Author Archives | makozewe
April 13, 2014
On January 24, 2014 Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launched the ‘Beyond Zero’ campaign which will provide prenatal and postnatal medical treatment to women and children in Kenya. On March 9, 2014 she participated in the Nairobi international half marathon (21 kilometers) to raise awareness and mobilize resources to fund pre-natal and post-natal access. Around Ksh100 million was raised. She is also participating in the London Marathon on April 13, 2014. However, does it require the First Lady to run marathons to support maternal and child healthcare in Kenya? Parallels can be drawn from the failed activities of former First Lady Lucy Kibaki soon after her husband came to power.
After she settled in State House, Lucy was concerned with disabled persons and was also a chairperson of the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/Aids (OAFLA). However, in 2006, she commented that: “Those who are still in school have no business having access to condoms. Those who are in university and are not married have no business having condoms in their halls of residence.” Her position contradicted Government policy which promotes the use of condoms. Being a follower of the Catholic faith, she could have been influenced by the Vatican’s then-stand on condom use. It was irresponsible for Mrs. Kibaki to utter such words because it is scientifically proven that condoms protect users against many sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, Kenyan youths are known to be sexually active from the age of twelve and abstinence is not an option for the majority. Unfortunately, there is nothing memorable about Mrs. Kibaki’s fight against HIV/Aids in Kenya.
OAFLA was established in 2002 “as a collective voice for Africa’s most vulnerable people, women and children affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic” (www.oafla.org). Further information indicates that it has transformed from a “forum of ideas to an institution capable of providing the continent-wide leadership needed to bring about change in peoples’ lives.” But there is no clear visibility of OAFLA, since most African First Ladies are better known for corruption and other scandals, more than improving the wellbeing of women and children. In this respect, both Lucy and Margaret are no exception. For instance in Cameroon, First Lady Chantal Biya “is famous for her hairstyles. Her signature style is called the banane, and is used for formal occasions. Biya has popularised other styles; collectively, they are known as the Chantal Biya. She is also known because of her exotic wardrobe. Some of her favourite designers include high-end Western labels such as Chanel or Dior.” (See wikipedia.org).
Mrs. Biya’s husband, President Paul Biya, has been in power since 1982 and is said to be worth around $200-$300 million, mostly invested in mansions within Europe. “The U.S. imported $544 million worth of crude and fuel oil from Cameroon in 2008 and exported $59 million worth of drilling and oilfield equipment but still the citizens don’t see all this profit.” (See therichest.com). In 2009, President Biya was widely criticized by a French online newspaper for renting a villa in France for €30,000 per day during a vacation in France, yet his country is one of the poorest in the world with 48% of its population living below the poverty line ($2,257 GDP per capita in 2011).
Beyond Zero Campaign is below par
According to unaids.org, the Beyond Zero campaign is “part of the initiatives outlined in the Strategic Framework for the engagement of the First Lady in HIV control and promotion of maternal, newborn and child health in Kenya that was unveiled on World AIDS Day 2013. The framework aims to galvanize high-level leadership in ending new HIV infections among children and reducing HIV related deaths among women and children in Kenya.” But the worst preventable killer diseases among children in Kenya are diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia. At the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, statistics show five deaths per week resulting from the three diseases.
Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta’s initiative may just be another sideshow to put a ‘human face’ to the incompetent Jubilee government which has high dreams with zero delivery. When her husband President Uhuru Kenyatta announced free public maternity care for all women as part of his 2013 election promise, it was expected that clear policy guidelines would be drawn to ensure its smooth implementation. However, almost a year later, there are not enough skilled professionals and adequate equipment to control maternal-child mortality. A UNICEF report released in September 2013 indicated that “in Kenya, 73 children out of 1,000 births die before age five.” (See Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed).
#sickat50 was a trending hashtag on Twitter during Kenya’s 50th Independence anniversary in December 2013 by the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) that tweeted: “We will witness the worst migration of doctors out of public service and out of Kenya. It will only be comparable to the doctor migration of the 1980s.” By March 2014, there were 18 public hospital doctors resigning per month in various counties. Dr. Wambui Waithaka who is co-founder and the National Treasurer of KMPDU wrote that: “Today’s resignations have the following reasons attached to them: “mismanagement of the devolved health functions by the county governments with missed salaries, reduced salaries (caused by omission of certain allowances that make up the doctor’s salary), frozen promotions of those due for promotion and delayed salaries that delay standing obligations such as rent and other bills). Frustrations on tribal lines with some county teams blatantly discriminating doctors on ethnic grounds and poor morale. Doctors are loosely advised by members of the county government to migrate to counties where their tribesmen can be found in larger numbers.” (In http://www.wambuiwaithaka.com).
