Kenya: Civil Servants Should Down Tools if Their Salaries are Reduced

Okoth Osewe

Okoth Osewe, Revolution is necessary because there is nothing left to reform

If there was a socialist, militant or revolutionary Trade Union representing the badly exploited Kenya’s Civil Servants, the key pre-occupation of such a Union in the face of pay-cut plans by a corrupt President would be to prepare and radicalize workers in the direction of a protracted national strike action, not sleeping on the job. The plan by Uhuru’s corrupt government to reduce salaries of Civil Servants by 10% allegedly to cut the National Wage Bill (which stands at Ksh 400 billion) is probably the filthiest conspiracy by the rotten Jubilee capitalist elite to openly defraud overburdened workers who are perpetually living on starvation wages.

If implemented, over half a million workers in the entire Civil Service will be driven deeper into poverty and great human suffering while the wealth grabbers running the corrupt government will emerge unscathed. If their salaries are reduced by even 1%, a modest reaction of affected workers should be an immediate downing of tools to bring the Uhuru government to a standstill followed by a protracted campaign for a “regime change” to overthrow the Jubilee government on grounds that it is being led by a bunch of corrupt thieves now seeking to rob workers of their salaries through the familiar “politics of deception” usually employed by every mafia cartel that has ever controlled State House in Kenya.

In his propaganda to propagate the “reduce salaries” crusade, ICC suspect Uhuru Kenyatta has claimed that he will himself have his salary reduced by 20%, leaving him with a monthly pay of Ksh 989,600 while his Deputy President, William Ruto will take home Ksh 841,500.

Compared to the minimum wage of a Nairobi worker (who earns Ksh 8,500), the main victims of Uhuru’s planned salary slash are obvious. However, an important detail in the argument is the overt and shameless deception of workers that since the salaries of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are also being slashed by an even bigger margin (20% as opposed to workers’ 10%), “everybody is in it” and that Uhuru and Ruto “are sacrificing even more” than the workers. Unfortunately, these are the rotten tactics used by an equally rotten ruling class bent on stealing from poor and deprived workers as the crisis of capitalism gives way to political and economic gangsterism before the expected anarchy in the management of public affairs eventually sets in.

It is pathetic that once again, workers may have to take the shit from thieves running government without a fight because their Unions are emasculated while the official Opposition (led by Cord) has effectively been castrated. After more than four decades of struggle for political pluralism; the overthrow of the Moi/KANU dictatorship; the establishment of a new constitutional order and the revamping of the Judiciary, Kenya is ripe for a fresh and revolutionary Movement or Party whose agenda is not to further push for reforms on a capitalist basis but to overturn and abolish the capitalist system which has effectively failed citizens. This is because the system is rotten beyond reform and even the traditional reformists across the country have abandoned the Reform movement leaving the stage for revolution. In fact, there is nothing left to reform.

Capitalist crisis will drive Kenya into total chaos
Put into perspective, the plan by the Jubilee government to reduce Workers’ salaries is fresh evidence that the greedy gang of wealth grabbers running government like a family business have no mercy or sympathy towards thousands of suffering and deprived Civil Servants in Kenya. Interestingly, this posture is normal because capitalism is “man-eat-man” society. The top cream of the regime has a series of allowances that will ensure that they are insulated from the effects of high inflation that has reduced Kenyan workers to sheer paupers. Among the allowances the rich enjoy are: commuter, housing, medical, transport, entertainment, foreign trips, uniform, sitting, extraneous, standing, special salary, just to mention but a few.

Specifically, the highest cadre in the Civil Serve structure is job group V (Cabinet Secretaries) whose holders take home Ksh 889, 912 in allowances as compared to their second lowest counterparts in job group B whose holders take home Ksh 16, 423 in allowances. For job group V holders, the allowances are on top of a basic salary of Ksh 737,332. Officially, some Civil Servants are entitled to a monthly house allowance of Ksh 99, 188, extraneous allowance of Ksh 107, 143, entertainment allowance of Ksh 104,000 and another Ksh 469, 156 as special salary.

Under the circumstances, it is nothing but “the politics of deception” for Uhuru to argue that since top Civil Servants (with him in the lead) will have their salaries slashed, everybody “needs to sacrifice” because the wage bill is too huge. It is the kind of argument that can only be accepted by zombies being led by another confused zombie and surely, Kenya is not a country of zombies. For every concerned Kenyan, this is why the question of revolution to overthrow the wealth grabbers needs to be on the table before a persistent crisis within the system drives the country’s population into anarchy and total chaos. Kenya needs a new revolutionary order.

To bring about a democratic “regime change” that can effectively abolish the dictatorship of the rich in Kenya, the capitalist system that has been tried for more than 50 years and which has failed the citizens will also have to go.

A Socialist government needs to come to power in Kenya
In France, a “Socialist” party is in power while in Chile, a “Socialist” president was sworn in on Tuesday this week after a Socialist party swept to power in the just concluded General elections in Chile. In Venezuela’s last elections, a Socialist party romped to victory and is following in the footsteps of the late revolutionary socialist, Hugo Chavez. To be exact, Latin America has been riding on a Leftist tide for many years now with workers across the Latin American continent overthrowing rotten capitalist regimes and replacing them with Socialist dictatorships to build Workers’ states.

In these countries, working people have been playing leading roles in struggles to take over corrupt capitalist governments in order to run societies in the interest of workers and the oppressed. In retrospect, why have struggles in Kenya stagnated to an extent that workers are mere spectators in struggle as the rich slash their salaries, increase prices of basic consumer commodities and loot public wealth created by workers who are the biggest financers of the government through taxation?

The answer is that workers in Kenya have never been represented in the struggle for power because of the absence of a Workers’ Party armed with a revolutionary Program of action. From an organized political position, there is currently no force in Kenya seeking to stop a corrupt Jubilee regime that came to power through a stolen election from stealing the hard-earned cash of toiling workers already ravaged by low wages, disorientated by years of economic deprivation and ruined by high inflation.

The reason why a Workers’ Party is not yet on the ground is because workers are still not yet conscious of the need to organize politically. Millions of workers still believe in the illusion that the traditional Trade Unions led by the corrupt Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) can effectively represent their interests. If the Civil Servants Union is sleeping on the job on the eve of the biggest “mass salary cuts” by an illegitimate regime, the alternative force that ought to have been calling for a strike is COTU but Atwoli also appears to be in deep sleep. In the end, the Jubilee regime will end up slashing salaries of workers without a single organized political opposition. The situation calls for a serious rethinking especially by the millions of workers without whose input, there can be no government and no money for the ruling class to loot.

Workers’ salaries should be going up, not down
The Kenya Red Alliance condemns the planned salary cuts of Civil Servants by Jubilee and calls on affected workers to counter the plan by heeding a KRA call for a strike action. In the last 12 months, 56 cases of high level corruption were brought by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission before the Deputy Public Prosecutor Keraiko Tobiko but so far, there has been no action. The point is that money lost through corruption (estimated at Ksh 300 billion annually) is what is creating a gap in Kenya’s annual budget, not lack of revenue. Because of corruption, the Kenya Revenue Authority is only collecting 35% of taxes so once again, the problem is not lack of money but lack of what can be called “government” to take control of Kenya’s economy since the Jubilee government is simply a Committee of looters led by suspected war criminals who were rigged to power to fight ICC cases.

