchase of the container. In fact, Mr. Fred Ngatia, the lawyer representing Saitoti’s family in the investigations, had to intervene to prevent the engine from being transported to France for stripping while Ngatia also complained of lack of contact between the government and Saitoti’s family.
More seriously, accusations were also made by MPs that foreign experts from France who arrived in the country to help with investigations, have been so much frustrated by the government that they have had to return to their bases abroad.
Is there any real or circumstantial evidence which could point to a political assassination especially of Professor George Saitoti, a former Presidential candidate in the coming elections?
Just before the accident occurred at Ngong forest, there is evidence that Saitoti’s bodyguard, who was on board, had called the Internal Security Minister’s driver to inform him that he ought not to drive away from Wilson airport from where the helicopter had taken off because the ill-fated helicopter was on its way back to Wilson airport.
What this means is that the occupants of the helicopter knew in advance that the helicopter was experiencing mechanical problems and this knowledge could have prompted the bodyguard to make that lone last minute call for the driver to wait for Professor Saitoti, probably after concluding that the trip was off.
Assuming that this is the case, what the investigators may have to establish is what may have caused the mechanical problem that caused the pilots to take a decision to return to Nairobi less than ten minutes after take-off. The situation is even more intriguing because according to available information, the lady pilot Gituanja had test-flown the helicopter to Voi and back on Friday, the 7th of June 2012 and concluded that the chopper was in good flying condition.
Mechanical problem ruled out
If the helicopter was fit to fly only 72 hours before the ill-fated chopper crashed, what may have happened at the parking bay after the lady pilot landed it and retired for the day? It is reported that 2-3 minutes into the flight following take-off at Wilson, the helicopter began to wobble. This means that if there was any mechanical problem, the problem may have existed before take-off because why should a helicopter wobble immediately after take-off? The helicopter did become airborne but four minutes later, the pilots took a decision to return to base. They never made it because the chopper crashed two minutes after the decision to return to base was taken.
Under the circumstances, the question the investigators will have to answer is what may have caused the wobbling during take-off because it is this problem that may have worsened in the subsequent minutes causing the pilots to abandon the trip before the chopper crashed.
To be specific: “The flight left Wilson Airport in Nairobi at 8:32 a.m. in good weather with some fog and visibility of 8 kilometres (5 miles), Kenyan Transport Minister Amos Kimunya told ministers today in a live broadcast on KTN television station. The pilots lost contact with the control tower at about 8:38 a.m., and four minutes later the aircraft fell to the ground, he said”.
From this report, it means that the chopper began to crash six minutes after take-off. In summary, the chopper did take off and 2-3 minutes later, it began to wobble. In the next 3 minutes, four key events happened: A decision was taken by the pilots that they turn back; Saitoti’s bodyguard called the Minister’s driver to say that they were turning back; the pilots lost contact with the control tower; the chopper crashed.
The question which will have to be answered by the investigators is the kind of mechanical problem that could cause a chopper of that model to crash 6 minutes after take-off. The theory of a mechanical failure has however been dismissed by the chopper’s manufacturers who said that the chopper had the ability to glide and land in case of engine failure. To demonstrate their point, the experts flew a similar helicopter 3,500ft, switched off the engine and successfully landed it to demonstrate to the Kenyan authorities that engine failure could not have led the chopper to crash and disintegrate on impact.
An interesting piece of information, which will also have to be investigated, is the news that the last person to have used the helicopter was Police Commissioner Mathew Itere. According to these reports, the chopper landed at Wilson airport on Saturday, the 9th of June at 6.00 pm with Itere on board, all the way from Mombasa.
The Mombasa-Nairobi trip constitutes a very long distance and after landing at Wilson airport, no mechanical problem was reported on the chopper. That was a day after the chopper was test-flown to Voi (near Mombasa) by lady pilot Gituanja whose opinion after the test was that the chopper was fit to fly. Could someone have tampered with some gadget during the 14 hours that the chopper was parked at Wilson airport as part of an assassination plot and with the knowledge that Professor Saitoti would be on board the following day?
Majority opinion suggest that Saitoti was assassinated
Is it possible that a chopper that was test-flown all the way to Voi and back on a Friday and which successfully flew to and from Mombasa on a Saturday could suddenly crash within a span of 6 minutes after take-off on a Sunday morning? These are key questions the investigators will have to answer.
Assuming that the report that Itere was the last person to have used the helicopter is credible, the implication is that from the Itere landing up to the final take-off on Sunday at 8.32 am, a total of 14 hours had elapsed. If the helicopter was in good flying condition just fourteen hours before the fateful flight, what could have caused the serious problem that may have brought down the chopper?