President Uhuru Kenyatta is already in London with his entourage of Jubilee sycophants to cheer the First Lady during the marathon. This is at the expense of Kenyan taxpayers, yet the health sector is on its knees. The cost of his trip and that of his wife and her team reflects the Jubilee government’s continuous wastage of public resources. Mrs. Kenyatta does not need to run marathon races to buy mobile clinics for the 47 counties to improve maternal-child healthcare. The awareness is already there and money is available, yet as long as corruption is not uprooted, her initiative will fail. Fifty years after attaining independence, the doctor-patient ratio in Kenya is still 1:18000 against the World Health Organization’s recommended ratio of 1:1000. The Jubilee Government should monitor the devolved healthcare programs at the county levels to ensure efficiency. Further, there are so many governmental efforts and international initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals that need to be streamlined instead of creating new ones.
Here is the list of First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s carers in London sponsored by taxpayers. It is notable that except for one person, they are mainly from her Kikuyu tribe: Mrs. Gakonyo – personal assistant; Mr. Robin Nyambu- Chef; Mr. Edwin Ndegwa – waiting staff; Mrs. Rose Wachira – waiting staff; Mr. Odin Ondari – waiting staff; Mr. Maina Kigaga – Head of media; Mr. Peter Kimotho – Head of security team and the medical team of Dr. Amos Ndiritu- medical team; Dr. Gichunuku Gikundi – Medical team; Mr. Paul Mabuka – Paramedic physiotherapist; Mr. Kariuki – Physiotherapist. (In the Daily Nation).
Apart from this entourage being funded by the tax payer, Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in London together with his own entourage comprising of sycophants, sidekicks, lapdogs, bootlickers, parasites, security detail and an assortment of idlers who follow the President everywhere. At a time when more than 10 million Kenyans are faced with starvation; doctors are resigning from government hospitals due to poor pay and lack of medical equipment; millions of children are dying out of treatable diseases and the Jubilee government failing on each and every election pledge, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s trip to London in the name of marathon is a big waste of both public resources and valuable time that could have been used in building the Nation.
Seriously, Kenyans ought to see through the cheap antics of the First Lady whose London trip is wasting the very funds she claims, she is trying to raise. Instead of seeking cheap publicity by exploiting the enormous suffering of millions of poor Kenyans as a result of a collapsed health care system and decayed infrastructure in the health sector, the First Lady should be advising her husband on ways of curbing corruption in government because then, she wouldn’t need to go around town running in fake marathons.
Succinctly put, the First Lady’s marathon project is nothing but a cheap publicity stunt to try and give the callous Jubilee government a human face. The “Beyond Zero” campaign is totally below par, does not cut and has nothing to do with improvement of health care in Kenya. On the contrary, it has more to do with the notorious culture of overt deception and hoodwinking of the poor by Kenya’s corrupt and rotten ruling class represented by the President, the First Lady and Company. Kenyans must wake up and see through this deception.
Shocking Audio Featuring TNA’s Moses Kuria and Uhuruto’s Apologist David Matsanga Bragging About Killing Blogger Robert Alai
April 12, 2014
Jubilee’s Mafia Boys Passing Time With Assassination Talk of Political Opponents
April 12, 2014
The Kenyan government has credited its Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) with providing a robust counterterrorism response, thwarting dozens of terrorist plots, and arresting or killing dozens of terrorist suspects.
But, in carrying out its work, the ATPU has committed a wide array of human rights abuses that violate international, regional, and domestic law.
This report is based on over 40 interviews carried out by researchers from the Open Society Justice Initiative and Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) a non-governmental organization based in Mombasa, Kenya.
It includes credible allegations of extrajudicial killings, beatings of terrorist suspects, arbitrary detention, renditions, and the disappearance of at least one man by the ATPU. The report traces ATPU abuses from 2007 to the present and demonstrates that the ATPU’s abuses are counterproductive to combatting terrorism and destroy the trust between communities and Kenya’s security forces.
At a time when Kenya is undertaking sweeping reforms to limit the police’s excessive powers, the ATPU must receive greater scrutiny and oversight. ATPU officials must be held accountable for their human rights abuses, and victims must receive reparations. In addition, the new police reforms must be urgently implemented. Finally it is important that foreign security assistance does not help to fund security forces such as the ATPU that commit human rights abuses.
April 10, 2014
I have been silent, watching slanders from Göran who has been tarnishing my name and even making accusations against me but the truth shall always prevail. No one knows the truth about our collapsed relationship more than me and the Kenyan Embassy which has been investigating this matter.