Civil Servants are an easy target for the Jubilee government because this government has never experienced the wrath of workers. The proposed salary cuts should serve as a wake-up call to workers especially on the need for them to seek Socialist solutions to a political mess occasioned by greedy tumbo kubwas running the affairs of the State.

The real and lasting solution when capitalism enters into one crisis after another is a democratic Socialist revolution led by workers. As long as Kenyan workers believe that there is a short cut to prosperity through another new Constitution, a new IEBC or a new Willy Mutunga sitting on top of the Judiciary, they will, most likely, die starving. This is because capitalism is ruthless and no fundamental political, social or economic progress will be made in Kenya if the system cannot be smashed to open the way for the establishment of socialism and the reconstruction of society along socialist principles. KRA’s leadership appeals to Workers and the oppressed in Kenya to either begin studying the ideas of KRA or join the formation because there is no viable political alternative. KRA believes that Workers’ salaries in Kenya out to be going up, not down!

Okoth Osewe
Secretary General
Kenya Red Alliance (KRA)
kenyaredalliance.com    

25 comments

  • http://www.kenya-today.com/news/shocking-netherlands-prime-minister-uses-bicycle-work-hague-convoys-chase-car-zero-just-bicycle……This may shock Kenyans who lives in forever darkness!Who believes the end of Kenya is Embakasi-Airport!

  • Socialism and the abolition of the wages system

    The Socialist Party of Great Britain urges workers to use their intelligence and imagination to envisage a world fundamentally different from the one in which capitalism operates and trade unions function. It must be emphasised that capitalism is a system, with its own economic laws, and this system cannot be made to run in the interest of the working class.

    The only alternative to the capitalist system is Socialism, in which production will be for use, not profit; people will have free access to wealth in accordance with their self-determined needs, not in accordance with their ability to pay; members of society will administer their affairs democratically and humanely, not according to the dictates of profits and power. The Socialist Party of Great Britain stands solely for the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of Socialism, where the means of wealth production and distribution are commonly owned and democratically controlled by all the people.

    Unlike the industrial struggle of the unions, the task of creating Socialism is a political struggle, for it involves the .conquest of political power by the working class. Socialists put great emphasis upon the fact that the new society can only be brought about by a majority of workers understanding and wanting it. It will not be brought about by the Socialist Party, by minority insurrection “on behalf of” the working class or by leaders of any sort. The achievement of revolution – which simply means the political transfer from one social system to another – must be the conscious act of the working class.

    The role of The Socialist Party of Great Britain, and our Companion Parties in other countries, is to spread the idea of Socialism, to encourage our fellow workers to stop acquiescing to capitalism, and start organising for its abolition. When socialists are in a majority, the Socialist Parties will be used as the instrument for democratic change. We work toward our objective by organising propaganda to awaken the working class to the case for Socialism: we run indoor and outdoor meetings, publish the monthly Socialist Standard, produce pamphlets, attend marches and rallies to distribute leaflets, contest local and national elections, and generally endeavour to advance the case for Socialism wherever and whenever possible.

    Joining The Socialist Party of Great Britain is subject to an individual’s complete adherence to our Principles which is the most politically conscious move that a member of the working class can make. It does not preclude being an active member of a trade union but it entails recognition of the severe limitations of the unions’ defensive struggle under capitalism. There are many things socialist trade unionists can do.

    They can put the case outlined in this pamphlet in their branches and their conferences; propose socialist resolutions to be discussed by the members; criticise the sterile policies of the union leaders and the TUC; expose the futility of trade union support for the Labour Party; combat the whole concept of “leadership” and insist on democratic control of the union by the membership. In other words, they can help to build up support for Socialism in the unions. Socialists who are in trade unions try to convince their fellow workers that:
    “Instead of the conservative motto: `A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work’ they ought to inscribe on their banners the revolutionary watchwords: `Abolition of the wages system”‘ (Karl Marx).

    The wages system only exists as long as labour power is a commodity. When commodity production for sale with a view to profit is replaced with the production of useful goods and services for human need, prices, including wages, will no longer be necessary.

    It is clear that socialist society will be totally unlike the society we live in today. By Socialism we do not mean police States (like Russia or Argentina); charity (Victorian soup kitchens or Oxfam); reformism (futile demands for “justice” under capitalism); syndicalism (sectional workers’ control, such as the “mines for the miners”); National Socialism (Nazi Germany); romantic adventurism (the appeal of the barricades); Pol Pot in Cambodia; Chairman Mao in China, the Welfare State or the hypocritical administration of capitalism by Labour Parties throughout the world. All of these lead to confused minds and wasted efforts; socialists view them with contempt and hostility.

    Socialism will be a world-wide society in which the means of life belong to everyone, without distinction of race or sex. Production and distribution will be democratically planned, with the sole purpose of providing comfort and happiness for the inhabitants of the earth. Some of the mechanisms for world planning are already in existence, such as the United Nations Food and Health Organisation which compiles statistics about resources, and the various scientific research bodies which are presently aware of the solutions to many economic problems; but these cannot be implemented under capitalism. The talents and aspirations of men and women will be fully utilised in a socialist society, and much of the unpleasant or boring work will be done by machines.

    Socialism will combine productive efficiency with social pleasure. The relationship between work and leisure will disappear. Instead of being alienated from real power, people will have reason to cooperate harmoniously. No longer a worker relying on a wage in order to live; no longer one of those cogs in a machine, spending a lifetime in drudgery and useless toil. You, with a creative ability that is distinctive to human beings, will be in a position to use your potential and hitherto hidden and frustrated talents for your own benefit and that of the whole of humanity: no longer living in a nightmare world of inflation, unemployment, war and other problems. Instead, society’s ingenuity will be harnessed for a common purpose. You will play your part; you will accept the responsibilities of working and co-operating with others to ensure a full and happy life. There will be problems to solve; but Socialism will have harmonious foundations from which we will go forth. Let your imagination play for a moment or two on the boundless possibilities that will open up.

    It is neither fanciful nor idealistic to envisage a society without war, poverty, starvation, unemployment and wage labour. Only such a society can put an end to the rat-race in which the working class can never hope for security. With the strength of understanding of the world around us, the motivation of desire for a new social order, and the united efforts of millions of class-conscious men and women, there is no force which can stand in the way of the establishment of Socialism.

    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/pamphlets/trade-unions#ch9

  • COTU is useless

    Unions gang up against Cotu

    A parallel workers umbrella association was launched in Mombasa Tuesday in what is seen as the biggest threat to Cotu (Central Organisation of Trade Unions).

    Eight national trade unions came together to launch the Federation of Public Service Trade Unions of Kenya headed by interim chairman Charles Mukhwaya.

    But this drew a sharp reaction from Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli who said the new union was made up of “a bunch of politically sponsored individuals out to shield corrupt people who are well-known locally and internationally.”

    DYING HORSES

    “It does not scare Cotu at all. It does not matter how many federations they form. They can form a thousand such federations but Cotu will remain formidable not only in Kenya but regionally,” said Mr Atwoli.

    The launch of the parallel union was attended by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) represented by secretary-general Wilson Sossion and chairman Mudzo Nzili and the Dock Workers Union secretary-general Simon Sang.

    The officials accused Cotu of failing to articulate workers’ problems blaming it for the many woes they faced including poor wages, bad working conditions and employment on temporary terms.

    Addressing the press after the closed-door meeting, the new union’s members described Mr Atwoli and Cotu as ineffective and promised “to bring fresh ideas and impetus in the running of trade unions in Kenya.”