According to an eye witness, there was smoke coming from the chopper moments before it crashed. Some conspiracy theorists have argued that there may have been an explosion on board which might have created the smoke. The fact that both Saitoti’s and Ojode’s bodies had their legs chopped off has been used to strengthen this theory by positing that a time-bomb may have been planted at a location below the area where the two Security ministers were seated. The view is that it is the explosion that ripped off the legs of the two Ministers.
Although this theory could be credible, it loses a lot of marks with the established fact that at the time of the crash, the helicopter was already returning back to base following the detection of a mechanical problem by the pilots. What investigators may have to find out is what could cause smoke to below from the engine of a helicopter soon after take-off.
According to some experts, this type of problem could be due to fuel overflow or disconnected wires. If two critical wires were disconnected, there could have been an electrical or engine malfunction which could ignite fire in the engine causing smoke to below out of the chopper in mid-air. It is understood that a sudden bellowing of smoke from the engine can also be triggered by a mechanical failure or a fuel leak occasioned by a raptured fuel pipe. Whatever the case, these are leads the investigators will have to investigate. If there was a fuel leak, was it caused by natural circumstances or a human element?
Obviously, there are many issues which will have to be investigated. In the meantime, conspiracy theories linked to assassination of Professor Saitoti will continue to fly. Any perceived frustration of investigations into the crash by the government will continue to be used by conspiracy theorists to suggest that the government has something to hide. As per now, majority of opinions which have been expressed in various media outlets tend to suggest that Saitoti was a victim of political assassination, either by drug barons or members of the Mount Kenya cartel or both. The task of the investigators will be to prove that this is not the case.
Though all the morning papers missed it here’s a run-down of what happened last night in Parliament regarding the controversial Appropriations Bill 2012. For the first time in Kenya’s independent history, the National Assembly approved the final Appropriation Bill for the Expenditure of Government before the beginning of the financial year. This is also the first time that the Vote on Account procedure has been abandoned; in this case because by consensus in Parliament the Government deleted the 21st June Vote on Account from the Appropriation Bill 2012.
More money for Development Expenditure – (increase by 3.3 billion Ksh)
- Industrialisation – additional 1 billion Ksh – new budget 3.292 billion
- Education – additional 600 million – new budget 7.053 billion Ksh
- Agriculture – additional 600 million Ksh – new budget 10.180 billion Ksh
- Trade – additional 400 million Ksh – new budget 919.75 million Ksh
- Roads – additional 300 million Ksh – new budget 45.231 billion Ksh
- Energy – additional 300 million – new budget 2.58 billion Ksh
- Livestock Development – additional 100 million Ksh – new budget 4.11 billion Ksh
More money for Recurrent Expenditure – (reallocation of recurrent expenditure to key areas which were not adequately funded resulted in the following increases amount to Ksh 1.6 billion)
- The Judiciary – additional 500 million Ksh – new budget 12.130 billion Ksh
- Gender, Children and Social Development – additional 500 million Ksh – new budget 5.232 billion Ksh
- The Auditor General – additional 300 million Ksh – new budget 1.749 billion Ksh
- Defence – additional 250 million Ksh – new budget 70.29 billion Ksh
- Local Government – additional 50 million Ksh – new budget 1.471 billion
IEBC’s recurrent budget was reduced to 17.579 billion Ksh (US$14/voter) from the 21.579 billion Ksh (US$17/voter) in the Finance Minister’s unrevised Estimates
The Budget Committee proposal to reallocate Ksh 9.5 billion from the Ministry for Finance’s Budget was rejected by Treasury.whose total budet gross remains Ksh 49.5 billio.
I am a lonely 50+ man seeking for a kindhearted, serious and humble woman for a serious relationship. I am a soft-spoken, calm and loving person who also likes enjoying life in all its forms. If there is any woman out there who may be interested, we may start by knowing each other and see if we were meant for each other. I have a good house, I am responsible with a nice job. I am not very social but I like being with friends and sharing conversations. I hope that some nice lonely woman will be reading this and, may be, get interested in taking contact. Love and not age guides my emotions. If you are the one, contact me at: simon.goodmanx(at)gmail.com. Only serious responses are desired.
July is approaching and once again, it is the season of African Football championship in Stockholm. In the last two years, Kenya football team has been very visible within the African football crowd in Stockholm where the African Challenge Cup has been the main attraction. On the two tournaments which were held during the last two years, the Kenya Footbal Team beat the odds to reach the finals under the tutelage of Coach Makan Macharia. This year, the situation is a bit different because the team is experiencing two major difficulties.
The biggest problem is finance because the team has had no resources since it was constituted two years ago. Cash is needed to hire training ground at 500kr for a session of one hour. Registering for the Africa Challenge Cup costs 2.500kr while during training, money is usually needed for refreshments for the boys. The team needs money for uniforms and playing boots beside vital equipment such as balls. Further, during tournaments, the team usually needs refreshments and, in some cases, food. What this means is that a budget of 10-15k could put the team at a better standing and see it through the tournament.
