Ventures Africa Magazine Should Stop Glorifying Stolen Wealth
In October 2013, Ventures Africa magazine came up with a list of 55 Billionaires in Africa. Kenya had four and according to careerpoint.com, “surprisingly, the common thread in the Kenyan billionaires is politics, apart from one, Mr Manu Chandaria.” Mama Ngina Kenyatta, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s mother, made it on the list with a net worth of KES 86 billion ($1 billion). According to businessdailyafrica.com (October 8th), Mama Ngina is credited for controlling the vast wealth of the Kenyatta family that also “owns thousands of acres of prime land across Kenya that was acquired by the late President Kenyatta in the ‘60s and ‘70s under a settlement transfer fund scheme that allowed government officials acquire land from the British cheap prices.” The aim of Ventures magazine is to “showcase the business aspect of Africa to the world. At Ventures Africa we champion African Capitalism by celebrating Africa success, free enterprise, the entrepreneurial spirit and the reward of hard work” (see ventures-africa.com). However, from a moral point of view, the magazine should distinguish between wealth “acquired” through political influence and that acquired systematically through hard work.
Issues of land redistribution and ownership in post-colonial Africa remain contentious and have been dealt with differently in many countries. On October 1, 2004 Otsieno Nyamwaya wrote in the East African Standard newspaper that: “In fact, according to the Kenya Land Alliance, more than a half of the arable land in the country is in the hands of only 20 per cent of the 30 million Kenyans. That has left up to 13 per cent of the population absolutely landless while another 67 per cent on average own less than an acre per person.” Ventures Africa stated that the late Jomo Kenyatta acquired land cheaply “under a settlement transfer scheme that allowed government officials acquire land from the British at cheap prices.” This must be corrected because the purpose of the ‘Settlement Transfer Fund Scheme’ was to “enable the African farmers to purchase European owned land. Towards this end, agreement was reached between the Kenya and British Governments whereby the latter agreed to finance through loans and grants the purchase of 1 million acres of European Settler farms adjacent to densely populated African areas. These lands were then to be subdivided into what were considered economic units and allocated to African farmers.” (In: Report of the Ndungu Commission on Illegal and Irregular Allocation of Public Land, p.123).
An online commentary titled: ‘What is STFS?’ presents a narrative of what went wrong with the resettlement program under Jomo Kenyatta. “Upon the exit of colonial settlers at independence, Jomo Kenyatta’s new government offered to BUY land being vacated by the white settlers – land they never paid for in the first place. Jomo Kenyatta conspired with the British government and the World Bank to sign a loan called the Settler Transfer Fund Scheme (STFS) which was to be used to compensate these departing colonial settlers for the land they had earlier grabbed. The loan was signed on the backs of Kenyan taxpayers – payable over decades. Kenyatta had lied to Kenyans that the loan was justified and worthy because it would benefit transfer of colonial land titles to previously expropriated indigenous owners of land. But what happened as soon as the white settlers were compensated became the greatest betrayal of Kenyans – an issue that led to the fallout between Kenyatta and his then Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.”
Land-grabbing under President Jomo Kenyatta
A section of an article posted at the Kenya Stockholm Blog on January 21, 2012 is cited verbatim below to capture how Jomo Kenyatta’s administration hijacked STFS from poor Kenyans and instead allocated huge tracts of land to himself and cronies.
“The process of transferring British-owned land to Kenyan peasants through the British-World Bank sponsored loan program named, Settlement Transfer Fund Schemes (STFS), was riddled with grand corruption. Jomo Kenyatta saw to it that those who benefited were only his close Kikuyu cronies, a few non-Kikuyu senior civil servants, and loyal politicians.
In his book titled: ‘Politicized Ethnic Conflict in Kenya: A Periodic Phenomenon’, scholar Walter Oyugi noted that: “Using the political and economic leverage available to them during the Kenyatta regime, the Kikuyu took advantage of the situation and formed many land-buying companies. These companies would, throughout the 1960s and 1970s, facilitate the settlement of hundreds of thousands of Kikuyu in the Rift Valley.”
“Kenyatta cronies including Mbiyu Koinange, Njoroge Mungai and others devised a clever scheme to further benefit themselves from the land transferred from the colonialists. They formed land-buying companies through loans which were actually funded with tax-payer money. At the height of land buying companies, most of the power brokers acquired huge chunks of land at the expense of the landless, who were meant to be the initial beneficiaries of the scheme” (see: ‘Who owns the land? Blood and soil issues in the Kenyan Rift Valley’).
According to Jennifer Widner (1992), “by 1971, more than 60 per cent large-scale farms around Nakuru and 40 per cent of small scale settler farms, were held by Kikuyu, who fared very well from this arrangement, at the expense of other Kenyan communities (in: ‘The Rise of A Party-State in Kenya: From “Harambee!” to “Nyayo!”’).
In his memoirs, ‘Kenyatta Struggles’, former Central Bank Governor Duncan Ndegwa, explains that Kenyatta initiated the type of settlement farms called “permanent improvement units”. This was after realizing that some Africans had taken over a mansion with 24 rooms abandoned by a white settler, yet could not maintain its high standards and lit charcoal braziers in it. He was disappointed and decided that such property must be protected. According to Ndegwa, who was also Kenya’s first head of civil service, Kenyatta ordered that from then henceforth, “any farm that had such property would be given to individuals in lots of 100-acres.” On that particular day, Kenyatta and Ndegwa had been in Ol Kalau, parceling out land with some settlement officers. At the end of the exercise, Kenyatta seized one permanent improvement unit surrounded by a beautiful orchard for himself and sighed, “Ni ka minoga” (it is for hard work).
The parceling out of 100-acre plots (code named Z plots) to the elite, was not what the British had anticipated when they set up the STFS. Although other tribes were affected by landlessness, the Kikuyu were worst hit because the British had occupied huge areas of Central province and many had been pushed into the forests during the Mau Mau war. Records indicate that some had also gone to work on white farms in the Rift Valley. However, Kenyatta overruled efforts to do away with the 100-acre plots’ system, when he found out that the British and a few Kenyan government officials felt it digressed from the original plan of settling the poor, in former white occupied prime land.
Kenyatta began dishing out land free of charge, contrary to the STFS program. John Kamau wrote in Business Daily (November 10, 2009), that the process behind purchasing the Z plots was so secretive that only Lands minister Angaine and a few civil servants knew about it. The agreed land purchase had turned into land ‘allocation’. This was the beginning of land grabbing and impunity, with the full support of Jomo Kenyatta. Former freedom fighter Jesse Kariuki, was allocated land by Kenyatta without paying a penny. When the then Lands PS, Peter Shiyukah, asked Director of Settlement Maina Wanjigi, to compile a list of the big shots who had been allocated land, he realized that there were many others whose names appeared at the Lands ministry, but not on Wanjigi’s list. One of them was Mwai Kibaki, then-Finance assistant minister.
In the publication ‘Who owns the land? Blood and soil issues in the Kenyan Rift Valley’, the following background is noted on Kibaki’s land ownership: “One of President Kibaki’s earliest grabs is the 1,200-acre Gingalily Farm along the Nakuru-Solai road. And in the 1970s, Kibaki, who was then the minister for Finance under Kenyatta, via STFS transferred to himself, 10,000 acres in Bahati from the then Agriculture minister Bruce Mckenzie. Kibaki also owns another 10,000 acres at Igwamiti in Laikipia and 10,000 acres in Rumuruti in Naivasha. These are in addition to the 1,600 acre Ruare Ranch.”
How could Kikuyu peasants and the landless benefit, if the 100-acre package had already been hijacked by Kenyatta and his Kikuyu cronies? It meant quite a few rich members of the community owned so much land, shutting out the majority poor. Ironically, many of those big shots defaulted in loan payments (including Kibaki), and the poor Kenyan taxpayer was left with the burden of paying back to the British, a loan they barely knew about, let alone benefited from. Among the many defaulters were Cabinet ministers Jackson Angaine (Lands) and Gikonyo Kiano. John Kamau wrote: “An experiment to settle the landless and put them on the road to prosperity had collapsed even before it began.”
By listing Mama Ngina, Biwott and Merali among Africa’s billionaires, Ventures magazine has shown it is not concerned about their questionable sources of wealth. A simple online search indicates that these characters have over the years, exploited every political opportunity to create wealth at the expense of the taxpayers, and should therefore not be glorified.
THE KENYATTA WEALTH – MIND BOGGLING, an article published in “Expression Today”, prior to the 2002 General Election
The land owned by the Kenyatta family includes Taita Taveta farm (74,000 acres), Kahawa Sukari farm (29,000 acres), Gatundu farm, Thika farm, Brookside farm, Muthaita farm, Green Lee Estate, Njagu farm in Juja, Kasarani farm (9,000 acres), Nakuru farm in Rongai near Moi’s home, a quarry in Dandora, Naivasha Ranch and several farms in Nairobi. Government sources say that KPLC is currently under pressure to buy the family’s Karen farm at Ksh. 350 million to add to Uhuru’s campaign kitty. The combined acreage of all the land owned by the Kenyatta family is equal to Nyanza province, sources at the Lands Ministry say.
The prospect of Uhuru Kenyatta succeeding Daniel arap Moi as president of Kenya remains unbearable for many. But despite widespread disbelief and fury, President Moi has pressed on with Project Uhuru in characteristic zeal and defiance of public opinion. The raw determination by Moi and his minders to see the younger Kenyatta occupy State House has ignited emotive questions about the real intentions of the cartel behind the project. Public scepticism is based on Mr Kenyatta’s rather obscure past and brief CV in public service.
The legacy of his late father, as well as the suspect motive of his proposers have combined to work against Uhuru’s bid for the presidency. Because he is unknown, it has been difficult for his critics to fight him politically without appearing to be fighting President Moi, although it is for the same reason that they have dismissed him off-hand. The failings of his father, Jomo Kenyatta, and the phenomenon of anti-Kikuyuism that his regime fomented, have blossomed once again into a thick cloud of ethnicity that envelopes the country on the eve of Moi’s exit. Uhuru’s forced candidacy is likely to hurt more than heal the fragile nation that Moi will bequeath to his successor. Analysts wracking their brains to understand Moi see an ulterior motive in his choice of Uhuru as successor over, for example, George Saitoti, Raila Odinga, Katana Ngala, Musalia Mudavadi or Kalonzo Musyoka.
When he attended the Queen of England’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in June this year (i.e. June 2002), it was not immediately apparent to keen observers that he could have received a direct personal invitation from the royal family. It was assumed that he was merely representing President Moi. But it has emerged from high-placed sources that, in fact, Uhuru could have been invited directly by the British royalty in anticipation of his expected ascendance to the Kenyan throne. The British Royalty and government, which have deep connections with the Kenya government, was therefore acting with Moi’s nod.
Still, this could have passed as a minor event were it not that Britain, the former colonial power is increasingly playing an influential role behind the curtains in Kenya’s transition politics. A source at the British High Commission in Nairobi, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that even before President Moi made public his plans, the matter had been the subject of discussion at high levels of the British government. Britain is Kenya government’s most trusted foreign ally. It has substantive secret economic, military and political (diplomatic) interests that it seeks to protect from unfriendly political forces.
The experience with Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe has been repossessing huge tracts of land owned by White farmers, has sent shivers of potential repercussions in other former British colonies in Africa where land continues to be a thorny issue.
Western donor countries are wary of any developments that will undermine a peaceful transition in Kenya, one of the few countries in the region that has avoided the pitfalls of open civil strife. Moi’s choice of Uhuru would appear to have either been endorsed by the foreign interests, or they are willing to kowtow to Moi’s wily schemes to facilitate his exit from the scene. At a public rally in July President Moi found it necessary to reiterate that he would stick by his pledge to British premier Tony Blair and U.S. President George Bush to quit. But the question, of course, still remains, why Uhuru? The objective of self-preservation strongly advanced by various analysts is driving Moi’s management of the transition. The transition arithmetic revolves around the desire of the ruling elite to protect their fabulous property and conceal the retinue of irregular deals by both the Kenyatta and Moi regimes. Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa’s handling of his predecessor, Fredrick Chiluba, has fired the resolve of the Kenyan leadership to tighten any loose ends. While Kenyatta was accused of encouraging an acquisitive spirit that laid the foundation of the run-away corruption in the country, Moi has been accused of running the nation aground through reckless nepotism and accumulation of property by a few to the detriment of the country.
While Kenyatta will be remembered for his contribution in liberating the nation from the colonial yoke, it is claimed in The Economy of Kenya: The Kenyatta Era (Economies of the World) edited by Nita Watts, when Kenya became independent it acquired new problems: tribalism, nepotism, greed, bribery and corruption. Opportunities were offered and eagerly seized by a few individuals who were concerned only with accumulating as much wealth as possible. With recent Transparency International statistics showing that corruption is festering, many Kenyans are yearning for a clean break with the ignominious past. Uhuru Kenyatta, they reckon, is a creation of Moi and the clique around him to perpetuate the plunder and the legacy of British control. Both Moi and Kenyatta were products of conservative English grooming entrusted with the protection of British interests.
While those interests may be preserved in furtherance of diplomacy, the land question will require radical solutions from the next president. Land featured prominently in the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission hearings and will not be cured by palliatives such as the slow-punctured Njonjo-led Land Commission. Both the Moi and Kenyatta regimes have used land as a political incentive for loyalty. The ruling class accumulated huge tracts of land initially owned by White settlers but taken over by the State for resettlement of the squatters. The British government gave £ 50 million to a land transfer scheme from settlers to African squatters, but Kenyatta used the money to buy land from settlers and either dish it out to his closest cronies or apportion to himself. That caused a rift between Kenyatta and the late J.M Kariuki who was later assassinated. According to a Kenyan legislator who knows the Kenyatta family well, the land on which Kenyatta and Jomo Kenyatta Universities are built initially belonged to Basil Criticos. The government bought the land from him under the above scheme, but transferred it to Kenyatta on the same day Criticos transferred it to the government in 1972. It was through such fraudulent processes that Kenyatta family and close associates acquired much of the prime land in the country. The land owned by the Kenyatta family includes Taita Taveta farm (74, 000 acres), Kahawa Sukari farm (29, 000 acres), Gatundu farm, Thika farm, Brookside farm, Muthaita farm, Green Lee Estate, Njagu farm in Juja, Kasarani farm (9, 000 acres), Nakuru farm in Rongai near Moi’s home, a quarry in Dandora, Naivasha Ranch and several farms in Nairobi. Government sources say that KPLC is currently under pressure to buy the family’s Karen farm at Ksh. 350 million to add to Uhuru’s campaign kitty. The combined acreage of all the land owned by the Kenyatta family is equal to Nyanza province, sources at the Lands Ministry say.