    “History has been made today. We are warning employers who have a habit of mistreating workers that their days are numbered,” Mr Mukhwaya declared.

    Mr Sossion and Mr Mukhwaya said the era of “a one man show” in trade unions had come to an end and promised to go around the country “to show Cotu affiliate members the light” so that they may ditch it.

    On a recent tour of Coast, Atwoli hinted that there was a scheme being hatched by the government to start a parallel body to bring down Cotu and accused Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi of being part of it.

    “We do not need a minister or the government to start such an outfit. If Atwoli claims that the government is behind our organisation, those are the kicks of a dying horse and they cannot be strong,” said the Knut boss.

    Ironically, Mr Atwoli also described the formation of the new federation as “the last kicks of a dying horse.”

    “Cotu’s membership had dwindled to about 160,000 while Knut alone has over 200,000 members. This is to justify the eminent death of Cotu,” said Mr Sossion. But Atwoli retorted: “Cotu has a membership of 1.5 million workers.”

  • Kenya's poor record

    Recommendations:

    ■ Kenya’s elites should accept, respect, and obey the rule of law as defined in the 2010 constitution and interpreted by the country’s judiciary.

    ■ The government and all political actors should respect the independence and integrity of the Independent Boundaries and Election Commission, which should receive funding sufficient to oversee proper and efficient election processes.

    ■ The government and police should cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court in pursuing cases related to 2007-8 post-election violence, and the newly-established unit in the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate those events should be given strong support.

    ■ The government should prioritize the restructuring and strengthening of the judiciary.

    ■ Commissions and independent offices created by the 2010 constitution should be fully empowered by legislation and given resources to pursue a reform agenda that addresses corruption as a priority and provides genuine oversight of governmental actions.

    ■ Police and other security forces should be held accountable for past human rights abuses, and gain leadership and training to help prevent future abuse.

    ■ Devolution of decision-making and funding to local governments as provided in the 2010 constitution should be a priority to allow greater empowerment and voice for Kenya’s diverse communities.

    ■ Kenya’s land question should be addressed in an open and transparent manner to resolve deep grievances and help begin to heal a core cause of ethnic and societal conflict.
    http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/countries-crossroads/2012/kenya

  • labour violations in Kenya

    Reported Violations – 2012

    Arrests: 2
    Dismissals: 819

    Documented violations – actual number of cases may be higher

    Introduction

    Mass dismissals were the tactic of choice by employers punishing their workers for taking strike action or simply joining a union. Workers dismissed for joining a union included over 100 truck drivers, 50 textile workers and 19 oil workers. Nearly 600 postal workers received dismissal notices for taking part in a strike, as did 50 flower workers. Two officials from the electrical workers’ union KETAWU were arrested during a strike in March.

    Background

    Six high-ranking officials, including a deputy prime minister, two ministers and a police chief, appeared before the International Criminal Court in The Hague in April, accused of possible crimes against humanity in relation to the 2007-8 post-election violence. There was anger among workers in May when the government announced a 12.5% increase in the minimum wage, far short of union demands for a 60% increase in face of sharp rises in the cost of living. In November the country witnessed a wave of strike actions by workers in key sectors, namely the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, Kenyatta National Hospital Staff and University teaching and non-teaching staff. By the end of the year inflation was running at 19.72%.

    Trade union rights in law

    While the new Constitution, which took effect on 27 August 2010, recognises fundamental trade union rights, union activity is hampered by excessive legal restrictions. The procedures for forming a trade union are long and cumbersome, and the law requires that a certificate is obtained before members can be recruited to form a union. Furthermore, the Registrar of Trade Unions may refuse to register a union if another trade union already exists which is sufficiently representative. The law imposes strict conditions and limitations on the use and management of unions’ funds, and the Registrar has extensive powers to audit these funds. The Labour Relations Act excludes members of the prison service and the National Youth Service from its scope.

    The new Constitution also guarantees the right to bargain collectively, but it is not clear whether this right can be enjoyed by all employees in the public sector. With regard to the right to strike, a long dispute resolution procedure must be exhausted before a lawful strike can be called. A strike must also concern the terms and conditions of employment or the recognition of a trade union, and sympathy strikes are prohibited.

    Link to additional detailed information regarding the legislation on the ITUC website here

    In practice

    Employers challenge labour rights in court: On 5 January the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) went to court to declare key labour laws, namely the Employment, Labour Relations, Labour Institutions, Work Injuries Benefits and the Occupational Health and Safety Acts of 2007, unconstitutional. The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) protested that the FKE had been represented on the taskforce that worked on the revision of the laws, and could not understand why it had then chosen to disown part of them. The COTU also expressed concern that the move could affect hundreds workers, particularly those still waiting for compensation for workplace injuries.

    Industrial Court ineffective: The Central Organisation of Trade Unions – COTU – has criticised the Industrial Court for dragging its feet in resolving disputes between employers and workers. Rather than intervening during the seven days’ strike notice given by unions, the court tended to wait until the notice period ended then declare the strike illegal, allowing employers to order employees back to work. COTU appealed to the courts’ judges to compel both parties to come together to seek a solution to their dispute within the seven days of the notice issued by either party.

    Workers promoted to management to keep unions at bay: Senior managers of Kenyan banks have admitted that the banks promoted employees to management positions to deny them representation by unions for non-managerial staff.

    Violations

    Strike leaders arrested: Two officials of the Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union (KETAWU) were arrested on 14 March in Kisumu. Trouble started when officials engaged in a heated argument with the Kisumu police boss John Mwinzi outside the offices of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company workers (KPLC) on the legitimacy of the strike. Union members were angered that the police had chosen to interfere in their peaceful protest. A further 360 were threatened with dismissal for taking part in the strike, over a list of grievances including the failure to honour the collective agreement and grant pay rises in January. KETAWU was also concerned that more than a third of workers are hired on a casual basis, in violation of the country’s labour law. The strike was later called off after talks with the company’s management mediated by government officials. A pay deal was finally reached at the beginning of November.

    Drivers dismissed for joining union: Over 100 drivers were dismissed after joining the ITF-affiliated Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers’ Union. An ITF team that visited Kenya in May during an organising initiative met with the Ministry of Labour’s acting provincial commissioner Charles Mwinami, who said the ministry was already handling some of the cases that had been reported by the truck drivers’ union. The workers were angry that the ministry was drawing out the process, leaving employers free to continue to dismiss workers. Mwinami promised to investigate and raise the issue with the government; he would also highlight the consequences of truck drivers taking their own action to fight for freedom of association, which he believed was under threat in the Kenyan trucking industry. The dismissed workers had still not been reinstated by the end of the year.

    Ferry company refuses to recognise union: Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) consistently refused to acknowledge their workers’ membership of the Dockworkers Union, despite agreeing to deduct their monthly contributions. On 12 November, after four months during which the management refused to respond, the union decided to call a strike to press for recognition and revive talks on a long overdue collective bargaining agreement with KFS. The union said the strike would go ahead if a solution had not been found in 21 days. The strike notice was called off after the KFS and the union signed a collective agreement.

    Sacked for striking: More than 50 workers were sacked from a farm producing flowers for export owned by former President Moi in Eldoret for taking strike action. Over 700 workers took part in the strike which was in protest at harassment by two of the farm managers and arbitrary sacking of colleagues. The workers were also concerned that management appeared to hire and fire on the basis of tribal loyalties. The Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union wrote to former President Moi in August asking him to reinstate the dismissed workers, pointing out that managers had failed to listen to workers’ grievances, and that sacking and dismissing them for legitimate union action was illegal.