At the moment, the team does not have a single cent and the problem is so serious that if nothing is done by the Kenyan community in Stockholm, there will be no Kenya Football Team this summer for Kenya football fanatics to cheer beside the field as privately financed nyama choma sizzles on the side-lines, complete with vinywaji and vuvuzellas to boot!
During the two years that the Football team has been in existence, it has been surviving on hand-outs and meagre donations from well-wishers. In many instances, Makan, the coach, has been bankrolling the team while, through the contact of a humble Kenyan with good links to MacDonalds, the team has been able to acquire uniforms. This year, the situation is different because the team’s informal resources have dried up while individual donors who have been chipping in are reported to be suffering from “donor fatigue”.
In the past, there have been self-styled Kenyan businessmen and an assortment of Kenyan Madosi who claimed to have been “sponsoring” the team. According to investigations by KSB, these Sonkos have publicly been basking in the glory of “major sponsors” while in reality, they have never contributed a coin towards the team’s well-being.
According to Coach Makan, there has been a lot of talk among Kenyans in Stockholm about the “huge donations” by these “sponsors” even though the team has always been in the red.
“I wish to clarify that the team has never received any donation from anybody and therefore, those claiming that they have been sponsoring the team should stop doing so”, Makan told KSB.
The Kenyan coach said that he had been forced to make this clarification to clear misunderstandings that the team could be having money to see it through this year’s tournament. According to Makan, some Kenyans think that the Sonkos will come to the rescue of the team once again while the truth is that the Sonkos have never been there for the team in the first place.
Claims of donations by Kenya-Stockholm’s “tycoons”
“As the person who has been in charge of the team, it is my responsibility to report about the issue of sponsorship because some Kenyans might think that the team has money. It is myself and a few Kenyans who have been financing the team from our pockets”, Makan told KSB.
Makan said that the real Kenyans who have been funding the team as private individuals do not want their names to be mentioned because they want to remain private. “They are not many and I know them all”, Makan told KSB.
It is known that a Kenyan businessman had claimed that he had been sponsoring the team with “loads of cash” while a Kenyan Taxi driver also claimed publicly that he has been a major sponsor of the team, claims which were dismissed by Makan as sheer propaganda. In another example, a Kenyan woman tycoon promised to donate 5.000kr to the team but after getting a wild applause from an audience which was, by then, attending a funeral harambee, the woman vanished into thin air.
The promise was made in the presence of a KSB operative and when we followed the matter up with the woman when Kenyans began to question whether the money had been paid, the woman claimed that the Kenyan team had no bank account and that under the circumstances, she could not transfer the funds electronically or write a cheque. As part of her defence, the woman said that 5k is a huge amount of cash which she could not just give to an individual, taking the position that documentation of any contribution to the team was part of accountability.
According to Makan, he is no longer in a position to take both financial responsibility and bringing up the team to compete in the African Challenge Cup because of limitation of time and resources. Makan has appealed to Kenyans to come up and help because the boys are raring to go if the financial and organizational problems facing the team can be addressed. He said that if he can get a couple of volunteers to work with, he can spare some time to give the team the necessary kick it needs, adding that managing the team solo will be impossible this year.
According to Makan, the team could not be registered due to lack of volunteers to form a Committee. “The players cannot sit in the Committee because they cannot be involved in administration while at the same time they are the ones playing in the field”, Makan told KSB.
The Kenyan coach said that any serious person who wanted to support the team economically could have done so by discussing with him. He said that excuses about lack of a bank account are lame because anybody can pay for a playing ground directly, buy equipment, register the team for the tournament or provide refreshments during matches. “You don’t need a bank account to do all these”, the Kenyan coach told KSB.
Kenyans who have ideas on how the team can be rescued should get in touch with Makan directly to discuss the way forward otherwise there will be no team to cheer this year at the African Challenge Cup. This is the reality.
The Kenya Ni Kwetu lobby invites you to a love protest scheduled for Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 10.00am at Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner in Nairobi.
The event, to be addressed by civil society leaders, aims at protesting the culture of impunity by our MPs. The protest shall climax at Parliament Buildings, where Kenya Ni Kwetu members and supporters shall lodge their protest in art forms to Parliament before ending the peaceful procession at 12:00pm.
This is a call to action to Kenyans to reflect on their personal responsibility in building a better country, where only responsible leaders who remain faithful to the Constitution are elected to office.
Kenya Ni Kwetu shall produce and distribute the litany of scandals that litters Kenya’s past 49 years and motivate the citizens to ensure the same is not repeated, and work towards a peaceful ballot revolution.