Close associates of Kenyatta such as Mbiyu Koinange, Kihika Kimani, Isaiah Mathenge, Eliud Mahihu, Jackson Angaine, Paul Ngei, Daniel Arap Moi, Njoroge Mungai, Charles Njonjo, Mwai Kibaki, Njenga Karume among other power brokers of the time, were encouraged to acquire, and did acquire, as much land. The Moi government has more or less followed similar policies. The political clique around Moi, for example, is known to own huge chunks of land round the country, much of which is lying fallow while the production that it is meant for has ceased. In the North Eastern Province, for example, the current crop of politicians in government owns chunks of land that, according to official sources, they do not even know the location. The land is used for collateral mortgage for bank loans. Having acquired land in this manner, the Kenyatta government lacked the moral authority to effect any fundamental land changes.
The white settler community had trust and confidence in him. Jeremy Murray Brown writes in his book, Kenyatta, that the white community was happy when Kenyatta showed that he was not going to push hard for land transfer and, instead, acquired huge chunks of land for himself and his cronies. It was for the same reason that the minority but influential Britons in Kenya impressed upon their home government to support Moi’s ascendancy to power. Above all else, Moi was seen as a moderate who espoused Western capitalism that glorified wealth accumulation. Moi had been assimilated into the British system early when they plucked him from his teaching career to make him a representative in the colonial Legislative Council and he was a major plank of the colonial administration in the suppression of the struggle for independence. Through the then powerful Attorney General, Charles Njonjo, and cabinet minister, Mwai Kibaki, Britain covertly and overtly supported Moi’s ascendance to power while Moi gladly embraced them when he eventually took to the throne. London remains the Kenya government’s overseas capital. This background is crucial for understanding the undercurrents of the transition. It is not a coincidence that Njonjo is today the Chairman of the Land Review Commission formed by President Moi.
He is also one of the prominent figures behind the Uhuru-for-President campaign. The British government has since the eruption of the land problem in Zimbabwe been actively sponsoring civic groups to advocate for peaceful resolution of the Kenyan land problem. Uhuru Kenyatta is an acceptable candidate because he would not undermine the status quo without undermining himself. He is anointed by both his economic class and history. Beside the land question, it is the economic upper class in the country that is determining the course of the transition politics. The country’s tiny economic – and largely political – elite owes its mostly irregularly acquired fortune to proximity to power during the Kenyatta and Moi regimes and it is determined to frustrate any change in leadership that might introduce radical changes in governance.
Hence, while Raila, for example, may have the support of many ordinary citizens because of his populist agenda, he does not enjoy favour among the influential economic elite and Moi’s close allies. Raila’s earlier socialist ideological leaning is still considered by the capitalist economic elite and Western countries as his undoing. Kibaki is viewed as the more acceptable compromise by some Western countries and lending agencies like IMF and the World Bank. While these countries and agencies purport to be disgusted by corruption, they have not been forceful where it matters most. Hence although all indications are that Moi succession plan is aimed at perpetuating the corruption that his government has presided over (his government has been fighting to stave off pressure to prosecute those implicated in corruption) the western agencies will not apply their influence in the interest of change.
The bill on prevention of corruption has failed to sail through parliament due to the vested interest of influential government officials trying to obtain amnesty. The prospect of a less “clean” president is viewed as a risk lest he unleash anti-corruption dogs. Given Uhuru’s inexperience in the management of public affairs (Moi has stated that he picked on Uhuru because he can be “guided”) he would be vulnerable to manipulation. Indeed, significant opposition to Uhuru is purely because he represents a bid by Moi to extend his rule by proxy. Moi would rather have a less glamorous successor than one who would outshine his legacy. It is against this background that Biwott’s resolve “to do everything in his power to make sure that Moi’s choice of President wins,” should be understood. The statement implies that the forces behind Project Uhuru will pull all stops to succeed themselves, and sets the stage for a bruising political duel. Will they succeed?
Mention of Uhuru Kenyatta evokes the 15-year political reign of his father, Jomo Kenyatta, but hardly the fabulous fortune that the first president of Kenya bequeathed to his family. The commercial interests of the Kenyatta family are spread literally over every sector of the national economy in a way that is rivalled only by the empire of its successor the Moi family. Indeed, the prospect of the two families pooling their resources to direct them to a common cause can be enervating to opponents. It is estimated that the two families and their associates control about one fifth of the national wealth. If politics is all about money, which in Kenya it is, then Uhuru is surely on the way to becoming Kenya’s third president.
Inside sources say Uhuru’s campaign budget is estimated at Ksh.10 billion, (Sh. 2 billion earmarked for mobilisation for the Kanu nominations and Sh. 8 billion for campaign proper). The Uhuru campaign targets to raise another Sh.5 billion from local and international well-wishers, which should push his campaign kitty to a whopping Sh.15 billion. For comparison purposes, Kanu’s re-election campaign in the infamous 1992 elections cost an estimated 8 billion in paper money which drove the economy under. According to informed sources, the Uhuru project has already received substantial pledges from Central Province tycoons.
And although Moi has yet to invest his personal resources on the project, the Uhuru project has unlimited access to State resources and machinery with the intelligence, security services and the provincial administration already being deployed to the project. Well- placed sources confided in “Expression Today” that the Kenyatta family withdrew Sh.2 billion from a Swiss Bank in mid-August that was sunk into the nomination process which for all intents and purposes were a mere formality. It is from this campaign fund that Shs 2.5 million was withdrawn for use in the organisation of the Mungiki demonstrations in Nairobi that raised eyebrows about apparent government complicity in the procession of an illegal organisation. Despite police denials, confidential police sources told “Expression Today” that the Mungiki demonstration was organised and co-ordinated by the Special Branch, the department of the police force that is supposed to have been disbanded two years ago and replaced by the National Security Intelligence Service.
The highly liquid campaign has been spewing money all over the place. Another Sh. 2.5 million was paid to Nakuru councillors to declare support for the Uhuru Project while Ksh.50 million was disbursed to North Eastern Province MPs for similar purposes. Before the North Eastern MPs announced their support for Uhuru in Nairobi in early August, they had met President Moi at his Harambee House office after which they held talks with Uhuru Kenyatta moments before they made the public announcement. Impeccable sources say that the Pastoralists Parliamentary Group also received monetary emoluments to embark on a spirited campaign for Mr. Kenyatta within their communities.
Indeed Moi has indirectly handed over control of some of the State organs to the pro-Uhuru lobby. For example Uhuru is already receiving direct daily briefings from the security intelligence, while his huge security detail has been seconded from the State. This would seem to imply that Moi is already allowing Uhuru to discharge some of his duties as though Uhuru’s ascendancy to the throne is a fait accompli. Father’s Man Uhuru’s political and economic influence stems from being the son of Jomo Kenyatta, which has been given greater impetus by the support he has received from President Moi, whose influence stems from his long reign, economic clout and incumbency. The regrouping clique of the Moi and Kenyatta associates who control the nation politically and economically also fronts Uhuru’s campaign.
The team from President Moi’s Rift Valley behind the Project Uhuru consists of Moi’s favourite son, Gideon, Hosea Kiplagat, the chairman of the Co-operative Bank and Moi’s nephew and aide, newly appointed Home Affairs minister William Ruto, cantankerous Office of the President minister Julius Sunkuli, State House Comptroller John Lokorio and Trade and Industry Minister, Nicholas Biwott. Biwott has been President Moi’s confidante for three decades and was initially reluctant to support the project but has assumed the role of the most influential man behind the project. These prime movers of the project are a recurrent feature of most economic and political activities of the Moi regime.
Politicians and businessmen from Central Province who owe their economic and political success to the Kenyatta era are also championing Project Uhuru. The key players in this group are former Attorney General Charles Njonjo, former foreign affairs minister and Kenyatta’s doctor, Njoroge Mungai; former Gema chairman and Democratic Party patron Njenga Karume, and shadowy former minister Arthur Magugu who has become a regular visitor to State House. Tycoon Stanley Githunguri, Uhuru’s uncle George Muhoho and his mother, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, are said to be generating the finances for the campaign. It is remembered that Njonjo played a key role in the Kenyatta succession, ensuring that Moi succeeded Kenyatta.
After a long period in the cold, Moi recalled Njonjo back to political limelight by appointing him to symbolic positions from where he has been crafting the transition. The Kenyatta family shares several business interests with several of these personalities. For example, according to well-placed sources, the family has had substantial interests in the transport sector that it is slowly ceding to Njenga Karume, the former DP patron whose recent public pronouncement of his support for Uhuru was viewed as long overdue. But the family still retains much of its interests in the shipping industry, where the Moi family controls substantial business.
But the Kenyatta family has its tentacles in virtually all sectors of the economy. They include Brookside Dairy where Uhuru has been a Managing Director until recently when his younger brother, Muhoho Kenyatta, took over. They also have substantial interests in the hotel industry (Heritage Hotels chain -Voyager and Silver Beach hotels in Mombasa as well as Blue Post Hotel in Thika.) The family also owns the countrywide timber firm, Timsales. The family has major stakes in Commercial Bank of Africa, Prestige Hotels in Taveta, Hilton Hotel and real estate, including residential houses near Nairobi State House.
Recent China Deals Seal Fate for Elephants as Uhuru Family Deep in Ivory and Animal Trade
27 August 2013
Mama Ngina’s public image radiates calm and dignity, obfuscating the ruthless business operator credited with decimating Kenya’s wildlife in 70s. Mama Ngina’s dignified presence as she makes her annual pilgrimage to the mausoleum every August where her departed husband and founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta lies, evokes power and mystery.
Usually resplendent in colourful African fabrics and matching headgear, Mama Ngina cultivates the image of loss and courage, the epitome of pain and sacrifice. This mystique, however, is only a facade. The real Mama Ngina is a powerful business operator whose aggressive pursuit of money at the height of Kenyatta’s power saw her rise to become the richest woman in Africa.
Mama Ngina’s claim to fame in the 1970s, however, is unique. Multiple but reliable media outlets in the 1970s alleged her enormous wealth as stemming from poaching and smuggling that almost wiped out elephants and Colobus monkeys from the face of Kenya.
Research indicated that senior government officials, especially close members of the Kenyatta family, were involved in the poaching while government vehicles were used to ferry the game trophies from the wildlife sanctuaries to depots for international market. Mama Ngina was singled out for the butchering of wildlife, suggesting that although she did not personally pull the trigger or unleash a poisoned arrow on elephants, she was the matron of illegal ivory poachers.
Mama Ngina, together with Kenyatta’s daughter from an earlier marriage, Margaret Wambui, who served as Nairobi’s first female African mayor, got away with the plunder of wildlife, in spite of the constant grumbling in Parliament.
According to Hornsby, the Kenyatta family was implicated in both poaching and ivory exports. Margaret was chairman of the United African Company, one of the 10 companies exporting ivory despite a ban that was in force. At the time, a kg of ivory sold at $36 (Sh300), meaning one dead elephant was worth thousands of dollars. Zebra’s too were not spared as 5,000 were shot illegally within 320 miles of Nairobi in six months during 1975. Colobus monkeys too were killed for their beautiful skin. Indeed, two men were arrested in 1975 in possession of 26,000 skins of Colobus monkeys but were subsequently released after producing ‘valid’ permits.
Immediately after the 1974 elections, the Kenyatta family was linked to illegal ivory trade, which was earning Mama Ngina and other close relatives $10 million (about Sh800 million) a year, as the country’s 120,000 elephants were killed at an annual rate of 20,000! There is speculation that Mzee Kenyatta’s involvement in illegal ivory trade contributed to the murder of JM in 1975 as he was also involved in this trade. Even after JM’s death, poaching went on unabated, motivating the Wilmington Star News March 2, 1977 issue to warn that the world’s last wildlife herds in Kenya were facing extinction.
According to the newspaper, poachers were organised and used bows and poisoned arrows, poisoned darts, muzzle loaders and machine guns while enjoying protection from the highest authority. In the preceding six months prior to the publication of the story, 235 rhinos and 20 leopards had been killed while the overall elephant population had dwindled from 36,000 to 20,000. When Ngina and the First family could not cope with the national and international condemnation any more, they issued a five-page statement through the Kenya News Agency to dismiss the poaching allegations. The lengthy report dismissed as false allegations that Ngina was involved in poaching, terming the accusations as blackmail and scandal, further dismissing the figures of dwindled elephant stocks as “guesswork.”
To date, the family has continued with its poaching activities and the recent visit to China by Uhuru only served to fully implement new personal business deals on ivory. We can all talk about how we need to reduce the poaching of ivory and support all the elephant trusts. But as long as the Uhuru family continues to be at the top of power, elephants and other wild animals are in for a rough ride.
For many Kenyans, the road to riches is paved with politics. Corruption among officials is growing steadily
By Edward Girardet, Special to The Christian Science Monitor / March 24, 1986
Shortly after arriving in Kenya last year, I fell into conversation with a young engineering student in Mombasa. He was bright, strikingly eloquent, and expected to finish college soon. What, I asked, did he hope to do then?
“Enter politics,” he replied without hesitation. “I want to become an MP [member of Parliament].”
“Because in this country, it is the only way to make a lot of money.”
At the time, I was somewhat taken aback by his answer. But nearly four months in Kenya and numerous discussions with its citizens have shown just how revealing his reply actually was.
Apart from a select few, many of Kenya’s politicians and elected officials at all levels, have used their positions to amass sometimes considerable personal wealth and privileges.
