Sunday, December 23, 2012

Profile: Maurice Ogur: Former KPL defender hangs his boots to train youngsters

Maurice Ogur, in red cap talks to a group of young players before the kick off of Ligi Ndogo tournament in Nyatike.

By Nick Oluoch

Former Premier League outfit Kisumu Posta defender Maurice Ogur quit active soccer at his prime a decade ago to stop the young boys who were abandoning school for the easy money in the lake fishing through soccer, and ten year later, he has definitely managed to turn the

At his prime, Ogur was one of the best defenders in the country, first turning out for Lake Basin development Authority FC in the Provincial League in 1988 before joining the then Kisumu based Premier League side Kisumu Posta between 1989- 1992 during one of the best periods in
the clubs’ history.

Born 38 years ago in Sori area on Nyatike district, Maurice did his primary Education at Sota primary school within the district before proceeding to Kakrao High school in Migori. He then transferred to former soccer powerhouse Kisumu Day where he sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in 1987.

He was then recruited by the Lake Basin Development Authority who, on top of signing him for their team which was then playing at the Nyanza Provincial League, also gave him employment at their offices in Kisumu.

It was while here that his talent blossomed and fame spread in Kisumu and the neighboring town and within eight months, he was plying his trade in the Premier League.

“Kisumu Posta came calling and it was impossible to ignore the opportunity” He says adding that they however agreed that he would always be available whenever he was not occupied with the team, and hence his

After two years, Premier League Giants Gor Mahia FC, who had been keenly following his progress and who were by this time rebuilding their after the great team that won the 1987 Mandela cup identified him as a potential player who could help in steadying defense.

They then followed their interest by making a formal offer to take him to Nairobi and he was then allowed by his club to talk to Gor’s representatives.

“That was the most difficult decision I have had to make” He says adding that just like most footballers at that time, the chance to play for a club as popular as Gor was almost impossible to turn down because of its history and the type of players it had, and what’s more, turning out for Gor at that time almost guaranteed one a call up to the National team.

But again, he had a job at LABD and it was obvious he had to quit the job if he was to link up with Gor and so, as much as he wanted to play for Gor, Ogur opted to remain in Kisumu and continued at Kisumu Posta for another three seasons under veteran coach the late Oloo Gadafi who went ahead and coached Scarlet, (currently known as Ulinzi)

And during his time there, Ogur recalls some of the most memorable games he took part into, like the games about Mumias Sugar FC were always memorable because they always had an air of a ‘derby’, the same with the games against Scarlet.

In 1993, Sony Sugar FC, who had been promoted to the league and were seeking to boost their defense, an offer Ogur would let pass once again because he had already decided to stop active soccer and come back home to develop the game from there.

“I had by then been approached by people back at home to come back and start a program which could help develop soccer in the region” He says adding that he the needed to this call and in 1994, aged 23 years old, he left Kisumu Posta and went back and formed ‘Ligi Ndogo Nyatike
Initiative’, an initiative aimed at improving the level of soccer in the region.

It was a sacrifice to do this he admits, but says with high number of boys leaving schools every year to go and work in the nearby Lake Victoria as fishermen, he also acknowledge it was a move he had to make for the sake of the of the community.

The initiative identified youth football, as an area of focus and for the past fifteen years, has been organizing annual tournaments bringing together boys who are below the age of seventeen from all beaches in Nyatike to the tournament.

“We make sure that all team which participate get uniform since it’s not much of a competition” He says adding that they also try and showcase the talents to the Premier League team by inviting scouts during the tournaments.

Last year, one of their best players Tairus Omondi, a strike was signed by Gor Mahia while another two joined the armed forces, something that had never happened before in the area and every year during the Secondary school ball games in the region, graduates from the initiative who are spread all over Migori and Homa Bay counties are always the star players.
A section of the boys under 17 years who took part in the tounament.

And the boys, aware of the sacrifice Ogur has had to make for them ever grateful with the few who have left always coming back and trying to help the young e ones also make it.