Kenya Ni Kwetu works to enable a patriotic citizens’ movement to take bold and effective actions in building a new Kenya. Our vision is to foster unity among youth and inspire them to pursue social and political change through peaceful elections.
Kenya ni Kwetu Committee
Bobo Sukari Featuring Lady Neema & Dekula Band “Ngoma Ya Kilo”
Place: Lilla Wien “Little Nairobi”
Date: 29-30 June 2012
Pendel: Södra Station
Welcome…new ngoma & new sound
A friend once asked me: “What is the secret behind your happy married life?”
I replied: “You should share responsibilities with due love and respect to each other. Then absolutely there will be no problems”
She asked: “Can you explain?”
I said: “In my house, I take decisions on bigger issues whereas my wife decides on smaller issues. We do not interfere in each other’s decisions.” Still not convinced, she asked me to give me some examples.
I said: “Smaller issues like how many kids to have, the neighborhood to live, what clothes I should wear, which car we should buy, how much money to save, who, when and where to visit, which sofa, cooker, refrigerator to buy, monthly expenses, whether to keep a maid or not, where to go for holidays, whose mum we should visit, etc; are decided by my wife. I just agree to all of them”.
She then asked: “So then what is your role?”
I replied: “My decisions are only for very big issues, like whether America should attack Iran, the uranium enrichment in North Korea, whether Britain should lift sanctions against Zimbabwe, how to fully exploit Africa’s economic and intellectual potential, whether Museveni, Kagame and Barack Obama should retire, whether Liverpool FC needs to buy new players or change their coach to improve their play, whether Usain Bolt should retire now-while still at his prime, etc. My wife never objects to any of these decisions and we live happily!”
Follower of Happy Marriage Theory
On behalf of my family, I would like the thank all Kenyans, Swedes and friends who attended the Graduation ceremony of my son, Karanja. I would also like to thank all those who sent good luck messages plus those who supported in any way. It was a grateful and momentous occasion which couldn’t have been filled with joy and satisfaction without the presence of all those took their valuable time to be with the family. My family will always remember you hospitality, friendship and encouragement as my son Karanja continues with his educational life. Once again, asanteni sana.
Sarah Mamma Karanja.
Dear Kyalo Mwengi,
I am writing to you (in your capacity) as the Senior Legal Officer for the National Cohesion and Integration Commission about some recently produced Kikuyu music that in my opinion constitutes hate speech and has very tribal connotations that are not in line with the NCIC’s guidelines on non-discrimination on grounds of race, ethnicity or religion and promoting cohesion and integration.
An interpretation of these has been done here.
By all means, I fail to see how this is in line with discouraging ethnicity and discrimination and in fact promotes these vices.
As a Kikuyu speaking Kenyan, I fully understand the language used in the songs as well as the implications this can have in fuelling hate among members of the Kikuyu tribe and animosity towards members of other tribes.
I would like to request that you urgently deal with this matter and if possible charge the musicians in question with using hate speech to set a precedent for others who might want to use music as an avenue to do the same.
I look forward to your response to the matter at hand.
Food For Education Trust,
This is to notify the general public that application for the 3rd Miss Africa Crown Scandinavia will close down on Sunday, July 1st 2012. According to Duke Philip Gomez, a top official of the Ritz Society which organizes the Miss Africa Crown International, interested applicants who shall not have submitted their applications by July 1st will count themselves out of the competition.
So far, a record 32 applicants have submitted their applications which are currently being processed. An elegant presentation of the contestants will be held on Saturday, 7th September 2012 at Alvik Medborgahuset from 21.00-04.00 hrs followed by a huge boogie that will feature top Africa-Stockholm artists who have consistently been rocking the Africa-Stockholm Entertainment scene without a stop.
Contestants who wish to apply for the 2012 Miss Africa Crown are kindly requested to hurry up and beat the deadline because as opposed to the situation last year, there will be no extension for applications and late applicants will be rejected. Application can be done directly through the Miss Africa Crown website.
Once the application is closed, the next stage will be to begin the process of orientating the contestants on basic routines and regulations of the contest. This includes meeting the Miss Africa Crown International Management Team, a briefing of the event’s structure, signing of contracts, photo-shoots, casting of promotional video clips and meeting the Judges before an intensive training by beauty pageant experts begins in earnest.
During the last two contests, the Management of Miss Africa Crown has learnt a lot of lessons. The experience gained out of past events will help improve this year’s contest whose final will be held aboard Siljaline during a 48hr cruise across the Baltic sea. It is the first time that the event will be held over a 48 hr period across the Baltic.
Experience has shown that the traditional 24 hour Cruise is not enough and, in increasing the amount of hours for the event, the view of Miss Africa Crown’s management team is that there will be more time to mix relaxation and competition during the cruise. Last year, the Judges had very little time to decide on the winner due to shortage of time. This time, the Judges will have no excuse because there will be plenty of time for them to take breaks, drink coffee and consult adequately before a winner can be pronounced.
