November 29, 2013
The ugly incident featuring the altercation between Jared Odero, Gerry Midenyo and the Kikuyu woman stranger at the Keegan Funeral meeting must have shocked many readers who have been following events in Kenya-Stockholm. In light of the seriousness of the incident, and from the point of view of Kenya-Stockholm’s ethnic relations, it is important that the version of persons who were at the meeting is also given equal coverage.
As the official information channel of the Keegan Funeral arrangements, KSB has talked to a handful of key personalities who were present at the meeting. The following rendition is both an alternative view of those who were at the meeting and the general position of the attendees on the unwelcome incident.
It is true that the woman stranger did confront Jared with a lot of “ethnic hatred”. Not only did she shout the “go to hell” phrase but also used the Kidero-Shebbesh analogy to try and prevent Jared from presenting his views at the meeting. It is also true that both Jared and Gerry walked out of the meeting in protest while the statement that Sofia Njoroge tried to intervene as matters got out of hand is also true. In fact, those at the meeting have confirmed that the woman even went further and said that there were more Kikuyus in the room than non Kikuyus, pointing out that the views of the two non Kikuyus could be ignored because they were inconsequential. That was after she apparently bragged about her white boyfriend.
According to those who were at the meeting and who have spoken to KSB, the attack on Jared by the woman stranger was an isolated incident that was not given a lot of attention because of the “low social status” of the woman. At one point, and as the woman stranger continued to payuka, a Kenyan is reported to have pulled Jared aside to calm him down and to update him about the woman low status.
Who is the woman stranger?
In Kenya-Stockholm circles, the woman is said to live an isolated life on the fringes of society and this explains why after seven years in Stockholm, she still did not know Jared. She does not know KSB while she is not on FB or Twitter. She is said to be a confused alcoholic suffering from illiteracy because her parents were too poor to take her to school. Her case has been equated to that of a person who landed in Stockholm “accidentally” from a backwater village deep down in Central province where she was herding goats and tending to a small shamba of si-kuma-wiki she used to sell at the village market to earn money to buy salt. Since she arrived in Sweden, those who know her well have told KSB that she maintains a strong “village outlook of life” after being unable to adjust to the dotcom lifestyle in Sweden.
KSB has learnt that during her upbringing, she underwent a systematic indoctrination with a weird version of the “House of Mumbi” philosophy which, according to her teachings, holds that all Luos are led by the Oginga Odinga family and that a Luo is the biggest enemy of Kenya. It is understood that since she arrived in Stockholm, she was getting into contact with a Luo for the second time in seven years and that her “Kidero-Shebbesh” outburst represents a deeper hatred for Luos whom, she believes, should be confined to Nyanza province.
Use of Kikuyu language explained
From the fore-going background, Kenyans who witnessed the unwelcome incident would like to assure the general public that the woman’s behaviour did not reflect the general position of those who were present at the meeting.
The attendees have admitted that at some point in time, some discussions did take place in Kikuyu language. However, what was not highlighted is that these discussions were taking place after the meeting almost came to an end and, as Odero mentioned, from the side-lines. The discussions were mainly based on implementation of decisions which were taken at the meeting including purchase of materials for the Friday meeting, transport arrangements, mobilization and how information would be transmitted to Kenyans in Stockholm.
The big problem is that because of constant interruptions by the woman, the meeting could not be closed officially by the Chairman thereby creating the impression that the meeting was still in progress. It was getting late on a week-day and those who had taken responsibilities also wanted to leave. Under the circumstances, some members retreated to consult on final preparations for the Friday meeting. At this point, the use of Kikuyu language was a spontaneous phenomenon which had nothing to do with isolating non Kikuyu members or preventing Jared from airing his views. Basically, the meeting had almost ended.
Why the Chairman did not intervene
The Chairman did not intervene directly to the woman stranger’s outbursts because he probably knew her psychological and mental status. In any case, enough intervention was already being done by Sofia Njoroge who did a very good job. Besides, Steve, a key member, had earlier tried to calm Jared down after the woman got very drunk on John Walker.
The perception that the Chairman may have failed to intervene because of ethnic considerations or because he was sympathetic with the woman could be misleading. The Chairman’s profile as a Kenyan and community leader who has transcended tribalism needs no elaboration. The Chairman’s record dates back to the early and mid 90s when he was instrumental in uniting the Kenyan community through various community projects. It is notable that the Chairman is a founding member of the defunct Kenya United Welfare Association (KUWA) while he has also chaired the “Making a Difference” children’s organization which organized multiple activities of Kenyan kids from all ethnic groups. He has friends from every corner of Kenya while any Kenyan with feelers on the social scene will testify that the Chairman attends all sorts of functions organized by any Kenyan without thinking about ethnicity.