“We hope to have our boys joining the professional ranks soon” he says adding that with the talents being witnessed at the games, It is only a matter of time before the graduands from the initiative start playing in foreign leagues.

©Nick Oluoch, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A woman suffers after trip to herbalist to extract tooth turns tragic

Rispa Auma Aguko
When Rispa Auma Aguko had a tooth ache in 1995 she didn’t know that a trip to a local herbalist could turn tragic.
The mother of four and a resident of Arambe village in Migori district was taken by her husband to extract a bad tooth which though successful turned tragic later when her jaw started to swell.
“The incident happened 17 years ago when the local herbalist removed my tooth but later my lower jaw started to be painful before it started extending,” Rispa said while speaking painfully with the sound coming as though her jaws re clenched tightly.
The jaw which has now extended to the size of a hand ball makes her lower jaw to extend which apart from being painful is making it hard for her to eat and perform her chores.
“I have been surviving on fluids since last year when the pain increased as I cannot chew on solid foods due to my swollen jaw. My life has been slowed due to stigmatisation and I wish to start afresh after all these  years” Rispa says.
According to Rispa’s health records, her lower jaw needs reconstruction because it has extended and swelled. This has reduced the activity of her jaw and movement of her teeth.
“I have visited several hospitals for re-construction and Kenyatta Nation Hospital has agreed but the cost  is way too high for me. I was first referred from Migori, to Homa Bay and then Kisumu hospitals before finally I was taken to Kenyatta National Hospital” she says.
Her last stop was KNH where after a scan she was told that to get a mandibular reconstruction operation she needs to pay Sh200,000 to remove the swollen lower jaw.
Meanwhile, Rispa has been forced to beg for hand outs from the public to try and raise the amount. About a month ago through her youth group at her local Seventh Day Adventist Church she has launched a CD to try to raise the amount.
“Rispa has gone through much stigmatization and have been moving from hospital to hospital to have her jaw reconstructed to no avail, we have seen her condition deteriorating from two years ago and we launched the CD,” Pastor John Obunga Oyaro of Arambe SDA said.
The gospel album, Jasamaria Mang’uon, which has four gospel tracks sang by youths in the church and pictures of Rispa retails for Ksh100.
The church and Rispa call for well-wishers to come forward and help materially, financially and emotionally to get treated for her treatment by funding the crucial the crucial surgery.
Her pastor says they have opened an account 0124508384800, National Bank- Migori Branch where well-wishers can pay directly

©Manuel Odeny, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

4.7 million Kenyans benefit from free Tsetse fly project

A man making a tsetse fly trap 
Over 4.7million Kenyans are no longer at a risk of contracting sleeping sickness after African Development Bank (AfDB) project to create a sustainable ad free tsetse fly and trypanomiasis areas.
The Sh859 million project started in 2001 covered three project areas in Mwea Game Reserve area in Meru, Ruma National Park in Lake Victoria region and Lake Bogoria Game reserve which covered over 24,000km2 of land.
“The project which ended in 2010 involved mass-rearing of tsetse flies, sequential release of gamma-radiated sterile males to curb reproduction and traainnig of over 6,000 community members in involvement in baseline data collection and processing,” AfDB said in their report.
Other methods involved using community crush pens and tsetse fly traps and use of insecticides and logistical support to in head offices in Kisumu, Nakuru and Embu by offering six motor vehicles and 10 motorcycles among other items.
Equaly locals and cattle were treated for any symptoms of sleeping sickness and farmers trained on eradication and farming techniques.
“The project’s aim was to end tsetse fly and trypanomiasis risk which was a serious obstacle to poverty reduction and food security and ease difficulties experienced by people infected areas in obtaining an early diagnosis due to the lack of access to basic health care,” the bank said.
The report says that 6 million herd of cattle in the designated areas have been freed from tsetse fly affect which has increased meat and milk production annually by 13,360 and 180,000 metric tonnes respectively.
The project was attained by a total of 210 staff from AfDB, Kenya Wildlife Services, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Ministries of Livestock and Public Health and Sanitation.
The same project was carried out in other East and West African countries.