I, Margaret Maragwa, reported constant abuse against me to the Swedish police. I told police that Mr. Göran Skog, a Swedish citizen, once beat me, almost to death while I was pregnant. I ended up being admitted to hospital in critical condition and later taken to a women’s shelter.
This is not a fabrication and I can substantiate everything I am saying to anybody at any time. After beating me and leaving me for dead, Mr. Skog later organized with social workers to grab my sweet baby from me. Currently, I don’t know the whereabouts of my baby. He is the only one now allowed to pay visits to the baby.
I have, on several occasions, raised serious concerns about the well-being of my child but all the time, what I get is torture, humiliation, discrimination and racism. Göran is well known to the Social authorities in Hörby as a drunkard, child abuser and woman molester but they still leave him to see the baby because he is white. Instead of helping me, the social authorities are covering him up while keeping me away because they want to deport me to Kenya. They want to raise my child without me after stealing my baby.
If the accusations and allegations Göran made against me were true, why is he threatening my life? Furthermore, he is an alcoholic, a rapist and has a criminal record. Is this justice? Why does the Swedish authorities like covering whites even after they have killed, murdered and brutalized women? Göran Skog has tortured me and now he wants me to keep quiet? I will fight for my rights until justice is done and those who are talking rubbish about me can just continue but one day, justice will be done. As for Göran, know that I will never rest until I get my baby back. This is just the beginning.
April 6, 2014
Having inherited massive wealth created illegally by his parents (Jomo Kenyatta and Mama Ngina), President Uhuru Kenyatta is possibly lacking the political will to fight corruption. There is no way the Kenyattas could have legally acquired the noted 500,000 acres of land which they own. If Jomo was a beneficiary of the British loan scheme for resettling Kenyans, then the family should produce documents to verify the acquisitions. In his memoir “Walking in Kenyatta’s Struggles” Duncan Ndegwa, who was the first African Governor of Central Bank of Kenya, wrote that one day Kenyatta rewarded himself with a huge colonial farmhouse, after a day’s ‘work’ of parceling land to a group of former freedom fighters (Mau Mau).
Mama Ngina and Uhuru’s elder step-sister Margaret Kenyatta, were implicated in ivory smuggling in the 1970s as documented by author Charles Hornsby in his book: “Kenya: A History Since Independence (1963-2011)”. Here’s an excerpt: “One problem was that the Kenyatta family itself was implicated in both poaching and ivory exports. Margaret Kenyatta, Kenyatta’s daughter, was chairman of the United African Company, one of at least 10 companies exporting ivory despite the ban. Ivory could earn Ksh300 (US$36) per kilogram, making one elephant worth thousands of dollars. Other valuable items included zebra pelts (5,000 of these animals were shot illegally within 320 miles of Nairobi in six months during 1975) and colobus monkey skins. In 1975, two men were found in possession of 26,000 colobus monkey skins (more than the total remaining population today).”
Jon Tinker also wrote in the New Scientist magazine on May 22 1975, about their involvement in ivory poaching: “The identity of these ivory queens is a matter of common gossip in Nairobi, and the most prominent of them are said to be Mama Ngina and Margaret Kenyatta, respectively wife and daughter to the President. In Kenya today, you can be sent to prison for what is called rumour-mongering, so in this article I shall confine myself to provable fact. And there is now documentary proof that at least one member of Kenya’s Royal family has recently shipped over six tons of ivory to Red China. Moreover, in spite of repeated denials from the Kenyan wildlife ministry that they have issued any licences to deal in or export raw ivory, this trading is being carried out with the active connivance of the highest officials in the game department.”
Uhuru’s past record in Government
Uhuru held various ministerial dockets under the leadership of former presidents Moi and Kibaki. However, there is no clear indication that he fought corruption, especially as Finance Minister from January 2009 to January 2012, when he resigned after the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed its case against him, for being involved in the post election violence (PEV) which occurred in 2007-08. His contribution to the then new Transport Policy which aimed to eradicate the mismanagement, high maintenance cost and inefficienct use of vehicles in the public sector, was the controversial purchase of 120 Volkswagen Passat cars from CMC Holdings Ltd without a competitive bid, to be used by ministers and senior government officers.
Now that Uhuru is president, how come his Cabinet Secretaries took advantage of the gap before the new fiscal year in June 2013, to purchase fuel-guzzlers that he had barred during his term at the Treasury? How then, is his Government cutting public expenditure while his own officers squander public money?
Uhuru Kenyatta encountered a “computer error” during the 2009/10 Fiscal Year, which may have cost the taxpayer KES 9.67 billion. Despite being cleared of any wrongdoing, over KES 700 billion could not be accounted for on his watch as Finance Minister.