The position of the attendees
Under the circumstances, Kenyans who were present at the meeting would like to take this early opportunity to distance themselves from the strange antiques of the woman stranger. The meeting’s attendees are extremely disturbed with the incident which does not reflect the general and cordial inter-ethnic relations in Kenya-Stockholm. The incident ought to be viewed as the product of a lone ranger whose views, behaviour, perception and world view has no place in today’s Kenya-Stockholm.
Further, the attendees would like to encourage Kenyans not to be influenced by this incident. There is no single example that can be given from any social function or meeting that could be likened to the woman’s behaviour. Kenyans of all walks of life continue to live in harmony in Kenya-Stockholm. A single incident engineered by a crooked woman high on whisky should not be construed to mean that there is hatred between any ethnic communities in Kenya-Stockholm, more so, between Luos, Luhyas and Kikuyus.
That having been said, the meeting’s attendees would like to encourage Kenyans to gather together and give Keegan the send-off he deserves. Despite the unfortunate nature of the incident in question, Kenyans in Stockholm are encouraged to learn from it instead of using it to spread unfounded rumours as work begins on Keegan’s funeral. This is what Keegan could have wanted.
Lastly, the attendees of the meeting would like to apologize to Jared for acts of omissions that may have led to a better handling of the matter. It was a rather chaotic moment during the final moments of the meeting and some critical developments may have gone unnoticed. This was not intentional. Let us all think of the Keegan family and try to give them the support they need during this difficult moment in life. We are all human, we make mistakes but life must go on.
Keegan Funeral Committee
November 28, 2013
As a Kenyan who was present at the Keegan Funeral Committee meeting on Wednesday, 27th November 2013, I have assessed the KSB Report about the meeting and it is an accurate depiction of what transpired at the meeting. KSB must have constructed the Report out of details availed by the “Information Department” of the Committee. In as much as the Report left out nothing significant, I wish to point out that towards the end of the meeting, an ugly incident involving myself, Gerry Midenyo and a Kenyan woman ensued. Obviously, this incident may not have entered into the official information chain but because of its critical significance in relation to the task at hand, it is the view of both myself and Gerry that the matter be brought to the attention of the Kenya-Stockholm public.
As the meeting was winding up, a Kenyan woman we have never met before surprised us when she confronted us with a lot of tribal bigotry. To be accurate, I can report that it was the worst case of open ethnic tirade I have ever experienced in Kenya-Stockholm.
“You can go to hell” were the parting words from the woman who made Gerry Midenyo and I walk out in bitter protest from the late Keegan’s apartment on the night of the so-called brainstorming meeting.
We arrived at the meeting promptly at 6pm and after registering our condolences, we waited for the rest who began arriving towards 7pm. Among them was a lady who was not known to most of us. After introductions, we began brainstorming on various aspects, especially on the composition of the proposed Keegan Funeral Committee. The lady in question did not understand the concept of “Club 1000” which was being explored as an option, in case Keegan’s body will be transported to Kenya. After numerous explanations, including the need for one to have a network of friends, she complained that having been around for only seven years, she did not know many Kenyans. She was eventually informed that Kenyans have always transported bodies home, despite delays occasioned by financial bottlenecks. Over and above this, Osewe has analyzed “selective fundraisings” that have led to the failure of the Club 1000 concept, with reference to two fundraisings this year to transport the bodies of two Kenyans home for burial.
Kidero-Shebesh Luo Attitude at a Kikuyu meeting
Having chaired three funeral committees since last year, I attempted to share my experience on controversies concerning burials, either in Sweden or back home in Kenya. These were summarily dismissed with shouts of: “cultures are different” and “those examples are not applicable here”. As I continued to pursue a comparative presentation of funeral situations to bring members up to speed using my experiences, the language of communication at the meeting also began to oscillate between Kikuyu and Swahili. As time elapsed, myself and Gerry watched helplessly as Kikuyu language became even more established as the official language of the meeting thereby effectively reducing us to spectators. To be exact, the ensuing mood was that of “you versus us” and from then onwards, whenever Gerry and I attempted to open our mouths, we were summarily dismissed into absolute silence. Our ideas that were supposed to be part of brainstorming as advertised at KSB were systematically cast into the dust-bin.