AfDB funds Turbi-Moyale road

Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki officially opening the Turbi-Moyale road. SOURCE: INTERNET 
The board of directors of African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved $120m funding of the Turbi-Moyale road which will go a long way to finance 94% of civil work.
The construction of the road is part of the third and last phase of the Mombasa–Nairobi–Addis Ababa Road Corridor Development project which was launched in Moyale town last Wednesday by President Mwai Kibaki.
“AfDB’s support to Kenya in the three phases of the development of the Mombasa–Nairobi–Addis Ababa road alone amounts to $429 million, this development of the corridor will have significant impact in regional integration and trade for the benefit of Kenya and Ethiopia, whose combined population stands at 125 million,” the bank said in an online statement.
During the launch Gabriel Negatu, Director of the Bank’s East Africa Regional Resource Centre (EARC) said the Turbi–Moyale section is the last section in Kenya to complete the Trans-African Highway from Cairo to Cape Town.
During the ceremony, Kibaki expressed his Government’s appreciation of the Bank for playing a leading role in road infrastructure development, and its continued support as a development partner in Kenya.
The funding comes after the official opening of the 50km Thika Super Highway which the bank funded by half of the cost to a tune of US $180m while the government and Exim Bank of China financed US $80m and US $100m respectively.
In the statement AfDB says the super highway will carry up to 60,000 vehicles daily and help about 100,000 residents of Kasarani, Kiambu and Thika work in the formal sector, while another 125,000 are in the informal sector – a majority of whom have to commute to Nairobi.
“Additionally 12,000 high school students will benefit from the road and 12,000 KU and JKUAT students attending part time classes in the evening,” it said.
During the launch AfDB President Donald Kaberuka said their partnership with Kenya started in 1967 with investment of US $3 billion. Of this 60% went to physical infrastructure especially in transport and energy sector.
AfDB is Kenya’s leading development partner in the road sector with operations totalling more than US $1 billion.
“We reaffirmed the AfDB’s strong commitment to infrastructure development in the country and on the continent since infrastructure promotes trade and creates a conducive environment for business,” he added.
On his part Kibaki said the Nairobi–Thika superhighway is source of a national pride adding it’s “It is the first modern highway infrastructure in Kenya’s history, contributing to achieve the country’s goal of reaching middle-income status by 2030.”
President Kibaki commended the AfDB for its unwavering support in the project, providing a paradigm shift to the country’s road infrastructure network.

Friday, November 30, 2012

HRW condemns KDF over Garissa, says 52 injured

 Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned the KDF’s appraisal attack in Garissa following attack in which three soldiers had died on November 19.
In an online statement the organisation says an employee at Garissa Provincial Hospital said at least 52 people with severe injuries had been admitted there, at least eight of them with gunshot wounds on November 19 and 20, following the army reprisals.
“Witnesses told HRW that, immediately after the killings of the three officers, the Kenyan army surrounded the town, preventing anyone from leaving or entering, and started attacking residents and traders,” the statement says.
Witnesses also said that the military shot at people, raped women, and assaulted anyone in sight. Among the gunshot victims were two school boys who are claimed to have been home bound from school.
During the rampage soldiers also set fire to businesses among them Muqti market, the Alwaqaf building and Maua Posho Mill.
“The military remained in barracks on November 20, but regular police, administration police, and riot police continued the attacks,” HRW.
HRW now puts the government on the spot to end its arbitrary attacks by members of the military and police against residents of the northern region as a routine response to any attack on its security forces.
“The level of abuse by Kenyan security agencies following last week attack on three of its military officers is appalling and a complete contradiction of the government’s obligation to protect its citizens and guarantee their rights and freedoms,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Lefkow says the government should respect the rule of law and ensure that its security agencies follow the strict letter of the law in detaining people before handing them over to the criminal justice system.
Dujis MP Aden Duale is quoted in the statement against the human rights abuses in Garissa saying,“over 70 people have been injured, some by gunshots from the Kenya Defense Forces, women have been raped.”
This not the first time HRW is accusing the government of complacency on armed forces in North Eastern, its May report “Criminal Reprials: Kenya Police and Military Abuses Against Ethnic Somalis” has been ignored.
“(We) documented serious abuses by security officers in the northern region following attacks in which security officers were killed. In October we documented cases of similar abuses in Mandera and Garissa, each time in response to a grenade or gun attack on security officers,” it says.
Following the report the military promised to end such violence to no avail and no one has not been detained or investigated or any evidence of any investigations by police into the abuses.
“The Kenyan government should take direct responsibility for the persistent abuses by its security forces in Northern Kenya, get them under control, and hold them to account,” Lefkow said