Sound of Blackness to rock the crowd
An interesting angle is that this time around, a group of contestants will come from London where a Pre-selection of top beauties in the city of London is scheduled this summer. Qualifiers from britain will then clash with their Scandinavian counterparts during the finals at the prestigious Siljaline. With enthusiastic fans coming all the way from London to sample the Stockholm beauties, the event is expected to be the biggest ever. Arrangements are being made to ensure that the whole boat, which has a capacity of 2500 revellers, is fully booked for the event.
Among the top Judges are Ms Mbova N. Lillian, an accomplished Kenyan diplomat, Justina Mutale, founder & CEO of Perryfield Promotions, Shaul Moalem, Make-Up Artist Director of the, Make Up Institute in Stockholm and Mrs. Brawer Madina, an English Teacher in Stockholm. Discussions are underway with the top-most Kenyan artist in Europe, St James, to play a role during the event. For further information about the Judges, vist the Miss Africa Crown website.
On the Entertainment front, Sound of Blackness will be blasting the music until the loud speakers blow up into small pieces while the official MC will be none other than the electrifying Joseph Mbaazira of the re-known online based Ugamuzik Radio fame currently running into its third anniversary. We wish him good luck!
In 2010, the big prize of Miss Africa Crown was scooped by Ms. Michelle Jeng from Tanzania while last year, Jessle from Ugandan beat all contestants to emerge the winner. The winning prize included: a ticket to Africa (any country of choice) which was sponsored by the Ethiopian Airlines; a 500 Euro cash prize, a Louis Vuitton bag (worth SEK 5.000), a photo-shoot by the Make-Up Institute, a make-up kit and a Champaign to boot!
The prizes, which included other prizes like Miss Photogenic, Miss Elegant, Miss Personality just to mention but a few, were all delivered to the winners during a colourful ceremony which was held in Stockholm and which was attended by tens of Miss Africa Crown fans. The same prizes for the winners apply this year.
The Management of Miss Africa Crown International appeals to all fun-lovers to support the event so that it can continue to succeed as the struggle to show-case African beauty globally also continues. It will be a perfect opportunity to combine entertainment, leisure and loads of fun, all in the boat across the Baltic before the Miss Africa Crown International beauty queen for 2012 is finally announced. Further details of the event can be accessed at the Miss Africa Crown website.
Media and Information Desk
The Ritz Society
One of the biggest “historical injustices” that fuelled the post-election violence is the question of landlessness and inequalities in land distribution following the end of the Colonial Revolution that was led by the Land and Freedom Army (Mau Mau). After their betrayal and the taking over of the new government by traitors such as Jomo Kenyatta, the new Kikuyu ruling class that seized power embarked on a land-grabbing programme through dubious land-buying companies that left millions of Kenyans without possibilities of acquiring land. Thousands of Kikuyus who were being chased or killed in the Rift Valley following theft of Raila’s Presidency were paying the price of land grabbing in Central Province that forced thousands of Kikuyus to look for alternative and permanent settlements. In the process, these Kikuyus purchased land from the Kalenjin in the Rift Valley but after Raila Odinga’s Presidency was stolen by the Kikuyu ruling class, the question of land ownership, especially among the Kikuyu who had legally purchased land in the Rift Valley, became even more complicated because they were chased out of their property, their houses burned, members of their families killed as survivors were converted into IDPs. It did not matter that many of these Kikuyus had resided in the Rift Valley for decades and the sudden hatred that was witnessed between the Kalenjin and the Kikuyu after December 2007 was not just unprecedented but also out rightly shocking.
After the establishment of a coalition government, many Kikuyu IDPs were suspicious of returning to homes where they were evicted by the Kalenjin. Although the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 provides for the sorting out of “historical injustices” that may have precipitated the rampant execution of thousands of Kikuyu’s, especially in the Rift Valley, a major obstacle to sorting out the land problem lies in how the hatred that was exhibited by the Kalenjin against the Kikuyu will be converted into mutual love that will guarantee security against future attacks regardless of political circumstances. Although some IDPs returned to their homes, thousands refused to return because the government had not built a strong foundation for lasting peace between the two communities in the future. This fear is reinforced by pledges among the Kalenjin that they will never accept the Kikuyu back in the Rift Valley regardless of political developments on the ground. Consequently, this position has posed the question as to how the government will be able to reconcile, in the long term, the two communities whose suspicions continue to linger long after the Grand Coalition government was put into place following the signing of the National Accord.
How will Kenyans be resettled on land owned by foreigners who are not ready to relinquidh land?