    Union members sacked by textile company: More than 50 workers were sacked by the Rivatex textile company, owned by Moi University. The workers reported that management used a union meeting they attended as a pretext to sack them. Management claimed they had to dismiss the workers as part of a restructuring exercise that required staff cuts. However the company continued to hire new workers. In September the sacked workers wrote to the University’s vice-chancellor urging him to intervene to get them reinstated.

    19 oil workers sacked for joining union: On 1 November workers at a bulk liquid storage company in Mombasa went on strike after learning that 19 of their colleagues had been sacked. The Mombasa branch secretary of the Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW), Samuel Baya, said that the 19 were sacked because they had joined the union. Baya accused the company’s management of going against the recognition agreement the union had with the company.

    Postal corporation sacks 600 striking workers: Postal workers went on strike on 16 December demanding a 30% pay rise and better working conditions. The state-owned Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) responded by issuing letters of summary dismissal to the 600 employees who took part in the industrial action, claiming it was illegal. The Communication Workers Union (COWU) pointed out that the PCK, which had offered just 5%, had refused to continue negotiations with the workers. The strikers were given four weeks to appeal their dismissal, while the PCK advertised to recruit 550 new employees to replace them. On 27 December a judge upheld the workers’ right to strike, and the court ruled that all the workers should be reinstated unconditionally. The COWU called of the strike, but the 594 workers concerned found they had not been paid their December salaries and that they were barred access to their work stations. The matter was finally resolved and the strikers were able to return to work on 2 January 2012.
    http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fd8894232.html

  • child labour in Kenya

    Status of Child Labour

    Child labour is considered as a key obstacle to Kenya’s endeavour to achieve MDG 2: Universal Primary Education, given the fact that a child who is not educated cannot be empowered to escape from poverty, as well as the global goals of MDG 31 and 42. The Ministry of Education estimates that there are over 1 million children out of school. The KNBS Child Labour Analytical Report (2008) estimates that 1.01 million children are economically active; 773, 696 (365,537 girls and 408,159 boys) are in child labour. Child labour has been found to be a result of a multiplicity of causes in Kenya. Poor economic performance and lack of social security has contributed to the increasing number of
    households affected by poverty. Children from poor households therefore have to work in order to supplement household incomes. In the past, deepening poverty and adverse effects of structural adjustment programmes were cited as factors which prevented children from going to school, as families were unable to meet the cost of education.

    The adverse effects of HIV and AIDS have been a major contributor to children vulnerability. This is because the resultant death of parents and children gives rise to orphans. Many orphans are left under the care of relatives, including grandparents whose
    ability to care for the orphans are minimal. Children therefore have to find employment in order to survive. The lack of access to education in some areas and even, poor quality education is yet another factor driving child labour.
    http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/program/dwcp/download/kenya.pdf

  • Atwoli useless

    He drives a Sh30m Merc yet he speaks for the working poor

    By BILLY MUIRURI
    Posted Friday, May 6 2011 at 22:00

    When you hear him describe the daily struggles of a low-wage worker, you would think he is speaking from personal experience.

    He can recreate the portrait of a miserable Kenyan working for a multi-billion shilling industry while company fat cats take all the money. He calls himself the spokesman for the common Kenyan.

    If what Kenyans were treated to in this week’s Labour Day celebrations is anything to go by, then the Cotu’s secretary general Francis Atwoli has no borders on what to say and what not to say.

    Yet Atwoli’s lifestyle is one of the most privileged in the country. One of his Mercedes Benz cars- an S300 model- is said to be the only one of its kind on Kenyan roads. It was delivered to him last year at a cost of a cool Sh30 million. Only months earlier, another was imported from Germany.

    He is a man in love with the Mercedes Benz brand. One of the most remarkable features of his latest car is that it changes colour with the weather.

    His personal assistant, Adam Barasa, recounts his experience with the car on a typical journey to Nakuru. “When you are in Limuru, it is metallic blue; it changes to black when you approach Naivasha, while it becomes reddish by the time you are within Nakuru town. It marvels us,” he told Saturday Nation.

    Atwoli himself does not shy away from the fact that he loves good things in life.

    “Kila kitu yangu ni mzuri. Huwezi kwenda kwa matajiri na koti imeraruka na unaenda kuulizia watu mshahara? (Everything I own is good. You cannot face employers with tattered clothes and yet you are bargaining for higher salaries).

    He is not just in love with the Mercedes. He has worn gold ornaments for over three decades and, as he says, “gold is a great material.”

    His watch, bracelets and a chain are just some of the conspicuous ornaments he dons.

    “Don’t you think I look good in them?” he asks of a choice he made as a teenager.

    His obsession with “meeting my workers” will take him to some nondescript neighbourhoods in Nairobi’s Eastlands, one of the most common being the Kenyatta Market, where he loves to eat nyama choma. “The meat there is great,” he says.

    His humble education background is unmistakable; count him out to sustain a conversation in English without invoking Kiswahili.

    “Maneno ya elimu wachana nayo. (Leave education matters out). I’m telling all about my life in a book that is coming out soon,” he tersely deflects my curiosity on just where he went to school. Some records say he attended St Mary’s High School in Machakos in 1963.

    His roots are in Khwisero in western Kenya, but he grew up in Mbotela, in Nairobi’s Eastlands.

    “I know what it means to have a low salary. Mimi ni mtu wa mtaa (I am streetwise),” he says.

    An early riser, Atwoli will spend at least an hour in the morning reading all the main newspapers before he goes to the office at 6am.

    “This is always the next item after his morning prayers,” says an aide.

    Atwoli is a strict Catholic.

    He is so depressed when he has an issue that does not appear in the newspapers that he always orders the placement of advertisements when he is not covered.

    Open communication has enabled him to have a solid base among shop stewards from affiliate member unions. He has never had two mobile phone numbers, and his number will personally receives all calls.

    “This number never goes off. It is for any worker to call me,” he says, and adds that his choice is the Blackberry Torch phone.

    Atwoli does not stop doing anything because it is late. Workers at Cotu offices say he can call any of them past midnight and ask for a document.

    “I have personally come to office very late. If a letter should be done, it must be done when he wants it done,” reveals Barasa.

    A confessed polygamist, Atwoli will not discuss the exact members of his big family. “I can’t discuss my wives and children,” he says. None of his wives, however, lives in his Kileleshwa home and he, instead, prefers they “keep his rural homes.”

    “I have cattle and chicken in my Kakamega home. Si unawacha mama anaangalia hizo. Kileleshwa atafuga nini? (Let the wife look at the livestock at home. There is nothing for her to look after in the city).

    Although he spends most of his time resolving problems, Atwoli’s major weakness is that he does not accept advice against a position he has taken.

    “He will tell you to go to hell if you come in between him and an idea,” says the aide who has worked with him for six years.

    One such scenario was in the 2007 elections when he publicly denounced his second wife, Roselinder Simiyu’s bid for the Webuye parliamentary seat. The mother of five is a former Cotu executive board member and chairperson of the Kenya Sugar Plantation Workers Union.

    Those who interact with him say he is “very wealthy and generous” and that is why he has managed to maintain his stranglehold on trade unions in the country.

    Whether it is his money, fear or respect, Atwoli is yet to face any credible opposition.

    “He has managed to neutralise any dissenting voice. No one dares to raise a voice against him as he will ensure all your followers leave you,” says an official of a hotel workers union.