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winfred Lichuma, Gender Commission chairperson supports Marriage Bill 2012

Wilfred Lichuma
The chairperson of the newly formed National Gender and Equality Commission Winfred Lichuma has supported the Marriage Bill 2012 calling it a positive direction to level the ground for matrimonial engagement.

Lichuma says bill will radically shape the family institution once parliament passes it. She added the bill will secure and define rights of spouses in the context of marriage institution saying the.

“With the proposed law victims will have a recourse backed by law to enable them settle in an environment that is safe, hospital and nurturing,” Lichuma said in a speech read by the commission’s CEO Rose Odhiambo.

“I urge all Kenyans engaging in public debate over the bill to do so with sobriety and I urge MPs to pass the law which is good for us all,”Lichuma added.

Sharing the same sentiments Odhiambo said the call to remove dowry in marriage is positive as it’s blamed for cattle rustling and gender violence as women are equated to property.

The commissioners called on civic bodies and the public to be involved in sensitization programs to read the new constitution which secures gender and equality rights for youths, persons with disabilities, minority and marginalized groups.

“All Kenyans irrespective of their gender, age, tribe and sex should be treated with human dignity as stipulated in the constitution,” Odhiambo said.

The commissioners was addressing residents, public administrators, police officers, paralegals and women at a local hotel in Migori town during the launch of baseline report Elusive Justice: Women’s Experience in the formal and informal justice systems that was carried out in Migori county.

The research was carried out by Foundation for Women’s Rights in Kenya (FWRK).

© Manuel Odeny, 2012

Protected areas in East Africa not conserving Acacia- Study

Protected areas in East Africa are not doing enough to conserve the iconic Acacia trees in the savannah, a new study have found.

The study found that majority of Acacia biodiversity in protected areas like national parks, nature and forest reserves receive little protection, a situation which may be exacerbated by climate change.

The researchers found that two thirds of Acacia diversity hotspots had less than 10 per cent coverage by protected areas. They also conclude that due to climate change, high-elevation, moisture-dependent species of Acacia may contract their ranges towards mountain peaks, where protected areas are dominated by forest reserves.

“The Acacia is one of Africa’s most iconic groups of trees, but our data suggest protected areas such as national parks do not really conserve them. This is most likely because most protected areas were originally established to protect big game rather than to protect biodiversity and plants.” Dr Andy Marshall on of the researchers from US said.

Acacia includes a number of species that dominate extensive areas of East African woodland, wooded grassland and bushland. It occurs across a wide range of ecosystems, from arid deserts to mountain forests, and ranges from small shrubs to large trees.

The study ‘The genus Acacia (Fabaceae) in East Africa: distribution, diversity and the protected area network’ is published at Plant Ecology and Evolution and included research in 771 protected areas in 65 world-renowned national parks and game reserves in five East African countries of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

“Data suggest that if we were to take the existing protected areas and place them completely at random across the area, we would get a better coverage of Acacia diversity than the current distribution,” says the study.

The study says governments should seek how best to deal with the potential mismatch between biodiversity and the current protected area network by effective means of biodiversity conservation by closely involving local people to protect both animals and plants.