Another issue is that to sort out the problem of land redistribution, big land grabbing sharks inside and outside government will have to give up huge tracks if land is to be found to sort out the problem of landlessness in our country. The Kenyatta family, the Moi family, the Kibaki family and the Biwott family are just four family names that can be mentioned here when it comes to huge land ownership in Kenya by real or imaginary land grabbers. The Kenyatta family alone is said to own land equivalent to the size of Nyanza Province, space where more than five million
people could settle. In simpler terms, land owned by the Kenyatta family alone can be used to settle more than five million landless Kenyans across the country. This is before the thousands of acres owned by the settler community and other big landowners are brought into the picture. The unspeakable extent of individual land ownership demonstrates that the capacity to resettle the landless exists. However, the coalition government is not in a position to put in place a radical land policy to effectively sort out the “historical injustice” on the question of land because policy makers such as Uhuru Kenyatta are themselves huge stakeholders while on the other hand, Western imperialism has a duty to protect European land grabbers through a choreographed control of Kenya’s politics and economics.
A key obstacle is how the big shots will accept to give up their land without a fight and how the issue is likely to be addressed because some of the big landowners are in government where they are likely to steer policy away from nationalization as a key plunk of land redistribution. Apart from Uhuru Kenyatta who is a beneficiary of Kenyatta’s land-grabbing operations soon after flag independence in 1963 and who is a Deputy Prime Minister, Kibaki, the President, is another well-known
land grabber with vast parcels across the country. Moi, whose name features on the list of wealth and land grabbers in Kenya — ranging from the Ndungu Report to the Kroll Report, which alleges that Moi stole more than Ksh130 billion — has become a close ally of President Kibaki because they are birds of the same feather: land grabbers. Moi openly campaigned for Kibaki during the 2007 elections, probably expecting protection of his wealth. The Kroll Report is probably the most thorough documentation of what Moi stole from the Kenyan public during his twenty-four years of iron-fisted dictatorship so how does the coalition government begin to tackle the thorny issue of land that Moi may have grabbed during his twenty-four years of misrule when Kibaki, the President who appoints Commissions of Inquiries and who is himself a land grabber, is Moi’s closest buddy? Then, there is the obstacle posed by land owned by descendants of the so-called “white settlers” i.e. grandsons of former colonial masters who stole thousands of acres of land from Kenyans during the so-called “dark ages” of colonialism and who benefited from ninety-nine-year land leases soon after the betrayal of the Colonial Revolution to keep the stolen lands. Descendants of former white colonial masters are in full control of some of the most productive land in Kenya, owning plantations, huge settlement schemes and even game parks. These settlers have privatized vast chunks of national parks where they earn millions in tourist revenues, built five-star tourist hotels and made available multiple parks where game hunting by the world’s millionaires fetch millions of Kenyan shillings annually. Some of the best millionaire play grounds in Kenya are owned by sons and daughters of the settler community.
The so-called settlers have huge plantations where cash crops of choice are tea, coffee, pyrethrum and flowers, all grown for export. Earnings from these farms are routinely repatriated to Europe and America through Western-controlled horticultural industry that, nevertheless, employ Kenyan workers on starvation wages. Tourists pay these settlers directly to visit privatised game parks under settler control and the government has been well aware of this. In fact, part of concerns by British imperialism about chaos in Kenya following the stealing of Raila’s Presidency
and uncertainty about who was to take over power in Kenya hinged on fears that the equilibrium on the land question could be destabilized in a way that Kenya could become another Zimbabwe where white landowners have been chased away from farms grabbed before the outbreak of the Mugabe-led guerrilla war of liberation before the British negotiated a settlement.
Kenya is facing the same problem of foreign landowners so how will the landless be resettled when these foreigners have shown that they are not interested in relinquishing these lands for purposes of addressing the much-touted historical injustices? The question of white landowners in Kenya or big shots with vast pieces of land across the country is almost a taboo subject in Kenya so how will the issue of land redistribution be tackled if the subject itself is too sensitive for public discourse? The British government is known to have control of Kenyan politics. Will Number 10 Downing Street allow the Grand Coalition government to change the rules in the name of fair play on the question of land ownership in Kenya, a change that may affect British landowners and other foreign beneficiaries who have taken over the Coast of Mombasa and converted Malindi into a Mafia city centre? This brings us to the obstacle posed by Raila Odinga who has been trying his best since he became Prime Minister to please the British and the Americans. Initial reactions by the US government after election rigging indicated that the United States was not very interested in a Raila Presidency because his agenda was obscure to the United States. Raila had never led a government while he is one Kenyan who has enough reason to be unpredictable because of the way British and US imperialism treated his father whom the Imperialists regarded as a communist. Now, Raila has to show the British and the Americans that he can lead Kenya without putting imperialist interests at risk.