As the meeting continued in Kikuyu, the woman stranger continued to fire tactical missiles in my direction, apparently to ensure that my contribution at the meeting was reduced to zero. I told the woman (who said she has been here for seven years) to go easy because all had a chance to talk. Instead, she shocked me when she blurted that I should “go to hell” and desist from bringing a “Kidero-Shebesh Luo attitude” at a Kikuyu meeting.
Overdose of Kikuyu ethnic chauvinism
That was it! I had put up with enough crap. Interestingly, the Chairman continued with the meeting in Kikuyu and pretended to be totally oblivious to the behind-the-scenes-altercations between myself and the strange woman as Gerry scratched his head in utter disbelief. We were amazed because a Kikuyu woman we have never met before appeared to have been charged to full capacity and ready to do battle using foul language.
I stood up in protest and told the chairman that he had exhibited total bias and utter weakness by allowing the woman stranger to launch a virulent tribal attack on me without any provocation. Eventually, we left the meeting in protest and apart from persistent interventions by Sofia Njoroge who disagreed with the woman and opposed her atavistic ethnic approaches, the rest of the attendees (who were all Kikuyus) appeared not to have been interested in our presence at the meeting. In fact, we got the impression that they were happy that the woman stranger was giving us a real overdose of traditional and home-grown Kikuyu ethnic chauvinism as Sofia desperately tried to bring some sanity back in the room. The situation became so chaotic that myself and Gerry decided that it was better for us to head for the doorway asap before tempers flared out of control with the consequence of an even uglier scene developing. Why do I want this incident to be publicized?
Keegan must have turned in the morgue
Anybody who knows Keegan will testify that he was not a tribalist. My guess is that he may have been turning in the morgue as the woman stranger embarked on a chauvinistic ethnic onslaught at his inaugural funeral meeting. From my point of view, funeral fundraising sessions are occasions when unity among Kenyans ought to dominate. It is a moment when Kenyans ought to be showing solidarity especially with the bereaved family and planning to help with funeral arrangements. This is not the moment for narrow ethnic displays where phrases like “go to hell” are uttered.
If a brainstorming session for a funeral of a well-known Kenyan like Keegan can be used to promote tribalism and ethnic chauvinism without intervention by the Chair, then the message being sent (in this case) is that the tribal divide occasioned by ethnic political divisions in Kenya have been imported to Kenya-Stockholm. This is a position that must be rejected by all progressive Kenyans because as a Nation, and regardless of what the Kikuyu ruling class is doing in Kenya, we are one people. The ordinary Kikuyus continue to suffer at the hands of their brethren in control of government, just like millions of other Kenyans.
Challenging the Chairman
Ironically, the Kikuyu lady who poured vitriol on me was earlier in the evening asking why Kenyans in Stockholm were not united. How one relates to the so-called Kenya-Stockholm community is very much about a person’s character. There are Kenyans who are not interested in solidarity and that is their democratic right.
As we await the formation of the late Keegan’s funeral committee, let us put aside unnecessary tribal divisions and respect each other. I know that last night’s incident will make us re-think how we should behave socially, regardless of the real/imagined political and tribal differences in Kenya, which cloud the judgment of others here.
Despite the bad and callous treatment at the hands of what I believe, is a semi-illiterate ethnic chauvinist left to her own primitive devices, I will continue to play my role to further the agenda of the Keegan family in relation to his funeral. This will be the perfect way to honour Keegan who knew no tribal boundaries and who was a close friend of mine.
Needless to say, I regard the incident as an insult to what Keegan stood for in life while I also challenge the Interim Chairman to take a public position in relation to the ugly incident that happened in his presence. While speaking in Kikuyu at a Kikuyu-dominated meeting can be acceptable under normal circumstances, doing so with the sole purpose of isolating non Kikuyu members or to keep their contributions out of the decision making process is retrogressive, degenerate, ethnic and, most importantly, depraved.
On the whole, the Chairman’s reluctance to intervene (even mildly) in the face of an open and ethnically oriented attack can only be construed to mean that the woman stranger may have been acting in cahoots with forces within the inner core of the meeting’s organizers. As for the woman stranger, I sympathize with her because she has a long way to go in Kenya-Stockholm. As a parting shot, I congratulate Sofia Njoroge for her principled and unwavering stand during the whole drama. Kenya-Stockholm needs many Sofia Njoroges if the community wants to make progress in inter-ethnic relations.