    His fiercest rival in trade unions politics, journalist Eric Orina, is categorical that Atwoli’s words are ‘hollow.’

    “He has perfected the art of intimidation,” says Orina.

    Orina, who has a case with Atwoli in court, is one of the few people who takes him head on. “He has not managed to unite workers across the board,” says Orina.

    Atwoli differs. “Those saying I stifle voices are those who want to take over unions in an unorthodox manner. The trade union movement is quiet because we do not interfere with elections of members’ unions,” he says and breaks into his characteristic loud laughter. “Let them come for elections. We have elections in two weeks,” he says.

    Elected a shop steward for the East Africa Posts and Telecommunication Corporation in 1967, he was sacked in 1986 “in the public interest”.

    In 1994, he was elected general secretary of the Kenya Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union after two of his predecessors died in quick succession after assuming the office. It is this seat that enabled him to vie for a Cotu seat when Joseph Mugalla retired.

    Many politicians excuse his behaviour to little education and most will not want to engage him. He does not apologise for what he says. Early in the year, he rattled Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka by saying he will never be Kenya’s President. Demands for him to apologise were met with more vitriol.

    On Friday, he insisted: “Musyoka is a fisher of opportunities who waits for things on a silver platter. This country cannot have a leader with his low level of charisma.”

    He has a lot of respect for President Kibaki and thinks he is one of the greatest leaders in Africa. “Were it not for the Constitution, this man (Kibaki) would still retain the Presidency in 2012. He is democratic,” he categorically says.

    On Prime minister Raila Odinga, he says, “He is a terrible mobiliser with poor advisors.”

    He may appear to despise politicians but in 1997, he took on Martin Shikuku for the Butere seat but lost miserably. It was won by former planning minister Amukowa Anangwe.

  • Jubilee wastage

    How Government spent millions on luxury retreat
    Updated Thursday, March 13th 2014 at 22:54 GMT +3

    By Mark Kapchanga

    Kenya: The high-profile four-day Government retreat at the exclusive Mt Kenya Safari Club could have cost Kenya more than Sh100 million, The Standard can authoritatively reveal.

    Efforts to verify the actual cost of the retreat with Government officials yielded only a terse SMS response from the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

    “Where did you get this crazy figure from? Check with the accounting officer in the Office of the President for correct expenditure,” the SMS said.

    And calls to the President’s Spokesman Mr Manoah Espisu by a senior editor of The Standard went unanswered.

    But calculations by The Standard, based on actual expenditure incurred by our reporters at the resort after the Government event and interviews of people in the know reveals a different picture. The Ksh100 million figure was derived from costing of the 120 rooms reserved for the government delegation at the resort, fees paid for closing of hotel to other guests, food and accommodation levies, and the cost of plane-hiring and extra services by the hotel.

    See also: Treasury’s financial management system works

    However the figure could be higher if the allowances the officials are entitled to when they work out of station are factored in.

    Taps of wastage

    It was at this March 4 retreat that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto announced they would take a 20 per cent pay cut kicking off a national debate on the unsustainability of the public wage bill.

    The choice of the venue, the Government has said, was necessitated by security considerations. Nonetheless, such high expenditure to discuss austerity raises questions about prudence in and prioritisation of public spending.

    The President and his Cabinet, who alongside Principal Secretaries and parastatal heads have taken salary cuts, has signaled he would like to reduce the wage bill and public expenditure in general reduced to sustainable levels.

    Arguments have been presented showing that even before the government forces salary cuts outside top ranks of government, a fact which could hurt workers already grappling with inflationary pressures and rising standards of living, it must first switch off the taps of wastage.

    These include areas where public revenue is lost through corruption, an example of which reared its head in the just cancelled Sh24.6 billion laptops tender to India’s Olive International. Apart from sealing channels that allow seepage of public finances through thefts and inflations of project contracts and cost of purchases, the Cabinet may also want to scale down its own luxurious and lofty lifestyles, beginning with conferencing and travel.

    Investigations by The Standard unveiled a picture of a Cabinet that talks about inevitability of belt-tightening but seemingly oblivious or negligent to ways public expenditure could be lowered much more easily.

    Our first step was at Fairmont Mt Kenya Safari Club where the President, his deputy, Cabinet members, principal secretaries and their top aides, and retinue of advisors, security and other support staff such as drivers and probably even clerical officers spent four nights. The Standard’s team inquiry began with the notion that the retreat need not have been in such a respected, expensive and World Class destination in moments of hard times.

    First, it turned out that the President and his team decided to extend the visit in the hotel by two more days, pushing the cost further up. “It was a rare chance to host the President and his government from Monday to Friday,” said a hotel manager familiar with the pie that comes with such rich bookings.

    The Standard exclusively established that the Government had initially booked the hotel for two days from Monday to Wednesday with the rest of the activities slated for transfer to Sagana State Lodge, about 60 kilometres away from the resort.

    The President checked into the hotel rated among the World’s Top 50 by New York-based Travel + Leisure Magazine on March 4 to join the lynchpins of his administration and signed the visitors book.

    See also: Treasury’s financial management system works

    Hospitality analysts and publications have also rated the club as one of the most expensive hotels in Africa.

    President Uhuru spent his nights at the executive Equatorial Suite Number 102 that cost Sh51,050 per night. A source at the club told The Standard his deputy Mr William Ruto also stayed in one of the hotel’s classy rooms at a similar cost. Their security and aides are believed to have taken adjacent rooms for protocol and security reasons. Sources familiar with the meeting said ‘senior’ Cabinet Secretaries were booked in at Signature Suite at a cost of Sh42,350 and Manor Junior Suite that cost Sh38,500 per night.

    Private club

    Other cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries spent the nights in Garden Suite, Mawingu Suite, Raymond Hook Suite, Deluxe View Room, River Deluxe Suites and Deluxe Room that cost between Sh33,688 and Sh25,025 a night.

    The retreat saw the country literary run from a private club nestled in the middle of a forest at the foot of Mt Kenya. Â

    Sources familiar with the cost of bookings in the hotel said the creation of an exclusive venue for the Cabinet that also saw some security and drivers of these leaders housed in the hotel ran to about Sh65 million.

    It is not clear if the officials met the cost of entertainment drinks and other extras on offer, such as horse riding, fishing, dog-walking and guided tours, or even if they took them at all. A guide into the billing at the hotel springs out of the fact that Swedish massage is available but costs Sh5,200 an hour. Horse riding costs Sh4,500 for two hours while renting a golf set and the high-end Taylor Made Golf Set go for Sh1,600 and Sh2,500 respectively.

    The hotel has hosted World leaders, local Presidents, renown film stars and global personalities, mostly in the premium Equitorial Suite inside of which The Standard established the wide luxury bed lies one-half on the North Hemisphere and other on the South Hemisphere, according the hotel’s global position reading. The hotel boasts among its guests UK Royal Family, late Winston Churchill, Prince Berhard of the Netherlands, Lord Louis Mountbatten, author Robert Ruark, former US President Lyndon Johnson, Conrad Hilton, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.

    The hotel that sits on 100-acre grounds, surrounded by a forest and a river running in it, owns six helipads and a private chapel with impressive views of Mt Kenya.

    A simple lunch goes for Sh3,500 while a 300-millimetre bottle of soda costs Sh195.

    With a service charge of Sh541.96, a 16 per cent Value Added Tax of Sh963.49, a two per cent catering level (Sh120.44), a lunch for two at the Mt Kenya Safari Club costs Sh7, 648.