If the land issue is to be tackled adequately, land owned by white settlers have to be attached, or at least put on the map when a real solution is being drawn. One does not need to study political science to understand that as long as he will be alive, Raila will present himself as a Presidential candidate in 2012 to complete the political cycle of becoming Kenya’s President. For millions of Luos who back Raila, the son of Odinga has a historical responsibility of completing his father’s dream of rising to Kenya’s Presidency. Raila is a tactician and there is no reason to believe that he will not play his cards effectively to position himself as the winning candidate come 2012. Ethnic political blocks and voting patterns, which are unlikely to change dramatically in the next five years, are already in his favour and what he needs to do to seize the Presidency in 2012 is to consolidate the inter-ethnic support base he built in the run up to the Referendum while at the same time calming the fears of Western Imperialism whose concern is that he may be a communist under Liberal camouflage.
Whatever Raila does between the formation of the Grand Coalition and the next polls will be pure election campaigns albeit clothed in implementing government policy, supervising government ministries or coordinating the activities of these Ministries as part of his mandate as Prime Minister.
With this strategy in mind, Raila Odinga is unlikely to pursue a land policy that is hostile to imperialism and local landlords if he wants to clinch the big seat in 2012. He will try to articulate a land policy that will accommodate local and international capitalists and this kind of policy will compromise an effective and permanent solution to the land problem because land is not a commodity that could be imported from abroad to be distributed or created as a new commodity locally to sort out the land problem. It is a fixed asset that could help resettle the landless only if the big landowners are relieved of chunks of land to be distributed to their tillers with or without compensation. There is no short cut.
During the 2007 election campaign, Raila was constantly portrayed in PNU propaganda as the kind of person who will take over land belonging to the Kikuyu if he takes over power in Kenya. If Raila begins to pursue a land policy hostile to the interest of the big land grabbers in Kenya (including Kikuyu land grabbers), he will be playing against his own Presidential ambitions or engaging in partial political suicide. My view is that Raila will try to avoid the real solution to the land issue as long as possible because any radical land policy that questions the legitimacy of the big landowners or that puts huge tracts of land owned by some of his new friends like Kibaki will be incompatible with his future political agenda of rising to Kenya’s Presidency.
There is no shortcut to addressing the question of land without bringing in the element of nationalization of huge tracts of land into the picture — with or without compensation. Doing this will not just mean a shift in government policy but a radical ideological change opposed to the free market system of government that has converted land into a commodity for sale and allowed a few fat cats to own vast pieces of land when millions of Kenyans are landless. Any politician who talks about addressing the issue of land or resettling the landless without talking about nationalizing idle land owned by known land grabbers (be they local or international) is lying to the Kenyan people and should thus have his or her land policy investigated by the public. The question of nationalization of large pieces of land is probably the biggest obstacle standing in the way to a resolution of the land question in our country. Fantastic land policies could be drawn by the Minister for Lands and Settlement but if there is nothing in those policies that will end up resettling the landless at the end of implementation, such policies will remain propagandistic drafts that will postpone the solution to the land problem. The land issue in Kenya is complex and cannot be tackled here exhaustively. The purpose is to point out a few huddles on the road to addressing “historical injustices” that the coalition government that came into existence after election rigging may, in the long term, be unable to surmount under the prevailing and fragile political circumstances.
Book: Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency (pges 407-412) published in 2008
What we did last year
Once again, our organization is planing the big midsummer party in Gothemburg for this year and, just like the last 3 years, the benefits accruing out of the party will go to support a project in Kenya. You maybe remember that last year, we borrowed a roll-up from KSB and we got a lot of material to promote Kenya during the party. We even got some bags which were very useful and very appreciated. We thank KSB for the support.
We wonder if we could benefit again from a similar roll-up and if we could get some material like posters and other things that we can give away to children and other needy persons. You can see what we did last year in this attached video. This may give you an idea of what is going to happen next week.
We travel to Gothemburg next Thursday. For those who can help with material donations, my number is: 0739-244439. Our bank account is: Plusgiro: 174795 – 5. Any help will be highly appreciated.
Thank you in advance,
Being a member of any ethnic group in Kenya carries with it a burden. Whether you are a Luo, a Kikuyu, a Luhya, a Kalenjin, a Kamba, a Mjikenda or a member of any of the forty two ethinc groups that form the Kenyan nation, there is usually a distinct stereotyping of any of the ethnic groups, a situation that can create what I call “a burden”. It is a burden because the stereotyping may not apply for many Kenyans although, in many cases, the victims have to live with them. Under this circumstance, what is the burden of being a Luo? The following points could be true or false depending on how you look at them. This is not a blue-print but a rough guide of what it takes to be a Luo in Kenya.
In politics, you are always accused of supporting or being loyal to the political family of the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga whose son, Raila Odinga, is currently the centre of gravity in Kenyan politics.