“Almost all politicians here are businessmen,” a West European diplomat said. “There are some who work in the interests of their country, but most are out to make as much for themselves while they have the chance. Then it’s someone else’s turn.”
Corruption, of course, is not peculiar to Kenya alone. It pervades virtually every black African country and every foreign businessman, aid coordinator, or traveler will confront it.
This includes the drunk Ugandan soldier menacingly waving his Kalashnikov rifle at a road checkpoint, demanding “chai” (tea), a euphemism for cash. Or the well-dressed Kenyan minister extracting a cut from a company or aid project in return for a permit.
Privately, some Kenyan government officials agree that corruption is a problem. But they hasten to add that it occurs in other countries such as the United States. Thus, they say, there is no need to single out Kenya for criticism.
Publicly, many of these officials steadfastly deny that such abuses exist or are reluctant to make a statement. “I don’t know of any cases,” maintained one Foreign Ministry official. When asked about President Daniel arap Moi’s salary, another official laughed — not without some embarrassment — and said, “We never ask that sort of question here.”
But what may be treated as corruption, a conflict of interest, or abuse of power in the US and Europe is not necessarily considered such in Africa. It has always been part of the system, either as a right or as a means of survival.
In Kenya, for a politician to get rich in office is much like the tribal chief who receives presents for being what he is. The accumulation of riches is a prerogative of power. In the past, it was also a sign of respect.
At the same time, his constituents, usually members of his own tribe or clan, expect some to trickle down to them.
“A politician is helped into office not only to improve his own position, but also that of his people,” says one Western diplomat. This can be in the form of a job, a university scholarship, the construction of a village well, or a new asphalt road.
One elected official with a reputation for being reasonably honest was recently booted out by his supporters after five years. When asked why, one of them retorted: “If after all that time, he failed to make money for himself, how can we expect him to make money for us?”
While many Kenyans are resigned to such forms of abuse, it is doubtful that the public is fully aware of the extent to which some of its leaders have enriched themselves. According to Nairobi business community sources, certain government officials have managed to purchase, or otherwise procure, companies, farms, and other enterprises since reaching their high-level positions.
Part of this wealth is ostentatious. One need only drive through a posh suburb of Nairobi to see the spacious, walled estates known to belong to politicians. Expensive cars — Mercedes Benz or BMWs are essential.
As an outsider, what amounts to nothing less than stealing from the people comes across as even more repugnant when one realizes how much the “small man” is victimized and how little he has to gain. Economically, it is also a grossly inefficient way of running the country and a severe drain on resources. But those capable of changing the system show little inclination to do so.
“The problem is that there are simply too many people in positions of power who don’t want to see it changed,” said one European development official. “They have too much to lose.”
According to most sources, Kenya’s corruption is growing steadily worse. In part, the donor countries and Western businessmen, who foot the bill for a large share of the economy, are to blame. They play along or shut their eyes to the abuses because Kenya is a strategic ally, a friend of the West. But as any journey through Africa will show, what is happening in this country is also happening to a greater or lesser degree in other parts of Africa.
Some people, however, refuse to pay bribes and still manage to live, travel, or do business in Kenya.
Corruption among officials comes in the form of dormant partnerships, bribes, and kickbacks on business transactions or scarcely disguised blackmail.
“Some ministers simply appropriated the farms of Europeans and Asians by making life difficult. Some fought it, but many had little choice but to sell out, often at a pittance,” observed one longtime resident, himself a victim of such a scam. “This sort of thing goes on the whole time, but you remain quiet.”
Another example is the valuable Indian Ocean front properties in the Mombasa or La Malindi region. The sale of all beachfront property has to be approved by the office of the President. “What usually happens,” says one hotel owner, “is that they’ll block the deal unless you sell to the President or one of his cronies. I simply can’t afford to sell, because I know I’ll get a quarter of the price.”
Financial conniving, too, is not just the preserve of well-placed politicians but of their relatives as well. Mama Ngina, a wife of late President Jomo Kenyatta and alleged to have been a key figure in Kenya’s once lucrative but illegal ivory trade, has since succeeded in becoming one of East Africa’s wealthiest women.
“She is an extremely powerful lady,” noted a director of one leading Nairobi firm. “If you get in her way, she can bring the forces of evil down on you.”
As for President Moi, both business and diplomatic sources say that he has acquired enormous personal wealth since first becoming Minister of Home Affairs, then vice-president, and in 1978, President. Much of this is hidden wealth. (In contrast to some of his ministers, he is considered relatively frugal and less ostentatious in the public eye). But his extensive assets, including numerous properties and businesses, are said to have made him one of Africa’s richest leaders.
There is no effective arsenal of legislation to enforce accountability among elected officials. Financial disclosure laws, strictures against conflicts of interest, not to mention the public’s basic right to know, are rarely allowed full reign if even on the books.
Occasionally the government does crack down on a corrupt official to set an example. Or it deals quickly and harshly with a merchant involved in illegal foreign currency operations. But observers point out that it is virtually impossible to curb corruption among the lower ranks when it prevails in high places. Said one European diplomat, “It’s the poor blighter caught stealing a box of biscuits who’ll get lynched.”
Any newspaper or private citizen seeking to look into the finances of this country’s leaders can expect swift retribution.
One politician, Oginga Odinga, who had dared to criticize the former President Kenyatta for “landgrabbing” was hounded out of office. Journalists who have tried their hand at investigative reporting, have been arrested or dismissed from their jobs. Student protests against power abuse have been suppressed.
“There is no censorship as such,” a senior Nairobi newspaper editor explained to me. “One gets to know the mood about when to censure a minister or examine a certain touchy issue. The cardinal rule, however, is never, never, attack the President.”
Foreign correspondents also come under the same restrictions. Most use the Kenyan capital as a conventient base to cover the rest of Africa and save their barbs for once they have left. (This article was filed from outside of Kenya.)
One American journalist, David Lamb of the Los Angeles Times, did just that in his book “The Africans.” Mr. Lamb recounts what many Kenyans and other Africans feel but dare not express in public. Branded as “racist,” even “communist” by some politicians, it has been unofficially banned in Kenya.
But frustration is rising. There is a small, but expanding number of intellectuals and educated Kenyans who question this system of privileges. Kenya is a lot less stable than many people think.
Africa is not rising, survey showsResearch suggests that the boom benefits only a narrow elite while leaving the poor and unemployed behind
David Smith Africa correspondent
theguardian.com, Wednesday 2 October 2013 16.54 BST
The idea that Africans have never had it so good is rapidly becoming economic orthodoxy. Foreign investors, media and politicians from William Hague to Jacob Zuma have championed a narrative usually summed up in two words: “Africa rising”.
The majority of Africans themselves, however, feel that the picture is far less rosy, complaining that the continent’s much vaunted economic growth is failing to trickle down to their daily lives, according to the biggest survey of its kind.
“After a decade of growth in Africa, little change in poverty at the grassroots,” is the title of a report by the Afrobarometer research project, which questioned 51,605 respondents in 34 countries from October 2011 to June this year.
Roughly one in five Africans told researchers they still often lack food, clean water or medical care, while about half experience at least occasional shortages. More than two in five regularly lack a cash income that might enable them to meet basic needs, and three-quarters report going without money at least once in the past year.
In 16 countries where data is available over the past decade, the average experience of what researchers term “lived poverty” has hardly changed, the report adds.
“While we do see reductions in five countries (Cape Verde, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe), we also find increases in lived poverty in five others (Botswana, Mali, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania),” it states.
“Overall, then, despite high reported growth rates, lived poverty at the grassroots remains little changed. This suggests either that growth is occurring, but that its effects are not trickling down to the poorest citizens (in fact, income inequality may be worsening), or alternatively, that actual growth rates may not match up to those being reported.”
The poll also found that 56% of Africans feel their governments are doing a bad job of managing the economy and even higher numbers give them low ratings for improving the living standards of the poor (69%), creating jobs (71%) and narrowing income gaps (76%).
The findings come despite Africa’s economies having grown by an average of 4.8% between 2002 and 2011, making it the new darling of the investment community and earning headlines such as “the hopeful continent” from the Economist magazine.
Critics have warned that the boom is benefiting only a narrow elite while leaving the poor and jobless behind, exacerbating inequality and potentially sowing seeds of unrest. The wave of “Afro-optimism” should be qualified, they argue.
Carolyn Logan, assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University and deputy director of the research project, said: “The survey results show there is a disconnect between reported growth and the persistence – in both frequency and severity – of poverty among ordinary citizens. It’s evident that African governments need to focus as much attention on poverty reduction efforts as they are on growing their economies.”
The findings show significant correlations between access to electrical grids, piped water and other basic services in communities and lower levels of poverty. Higher levels of formal education also correlate with sharply lower experiences of deprivation.
People in Burundi, Guinea, Niger, Senegal and Togo suffered the highest average levels of poverty, while residents of Algeria and Mauritius experienced the lowest. Five of the seven countries with the highest levels of nutritional deprivation – Burundi, Liberia, Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Niger – are all emerging from recent conflicts.
The report triggered in debate in South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy but one of five found to have increasing levels of poverty over the past decade. Kenneth Mubu, shadow economic minister for the opposition Democratic Alliance, described it as a “harsh reality check for our government” and called for a parliamentary debate.
Economists insist, however, that the overall trends remain positive. Professor Mthuli Ncube, chief economist of the African Development Bank, said that the “Africa rising” narrative is intact, adding: “Even in the face of headwinds, we still see the same drivers in place, if not even stronger, be they political progress in terms of governance and macroeconomic stability or burgeoning domestic demand from the middle class. Even China growing at 7% sustainably is good enough to keep the commodity trend in the right direction for Africa.”
But it is time for governments and business to manage Africa’s natural resources windfall better, he added. “Some of it has been jobless growth, frankly, and the idea is now that it must create jobs. The good thing is that the leadership – whether political or economic – is recognising that the quality of growth has to be improved. We see the opportunity with natural resources as one way to do it, so structural transformation is critical for the attainment of inclusive growth. I think over the next 10 to 15 years we’ll see progress in this direction.”
Partners in the Afrobarometer project include the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, the Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy in Benin, the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa and the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University in the United State.
THE PRESIDENT’S MEN
Saturday, November 2, 2013 – 00:00 — BY OLIVER MATHENGE
PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta has surrounded himself with a large group of politicians and businessmen who are helping him make key decisions in running the country.
Even before he was elected, the President had a number of men, most of whom kept a low profile but were very instrumental in decisions he made along the campaigns.
Though Uhuru likes getting first-hand information from all those who work in government, he, like all his predecessors, has an inner circle of people he regularly consults.
Those around the President say that he is always keen to ensure that he consults widely – in and out of State House – before making key decisions.
“The President, especially likes to know what Deputy President William Ruto thinks about any decision that is to be taken. He literally can’t make a decision unless Ruto has agreed to it or has given him his opinion,” a State House insider said.
However, even before going to Ruto, the President is said to have a number of distinct groups that advise him on various issues depending on the matter in question.
Publicly, there are men who are seen to be the main advisers to the President including Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and senior State House officials.
Most of the President’s political and policy advisers are drawn from persons he has worked with in Kanu and in the ministries of trade, local government and finance.
However, there is an “elders club” that advises the President and who he consults often. These are men who were also key in mobilising resources for his campaigns ahead of the elections.
This group is said to be instrumental in shaping the thinking of the President and some of them call him often to share ideas and suggestions on various sectors in the country.
This ‘elders club’ is said to be headed by former Kenya Airports Authority managing director George Muhoho, who is also Uhuru’s uncle.
Muhoho is said to have a lot of say in the path Uhuru has taken in his career over the years and continues to do so as he runs the country.
Others who are reportedly part of this team include Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi, Family Bank founder Titus Muya, former Gatanga MP David Murathe, State House Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua, former head of civil service Francis Muthaura and former KenGen managing director Eddy Njoroge.
Muthaura was a key figure in the Kibaki inner circles and has been close to Uhuru for years. The two were co-accused at the ICC over the 2007/2008 post-election violence which they were accused or organising and funding.
The prosecution dropped Muthaura’s case while Uhuru’s trial is scheduled to kick off on November 12.
Sources say that Muhoho often chairs meetings of this group which also includes a number of other businessmen most of whom Uhuru relied on when working as Finance Minister.
“They usually review the state of the Presidency and also come up with strategies to help Uhuru in his decision-making processes,” one insider said.
Uhuru also regularly consults with former President Moi, who is his political god-father. The two have met on severally occasions since Uhuru was announced as the President-elect.
Moi introduced Uhuru to politics when he nominated him to Parliament in 2000 and then went ahead to anoint him as his successor in 2002.
There are two security chiefs who also have the President’s ear – Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi and Director General of the National Intelligence Service Michael Gichangi.
Despite their perceived differences, Karangi and Gichagi have been instrumental in the decisions that Uhuru has made especially in relation to public appointments.
But among all the security chiefs, Uhuru is said to trust CID boss Ndegwa Muhoro the most and even lobbied MPs heavily to have his appointment approved.
Among the Cabinet Secretaries, Uhuru is said to have a closer ear for Najib Balala (Mining), Michael Kamau (Transport) and Felix Kosgey (Agriculture).
Of the Principal Secretaries, Uhuru is said to be closest to Kamau Thugge (Treasury), Karanja Kibicho (Foreign Affairs), and Wilson Songa (Industrialisation).
The President is also said to have circles of regional advisers made up of businessmen and politicians including current MPs and Senators.
“These groups help the President and his Deputy understand the needs of various regions especially if he is to go visit those areas. This helps him design policies that are customised to these regions,” one Presidential adviser said.
The President also gets counsel from Ruto’s allies from the URP side of the Jubilee coalition.
Businessman David Langat, Silas Simaywo who is Ruto’s personal advisor, senator Charles Keter, Majority Leader Aden Duale and former House Speaker Francis Kaparo are also members of Uhuru’s inner circle.
At State House, Uhuru keeps those in the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit close and holds regular meetings with them even as early as 6am to strategise and plan.