Uhuru has no record of having paid taxes as former MP for Gatundu South, Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, at least from a court petition filed in 2013 to block him from contesting the presidency for the same reason. Therefore, he is not in a position to question the integrity of public office holders. This holds too for his deputy William Ruto, who was ordered by a court last year to pay KES 5 million as compensation to Mr. Adrian Muteshi for having grabbed his 100-acre piece of land during the PEV.
Under Uhuru’s presidency, sections of the 2013 report by the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission which questioned the illegal acquisition of vast tracts of land by his family and relatives, were deleted. Moreover, the report has not been implemented.
We don’t know how much the ICC cases of Uhuru and Ruto are costing Kenya’s ruthlessly exploited taxpayers since 2013. Lobbying AU Member States to push for the termination of the cases, Ruto’s claimed ‘Hustler’s Jet’ trip of around KES 25 million and trips to The Hague, are not cheap ventures.
The standard gauge railway (SGR) project commissioned by Uhuru in November 2013 is a brewing scandal which could cost Kenyans a loss of KES 400 billion because of irregularities in the tendering process. Its initial estimated cost of KES 220 billion was inflated to KES 334.8 billion and is currently at KES 1.3 trillion. Some experts have argued that it would cost the country less money to upgrade the existing railway line, and still achieve what Uhuru’s government wants with the scandalous project.
In 2002, Dr. John Mutonyi conceptualized corruption in Kenya and gave glowing recommendations for fighting it in his journal article titled “’Fighting corruption: Is Kenya on the right track?” Interestingly, he was one of retired President Kibaki’s anti-corruption commissioners at the former Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, but he was colorless in enforcing the recommendations he wrote. His scientific paper was only good at portraying how former President Moi had failed in the anti-corruption war. When his homeboy Kibaki campaigned in 2002, he pledged to eradicate corruption. However, by the time he was ending his presidency in 2013, the act was so deeply-rooted in the country it will require a decisive leader to control it.
Given Uhuru Kenyatta’s history in Government, there is little hope that he will effectively fight corruption.
April 1, 2014
March 31, 2014
Karundi Mathenge was laid to rest on Saturday, March 22 2014 in Nyeri. The funeral was attended by, among others, Kenya’s Chief Justice, Dr. Willy Mutunga who was Karundi teacher at the University of Nairobi when the late Karundi was studying Law. It is notable that despite his busy schedule, Dr. Mutunga managed to get time to be part of relatives and friends who gathered at the homestead to be part of Karundi’s his final send off.
During fund raising in Stockholm for Karundi’s funeral expenses, some friends could not make it to the two harambees that were organized but sent their contributions after Karundi had been buried. These contributions amounted to Ksh 5.147 and have since been sent to the Karundi family by Mr. Martin Ngatia, one of the Karundi harambee initiative takers in Stockholm. The funds were sent to Karundi’s brother who has been handling the funds from Stockholm on behalf of the family.
Following the conclusion of Karundi’s funeral, the Karundi family in Kenya would like to thank all friends in Stockholm who contributed generously towards the Karundi funeral fund. Through Karundi’s brother, the family would like to make it known that they were extremely moved by the action of Karundi’s friends in Stockholm who intervened financially at short notice to help the family with the huge financial burden that came with the demise of Karundi.
“On behalf of the family, I take this opportunity to send the family’s gratitude for the solidarity friends in Stockholm showed us”, Karundi’s brother told KSB.
Karundi’s strategy from exile
When he left for Kenya during President Mwai Kibaki’s first term in office, Karundi did not have a lot of hopes and expectations about any dramatic political developments in Kenya under the Narc regime. Although he was the Chairman of Kibaki’s Democratic Party (DP) in Stockholm, Karundi remained open to friends and political acquaintances with the fact that DP (which was part of the Narc bandwagon) had no policies and strategies which would transform Kenya and get rid of the daily problems of corruption, high unemployment, tribalism in government and the general underdevelopment that had ruined millions of lives in Kenya.
However, Karundi expected that upon his arrival in Kenya, he would get an opportunity to serve the people of Kenya under the Kibaki regime that had come to power by a landslide majority. Karundi knew Kibaki personally and when Kibaki visited Stockholm in the late 90s, Kibaki did eat ugali at Karundi’s house in Alby during an exclusive dinner hosted in Kibaki’s honour. Just before he left for Kenya, Karundi received several assurances from the Kibaki regime that upon his arrival, he would be absorbed into the Party and well positioned to serve the Nation by bringing in new ideas he had accumulated from exile. Unfortunately, this did not happen because after landing in Kenya, Karundi continued to be ignored, isolated and prevented from getting contact with the then President Mwai Kibaki who was in power.