    For those who are non-members, they are required to pay a non-refundable fee of Sh800 per person. “The Government had to pay this amount, too, as many of those attending the conference were not members,” a source familiar with the procurement of the services said.

    See also: Treasury’s financial management system works

    At the hotel, breakfast and lunch is served buffet style. However, the dinner, which is normally served at Tusks Restaurant, is À la Carte, a French language loan phrase meaning “according to the menu”. A plate, in this case, conservatively costs Sh4,300.

    Early this year, Treasury had predicted Kenya’s economy would expand by 5.8 per cent after a dismal 5.1 per cent growth in 2013. However, the economy faces risks due to unprecedented corruption and unfettered spending. This year, the Government spending is projected at Sh1.52 trillion, major portion of which is on recurrent expenditure.

    Apart from Sagana State Lodge, Kenya School of Government in Lower Kabete also has conference and boarding facilities regularly used by State officials. It is also the same with State-owned Kenya Multi-Media University, Utalii Hotel, Kenya School of Monetary Studies and Kenyatta International Conference Centre, which however has no boarding facilities.

  • http://www.kenya-today.com/

    Why did Uhuru Kenyatta Stopped Jicho Pevu from showing how election of 2013 was rigged /stolen)from Raila Oginga?

  • Free maternal healthcare useless

    A PRICE TOO HIGH TO BEAR: The Costs of Maternal Mortality to Families and Communities

    Summary of Research Findings

    From 2011 to 2013 Family Care International (FCI), the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), and the KEMRI/CDC Research and Public Health Collaboration, in cooperation with the Kenya’s Ministry of Health and with support from the U.K. Government, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, conducted a study entitled A Price Too High to Bear: The Costs of Maternal Mortality to Families and Communities. This study, undertaken in three sub-counties in Western Kenya, aimed to document the financial costs of maternal mortality to households in poor remote communities and to explore
    the impact of these costs on family well-being. The study’s key findings included the following:

    The loss of a mother harms her surviving family members, and her children’s
    health, education, and future opportunities.

    • Maternal death is linked to high neonatal mortality: of the 59 maternal deaths in the study, only 15 babies survived the first 60 days of life.

    • Surviving children in some cases were withdrawn from or forced to miss school, because economic disruptions made it difficult to afford school fees. When children did continue their schooling, often their grief and new household responsibilities negatively affected their schoolwork.

    • A mother’s death suddenly increases the tasks and responsibilities that her surviving husband, mother and mother-in-law have to shoulder. For the grandparents, in particular, this means that once again they have to shoulder the burden of childcare. The cost of fatal pregnancy and childbirth complications is a heavy economic burden.

    • Regardless of household wealth, families that experienced a maternal death reported spending approximately 1/3 of their total annual consumption expenditure to access pregnancy and childbirth care, between 3 and 6 times more than households w here a woman gave birth safely.

    • This approaches what WHO calls a ‘catastrophic’ cost (40% of disposable income), and suggests that some families may avoid or delay emergency care because of difficulty in covering the costs of transport and services.

    • In nearly half of all cases, families needed to look outside the household for money to pay for maternity care — in many cases from sources in their communities, but sometimes by borrowing from a moneylender or even selling household property. When a woman dies, her funeral costs are a crippling hardship for her family.

    • Across all wealth levels, families’ funeral costs exceeded their total annual expenditure on food, housing, and all other household consumption.

    • On average, economically active members took a month off from work during the funeral period. Given the already high costs of the funeral, this lack of economic activity is an additional burden for the household. The sudden loss of a productive woman disrupts the family’s economy and its daily life.

    • Many of the women who died were also economically active, many working on their own or family farms, or running their own market stalls, shops, or other small businesses. The loss of their labour or income caused significant economic

    • Many families reported losing crops or being forced to leave their land uncultivated because of the loss of the woman’s labour or reduction in work by surviving family members. Others were pushed further into poverty when they had to hire casual labourers to work their fields.
    http://www.icrw.org/files/publications/TB_Price_v3.pdf

  • kenyans sleep hungry

    Study: Many Kenyans sleeping hungry

    Many Kenyans are forced to sleep hungry and constantly worry about the high cost of living and inflation, a new survey has shown.

    Asked what they thought was the most serious problem facing Kenya today, 50 per cent of the respondents interviewed by research firm Ipsos Kenya said the cost of living was a serious issue while 19 per cent pointed out lack of employment.

    Nine per cent said corruption was a major cause of worry while seven per cent said crime and insecurity were issues to worry about.

    Poor leadership, famine and tribalism polled at five, three, and two per cent respectively while surprisingly, only one per cent of Kenyans said they were concerned about the leadership wrangles due to ICC cases facing President Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang.

    The poll carried out between February 8 and 15 targeting 2,031 adults in both urban and rural areas, involved face to face interviews at household level.

    While presenting the findings yesterday at the firm’s office in Nairobi, social political consultant Tom Wolf said the cost of living and inflation had remained a major worry since the last poll conducted late last year, with nothing changing much.

    The poll showed that both the Jubilee Government and the opposition Cord supporters, agreed almost in equal measure that inflation was at a worrying trend.

    “Both Jubilee supporters (49 per cent) and Cord (53 per cent) said the high cost of living was a worrying issue while poor households (55 per cent) also supported the same compared to wealthier ones at 44 per cent,” said Mr Wolf.

    The poll also revealed that 26 per cent of Kenyans were still sleeping hungry with a majority, 37 per cent from Nyanza and 12 per cent from Central.

    More people in rural areas (29 per cent) are sleeping hungry compared to 21 per cent in urban areas.

    Interestingly, 33 per cent of Cord supporters said they were sleeping hungry compared to Jubilee’s 18 per cent—the survey with a margin error of plus or minus 2.2 per cent revealed—while wealthier households are eating better than poorer ones.

    According to the survey, 62 per cent of Kenyans feel things are generally going in the wrong direction compared to 64 per cent who gave the same answer in November last year.

    Residents of Rift Valley (46 per cent) and Central (51 per cent), the two strongholds of the Jubilee Government felt things were going bad while in Nyanza—where the opposition has much support—a whopping 86 per cent felt the same.

    Other areas where the same sentiment was shared included Western (77 per cent), Coast (79 per cent), Nairobi (74 per cent) and Eastern at 58 per cent.

    “This perception is obviously determined by which political glasses one is wearing,” said Mr Wolf adding that 83 per cent of Cord supporters felt things were generally going bad compared to 43 per cent of Jubilee supporters.

    Asked whether during the last three months there has been any perceived general economic improvement in their households, 56 per cent said that had worsened while 26 per cent said their economic status remained the same.

    A majority of Cord supporters (65 per cent) said their economic conditions had worsened compared to Jubilee’s 47 per cent.

    “Cord supporters are still bitter because they lost the polls and even if Jubilee Government brought heaven to earth they would still say things are bad,” explained the researcher.

    Although a majority of Kenyans are ignorant on the knowledge of national population dynamics, a considerable number, (36 per cent) said at the current growth rate, it would be impossible to improve the economic conditions of ordinary Kenyans by 2040.

    On voting, an overwhelming majority of Kenyans prefer walking into a polling station to cast their ballot instead of using their smart phones to vote.

    Sixty per cent of Kenyans prefer to physically mark a ballot paper to choose their preferred candidates.

    On the other hand, 37 percent preferred voting via their mobile phones with another three per cent not being sure.

    The poll further suggested that an individual’s marital status should not be used to gauge their ability to lead.