The State House PSCU meetings with the President are also attended by constitutional adviser Abdikadir Mohammed, Private Secretary Jomo Gecaga and State House Comptroller Lawrence Lenayapa.
The PSCU team is made up of Manaoh Esipisu (State House spokesman), Maina Kigaga (First Lady’s Communication), Eric Ngeno (Speeches), Munyori Buku (Public Communication), Dennis Itumbi (Digital) and James Kinyua (Events).
This team was part of the larger ‘Team Uhuru’, which was responsible for Uhuru’s campaign communication.
The President also relies on his long-time ally, Njee Muturi who is now the country’s Solicitor General and was his campaign manager ahead of the March 4 polls.
Former Foreign Affairs PS Thuita Mwangi is also close to the President and alongside UN Permanent Representative Macharia Kamau are among those who advise Uhuru on foreign affairs.
Glorifying Socialism to Communism the world Future ,Thanks the Chinese Oppeneness Angolan People will be Living High-Live Stardard Just like Citizens of Ist World>The western std of Living > Watch the Video >this is Luanda The Capital Of Angola>I wish the Devil (Jonas Savimbi is alive )and see the Angola he used to Destroy>
Rise-Up Africa >Africans are not allergic to live in modern Houses>
Venture African Magazine>Prophetee Of Doom >look at her -fat -assed twisting backs >It is said she feeds on a full-grown -Rum and the whole intestine >Mutura Kikuyus favourite dish>
Masai Morans demostrating for Land! Jomo Kenyatta Stole their Land the rest was grabbed by Kenyattas tribe who occupied Masai-land from Ngon’g -Hills to Loitoktok>
African billionaires: big money on a poor continent
African billionaires now number 55, including Nigeria’s Folorunsho Alakija, the world’s wealthiest black woman, says business magazine.
By Heather Murdock, Correspondent / October 9, 2013
Last spring, one interview had Nigerians around the world howling with laughter, writing songs, coining jokes, and making T-shirts and video parodies.
A government official had appeared on one of the Nigeria’s most popular morning news shows and referred question after question to his “Oga at the top,” meaning the Big Man, his boss.
Why was the interview funny enough to warrant hundreds of thousands of YouTube views?
Because it reflected what many people here believe to be true: Africa is a continent ruled by Big Men. And as a recent report in the African business magazine Ventures suggests, the biggest of the big money men among us are even bigger than we thought.
RECOMMENDED: Think you know Africa? Take our geography quiz.
There are 55 billionaires on this continent, according to the magazine, with a combined total net worth of nearly $144 billion.
Among these biggies are also three women, including Folorunsho Alakija, a Nigerian oil mogul who the magazine says has beat out Oprah Winfrey for the richest black woman in the world. She’s worth $7.3 billion.
No less than 10 African countries boast billionaires, the report says. But Nigeria leads the way with 20, more than twice as many as any other nation here.
In its 2013 list of billionaires, by contrast, Forbes magazine recognizes only two Nigerians.
Oladotun Olumuyiwa Fadeyiye, a 30-year-old entrepreneur in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, says resources like oil and minerals make the country a natural place for the ambitious to get rich. But access to resources doesn’t account for all the success.
“An average Nigerian businessperson has tenacity. They never say die,” he says. “The courage to succeed in difficult terrain is always there.”
The extreme wealth demonstrated in the Ventures report, however, may be more indicative of Nigeria’s economic failures than of its successes, as Clement Nwankwo, the director the Abuja-based Policy and Legal Advocacy Center, argues.
“If you put side by side the fact that you have 20 billionaires and that poverty conditions are worsening,” he says, “It tells you that the economic situation is not improving. It should be that the middle class is growing so you have an increased global reach and then more billionaires.”
Mr. Nwankwo blames the rising disparity between the rich and the poor in Nigeria on corruption. The super rich, he says, regularly pay government officials to manipulate public policies in their favor.
Watchdog group Transparency International lists Nigeria as the 37th most corrupt country in the world.
Public views on corruption are related to Nigerian culture, which, while often mocking “big men,” also usually reveres them, Nwankwo adds.
The government official that made such a splash last spring is for deferring to the big man is now popularly known as “the Oga at the top guy.”
When the Ventures report was released earlier this week, one local website wrote about Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian manufacturer who is listed as the richest man in Africa, worth over $20 billion, which is $4 billion more than the Forbes estimate.
The headline: “Aliko Dangote is Still the #OgaattheTop as Ventures Africa lists the Top 55 African Billionaires.”
8/14/2013 @ 7:00AM |353,466 views
Daddy’s Girl: How An African ‘Princess’ Banked $3 Billion In A Country Living On $2 A Day
This story appears in the September 2, 2013 issue of Forbes.
By Kerry A. Dolan and Rafael Marques de Morais
LAST DECEMBER Isabel dos Santos commemorated her tenth wedding anniversary to Congolese businessman Sindika Dokolo with a party. Subtlety wasn’t on the menu. She jetted in dozens of friends and relatives from as far as Germany and Brazil, who joined with hundreds of local guests in Angola for three days of lavishness, including a bash at the Fortress of Sao Miguel in the capital city of Luanda and a beachside Sunday brunch on the posh Mussulo peninsula. The invitation, according to one attendee, came in a sleek white box, promising a celebration of “a decade of passion/ a decade of friendship/ a decade worth a hundred years. …”
A decade worth $3 billion is more like it. At 40 Dos Santos is Africa’s only female billionaire, and also the continent’s youngest. She has quickly and systematically garnered significant stakes in Angola’s strategic industries–banking, cement, diamonds and telecom–making her the most influential businessperson in her homeland. More than half of her assets are held in publicly traded Portuguese companies, adding international credibility. When FORBES outed her as a billionaire in January the government disseminated the news as a matter of national pride, living proof that this country of 19 million has arrived.
The real story, however, is how Dos Santos–the oldest daughter of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos–acquired her wealth. For the past year FORBES has been tracing Isabel dos Santos’ path to riches, reviewing a score of documents and speaking with dozens of people on the ground. As best as we can trace, every major Angolan investment held by Dos Santos stems either from taking a chunk of a company that wants to do business in the country or from a stroke of the president’s pen that cut her into the action. Her story is a rare window into the same, tragic kleptocratic narrative that grips resource-rich countries around the world.
For President Dos Santos it’s a foolproof way to extract money from his country, while keeping a putative arm’s-length distance away. If the 71-year-old president gets overthrown, he can reclaim the assets from his daughter. If he dies in power, she keeps the loot in the family. Isabel may decide, if she is generous, to share some of it with her seven known half-siblings. Or not. The siblings are known around Angola for despising one another.
“It is not possible to justify this wealth, which is shamelessly displayed,” former Angolan prime minister Marcolino Moco tells FORBES. “There is no doubt that it was the father who generated such a fortune.”
Isabel dos Santos declined to speak with FORBES for this article. Her representatives failed to respond to detailed questions sent months ago but last week issued this statement: “Mrs. Isabel dos Santos is an independent business woman, and a private investor representing solely her own interests. Her investments in Angolan and/or in Portuguese companies are transparent and have been conducted through arms-length transactions involving external entities such as reputed banks and law firms.” In turn, the spokesman accuses this article’s coauthor, an Angolan investigative journalist, of being an activist with a political agenda. The Angolan government jailed Marques de Morais in 1999 over a series of articles critical of the regime and has brought new criminal defamation charges against him over his 2011 book, Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola .
Finally, a representative of Mrs. Dos Santos said that any allegations of illegal wealth transfers between her and the government are “groundless and completely absurd.” That could well be. When your father runs the show, and can dictate which national assets are sold and at what price, what’s theft of public resources in one country can be rendered legal with a swipe of the pen.
President José Eduardo dos Santos could not be reached for comment. That is unfortunate, because the Dos Santoses, as Moco notes, have “some explaining to do.”
FOR THREE CENTURIES the Portuguese extracted wealth from this mineral-rich country on Africa’s southwestern coast. Almost immediately after Angola won independence in 1975, various internal factions began battling one another for the right to do the exact same thing. From this chaos, which lasted 27 years, Dos Santos, who had studied oil engineering in Soviet Azerbaijan and served as foreign minister upon independence, eventually emerged as president in 1979. He’s held on to power ever since, making him the planet’s third-longest-serving nonroyal head of state.
The president met his first wife (he’s been married at least twice), Tatiana Kukanova, while a student in Azerbaijan, and his first child–Isabel–was born there. By age 6 Isabel dos Santos was in Angola’s presidential palace, and while the family’s lifestyle wasn’t over-the-top by profligate African dictator standards (save the president’s dalliances–at least five of his children are from various mistresses), the family had Christmas trees flown in from New York and $500,000 worth of bubbly imported from a Lisbon restaurateur. There was decadence enough for Isabel to earn the nickname “the Princess.”
During Isabel’s upbringing the Angola economy sputtered, crippled by two factors: ongoing civil war and Dos Santos’ socialist policies. “In the 1980s you’d go to the supermarket and there would only be noodles on the shelves. There wasn’t much there,” says University of Southern California associate professor emeritus Gerald Bender, who’s been studying Angola since 1968. For cloistered Isabel that reality was likely invisible; she eventually attended King’s College in London, where her mother, now a British citizen, lives, and earned an undergraduate degree in engineering.
However, as civil war resumed by the end of 1992, Isabel left for Angola’s capital city, Luanda, in a rush, allegedly after receiving death threats in London.
By the late 1990s, when the civil war was winding down –a ceasefire was formally declared in 2002–President Dos Santos, like the Soviets he had studied under in the 1960s, was embracing a grab-what-you-can form of capitalism. Over the past decade Angola has been one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. GDP grew at an 11.6% annual clip from 2002 to 2011, driven by a more than doubling of oil production to 1.8 million barrels a day. The government budget sits at $69 billion, up from $6.3 billion a decade ago.
But predictably, precious little of the windfall has made it to the people. Some 70% of Angolans live on less than $2 a day. And by the government’s own count, 10% of the country’s population is scrambling for food due to drought and bureaucratic neglect. So where’s the money going? Start with a paranoid president-for-life. The state security apparatus sucks more funds from the budget than health care, education and agriculture combined. A lot is clearly stolen: Between 2007 and 2010 at least $32 billion of oil revenue went missing from the federal ledger, according to the International Monetary Fund, which later tracked most of the money to “quasi-fiscal operations.” Angola comes in at 157 out of 176 nations ranked by Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. It trails shining stalwarts of participatory democracy such as Yemen and Kyrgyzstan. And it’s within this environment that Isabel dos Santos has surfaced with an estimated net worth of $3 billion.
ISABEL DOS SANTOS’ formative business experience came at Miami Beach. Not the Florida city, but rather a rustic chic beachside bar and restaurant in Luanda that tries to emulate its namesake, down to the mediocre food and indifferent service. In 1997 the owner, Rui Barata, was having issues with health inspectors and taxmen. His solution: bringing in Isabel dos Santos, then 24, as his partner, with the idea, contemporaries say, that her name would keep pesky government regulators at bay. Her initial investment was negligible, according to a source with knowledge of the deal, and the restaurant thrived: Sixteen years later it’s still a weekend hot spot.
The lesson–the equity stake available to those with a gilded name–couldn’t have been lost on Isabel dos Santos, who was entering adulthood at the exact same time Angola’s riches were being unlocked. Here’s what followed:
First, Grab the Diamonds. Angola is the world’s fourth-largest diamond producer, selling an estimated $1 billion in gems every year from mines situated in the country’s northeast. The mines’ exclusive concession-holder is the state-owned company, Endiama.
In 1999 President Dos Santos pushed Endiama to form a diamond-selling partnership. Three Israeli diamond merchants, including Lev Leviev, who FORBES now estimates is worth $1.5 billion, promised contacts and expertise. The power behind the venture, according to British court records, was Russian arms dealer Arkady Gaydamak–a former confidant of President Dos Santos during the civil war of 1992-2002. The new company would be called Ascorp.
Leviev and his partners, including Gaydamak, would wind up with 24.5% of Ascorp. The government would retain 51%. The most surprising major shareholder? Isabel dos Santos, who emerged with a 24.5% stake through a Gibraltar investment company, Trans Africa Investment Services, that she had set up with her mother, according to TAIS’ annual report. (Leviev did not respond to a request for comment, and Gaydamak could not be reached at press time.)
Angola’s 2010 constitution bars the president from stealing public money and acts of corruption, which would seem to prohibit the use of his position for the private enrichment of his family. No matter: Angola’s Council of Ministers, controlled by her father, approved the Ascorp deal anyway. “In a country with separation of powers and real democracy, these presidential actions to enrich his family would have caused legal procedures for his impeachment,” says lawyer Salvador Freire, president of the human rights group Maos Livres. “In Angola he is the law.”
Ascorp was a cash cow, yielding millions of dollars in dividends per month, according to British court documents, but as the “blood diamond” business attracted international scrutiny in the middle of the 2000s, Dos Santos transferred to her mother total control of TAIS, now renamed Iaxonh Limited, according to Gibraltar’s Registry of Companies records accessed by FORBES. It’s quite a parking spot, safely under the control of a British citizen, with Isabel dos Santos conveniently sitting in Angola as her mother’s sole heir. The mother could not be reached for comment.
Telecom: Father Knows Best. In 1997 President Dos Santos issued a decree concerning the increasingly valuable telecommunications spectrum it controlled: The government must undertake a public bidding process for new telecom licenses.
Two years later he defied his own decree–by issuing a new one. The government could grant such a license without a public tender, as long as the grantee was a joint venture with the state. Eleven months after that the president, backed by his rubber stamp Council of Ministers, granted Unitel the right to be the first private mobile telephony operator in the country–with the condition that he had sole power to approve the project and to decide on the shareholding structure of the company, since it involved state funds. The state-owned oil company got a 25% stake, and Isabel emerged with her own 25% stake. A spokesman for Isabel dos Santos said she contributed capital for her Unitel stake but declined to specify how much. A year later Portugal Telecom paid $12.6 million for another 25% stake.