As he engaged in conversations with friends in Stockholm ahead of his final departure to Kenya, Karundi’s strategy was that once he arrived home, he would be able to work within the Party to propose viable political solutions he had developed over the years to help the Narc regime deal with the challenges it was facing. Karundi left Stockholm at a time when millions of Kenyans had great hopes in the new Narc regime which, despite its capitalist orientation, was seen as “different from Kanu” on grounds that dictator Moi had left the scene after 24 years of misrule. What was unknown to Karundi was that a cabal of devoted mafia elements who surrounded Kibaki had become too protective of the President and limited access to him in a way that Karundi could have no chance of getting his point to Kibaki, leave alone getting absorbed into the system.
The catastrophic disadvantage that weighed heavily against Karundi’s ambitions of making contact with President Kibaki was that Kibaki’s senility was in constant progression. This development is responsible for the easy take-over of State House business by the Mount Kenya mafia which was increasingly becoming restless as a result of the tension and political consequences that came with the battle between Kibaki and Raila Odinga following the betrayal and dumping of the Memorandum of Understanding that was secretly concocted and signed when Narc was being cobbled ahead of the 2002 elections.
Karundi kept at bay by Kibaki’s handlers
For the Mafia cartel that took charge of the Narc looting agenda and that decided on who could meet Kibaki, Karundi’s entry in Kenya from exile in Sweden was insignificant. This was because apart from fighting Raila’s LDP forces who had literally crippled the government, the Mafia was busy looting State coffers and as one scandal after another exploded in the media, the Mafia was more preoccupied with covering up their murky tracks and trying to contain the scandals than paying attention to a newly arrived former exile in the name of Karundi Mathenge. Worse still, Kibaki’s regime was violating human rights with impunity and, in the process, executing innocent civilians at an alarming rate. Under the circumstances, inviting Karundi to join Kibaki’s inner circle could have been tantamount to inviting a fierce detective at the scene of crime.
Another hitch which may have been unknown to Karundi was that Kibaki’s kitchen cabinet and Security homeboys that formed part of the State House mechanism knew that Karundi had very radical views that did not fit in DP’s framework of political solutions to Kenya’s problems. For example, Karundi was against land grabbing yet Kibaki was in the league of top land grabbers in Kenya. From the point of view of this corrupt elite, admitting Karundi (who remained non compromising on the question of corruption, human rights violations, tribalism in government, exploitation of workers and political opportunism) into the inner sanctum of the President’s palace was politically suicidal. It is for this reason that every attempt by Karundi to try and get to Kibaki was routinely frustrated until Karundi gave up.
Retreat into quiet life
Kenya-Stockholmers in the know will remember the number of times Karundi communicated to friends his frustrations with the new Narc regime, the shielding of the President by thieves in government and his inability to play any role in the political process due obstructions by personalities who believed that he was more of a threat to the establishment than a political asset. The mistreatment of Karundi at the hands of Kibaki’s handlers was hardly surprising.
When the possibility of him being ignored by the ruling elite was raised by some Kenyans during Karundi’s farewell Party in Stockholm, the late was adamant that he had received guarantees from the highest levels of government whom, he said, were aware about his impending arrival. Karundi drew parallels with the arrival in Kenya of the late Kenyan exile, Onyango Osumba, who had a more dramatic reception. Raila had not only mobilized top LDP officials to meet Mr. Onyango but also ensured a respectable media coverage at Jomo Kenyatta Internationa Airport. Although Onyango later encountered his own problems with the political big wigs of LDP, he never suffered the indignity of being kept at bay from top LDP leadership. Needless to say, Onyango was properly integrated into the LDP system, unlike Karundi whose arrival was never even acknowledged.
Frustrated, abandoned and left to waste away in political cold storage, Karundi gave up trying to link up with DP or getting in touch with Kibaki. He retreated into quiet life to observe events from a distance as he reflected on the developments and let-downs by political contacts.
As he withdrew into himself, cancer that had affected his throat was also taking its toll. Strong medication was weakening him and when he eventually entered into chemotherapy as the disease threatened his life, his frail body gave in and he quietly passed away in his sleep one early morning.
Karundi’s burial on 22nd March 2014 represented the end of a life of struggle, solidarity and frustrations. What is certain is that Karundi Mathenge’s struggles for a better Kenya will remain embedded in the hearts and minds of all those who knew him. The values he fought for, the political ideals he stood for and the Kenya he wanted are far from being realized. His death will remain a constant reminder to fighters still standing that the struggle against the system must continue.