In football, you are likely to be accused of supporting Gor Mahia Football Club named after the legendry Luo fighter, Gor Mahia. Legend has it that Gor Mahia turned into a stone after his shadow was speared in battle following betrayal by a woman he was given to marry by the enemy. According to the legend, Gor Mahia’s humanity lay on his shadow, a secret that was discovered by the woman.
As a Luo, you are likely to be accused of being boisterous, proud and exhibitionistic especially if you purchase a Benz car, a plasma TV or a leather sofa set. As a Luo, you have to be prepared for accusations of being materialistic and showy even if you are not. The story goes that a Luo would rather secure a bank loan to purchase a comfortable sofa set even if such a move would interfere with the kitchen budget. The saying goes that a Luo would rather sit comfortably on such a sofa set, even on an empty stomach, rather than have plenty of food but sitting on a mat on the floor or a wooden stool.
As a Luo, you have to be prepared for accusations of being lazy especially on work related issues. Even if you break your back daily to earn a living, you will still have to face the accusation of laziness and the justification is that because of this laziness, there is constant shortage of tapped water in Kisumu city despite the city being home to the largest fresh water lake in Africa, Lake Victoria. Interestingly, the explanation behind the apparent laziness of Luos is borne out of the assumption that since all Luos are supposedly borne along the shores of Lake Victoria, they are more used to getting free fish from the lake daily than digging the soil then waiting for months for food to grow so that the harvesting season can come before people can eat. For a Luo (according to this school of thought), if there is no food in the morning, the Luo goes out into the lake and returns with plenty of fish. No planting or weeding or, sometimes, waiting for the rain to fall before planted seeds can begin to grow.
Loving the dead “too much”
Politically, a Luo will always face the accusation of “wanting to be in the opposition”. This accusation was born out of decades of political marginalization by the Kenyatta, the Moi and, now, the Kibaki government. With Luos playing no big role in government, they have always been forced into the opposition. Since February 2008, this accusation has reduced somewhat because Raila Odinga, a Luo, has been the Prime Minister thereby “removing the Luos from the opposition”. Many Luos must have been relieved of this burden as Raila continued to play his game in the Coalition government.
If you are a Luo, you have to be prepared for being accused of always “being power hungry”. The explanation is that Oginga Odinga, the first Vice President of Kenya, was power hungry and that this thirst for power is what drove him to part ways with Uhuru Kenyatta’s father, the late Mzee jomo Kenyatta. In the early 70s, some Kenyans tried to stage a coup against the Kenyatta government and a Luo was said to have led the coup before he was arrested. The reason was because Luos are always “power hungry”.
Then, in 1982, the government of former dictator Daniel arap moi was actually overthrown for some hours and the coup leader happened to have been Hezekia Ochuka, a Luo. For some Kenyans, this confirmed the perception that Luos were actually power hungry for how else could a Luo have led the coup? Ochuka was subsequently executed by Moi. Raila Odinga has had to face a lot of accusations of having been a key member of the 1982 coup plotters and it was not until after the 2007 elections that propaganda that Raila’s participation in the coup was due to thirst for power ended. The late Dr. Robert Ouko was allegedly killed by the Moi government because he was “power hungry”. At the time of his death, the explanation was that Western powers were grooming him to take over the leadership of Kenya and that when Moi heard about the plot, he killed Dr. Ouko.
Any Luo walking in town is usually seen as a fish monger. If you are a Luo born abroad and you have never tasted fish, you only need to say that your name is “Otieno” before you are awarded a “fish-monger’s” certificate.
If you are a Luo, then you just love the dead too much. You have too many rituals for the dead for no apparent reason. Tero buru, a ritual performed after burial, but which is increasingly becoming obsolete, remains a permanent mark of the Luo person even for those who do not know how Tero buru is usually conducted. In Kenya, Luos are routinely accused of turning funerals into feasting camps, in the process, draining the bereaved family which, sometimes, has to slaughter bulls to feed the mourners. I don’t have to go into the burden linked to accusations of Luo men always seeking to inherit the wives of the dead. According to one unproven theory, the sole reason why HIV/Aids is prevalent in Luo Nyanza is because wife inheritance is rampant in the province. This accusation has always been levelled despite lack of research to back it up.
Another burden of being a Luo is that you are always accused of thinking that Luos are the most learned, intelligent, smart and civilized people in Kenya. The saying goes that because of this intelligence, Luo leaders led by Oginga Odinga, decided to negotiate Kenya’s independence with the British colonialists as Kikuyus were being killed in the bush during the Mau Mau war. There is no validity in these accusations but then, if you are a Luo, then you may just have to face them or will, in a matter of time, face them in the future.
Because of these stereotyping, being a Kenyan Luo is not easy. What is the burden of being your tribe? Let us know.