It was one hell of an investment. Mobile phones have revolutionized Africa, and as one of just two mobile phone networks in Angola, Unitel had amassed 9 million subscribers. Revenue last year was $2 billion, making it Angola’s largest private company.
Her share is worth at least $1 billion, based on discussions with several analysts who follow Portugal Telecom.
Banking: A Friend in Europe. As Isabel dos Santos diversified her Angolan business interests, in 2005 she diversified her network of powerful patrons. Enter Americo Amorim, a Portuguese billionaire worth $4.3 billion who has spent his life expanding his family’s business empire from cork to real estate, tourism and, especially, oil. The billionaire, who did not comment for this story, was early to seek deals in Angola after hostilities ended. When the Dos Santos clan made a move into banking in 2005, they did so in partnership with Amorim and Fernando Teles, a Portuguese national who had been CEO of another Angolan bank. They formally opened Banco Internacional de Credito, known as BIC, according to the company’s annual reports.
The hand of Isabel’s father again played a role: President Dos Santos, as head of the Council of Ministers, formally authorized the foreign investment in the capital of the bank. Specifically how it was financed is murky, as there is no public record showing who put money into the bank. BIC’s latest annual report shows that Amorim owns 25% of the bank. Various documents reveal that another 25% is held through an investment vehicle controlled by Isabel dos Santos. Her spokesman says she was a founding member of the bank and had independent means to pay her share from her early business ventures.
Regardless, BIC was a hit, in large part because of a deal to lend money to … the Angolan government. BIC made loans to the state worth $450 million, in addition to more than $350 million made to private ventures. BIC had assets of $6.9 billion in 2012. Isabel dos Santos’ stake is worth at least $160 million, FORBES estimates, based on the bank’s book value listed in its latest annual report. BIC officials could not be reached for comment.
Oil: A Strange Partnership. Oil is Angola’s greatest natural asset. The country produces 650 million barrels per year, most of it exported. The state-owned oil firm, Sonangol, is so profitable that it was only a matter of time before the Dos Santos family would start looking for ways to hitch a ride on its success. Isabel’s banking partner, billionaire Americo Amorim, would play the key role.
In 2005 Amorim set up a subsidiary, Amorim Energia. He would control it with a 55% stake. The remaining 45%, at least originally, went to Sonangol via a Netherlands holding company called Esperaza Holding B.V. At the end of that year Amorim Energia went shopping, acquiring 33.3% of Galp Energia, Portugal’s former state-owned oil company, for roughly $1 billion, according to press reports. At the end of 2006, according to investigative not-for-profit Global Witness, 40% of Sonangol’s stake in Esperaza ended up with a Swiss company called Exem Holding. No documents could be found that definitively tie Exem Holding to Isabel dos Santos, but her fingerprints are everywhere. Her husband, Sindika Dokolo, was put on the Amorim Energia board at the request of Esperaza, according to Global Witness. And the chairman of Isabel dos Santos’ holding company is also on the boards of Fidequity, a subsidiary of Exem Holding, and entities called Exem Energy and Exem Oil & Gas, according to public filings. Last year Amorim Energia paid $726 million for an additional 5% of Galp. Isabel’s estimated 6.9% stake in Galp is worth a recent $924 million.
Cement: Safeguarding the “Public Interest.” For most of President Dos Santos’ reign there’s only been one cement factory in Angola, owned by a firm called Nova Cimangola. By mid-2004 the government owned 39.8% of it, state-owned oil company Sonangol’s captive bank, BAI, owned 9.5%, and the remaining 49% was owned by Swiss firm Scanang, which was in the process of being taken over by Portuguese cement company Cimpor. The government began demanding a bigger stake, arguing that the factory was a strategic asset for national reconstruction in the aftermath of the war. On Oct. 29, 2006 the president’s Council of Ministers’ Resolution 78/06 approved a $74 million payment to buy out Cimpor, declaring that the expenditure was necessary to safeguard “public interest, to restore the legality and to maintain the shareholding control of Nova Cimangola by national entities, incorporated in Angola.” The $74 million payment, according to an Angolan newspaper, came from BIC, the bank half-owned by Amorim and Isabel dos Santos. The government would now own 89%, while BAI and Angolan individuals would control the remaining 11%.
What followed, however, showed that the larger goal wasn’t to give Angola a larger stake but rather certain Angolans. Prior to the council’s approval a company called Ciminvest was incorporated in Angola. Ciminvest was initially fronted by the president’s former legal counsel, according to the articles of incorporation he signed. At one point Portuguese billionaire Americo Amorim owned an estimated 30% of Ciminvest, but his representative confirms that he transferred his stake in 2009. He would not comment on who took over the stake or what was paid for it. The real owners are now widely understood to be Isabel dos Santos and her husband, though documents detailing ownership are not publicly available. However, Isabel admits on her resume that she chairs the board of Nova Cimangola, which she controls through Ciminvest. Without much ado, at no apparent cost, the company that was presidentially mandated to be controlled by “national entities” had become controlled by Isabel dos Santos.
ISABEL DOS SANTOS’ holdings are more than just squirreled away assets to be unearthed in case of a rainy day. They throw off hefty dividends that allow her to buy yet more assets in businesses seemingly unrelated to the exploitation of Angolan properties, such as her $500 million stake in Portuguese media firm ZON.
Meanwhile, her father has taken steps to legally protect himself from all the plundering. Under Angolan law President Dos Santos’ decision to grant a license to Unitel for the personal benefit of his daughter could be considered an abuse of power. To cover his legal bases, in 1992 the president fiddled with the law to reduce it to two grounds: taking bribes or betraying the country. Technically, he can argue, neither was violated in the case of Unitel.
The larger strategy, though, is to portray Isabel as a hero. In January, after FORBES declared her a billionaire, the Angolan regime’s mouthpiece (and the country’s only daily newspaper), Jornal de Angola , claimed that “while we give our best for Angola without poverty, we are elated with the fact that businesswoman Isabel dos Santos has become a reference in the world of finances. This is good for Angola and it fills Angolans with pride.” Angolans should be mortified, not proud.
Co-author Rafael Marques de Morais is an Angolan investigative journalist based in Luanda. He runs the corruption watchdog website Maka Angola.
At the Hand of Man: Peril and Hope for Africa’s Wildlife
By Raymond Bonner (First Vintage Books Edition 1994)
“Elephant poaching in Africa has reached such alarming proportions that it is feard the elephant may become extinct in the next five years,” the African Wildlife Foundation wrote to its members in 1973: in Kenya alone, the organization said, at least 1,000 elephants were being poached each month. Fifteen years later, AWF would use virtually identical language when it called for a boycott on buying ivory. AWF’s warning in 1973 had had little effect. Between 1973 and 1977, Kenya’s elephant population fell from an estimated 167,000 to 59,000. The pursuit of ivory was not the only cause for the decline—a drought and increasing human population contributed—but it was certainly an important, if not the major, one.
Ivory trading was legal in Kenya, with government permits, but there was not enough legal ivory to supply the demand and between 10,000 and 25,000 elephants were illegally killed each year for their ivory, an official in the Kenya game department, Peter Jarman, concluded in 1973. Corruption was pervasive. In his thirteen-page confidential report, Jarman noted that prominent individuals were involved in the illegal trade, including two assistant ministers responsible for wildlife management. The same year, Ian Parker, a former game warden and active conservationist, was asked to look at the ivory trade by a wealthy businessman, Jack Block, who owned the popular Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, and who was also chairman of the local WWF chapter. Parker discovered that traders arranged with poachers in advance to buy the ivory and that it was not only Kenyan elephants that were being poached; even more of the illegal ivory was coming from elephants killed in Tanzania and the Sudan, then smuggled into Kenya before being shipped on or carved in Kenya for sale to tourists. In a report that Block considered too sensitive to be made public, Parker said that “there are people of great political consequence in Kenya involved in the ivory trade.” (He was careful not to name them.) In 1975, a cabinet minister told the Sunday Times of London that he had been instructed by President Jomo Kenyatta to issue a permit to export fifteen tons of ivory to one of the president’s daughters, Margaret, who was mayor of Nairobi, and a permit for five tons to the foreign minister. The principal ivory trader was Mama Ngina, President Kenyatta’s fourth wife.
Under pressure from the World Bank, which was giving money to Kenya for tourism, Kenya banned all hunting in 1977, and when that didn’t achieve the desired goal of halting the poaching, the next year the government put an end to the sale of any wildlife products, such as zebra skins and impala horns, as well as ivory carvings, which was a blow to many small shopkeepers in Nairobi. Poaching nonetheless continued—there was simply too much money to be made and too much corruption.
The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence
By Martin Meredith (Paperback– September 1, 2011)
In contrast to the socialist programmes fashionable in Africa at the time, Kenyatta adhered to capitalist policies, encouraging both indigenous private enterprise and foreign investment. With government assistance, an expanding African middle class grasped opportunities in the civil service, agriculture, commerce and industry. Senior civil servants were permitted to run their own business ventures. The African share of new companies formed after independence rose from 19 per cent of the total in 1964 to 46 per cent in 1973. Kenyatta’s government was also vigorous in promoting self-help development organizations known as Harambee – a Kiswahili word meaning ‘pull together’ – that were responsible for the construction and operation of schools, health clinics and water provision. ‘God’, Kenyatta liked to remind his audiences, ‘helps those who help themselves.’
With the aid of British funds, the former White Highlands were transferred to African owners, defusing the issue of land hunger that had propelled the Mau Mau rebellion. White farmers were bought out both by smallholders and by other African owners, often members of the Kenyan elite. By 1971 a total of 1.5 million acres had been acquired for settlement schemes involving some 500,000 people; a further 1.6 million acres were sold privately to African owners. BY 1977 only about 5 per cent of the mixed-farm area within the former White Highlands remained in expatriate hands. Africans also gained increasing ownership of corporate ranches and coffee plantations.
The growth of agricultural incomes resulting from these changes was remarkable. Between 1958 and 1968 the gross farm revenues of smallholders grew by 434 per cent. Within a decade of independence the marketed output of Kenya’s smallholder and peasant sector – including cash crops like coffee, tea, pyrethrum and horticultural produce – equaled that of large farms. In the 1970s the annual growth rate of agriculture was 5.4 per cent. The capital, Nairobi, reflected Kenya’s growing prosperity. It flourished as an international business and conference centre, its skyline constantly changing with the construction of new hotels and office blocks. Foreign tourists flocked to the country’s spectacular wildlife parks and coastal resorts, providing a major source of revenue. Overall, the economic record of the Kenyatta years was impressive. Gross domestic product rose on average by 6 per cent a year in the 1960s and by 6.5 per cent in the 1970s. The annual average growth rate of per capita incomes between 1960 and 1979 was 2.7 per cent.
Yet these figures disguised a wide disparity: while the rich got richer, the level of rural poverty increased. Despite the land transfer programme, the problem of land hunger continued. Less than 20 per cent of Kenya’s land was arable, and the large proportion of the population packed into that area grew at one of the fastest rates in the world. In 1962 the population stood at 8 million; by 1978 it had reached 15 million.
Kenyatta’s capitalist strategy aroused fierce dissension within Kenya’s one-party system. A former Mau Mau leader, Bildad Kaggia, attacked the government for allowing land to pass into the hands of individual Africans, some of whom were able to amass considerable landholdings. He warned of the dangers of letting a new class of African landholders replace white settlers while landless Africans were struggling to survive. Instead of compensating white farmers, he wanted their land to be distributed free to the landless and to ex-Mau Mau fighters.
A more general assault on the direction of government policies was made by a prominent Luo politician, Oginga Odinga, whom Kenyatta had appointed vice-president after independence. As well as free distribution of white-owned land, he advocated a programme of nationalization of foreign-owned enterprises and a shift in foreign policy away from Kenya’s close links with Western countries in favor of new ties to the Eastern bloc.
Kenyatta was ruthless in dealing with any challenge to his authority. Once a Moscow-trained revolutionary himself, he accused Odinga’s faction of harbouring communist allegiances. ‘Some people try deliberately to exploit the colonial hangover for their own interest, to serve some external force,’ he said in 1965. ‘To us, communism is as bad as imperialism.’ When Odinga resigned from the government and set up an opposition party with a small core of supporters, the government harassed it at every turn. Kenyatta portrayed the opposition as subversive and ‘tribalistic’. In 1969 Odinga was arrested and his party banned. Once again Kenya became a one-party state.
In the 1970s Kenyatta faced a more formidable critic. A young, ambitious Kikuyu politician, J.M. Kariuki, who had once been detained by British authorities during the Mau Mau era, emerged as a champion of the poor and landless, with a popular following that came close to rivaling Kenyatta’s own. Kariuki’s goal, quite openly, was to inherit the presidency after Kenyatta’s death. He built his popularity with a sustained attack on the scramble for land and wealth that so occupied the Kenyan elite. ‘A stable social order’, he declared, ‘cannot be built on the poverty of millions. Frustrations born of poverty, breed turmoil and violence.’
In truth, Kariuki was not a particularly admirable character. A playboy, an inveterate gambler, he himself owned two farms, a racehorse, a light aircraft and several cars; he also had a reputation for sharp business practices. But he possessed an unerring popular touch and he skillfully exploited the groundswell of discontent that was building up over the greed and corruption clearly evident at the top of Kenyan society.
Kenyatta himself was never a target of such criticism, but members of his own family – ‘the royal family’, as they were known – aroused strong resentment. The focus of attention rested mainly on the activities of two members in particular: his young wife, Ngina – ‘the wife of his old age’ – and his daughter, Margaret, the mayor of Nairobi. Both operated business empires and ruthlessly used their link with Kenyatta for personal gain. Ngina Kenyatta became one of the richest individuals in the country with interests that included plantations, ranches, property and hotels. Both were involved in the ivory trade. During the Kenyatta years, high-level corruption cost Kenya half of its elephant population; at least 70,000 elephants were slaughtered.