    According to the poll, 81 per cent of the respondents were unanimous that whether an individual is married or not makes no difference in terms of their ability to understand and address the needs of their constituents.

    Only 18 per cent of Kenyans were of the view that unmarried men or women were less able to understand and address the need of their constituents than married people.

  • government wastage

    Wastage of resources by State officers must end

    Debate has been raging in the past week over how to reduce the public wage bill following President Kenyatta’s announcement that he and his deputy, Mr William Ruto, will forfeit 20 per cent of their pay.

    Subsequently, the discourse was upped at a national conference on salaries early this week under the aegis of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, where President Kenyatta directed parastatal chiefs to take a 20 per cent pay cut as he exhorted other public sector workers to follow suit.

    To be sure, the wages consume Sh465 billion annually, representing 55 per cent of total tax collections and accounting for 13 per cent of GDP, nearly double the internationally accepted ratio.

    All are agreed that the wage bill is not sustainable but opinion is divided on the best strategies to deal with the problem.

    Imposing a reduction of salaries as fronted by President Kenyatta is one option, but there are others, too. In the first place, the reductions should not only target salaries but allowances and entitlements.

    The President, his deputy and the top civil servants take home so much in form of allowances that are not openly disclosed.

    In fact, they can comfortably live on the allowances while their salaries remain untouched. Moreover, they move around in large convoys of fuel guzzlers paid for by the taxpayers.

    This is a clear indication that civil servants’ salaries are indeed not the problem, but the various allowances and other resources at their disposal such as government vehicles.

    So, to address the matter, the government will have to cut down on allowances given to the top dogs, in addition to eliminating misuse of resources at their disposal. Moreover, the State must rein in corrupt officials and seal loopholes through which millions of shillings are lost.

    At a broader level, the government must seek ways of growing the economy and expanding the tax base so that it can increase revenues to sustain recurrent and capital development.

  • maternal deaths in Kenya
  • kenyans sleep hungry
  • Thu Mar 6, 2014 11:34AM GMT
    25
    216 78 By Finian Cunningham
    Share | Email | Print

    Related Interviews:
    ‘West real aggressor in Ukraine crisis’‘West in no position to threaten Russia’The irony could not be more bitter – or sickening. US Secretary of State John was photographed laying wreaths in Kiev this week and offering “heartfelt” condolences for those killed during recent violent street clashes in the Ukrainian capital.

    It now turns out that the killing of protesters and police officers was carried out by covert snipers working for the new Western-backed junta that seized power in Kiev. Kerry was thus laying flowers in memory of victims who were shot on the orders of the very people whom the West has been sponsoring.

    Dozens of people were fatally wounded in Kiev’s Maidan Square last month during clashes between security forces loyal to the then incumbent President Viktor Yanukovych. Western media uncritically, or worst knowingly, heightened claims by the organizers of the demonstrations against Yanukovych that the casualties were inflicted by police officers shooting into the crowds.

    At the time there were grounds for suspicion that all was not what it seemed. The surge in killings was not in keeping with the relatively restrained conduct of security forces in Kiev during nearly three months of unprecedented street violence. But the outpouring of condemnation from Western politicians amplified by Western news media against the Ukrainian authorities had the effect of piling the political pressure on the Yanukoyvch government to capitulate.

    The new administration in Kiev, led by so-called interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, has now been dubbed the legitimate government of Ukraine by Washington and the European Union.

    Revelations about the covert snipers have since been disclosed in a leaked phone call between EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Estonia’s foreign minister Usmar Paet.

    In the phone conversation dated February 25, and reported by Russia Today this week, Paet is heard to say: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new [Western-backed] coalition.”

    Ashton replies: “I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh.”

    This is by no means the first such evidence that violence in Kiev was orchestrated. There is already ample proof that the US and EU were covertly working to agitate protests against the Ukrainian government. For three months, Western politicians have been issuing statements to whip up demonstrations. Western officials have paraded in Kiev with fascist elements and given the provocateurs legitimacy to carry out outrageous acts of violence against government people and property that would not be tolerated for a second back in their own countries.

    The involvement of the American CIA and its various offshoots, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, has also been well documented in Ukraine going back to at least the early 1990s.

    The precipitous deployment of organized violence by “protesters” from late November onwards, allegedly as a result of the Yanukovych government rejecting an EU trade pact, also bears the hallmark of an externally driven regime change operation.

    A decisive tipping point was reached against Yanukovych with the surge in killings among protesters – apparently by police gunfire – during the last week of February. Yanukovych had already signed a “national unity deal” on February 21 with opponents promising constitutional reforms. But that deal was not enough for his opponents who wanted Yanukovych out of office altogether.
    In the wake of the street violence, US vice president Joe Biden reportedly phoned Yanukovych to tell him that it was game over. His efforts at cutting a deal were “a day late and a dollar short,” said the voice from the White House. Yanukovych then fled to Russia within days of Biden’s phone call.

    The latest evidence of orchestrated violence in Kiev for political ends – the definition of terrorism – adds to Russia’s claims that what the West has championed as “a people’s revolution” is in actuality nothing but a Western-backed coup d’état by terrorism.

    Russia’s President Vladimir Putin this week said that the new regime occupying the government offices in Kiev is not legitimate. It represents an illegal seizure of power by violence.

    That is why Russia is right to not recognize the usurpers in Kiev and to take security measures to protect ethnic Russians living in Ukraine and to defend its vital interests in the Crimean Peninsula. The unelected Western-backed regime, which Western media propagandize as “the fledgling government of Ukraine”, comprises neo-Nazis who detest Russians and who have publicly stated their intention to commit the worst kind of violence against ethnic Russians and any other people whom they deem to obstruct their fascistic program of governance.

    None of this vile demagoguery has deterred Western so-called democratic leaders from embracing the regime in Kiev. Far from it; this week saw British foreign secretary William Hague in Kiev shaking hands with Yatsenyuk, followed by US top diplomat John Kerry laying his grotesque commemorative wreaths to the dead.
    Kerry also announced that he was bearing $1 billion in loan guarantees to support the junta in Kiev. The austerity-racked EU is somehow finding the coffers to offer $15 billion. These “loans” are being welcomed with open arms by the Western-backed junta in Kiev. They will enrich Western capitalists and the Ukrainian elite, like Yatsenyuk and the leaders of the Kiev storm troopers, while throwing the majority of Ukrainians into American and EU-style poverty.

    Another condition for the Western financial bribery, as disclosed this week by the new Ukrainian ambassador to Belarus, Mykhailo Yeshel, is that Ukraine will allow US ballistic missiles on to its territory – right on the border with Russia.

    What we are witnessing in Ukraine is an imperialist conquest by Washington and its European stooge governments – hand in fist with fascist boot boys.

    Russia has every right to be concerned and to take action. Yet, ironically, this week Western media are falling over themselves to tell us that Russia has invaded Ukraine in “a brazen act of aggression”.

    No wonder the world seems chaotic when such barefaced Western lies and deception about reality are being churned out. Western “churnalism” at its best.

  • Japan Fukushima nuclear pollution has reached Califonia but the USA govt is in denial.

  • bloated government

    The clique of public servants on special terms

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

    By Walter Menya
    More by this Author

    A new cadre of public servants hired on super salaries is contributing to the ballooning wage bill, enquiries by the Sunday Nation reveal.