November 28, 2013
The meeting that was called yesterday to give direction on the Keegan Funeral process decided that an ”Open House” will be set up from tomorrow, Friday 29th November at Keegan’s residence at Lördagsvägen 25 in Hökarängen from 14.00 Hrs.
Although no Committee was set up, Kenyans who were present at the meeting mandated Sandy, a leading personality in Kenya-Stockholm, to take over as Chairperson ahead of tomorrow’s meeting. The meeting also decided that all official information about the Keegan Fund-raising process would be transmitted through Sofia Njoroge (0705916422) and Steve Kadir (0701493053). Among prominent personalities who attended the meeting were Gerry Midenyo and Jared Odero.
Another resolution was that the final line-up of the Committee would be known tomorrow, Friday after the meeting. The meeting noted that the day’s meeting had been called at short notice and that given the number of Kenyans who could not be at the meeting but who had called to express interest in being part of the process, the Committee building agenda needed to be pushed to Friday.
Further, the meeting agreed that because it is the most established Kenya-Stockholm media out-let, KSB would play a big role in collecting and disseminating information about the Committee’s activities and mobilization efforts.
The meeting urged Kenyans to turn up in large numbers tomorrow as preparations to give Keegan the send-off he deserves begins in earnest. Keegan’s mother is expected in Sweden and the organizers are in contact with Keegan’s family, both in Kenya and Sweden. Those who would like to take contact with the Interim Chairperson can do so through 0737803451. Further information will be communicated as it becomes available.
Interim Keegan Funeral Committee in Stockholm
November 27, 2013
Following the passing of Keegan Kagwe, a Kenyan-Stockholmer, relatives and friends will meet today, Wednesday, 27th October at Lördagsvägen 25 in Farsta to set up a Committee and to brainstorm on the way forward. According to Sofia Njoroge who was one of the last Kenyans to see Keegan alive at the hospital, friends have decided to call the meeting after consulting with Mama Keegan who is scheduled to arrive in Sweden any time this week.
“The purpose of the meeting is to gather friends so that we can all come up with ideas on what needs to be done”, Sofia told KSB. She said that the “Keegan Funeral Committee” will be formed at the meeting and added that the meeting has the blessings of Keegan’s family. She said that any Kenyan willing to sit in the Committee is welcome and that all ideas will also be accomodated. The meeting will take Place at Keegan’s Residence from 18.00 Sharp.
Keegan passed away on Monday this week after a long illness. During his last Days, he was on and off hospital. His Death has shocked many Kenyans who knew him as a humble and friendly Kenyan who was loved by everybody. His loss has left a big vacuum within the Kenyan Community in Stockholm. For further information, call Steve at 0704193053 or Jamlick at 0736592556.
November 27, 2013
Dekula Band “Ngoma Ya Kilo”
Place:Lilla Wien “Little Nairobi”
Pendel: Södra station
November 27, 2013
The rejection of a joint request from the African Union (AU) and Kenya by the United Nations Security Council to defer the ongoing cases of the President of Kenya and his Deputy is a positive contribution to the development of international criminal justice.
The three African States (Rwanda, Morocco and Togo) sitting as non-permanent members of the Security Council (hereafter the Council), made a diplomatic error on insisting on a vote when it became apparent that they could not obtain the minimum nine positive votes with the concurrence of the five permanent members necessary to adopt a draft resolution.
The AU failed to persuade at least eight members of the Council that continued prosecution of the Kenyan leaders would constitute a threat to international peace and security. Further, the AU failed to establish a nexus between the tragic terror attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi and the broader threat to international peace and security as stipulated in Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
Instead of appreciating the position taken by the US and the UK in abstaining, and thereby remaining neutral, the AU blamed the US and the UK for not voting for the deferral even after it was clear that the AU presentation at the Council meeting, did not meet the minimum UN Chapter VII threshold.
The unfortunate voting pattern that emerged is that all seven members of the Council, including Africa’s representatives, voted for the deferral of the cases. All the states are not States Parties to the Rome Treaty.
On the other hand, of the eight members who abstained, seven are State Parties to the Rome Treaty. However, while the United States is not a State Party, the Obama administration has consistently supported the ICC. The US ambassador for War Crimes, Mr. Stephen Rapp, is a strong advocate of international criminal justice and has consistently supported the ICC. His past experience as Senior Trial Attorney and Chief of Prosecutions at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; and later, as Chief Prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, has placed him in a unique position to advocate for, and advance the cause of international criminal justice, as well as to influence policy options taken by the United States on the ICC.