In his role as champion of the poor, Kariuki persistently attacked the activities of the elite. He called for ‘a complete overhaul of the existing social, economic and political systems in Kenya,’ claiming that ‘a small but powerful group of greedy, self-seeking elite in the form of politicians, civil servants and businessmen has steadily but very surely monopolized the fruits if independence to the exclusion of the majority of our people.’ He never mentioned names, but no one was left in any doubt to whom he was referring when he said, ‘We do not want a Kenya of ten millionaires and ten million beggars.’ Kariuki also dwelt proactively on the issues over which the Mau Mau rebellion had been fought, a topic that in public was virtually forbidden. ‘Our people who died in the forests died with a handful of soil in their right hands, believing that they had falling in a noble struggle to regain our land … [but] … we are being carried away by selfishness and greed.’ The end result, he warned, would be violence. ‘Unless something is done, the land question will be answered by bloodshed.’
To the ruling elite, Kariuki represented a clear threat. In March 1975 he was murdered, his body dumped at the foot of the Ngong Hills outside Nairobi. Subsequent investigations implicated members of Kenyatta’s inner circle.
In his last years, Kenyatta showed less and less interest in the business of government. Much of his time he spent pottering about his two farms, either at Gatundu or at Rongai in the Rift Valley. In private his thoughts turned to religion; he was given to lecturing visitors on the finer points of theology. And he liked to recall the past – the dour Scottish missionaries who so influenced his childhood. His favorite relaxation, though, was to construct complex riddles – the peculiar delight of the Kikuyu people – in the company of his brother-in-law Mbiyu Koinange. Then at times he would feel lonely and complain with emotion of old friends deserting him. The morning was his best time. He would rise at dawn and occasionally place an early telephone call to his ministers. In the evening he still enjoyed watching tribal dancers. He would retire to bed early, sometimes dropping asleep in the front of the television news. His aides would creep in to switch off the set. He died in August 1978.
Kenyans must stand up and Resist Kikuyu /Kamatusa Slaverly(Impunity Gegemony &Chauvinsm!Uhuru Kenyatta& William Ruto should not be allowed to kill democracy/Devolution & The new Constitution :Both should be stopped by any means>
H.E. Mr. Liu Jieyi President of the Security Council 3 November 2013 Nairobi, Kenya Dear Mr.
President I attach a letter expressing the opposition of the victims in the Kenyatta case at the International Criminal Court to any resolution by the Security Council to suspend the prosecution of that case.
On behalf of those victims, I would be grateful if you could bring this letter urgently to the attention of the members of the Security Council. Please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Fergal Gaynor Legal Representative of Victims The Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, International Criminal Court
Bensounda ICC-OTP) is not only squeezing Uhuru Kenyatta’s Testicles but his Boo too!
Umbaya Ya Huyu Mwanamke akiishashika makende wala boo Hawashilii! Yeye Huikaza kweli kweli au kabisa kabisa!
A sad but no doubt true reflection on man’s inhumanity. It is generally accepted that Jomo Kenyatta’s wife, Mama Ngina, ran the ivory, rhino horn and charcoal trade out of Mombasa to the Gulf, using dhows as transport, in the late 60s & early 70s, at least up until the time I left Kenya and moved to Canada. It is also known that the French supplied large armed gangs of poachers to kill northern white rhino (and no doubt any black ones they found) about 100 years ago in Sudan and northern neaighbours. No wonder the northern white rhino is now down to a tiny remnant population in captivity.
Cankers within the State – Poaching and Growing Corruption
Kenya was now a place of increasing corruption and inequality. Civil servants enthusiastically exploited the opportunity that the (Duncan) Ndegwa Report had given them to engage in business. The Kikuyu-dominated wabenzi (Mercedes-Benz people) prospered, protected by the state and unrestrained by Parliament. The ‘action’ was now in resource extraction: poaching, charcoal and mining.
The 1970s were the worst period of poaching in Kenya’s history. With the support of senior government figures, Kenya’s abundant wildlife was slaughtered for the export of ivory and skins to the Middle and Far East. In mid-1973, at least 500 elephants were killed legally each month. However, receipts in destinations such as Hong Kong suggested that at least 345 tonnes of ivory had been exported from Kenya in 1973, indicated the death of at least 15,000 elephants in a year, three times the official number. There were wide discrepancies between estimates of the number of elephants left, from 150,000 to only 40,000. Ten thousand rhinos were killed during 1973–9, 80 per cent of the remaining population.
Sport hunting was still legal, but in 1973, Chief Game Warden John Mutinda finally withdrew all elephant-hunting licences. Western concern over poaching was rising, with television reports and articles devoted to Kenya’s problem and its causes in state corruption. There were high-profile arrests, including a Somali picked up with the tusks of 525 elephants in his baggage en route to Hong Kong. Eventually, Tourism Minister Juxon Shako had banned ivory export by anyone except the government in August 1974. However, exports continued.
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).
However, dealers could buy both police inaction and the needed documentation, of which there was an inexhaustible supply. The monkey skin owners were acquitted after they produced ‘valid’ permits. It was widely believed that much of the poaching that decimated the elephant and rhino populations was organised and carried out by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife. An expatriate official identified both assistant ministers – one being J. M. Kariuki – as buying ivory direct from game department headquarters for export.
There were later suggestions that officials, police sharpshooters and the Kenyatta family were involved in a vertically integrated poaching cartel. A Samburu MP alleged in Parliament that there were in fact very few poachers outside the ministry. In 1976, Parliament established a Select Committee to probe malpractices at the ministry, but nothing came of it in the face of state obstruction. In May 1977, all sport hunting was banned. However, the loss of hunting revenue further damaged the ability of the ministry to combat poaching.
Bizarrely, Mau Mau veterans, denied most forms of recompense for their losses, had been allowed to poach since the 1960s, through the issue of ‘collectors’ permits’, which allowed them to carry as much ivory as they wished, under the polite fiction that it was of Mau Mau vintage. These permits were finally cancelled in 1977 under pressure from environmentalists.
In the same year the African elephant was listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Destruction of Kenya’s tree cover, soil erosion and changing rainfall patterns also became public issues. The felling of trees for land settlement and the production of charcoal were particular problems. Charcoal was now worth K£1,000 per tonne in the Middle East, and 80,000 tonnes a year was exported by 1975. Eventually, after dockworkers refused to load more ships, the government was forced to introduce a total ban on charcoal exports, to replace the partial ban in force (which meant that only senior figures such as PCs could carry out the trade).
Kenyatta’s fading grip made corruption both easier and safer. Civil servants’ freedom to conduct business allowed officials to reward themselves and to misuse state resources for private gain. Bribery was now required to obtain most licences, permits or quotas, particularly for foreigners. By 1975, the government itself was inveighing against the collapse in civil service mores.
The Ndegwa Report was widely blamed: Overnight, Government offices became ‘official’ quarters for commercial transactions and heavy private deals. Government vehicles became means of private interests. Government ‘stamps’ and licenses became commercialised…Massive corruption had finally crept with devastating impact into one of the most prestigious of Civil Services in Africa. Parastatals were particularly prone to abuse, especially the East African Community’s organisations, as the victim was remote.
For different reasons, the big urban councils were even more corrupt and incompetent than central government, since they were less internationally visible and accounting standards were lower; Mombasa Municipal Council was dissolved in 1977, while in the same year the first probes began into Nairobi City Council’s procurement practices. Land grabbing – the process of selling or giving state land to private individuals, to develop or sell – was becoming more common, though it was less politically charged than it was to become under Moi, when the supply of undeveloped land had run out.
When Kenyatta’s nephew Muigai married Isaiah Mathenge’s daughter in 1976, for example, Kenyatta’s wedding present was a large tract of government land. Such technically legal processes were supplemented illegally in most local lands offices, as cartels stole land, destroyed and forged documents, and sold the resulting plots on to others. In August 1975, the British Sunday Times ran a series of exposés of the avarice of the Kenyatta family. It detailed how the family had forced the sale of the Inchcape trading group (which included the Ford vehicle franchise) to a consortium including Udi Gecaga, Muigai and Kenyatta’s son Peter Muigai Kenyatta, the price to be paid in instalments out of profits.
The article included an excellent display of the Kenyatta family, and further exposed the family’s involvement in ivory exports, and the impossibility of collecting debts owed by the ‘royal family’, as they were now known. It also detailed how Kenyatta personally approved the purchase of large farms by his family, exempting them from review by land control boards. It listed the vast farms the family had acquired in the Rift Valley, including six farms owned by Kenyatta himself, a 26,000-acre farm owned by Mama Ngina in Kiambu, and her farm in Rongai next to Kenyatta’s own.
The Sunday Times described how Mama Ngina had been buying land on the coast that was used to build two hotels, while Kenyatta himself built Leopard Beach Hotel, which was registered in a Swiss company’s name. It revealed that in 1972, Mombasa Municipal Council had waived all rates on properties owned by the president and his family, and had listed 11 more properties in the area. The paper also described how the family operated through overseas frontmen such as George Criticos and Asian lawyers and accountants. The international casinos were also of interest. In 1967, a company for Italian investors linked to the Mafia had established the Nairobi International Casino, with Fred Kubai and later Peter Muigai Kenyatta and James Gichuru as shareholders. In 1973, it faced competition from another casino on the outskirts of Nairobi. The Sunday Times revealed that while Kenyatta’s name did not appear on the registration papers, he owned the site and the building, and received a third of its profits.
Kenyatta’s niece Beth Mugo, meanwhile, had become involved in the gemstone business, and had obtained the right to sell gems to foreigners at Nairobi airport. Just as the Kenyatta family was becoming rich, so those close to Mzee also demonstrated their power. The Sunday Times named Coast PC Mahihu as owningthe Bahari Beach Hotel and Rift Valley PC Mathenge as owning the Coral Beach Hotel. Eliud Wamae part-owned the Kenya Beach and the Ngong Hills hotels. John Michuki and Mugo, meanwhile, were involved with a German hotel group.
The backbench put up a determined but futile fight against this trend. In May 1975, in its post-Kariuki murder peak of independence, the Assembly defeated government opposition to establish a third anti-corruption Select Committee; Martin Shikuku became its chairman, and for the first time in Kenya’s history, all its members – including minister Omolo-Okero – declared their wealth. However, the government soon undermined it, and on 24 June, Parliament killed the committee it had established only weeks before. Parliament could no more control the elite’s depredations than could the government itself.
The Public Accounts Committee continued to castigate ministries for overspending against budgets, with the figure rising to US$13 million in 1974–5. Ministries were criticised for failing to recover loans, bypassing tender procedures, misusing grants, uneconomic investments and poor accounting. Although lip service was paid to efficiency, the political will for root and branch reform was missing. The churches too complained at the growing ‘get rich quick’ culture and the damaging effects of corruption and nepotism, but the elite were beyond moral censure. Patronage and nepotism were increasingly the way business was done. If you did not know someone, then business would be very difficult. It was common for politicians to ensure that allies, friends, relatives and people from the same ethnic group and sub-group as themselves received jobs or contracts, which would provide them with income and in turn buttress the politician’s career.
Indeed, it was almost essential that this happened: if everyone else was doing the same thing, failing to do so would disadvantage your community and weaken your finances and electoral viability. Ministers also prioritised government projects to assist their own constituencies or districts. It was common for water projects to be sited in the constituency of the water minister, roads in the district of the public works minister and so on. Kenyatta permitted this, as it stabilised and channelled conflict and patronage, and left him and the central bureaucracy as arbiters of who would gain and lose.
Brookside closes Sh1.1bn Buzeki takeover deal
By BY DAVID HERBLING AND GERALD ANDAE
Posted Monday, November 4 2013 at 21:23
Milk processor Brookside Dairies has completed the acquisition of Buzeki Dairy — the maker of Molo Milk and Kilifi Gold — in a deal that consolidates its grip on Kenya’s formal milk market.
People familiar with the deal said it was priced at Sh1.1 billion and has since received the approval from the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), the market regulator.
The acquisition pushes the Ruiru-based Brookside’s market share up to 44 per cent and cements the company’s market leadership position.
Buzeki’s is fourth in a series of takeovers that Brookside has completed in the past six years starting with Ilara in 2007, Delamere and SpinKnit (makers of Tuzo milk brand). Brookside, which is owned by President Kenyatta’s family, has recently cast its eyes beyond the Kenyan borders with the announcement in September of plans to acquire a 20 per cent stake in Ethiopia’s Elemtu Dairy.
The Kenyan firm is also said to be eyeing the Nigerian market where it plans to set up a milk processing plant next year.
The buyout raises Brookside’s installed milk processing capacity by a third to one million litres per day from the current 750,000 litres daily, firming its stranglehold on the dairy market.
“In the next few days, we expect an increase in our daily milk intake with the acquisition of Buzeki,” said John Gethi, the general manager of Brookside in a telephone interview with Business Daily from Marakwet County where he was launching a new milk cooling plant.
The CAK approved the takeover last Thursday, saying Brookside was yet to reach a dominant position in the dairy sector and that informal players account for 88.8 per cent of the milk market.
“The informal sector offers a competitive push to the milk processors making it impossible to dictate prices,” said Wang’ombe Kariuki, director-general of CAK.
“Most processors are county monopolies so there is need to have nationwide players to enhance competition.”
Brookside’s bid to acquire Buzeki has been in the news since June this year but it was only yesterday that Kiprotich Bundotich, the brain behind Buzeki, admitted that he had sold his firm.
“I want to give full attention to my logistics firm in the coming years. I intend to double the number of trucks that I am operating now; that’s why I bowed out of the milk industry,” said Mr Bundotich.
Asked whether he was still a shareholder, he said that the number of shares he currently holds at Buzeki are ‘negligible,’ meaning Brookside has acquired a controlling interest in the dairy firm.
Mr Bundotich turned to Brookside after an earlier deal to sell a 40 per cent stake of Buzeki to the county governments of Nakuru, Baringo, Uasin Gishu, Keiyo Marakwet and Trans Nzoia at Sh500 million collapsed.
Under the proposed sale agreement, each of the counties was to contribute Sh100 million for an eight per cent shareholding, valuing Buzeki Dairy at Sh1.25 billion.
Brookside, founded in 1993, is run by President Kenyatta’s younger brother Muhoho and has operations Uganda and Tanzania.