    The big number of advisers, consultants and quasi-state officials recruited by the Jubilee government on special terms in the last one year further puts to question President Uhuru Kenyatta’s message of austerity following revelations that the unsustainable wage bill of almost Sh500 billion needs to be cut.

    But the chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Prof Margaret Kobia, defended the hiring of the new officials, many of whom were party activists before Jubilee came to power. Many of the advisers, she said, bring special skills.

    “They (advisers) are both in the office of the President and the office of the Deputy President. It is something in the law. That doesn’t take away the work of the Cabinet Secretaries though. Even the Cabinet Secretaries can also seek advice from the special advisers,” Prof Kobia told us.

    “When this administration came in it established the executive office of the president that has the offices of the president and deputy president and in that structure they included advisers,” said Prof Kobia, adding that PSC approved the structure.

    POLITICIANS IN PAYROLL

    The President’s and Deputy President’s offices seem to be the main culprits as many of the Jubilee campaigners, financiers and politicians who lost in the 2013 elections have been included in the payroll, with some becoming the new powerbrokers operating behind the scenes and parallel to the Cabinet Secretaries and career civil servants.

    The Sunday Nation has established that many of these “super-paid” public officers have ended up duplicating the functions of career civil servants. For instance, State House has long had the office of the Chief Government Receptionist.

    But now, it seems the function has been overshadowed by the Directorate of Events and Branding. In addition, the diaspora issues have usually been handled at the ministry of Foreign Affairs which has the skills and the necessary expertise.

    The Kenyan taxpayer also pays a director of digital and new media yet there is the Information ministry as well as the ICT board.

    In the Presidency, advisers are accountable to former Treasury Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua who is the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service.

    Among the senior advisers in the President’s office at State House are Ms Nancy Gitau, an old hand in government carried over from the Kibaki era as the senior political adviser. She is deputised by former Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny who lost the seat to world-renowned athlete Wilson Korir.

    DISAPPEARED

    Former Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohammed is the senior constitutional and legislative adviser to the President and was deputised by Albert Muriuki who disappeared mysteriously two months ago. His whereabouts remain unknown.

    The Presidential Strategic Communication Unit, which replaced the Presidential Press Unit, is headed by Mr Manoah Esipisu and has four directors: Mr Munyori Buku (public communications), Mr James Kinyua (events and branding), Mr Eric Ng’eno (speech writing and messaging) and Mr Dennis Itumbi (Digital, New Media and Diaspora Affairs).

    PSCU also has two deputy directors, namely, Mr David Nzioka (Innovations, New Media and Diaspora) and Mr Thomas Kwaka “Big Ted” (Events).

    Sunday Nation also understands that a former Energy PS and a retired managing director in the energy sector had joined State House as informal advisers. It is not clear what their terms of engagement are.

    First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has Ms Connie Gakonyo as the Chief of Staff while former Treasury head of communication Maina Kigaga is the PSCU deputy director in charge of the First Lady’s Office.

    The deputy president’s office has a separate communication unit.

    In the office of the Deputy President, among the prominent special advisers on PSC payroll are Ms Maryanne Keitany (Chief of Staff). Ms Keitany is understood to have been a key player in the Jubilee elections win alongside Energy Secretary Davis Chirchir who was previously the URP secretary general, Mr Reuben Maiyo (private secretary), Dr Chesang’, in Pcharge of policy, Lang’ata parliamentary loser Nixon Korir (adviser on youth) and former MP from the Coast region Anania Mwaboza, who is adviser on parliamentary matters.

    Another loser in 2013 elections, Dr James Nyoro, is adviser to the presidency on food security and climate change based in the office of the Deputy President.

    The legal adviser in the Executive Office of the Deputy President is Dr Korir Sing’oei and is deputised by Ms Patita Tingoi (Intergovernmental Relations Secretary) and TNA legal secretary Jasper Mbiuki (Legislative Affairs Legal Advisory Secretary).

    The Government Coordination Unit in Mr Ruto’s office has four offices of the LAPSSET coordinator, Oceanic Management, Efficiency Monitoring Unit and the Inspectorate of State Corporations. Other advisers in Mr Ruto’s office include Ms Anne Masibei (social security), Mr Kariuki (governance). Once again, the Sunday Nation established there are other advisers whose terms of service are not clear.

    The situation in the Presidency has been replicated in some of the 18 ministries as Cabinet Secretaries brought in new staff from the private sector and included them in the payroll. This is despite there being career civil servants in most roles.

    In the Devolution ministry, for example, there are about six advisers. Among them are Mr Erastus Wamugo, Ms Betty Maina (not Ms Betty Maina of Kenya Association of Manufacturers), and Jester Nkoroi.

    Prof Kobia said that about Seven Cabinet secretaries had made requests for special advisers.

    “There are some cabinet secretaries who particularly need advisers who are placed on shorter contracts of two or three years. Not all of them require advisers but they can request because that is provided for within the law,” she said.

    The trend has been replicated in the counties where governors arrived with their political cronies unknown to the Transition Authority who were later placed on the payroll.

    According to Prof Kobia, most of the advisers join the service at job groups P, Q, R, S and some T “depending on the qualifications and experience”. These are senior positions in the structure.

    MORALE

    However, the Sunday Nation understands that some are in job group V, the highest in the public service structure previously reserved only for the head of public service.

    Among those in Job Group V are secretary to the cabinet Francis Kimemia who was the head of public service in the Kibaki regime, Mr Kinyua and two other officers in Mr Ruto’s office. A number of the secretaries fall in job group T. The directors are mostly in job group S.

    Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) secretary Stephen Mutoro said these super-paid public servants end up killing the morale in the civil service by duplicating duties and earning huge salaries.

    “The super-paid civil servants are basically in their own world – they are paid so highly for doing so little to the extent that they adversely kill the morale of the mainstream public servants who in return do everything in their ability to sabotage such newcomers instead of serving the public,” said Mr Mutoro.

    According to Mwalimu Mati of Mars Group Kenya, if the special advisers must be retained, they have to accept the government wage structure to help in partly plugging the budget deficit.

    “There is not going to be fiscal discipline if it is left to the advisers to choose what they want,” he said.

    A former civil servant who left office after the 2013 elections described the advisers brought in by the political executives as “high-consuming offices within the government structure” who are like demi-gods.

    Their offices are well-furnished besides getting cutting-edge mobile handsets and accompanying monthly top-ups, water dispensers. There is also a retinue of staff assigned to them including secretaries, personal assistants, drivers, messengers and armed guards. In addition, they have government cars at their disposal and draw huge per diems and travel allowances.

    Former Ethics Permanent Secretary John Githongo discounted the assertion that these advisers are imparting specialist skills. According to Mr Githongo, the reality that has emerged is that political loyalty is the key qualification for this cadre of staff.

    “Compared to regular civil servants, hiring consultants allows you to by-pass the usual employment processes so they are tailor-made for certain people because of a variety of considerations: their specialised skill, experience, nepotism, corruption,” said Mr Githongo.

  • Soth African police brutalize Nigerain man
  • Ukraine C Kharkiv

    How comes Noland is still at work? When and who will fire her!She doesn’t deserve to represent anybody> somebody must fire Victoria Nuland>

  • Ukraine C Kharkiv

    Watch the Neo-Nazis who took over Ukrainian Government torturing Mass Media Tv Boss for Showing the Cremean take over by the Russian Putin! Here the Tv Boss is beated and forced to sign the forciful resigning letter What a terrorist Government in Ukraine?

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26653295

  • DAVID C CHEMO

    I need updates from ur wall.

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