Undermining the Rome Treaty
After losing the battle for deferral, the AU has now moved on to undermine the core objectives of the Rome Treaty by seeking amendments to provide immunity from prosecution to sitting Heads of State.
In the preamble of the Rome Treaty, State Parties agreed to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. The objective is to contribute to the prevention of such crimes. Because of this determination to end impunity, the States Parties adopted Article 27(1) which provides for the equality of all accused persons before Court. The article states: “This Statute shall apply equally to all persons without any distinction based on official capacity…” And, Article 27(2) states that whatever “Immunities or special procedural rules which may attach to the official capacity of a person, whether under national or international law, shall not bar the Court from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person.”
Because these provisions are fundamental, any proposed amendment to any of these provisions requires three months’ notice. This would give State Parties opportunity to study the proposal and make meaningful contribution during deliberations on the matter. Kenya, acting under the AU and also as a State Party to the ICC, flagrantly ignored the rules on notice. Why indeed?
Article 121(2) of the Rome Treaty states: “No sooner than three months from the date of notification, the Assembly of States Parties, at its next meeting, by a majority of those present and voting, decide whether to take up the proposal…” And, under Article 121(4) of the Rome Treaty, “an amendment shall enter into force for all State Parties one year after instruments of ratification have been deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations by seven-eighths of them.”
The Assembly of States Parties scheduled a meeting to be held from 20 November to 28 November 2013. In breach of Article 121(2) of the Rome Treaty, Kenya submitted its proposed amendment on November 4, 2013 and November 7, 2013 respectively.
On November 4, 2013, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr Macharia Kamau gave notice to the ICC seeking to amend Article 63(1) and Rule 134 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (the Rules).
Article 63(1) stipulates a mandatory requirement of an accused to be present during his trial. Kenya’s proposed amendment to Article 63(1) seeks to provide for ‘excusal’ of an accused from continuous physical presence at trial.
On November 7, 2013, Kenya’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Koki Muli Grignon, wrote to the ICC requesting for four additional amendments, namely (a) amendments to Articles 27, 70, 122; (b) amendment to the preamble to capture the principle of complimentarity at the regional level.
Article 27 declares that the Rome Statute shall apply equally to all persons without any distinction based on official capacity. The article also excludes immunity from the jurisdiction of the Court even where an accused may enjoy immunity from prosecution of such crimes in other national or international jurisdictions.
Notwithstanding that Kenya did not comply with Article 121(2), the Chairperson of Assembly of States Parties (ASP), accepted the Kenya proposal to be tabled for discussions. Had the proposal been rejected, as strict compliance with the Rome Treaty would demand, allegations of bias against Africa would have probably been made. The Chairperson of ASP correctly accepted the proposal notwithstanding the procedural flaws made by Kenya.
Legal scholars tend to agree that even if Articles 27 and 63 were to be amended and eventually ratified under Article 121(4), the new amendment will not come into force until after one year (see Article 121(6)). It is therefore unlikely that any new amendments to the substantive articles of the ICC Statute will cover on-going Kenya cases.
Overall, ASP is encouraged to examine amendments of the Statute and the Rules in general terms and not to address specific cases currently before the Court. The process of examining proposed amendments broadly will enhance the positive development of international criminal law.
Obote Odora, A. is Consultant in International Criminal Law and Policy, Sweden.
November 25, 2013
November 25, 2013
Keegan Kagwe, a veteran Kenya-Stockholmer is dead. Keegan passed away about 2 hours ago at Huddinge hospital where he has been undergoing treatment. According to Sofia Njoroge, a Kenyan who has been visiting him in hospital and who broke the news to KSB, Keegan died today Monday at around 17.00hrs.
Keegan’s mother, who has also been residing in Stockholm, is currently in Kenya but has been informed about the sad news. Sofia told KSB that relatives and friends in Stockholm cannot be able to do anything until Keegan’s mother arrives from Kenya. She is expected by Friday this week.
According to Sofia, Keegan has been on and off hospital for a long time now. Last Tuesday, he looked well and even watched football together with Sofia. A few days ago, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit but he soon recovered and was transferred to an ordinary ward where his condition deteriorated before he passed on today.
Sofia said that Kenyans and friends will be informed about developments once Keegan’s mother arrives in Sweden.
KSB sends deep condolences to the family of the late Keegan during this sad time of deep shock and sorrow. We hope that the family will have the strength to go through this very difficult moment. Keegan was a humble Kenyan who will be greatly missed by all those who knew him. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
November 25, 2013