The company exports its products to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the Middle East.
Buzeki Dairy, established in 2008, has two milk processing plants; one in Kilifi — which produces Kilifi Gold Milk — and another in Mau Summit where it makes Molo Milk. Buzeki Enterprises started off in 2000 as a transport and logistics company and currently owns about 100 trucks.
It was Spin Knit’s sole milk distributor in the coastal region before Mr Bundotich diversified into dairy processing after Brookside acquired his major supplier. Buzeki was previously ranked Kenya’s fourth largest dairy processor with seven per cent of the processed milk market.
Molo Milk is Kenya’s most preferred milk brand according to a Consumer Insight survey in 2012, making it a prime target for Brookside.
It was followed by Tuzo, Ilara and Brookside Milk brands — a pointer to the fact that the acquisition of Buzeki’s two brands are key to solidifying the Ruiru-based company’s market leadership. The Buzeki deal means Brookside has more than doubled its lead against closest rival New KCC, which commands 20.8 per cent of the processed milk market.
Githunguri Dairy Farmers Co-operative, producers of Fresha brand, is ranked third with 17 per cent followed by Sameer — producers of Daima Milk — with six per cent.
The competition watchdog said the growth of Sameer’s Daima brand, which entered the market in 2011, is evidence that there is room for new players and that Kenya’s dairy market has opportunities for growth.
Statistics from the Kenya Dairy Board show that of the 4.1 billion litres of milk produced in Kenya last year, about half or two billion litres was consumed at the household level.
Dairy firms processed 495.2 million litres of milk last year, giving processors 12 per cent of Kenya’s total milk market. This means that informal players such as hawkers, milk cafes and dairy farmers — who directly sell their produce to schools, hotels and restaurants —control 88 per cent of the market.
The Buzeki deal gives Brookside a geographical advantage over its competitors as it will now exploit former’s milk collection centres, cooling plants, processing facilities and distribution channels to grow its market share.
Brookside has a network of milk collection and cooling centres in Eldoret, Kiganjo, Eldama Ravine, Ol Kalou, North Kinangop and Nyeri.
The company has three milk processing plants in Ruiru, Eldoret and Kiganjo.
add to the mix reported used of fake notes by the elite of jubilee aka uhuruto coalition,rampant poaching,sugar smuggling,poaching,use of counterfeit drugs,medicines and goods you can see the direction jubilee is taking kenya,state induced violence ,insecurity,exaggerated claims of terrorism threat in kenya,repeated attempts to break east africa community,aggressive shuning of western countries,use of official corruption in government and jubilee diplomancy,obsession with icc,,idle and useless parliament,compromised judiciary and very ethniced security forces and civil service compromising and muzzling media in kenya all this are potent ingredients to make kenya a laughing stock in the eyes of civilised world but does jubilee care
Take these dead bodies to State-House and let uhuru feed on their meat !Untill Jinga Wakenya wakes up deadly road accidents will never cease ! The Kikuyu /Kamatua shit -pit latrin govt is sacrificing innocent kenyans daily >Compare Liberian President has banned motorists hence killings Why has (Monkey /Chimp Uhuru govt is not doing like Liberian woman President?>
A NATION IN NEED OF CHANGE
By Michael Mundia Kamau
The apparent furore that has been created by the recently released
recommendations on constitutional review by the Raila Odinga led
parliamentary select committee, is merely a theatric display of hypocrisy
and ineptitude. Given the nature of politics in Kenya over the last 37
years, no one can seriously claim that they expected anything the least
different from what was tabled by Raila Odinga’s committee. No one can
further claim that they seriously expected anything productive to come out
of the ill-conceived Unfungamano House initiative and/or the ongoing empty
display of bravado and defiance by it’s conveners. Not many people however
are paying much attention to the games that the elite in Kenya are engaged
in, because the majority of us are preoccupied with personal survival,
having lost almost all hope in the system and our leaders. For instance, the
recent announcement by Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), that it had made a two
billion shilling loss in 1999, passed unnoticed: this is an example of the
glaring apathy in this country.
If there was any goodwill in this country then we would be addressing such
crucial issues as the deplorable performance of Kenya Commercial Bank,
poverty, unemployment, job creation, road carnage, crime, insecurity, and
disease, instead of making misplaced calls for mass action. Living standards
in this country have sunk to levels where deaths and disabilities continue
to be caused on our roads with reckless abandon, where Kenyans continue to
abuse local beverages despite the lethal repercussions, and where we have
taken to relieving ourselves everywhere and anywhere in what are referred to
as “flying toilets”. We surely do not expect to solve these and numerous
other problems by reviewing our constitution. Indeed the problems in this
country are much deeper than many of us are aware. One only need recall the
flare up that emerged out of the ownership dispute of Nairobi’s Soweto plot
two years ago. One of the combatants was hacked, doused in paraffin and set
ablaze in full view of television cameras and the press at large: the
paraffin was administered by a woman. This is an example of how little we
care anymore. Much further back in time but no less unsettling are the
events of August 1st 1982, 18 years ago, during the abortive coup. The
widespread mayhem and looting that took place in those few hours are a clear
indication of disenchantment. That was 18 years ago in which time our
situation has grown much worse. The level of poverty and disenchantment is
what should be causing us concern and where we should be directing our
The challenge for us is to exercise a lot more diligence, responsibility and
ambition in the manner in which we conduct our affairs. For many years now
we have been waiting for our leaders to bring about desired change to no
avail. We waited for Jomo Kenyatta to dismantle the colonial structure but
he merely re-invented it. We waited for Daniel arap Moi to do the same but
he went ahead and did precisely what Kenyatta did. No other event or
personality has dominated public life in this country more than the duo of
Jomo Kenyatta and his successor, Daniel arap Moi. It’s no wonder that the
two remain comrades, friends and political soul mates as much in death as in
life. Notice that the only person that Daniel arap Moi seeks to give his
personal greetings during National days is Kenyatta’s widow, Mama Ngina
Kenyatta. This speaks volumes of the relationship between the two in life as
In the years that we have been waiting Nelson Mandela was released from
prison and became president of a new South Africa, something many of us
thought impossible. In the years that we have been waiting, the formidable
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R), broke apart, something many
of us thought was impossible. In the years that we have been waiting, the
Berlin wall came down, something many of us thought was impossible. Why is
it therefore that time has stood still in Kenya? What is so difficult in
implementing structures that will bring about real change in Kenya? What is
so difficult in accomplishing what others have accomplished?
We have distinguished ourselves as such conformists to mediocrity and
absurdity in a world that is drastically changing, holding on to the empty
romanticism of the Kenya colony. This applies to all Kenyans, white or
black. True, whites and Asians in Kenya are still affluent and in every way
live the good life engaging in such activities as deep sea fishing,
rallying, motor-cross and horseracing, but that’s as far as it goes. Our
impact on a global scale is however marginal. Ours is a Nation that starts
and ends within our borders. We should seek to emulate the South Africans
for instance, who have produced the world class Springboks, and world class
golfer Ernie Els. India also has the distinction of having produced Sabeer
Bhatia, co-founder of reputable internet company, Hotmail, which has 65
million users worldwide, I being one of them. Anil Singh, another Asian, is
also a key figure in another very reputable internet company, Yahoo. We can
only expect to come to terms with our predicament by coming out of our
cocoons. For instance, there were demonstrations revolving around
homosexuality in Robert Mugabe’s troubled Zimbabwe last year. There was a
photograph of a white policeman and a white policewoman apprehending one of
the demonstrators, regular cops on the beat, nineteen years after Zimbabwe
attained independence, and something unheard of in Kenya. Zimbabwe is once
again engulfed in another controversy, though much more archaic, barbaric,
and brutal. Robert Mugabe has set a very dangerous precedent, because when a
Ndebele becomes the president of Zimbabwe, Robet Mugabe’s Shona tribesmen
will face the same terror currently being meted out on white farmers in
In the same token, it was also gratifying to note the multi-racial
composition of demonstrators against Thabo Mbeki’s wage increment in South
Africa last year. Teachers of different colour marched and chanted alongside
each other. In Kenya, the demonstrators would have been all black. There are
three distinct Kenya’s but this forms only part of our problems.
Many Kenyans are semi-literate and impoverished, both in economic and
intellectual terms. This applies to both the educated and uneducated. The
mentality is the same and this is the reason we have such rabid disrespect
for one another. We see ourselves as going through life engaged in one
career or another, with the firm expectation that we shall retire and be
buried in our rural homes. This is a mentality that has held for far too
long and it is a big cause for our being left behind in global matters. Even
those with properties in towns would rather that they managed them from the
distance of their rural homes, however inappropriate. This has resulted in a
deplorable rate and state of development, and one in which we seem
determined to stay. There are many neighbour-hoods in Kenya today where
people turn in for the night with basins, because one dare not venture out
at night to answer a call of nature because of prowling thugs. This is not a
life. In the major towns of Kenya one notices women tightly clutching their
handbags while walking on the streets. This is not a life.
Almost all Kenyans are living lives of terror, misery, despair and
insecurity. Law and order has broken down, and a total breakdown is
imminent. The likelihood of the despair and terror that obtained in Idi
Amin’s Uganda, Jean Bedel Bokassa’s Central African Republic, Samuel Doe’s
Liberia, and Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire, are fast becoming a reality in Kenya.
We mused at Idi Amin’s Uganda and made a fortune from their coffee through
smuggling at Chepkube; we ridiculed Julius Nyerere’s Tanzania, making fun of
Ujamaa’s inability to cater for the basic provisions many Kenyans took for
granted. Our turn to be ridiculed and taken advantage of has come.
The fact that many Kenyans are bitter and have reason to be, cannot be in
dispute. Take for instance the signature tune played by the Kenya
Broadcasting Corporation for several years aimed at motivating the youth to
take education seriously. The tune as many of us remember, partly went,
“Someni vijana, mwisho wa kusoma, muta pata kazi mzuri sana” ( kiswahili for
“Study hard, at the end of which you shall secure a good job” ). What could
be further from the truth in Kenya today ? The system has lied to many and
is callously turning it’s back on those it has lied to. To add insult to
injury, those who didn’t study as hard, or who didn’t attain as much, are in
charge of the system, and relishing every moment of it. Much as I don’t
support this state of affairs, it should have dawned on us by now that it
takes more than just qualifications to build a Nation, the same way it
should have dawned on us by now that it takes more than just independence to
put us at par with whites. The legendary Bill Gates for instance, does not
have a university degree. What the occident and orient has behind them is
years of persistent hard work dating back to people like Leonardo da Vinci,
Galileo, Isaac Newton, Genghis Khan, William Shakespeare, Vasco da Gama,
Christopher Columbus, Julius Ceaser, Alexander the great, James Cook,
Beethoven, Bach, and Michelangelo amongst others. Their systems have been
developed over centuries of persistent hard work. To now regard ourselves as
equals because we have a grasp of their systems is folly of gigantic
proportions. We are not equal. The occident and orient have a crucial
head-start of numerous years and it is for us to close the gap by also
putting in a tremendous amount of hard work, utilising the knowledge that
has been imparted on us, as once said by Kenya’s Tom Mboya. We do not need
to be number one. We however need a placing of self worth, a placing of
dignity, a placing of economic, social, political, and intellectual
This is not to say that Africans lack a heritage and have never had worthy
leaders or a worthy vision. South Africa’s Shaka, West Africa’s Samore
Toure, and East Africa’s Koitalel arap Samoei (the Orkoiyot), are among
Africa’s great sons, bastions of vision and intellect. The epic Ngoni
migration also took place in Africa. Our heritage is rich but we don’t have
much to show for it which is why we are still regarded as second class
citizens the world over. We must not lose our identity, but should take
deliberate steps to emulate features that have built the occident and
orient. It is very admirable for instance and especially so amongst
Anglo-Saxons, to read with such clarity about an event that took place on
15th April 1593 or about an event that took place in June of 453 B.C. Even
more significant is the fact that the majority of Kenyans are Christians and
use the Holy Bible as a reference and source of teachings. The Holy Bible in
it’s untampered is the history of mankind and we can therefore in no way
Many leaders in Kenya are making reckless calls for mass action and/or
federalism (majimbosim), without the slightest inkling of the bitterness and
resentment on the ground, and glaringly ignorant of the fact that they shall
be the first victims of revolution. As mentioned above, the majority of
Kenyans are semi-literate and impoverished. A revolution in this country,
which is imminent, will thus not be based on ideology, but will be a
passionate, bloody and gory affair of revenge and acquisition by the masses.
We don’t know better and have not taught ourselves better. The Kenyan
struggle, as were the French and Russian revolutions, is based on class and
goes beyond just a tribal struggle for domination. As also mentioned above,
many of us have rural mentalities, regardless of schooling or exposure.
Foreigners, who in this case will be anyone who does not belong to a
particular tribe or clan, will be expelled from a region so that it is
solely occupied and administered by a particular tribe. The criterion of
determining what in Kenya belongs to who will be a point of further
contention, and a cause of further bloodletting. This alone makes one see
the folly of Robert Mugabe’s actions in Zimbabwe.
Those in Kenya therefore calling for mass action and majimboism will get it
but not in the way they had anticipated. Revolutions of this kind are not to
be desired. A close study of the French revolution reveals high levels of
treachery, betrayal, deceit, and greed in which the ideals of the revolution
were lost, and in which the result was a re-enactment of the old order as
depicted in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. The revolution that we should
desire and work towards is an intellectual revolution, where we revamp our
way of thinking.
Much of what we are encountering in Kenya today, has to do with the politics
of repression practised so assiduously by Kenya’s first president Mzee Jomo
Kenyatta and his successor, Daniel arap Moi. The two men are replicas of
each other. Indeed a study of Jomo Kenyatta is a study of Daniel arap Moi
and vice versa. For instance, Mzee Kenyatta appointed the youthful Dr.
Zachary Onyonka to his cabinet at the tender age of 27 years to ensure
unswerving loyalty, which is the same thing Daniel arap Moi did when
appointing the youthful Musalia Mudavadi to his cabinet at the tender age of
28 years. Machiavellian dictates have been applied by the regimes of both
men to perfection. With Daniel arap Moi however, it goes beyond politics and
President Moi has never forgiven Kenyans for not according him the same kind
of recognition, honour and acceptance that we did Jomo Kenyatta. Having
closely worked with Kenyatta and having learned from him, he is fully aware
that Kenyatta was not the saint that many people see Kenyatta as having
been. To this day many people see Kenyatta as a visionary who would have led
this country to great heights had he lived. Many see Kenyatta as a hero
whose only crime was to allow Daniel arap Moi’s ascent to the presidency.
The fact of the matter is that had Kenyatta been alive today and been
president, this country would be in the same state that it is today, if not
worse, and this is something that Daniel arap Moi is fully aware of. To
this day people regard the power behind the throne as the feared Nicholas
Biwott. In earlier years it was Charles Njonjo. Daniel arap Moi is rarely
given credit for his actions and this is something that he is very bitter
about. During the Nairobi International Show in 1994 he let out part of his
feelings when he stated in kiswahili that “Kenyatta ali kuwa aki nituma hapa
na pale, na nilikuwa nikienda sababu Kenyatta alikuwa Mwongozi” ( “Kenyatta
used to send me up and about, and I obliged because he was the leader”).
This is something he has not quite gotten in his 22 year presidency and
something that he is not pleased about. Kenyans still treat him with disdain
and ridicule, waiting “for the cloud to pass”.
Daniel arap Moi is by all means the personification of a ruthless dictator,
but he is also shrewd and pragmatic. He has a firm grasp of world affairs
and is a master in the “Big Boys” games of world politics. It is for this
reason that he has systematically conceded to Western demands for reform in
Kenya over the last nine years, albeit reluctantly. Ten years ago for that
matter, this very writing would have been considered a seditious publication
and would have made me a guest of the dreaded Special Branch for the
notorious “assisting police with investigations”. Nowadays, even the
moderately radical publications may consider it too mild for publication.
However any perceived threat to Moi’s regime is dealt with swiftly. When in
1998 the Nation Media Group acquired the East African Television Network
(EATN), it was the Minister for Information himself who cancelled the EATN
broadcast frequencies, citing all manner of reasons.
Daniel arap Moi has succeeded where numerous others have failed, and for
this reason he has won the respect and admiration of many worldwide. The
Black Caucus in America recently hailed him as “a great African leader”
while Bill Clinton further hailed him as an “authority on African affairs”,
adding to his prestige by stating that he might soon visit Kenya. Men with
more education and greater resources than himself such as Dr. Kamuzu Banda,
Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, and Mobutu Sese Seko, have been deposed but he still
reigns supreme. Right here in Kenya for that matter, he outwitted a retinue
of powerful and wealthy individuals to become and remain the president of
Kenya. All the odds were against him : he was from a small tribe regarded as
backward, his education was basic, he had no clout, and by the standards of
the Kiambu Mafia, he was an extremely poor man.
Despite all this, Kenyans still treat Moi as a menial figure. Even his own
Kalenjin community treat him with disdain, with little support forthcoming
from these quarters. He could quite easily reverse the economic recession
that has characterised this Nation for many years now, but he wants to teach
us a lesson that we shall not forget. He wants us to bring us to our knees
so that we will acknowledge, either publicly or privately, who the leader in
this country is, who the real power in this country is, indeed who Daniel
Toroitich arap Moi is. This forms another portion of our problems.
The youth are a barometer of a Nation’s future and right now Kenyan youth
are a diverse mixture of brilliance and absurdity. In the first instance is
the category that has high flyers who attain top grades in high school and
join internationally renowned institutions such as Harvard University,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Cambridge University. On
graduation, such individuals secure employment with equally reputable
organisations such as Microsoft, IBM, Coca-Cola, Chicago Memorial Hospital,
Chrysler Daimler, Philips, Merrill Lynch, Sony and Yahoo. Below this
category are equally brilliant individuals who attend either local or
foreign colleges and who end up working for leading locally owned companies
or locally based Multi-Nationals. This category also consists of a growing
crop of individuals who are acquiring the prestigious Certified Public
Accountancy qualification ( the UK’s equivalent of ACCA), while still at the
University and at the tender ages of 21, 22, 23, and 24. Some actually end
up acquiring doctorate degrees at the age of 27. Young upcoming
entrepreneurs with innovative ideas also characterise this category.
The third category consists of individuals who are in and out of work, who
have skills, but whose future is not that clearly defined. These are
individuals who are holding on and buying the most time that they can,
“survivors”, as it were. This category consists of a substantial number of
Kenyans both at home and in the Diaspora, and it is where I personally place
myself. In this category can also be found professionals such as doctors,
lawyers and engineers, who supplement their income by selling stationery,
second hand clothes and by offering bureau services such as the sending and
receiving of E-mail.
The fourth category and which is the one that is of concern, is the category
that has in a sense given up on life and do anything and everything, legal
or illegal, to make a shilling which anyway ends up being wasted on alcohol
or drugs. These form the idlers in our towns, centres and estates across the
country. The barometer is therefore in a state of disrepair.
The future of this country is in a precarious balance. There is little
consolation in the anticipated resumption of donor funding because our
mentality has not changed. The problems in this country go beyond government
and are about a people with no direction and no will to change. Time has
stood still in Kenya. It must be re-stated that the problems in this country
are much deeper than we know and the sooner we come to terms with this the
better. Future generations of Kenyans will indeed judge us very harshly.
The road to recovery is going to be a slow painful process and entire
generations will spend their lives in the recovery process. What we done to
this country and continue to do with it, is unforgivable. We must however
move on. If we don’t change now, then we never will. That’s just how serious
our predicament is
Michael Mundia Kamau, Nairobi, Kenya
Transmitted: 13 May 2000
Date Uploaded 1/23/2008
Copyright Africa Economic Analysis 2005
Kenyan Photo journalist BONIFACE MWANGI Attacks President UHURU Calling Him Commander In Thief
2013-10-25: Thursday night the week’s final episode of Jeff Koinange Live was literally set on fire and even his calls on recce squad to storm in couldn’t help consume the fire.
Boniface tore into Jubilee government calling them lot of thieves,he particularly took the president by his horns.
Below is an excerpt of what he told the nation while tearing apart the president.
Uhuru is only rich just because his father stole, grabed and killed.
Mama Ngina is one of the richest woman in Africa but she never worked hard for her wealth, it was aquired to her threw the theft of her late husband.
Uhuru should go to Hague the more he avoids it the more he is showing the world that he is guilty.
Uhuru is not working to build Kenya he is just fighting for ICC and thats why Kenya is collapsing.
Uhuru is the commander in thief leading the looting KDF at Westgate.
He called out on Denis Itumbi -you are in charge of digital propaganda,parroting the president’s agenda and demonising his critics.
He was shockingly fearless as he took on the country’s boss,at a point he said the probabilities of him getting shot because of his take on the president are high but he doesn’t care and will continue criticising the president and standing for human rights.
We need only their sizes!what type of ointment they use!Cocoa butter ,Vaseline,lapoil,or olive oil to facilitate entering!measurement would be in diff equipments /measurementa!
Fantastic. Thanks to humanity !Note Prostitution and Homo has been there ever since creation!African dictators are savages, barbarians ,Tyranny and equal to wild beasts!
Look How Jomo Kenyatta Regime introduced marginalization of NFD parts of Kenya The Whole Of Kenyas Northern Parts of the Country is a hell on earth , cance ,polio , Leprosy, etc is killings millions of Kenyas neglected communities by their colonizers from Nairobi>
This Muthama Hon. Mkamba tribe has refused (& resisted ) to boot-lick Uhuru Kenyatta’s butts!Yaani Muheshimiwa Muthama Amekataa Kuramba-Ramba Matako Ya Uhuru Kenyatta>
And his body-guards were withdrawn imedietely!
Thursday 2 January 2014
Elephant Appeal: Few are willing to say just how bad the poaching crisis is
The elephant population may easily fall into terminal decline
A pilot making a pass over Tsavo East national park early last year spotted elephants in distress. Flying in to take a closer look, he saw a group of dead elephants, their tusks hacked off, and the survivors moving among them, crazed with grief. The 11 animals killed were the victims of an armed gang of Somali poachers in what was the worst poaching incident in Kenya last year.
The slaughter was chillingly reminiscent of Tsavo’s killing fields in the 1970s and 1980s when poachers and drought wiped out more than 80 per cent of elephants in the area, home to the country’s largest elephant population.
Against the odds, Tsavo’s elephant herds did partially recover. But once again they are facing a threat to their survival from poachers lured by the fortunes to be made in ivory sales. Armed with automatic weapons and sophisticated tracking equipment, the poachers are deadlier and better organised than before.
Not for 30 years, warn conservationists, has the situation appeared as dire as it is now. “Poaching is out of control,” said Dame Daphne Sheldrick, a Kenyan conservationist who set up the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in memory of her late husband. “The price ivory fetches today is higher than ever before, the temptations more than ever, and of course the demand from the Far East and particularly China also more than ever before.”
It is yet another blow to the park that was once Kenya’s most celebrated bit of African bush. It was here that the infamous man-eating lions of Tsavo casually picked off Indian workers as the British forged their controversial railway, dubbed the Lunatic Express, across the virgin landscape towards Uganda. The lions finally met their match in J H Patterson, a British colonel whose famed account, Man-Eaters of Tsavo, inspired Theodore Roosevelt to mount his extraordinary hunting expedition across the African continent that killed or trapped 11,400 animals.
But despite its exalted history, Tsavo would later became a byword for the slaughter that devastated Kenya’s wildlife.Tourists began to drop away, eschewing the depleted Tsavo for the teeming reserves of the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti. Tsavo had 35,000 elephants in the late 1960s, but by the late 1980s, elephants numbered just 6,500, an 80 per cent fall.
Tsavo had come to epitomise official ambivalence and corruption that had allowed the destruction of its greatest asset. Indeed, Mama Ngina, wife of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, and mother of its serving one, Uhuru Kenyatta, was believed to be heavily implicated in the ivory trade.
It is at risk of happening again. Somali insurgents from Kenya’s troubled north are the single biggest threat to Tsavo’s elephants – which at the last census had recovered to 12,000, and include some of the few remaining “hundred pounder” (45kg) tuskers in the country. They shoot them with machine guns, and sell their ivory locally for 20,000 shillings (£140) a kilo. A single haul can fetch up to a million shillings (nearly £7,000).
Many of the poachers operate under the cover of – or with the assistance of – Somali livestock herders, who fatten their cattle on the lusher pastures of the national park and surrounding ranches. They have encroached on Tsavo’s grasslands, overgrazing it and pushing elephants to forage for food on farms, and they are widely suspected of using their cattle as a cover for elephant poaching, both in Tsavo and also on the outlying ranches, where elephants are virtually unprotected.
“The places with lots of cattle, that’s where we have the problems,” says Eric Sagwei, head ranger for Wildlife Works, a private enterprise that ensures a safe corridor for the migration of elephants between the Tsavo East and West parks. “Some poachers operate out of the cattle bomas [shelters], sometimes pretending to be herders. When they go out with their livestock, they come across an elephant and they kill it.”
A government operation last May involving the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS), the police and the army sought to evict all of the Somali herders based on ranches in the Taita Hills area around Tsavo. While many left at a result of the operation, ranch owners say they have almost all returned following a pending court appeal, and poaching is on the increase as a result.
Few are willing to say, however, just how bad the poaching is. The KWS, charged with protecting Kenya’s game, is accused of consistently underestimating the threat, and Paul Kipkoech, its head of security in Tsavo, claimed in an interview that only 20 elephants had been killed in the park this year. But conservationists say the figure in Tsavo is much higher, perhaps as much as three or four times that. The Tsavo Trust, which runs aerial surveillance of the park, said in its November report that it had discovered six elephants shot dead by poachers that month alone.
If something is not done now to address poaching, it is feared that the situation will reach a tipping point, sending the elephant population into a terminal decline that some say will eventually wipe out Kenya’s herds.
While most conservationists would argue that the key to ending poaching lies with China, where soaring demand fuels the ivory trade, Kenya and other African countries also have a critical role to play. Kenya is introducing a powerful deterrent in the shape of its new wildlife bill – which has passed through parliament, but is still awaiting presidential assent – that will theoretically impose much tougher penalties for poaching.
But in a country where magistrates habitually hand down risible sentences, sometimes because they have been bribed to do so, the fight against poachers has been reduced to a battle of wits between the overstretched KWS and gunmen and poison arrow hunters used to spending long periods in the bush.
Supported almost entirely by its revenues from gate sales, the KWS in Tsavo has only 300 rangers at its disposal to look after 22,000sq km, an area the size of Wales. Perhaps a third of those are required to man the gates, ticket offices and other administrative functions. That leaves a handful of men and women to conduct foot patrols over a vast area in the searing heat. If they are lucky, they might hear a gunshot alerting them to an elephant kill, but most never reach the area in time.
If the KWS, whose rangers often lack basic resources such as vehicles, fuel, boots and ammunition, is failing to keep a lid on poaching at current levels, there is little indication that it will alone be able to combat militarised poachers equipped with GPS tracking devices and who are often far superior in tracking.
NGOs run aerial surveillance on the park, but even with an aircraft, Tsavo is simply too big an area to police with limited resources. The only way, argues Richard Moller, chief conservation officer at the Tsavo Trust, is for the government to team up with private enterprise. It needs to follow the model of private and community conservancies in northern Kenya, where Space for Giants, The Independent’s chosen charity for this year’s appeal, is supporting owners to run their own anti-poaching operations. Mr Moller believes the donors are out there, but require an environment conducive to doing so.
“Although the government would be very reluctant to give out any protected area management to private companies, I believe in time it is the way to go,” he said. “There are some private partnerships, but our wings are slightly clipped. Given a bit more freedom, it could pay off hugely.”
When it does, elephant conservation charities such as Space for Giants will be in an ideal position to provide support to KWS to save Africa’s last great tuskers.
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