“Acacia like other plants have been ignored in conservation in protected areas even though they harness Sun’s energy and providing nutrients for the entire food chain. Information on plant distributions and the ways in which ecosystems will respond to future climatic and economic developments is crucial,” Dr Marshall says.

The study which has been carried out by University of York, Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo among others will be fully published next year.

© Manuel Odeny, 2012

Sewerage, fertilizer pollution choking River Galana – KMFRI

Fishermen pushing their boat at River Galana which passes through Tsavo East National park. Research shows pollution is affecting the river. 
River Galana in Coast region of Kenya is highly polluted following a direct input of sewerage and fertilizer into the river, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) research has said.
The finding follows a research carried by KMFRI in the river following complains by the management of Galana ADC farm regarding the water quality and recurrence of algae blooms in their farms for the last two years after using the water.
Researchers carried out investigation by analyzing samples collected in sites like Darajani in Galana ADC ranch, Sala gate and Tsavo East National Park.
“The results showed high levels of E. coli bacteria which pointed to discharge of raw sewerage into the water system and high levels of phosphates, nitrates and ammonia which can be attributed to use of fertilizers in agricultural activities upstream,” the research institute said in a press release.
Dr. Joseph Kamau, KMFRI’s researcher and Edward Waiyaki, a socio-economist say the pollution will affect fish population in the river, create scarcity of clean drinking water which will cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach ailments among the community members which could directly be linked to the E. coli bacteria.
“Algae blooms occur as a result of excessive input of nutrients into the aquatic system from human activities with some species certain usually attaching themselves to the fish gills and thus compete for oxygen”, said Dr. Kamau.
Although the finding couldn’t attribute to any recorded fish kills as a result of harmful algae bloom but it says its high level can kill fish due to suffocation especially in instances where there are low levels of dissolved oxygen in water.
“We recommend interventions in prudent agricultural practices by creating buffer zones between farms and river banks, treatment of sewerage before discharge into the rivers and creating public awareness to enable the community take precautions to avoid health complications,” KMFRI says.
To further protect River Galana aquatic life KMFRI says it will embark on a comprehensive research upstream to determine the points of release of the identified inputs and advise the relevant government agencies to enforce the relevant laws and ensure sound management.
© Manuel Odeny, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Africa ICT growth tied to infrastructure, start-ups investment - Nairobi DEMO launch

ICT growth in Africa has been tied to infrastructure and startups investments 
The growth of the ICT sector in Africa is tied to continue investment of infrastructure in the sector, Gabriel Negatu an African Development Bank (AfDB) director has said.
Negatu who was speaking after the end of three day ICT conference which ended last Friday in KICC says such functions will make Kenya and the continent to provide a platform for the start-ups to launch their products.
He adds in such forums coders and developers meet an audience of potential investors, corporate acquirers, government dignitaries, policy makers, academia, development organizations and global media to increase their portfolios.
"The nexus between ICT and economic growth has already been established. The critical element missing is increased investment in ICT infrastructure, which can only be achieved by increased collaboration between the public and private sectors since the initial capital outlay can be prohibitive to individual investors,” said Negatu.
During the function DEMO Africa, the event organizers collaborated the remarks saying their 2009 DEMO demonstrator research study conducted by BluePoint Ventures, in the past 20 years, 22% of past demonstrators received funding within 60 days as a direct result of a DEMO launch.
Equally 92% who secured funding, did so within 9 months of DEMO with 62% receiving over $1 million in funding - mostly from venture and angel investors.
In the past five years, DEMO companies have raised over $4.5 billion dollars in the months/years following their debut at DEMO conferences like the one which just ended in Nairobi.
“This is a platform where the most innovative companies from across Africa will launch their products for the first time as they pitch for capital and strategic partnerships,” said Harry Hare, Demo Africa’s Director and the event organizer.
“We are on the edge of a technology entrepreneurial revolution which requires the participation of both the public and private sectors to take off. What we are looking at now is the making of technology billionaires in dollar terms from the continent and creating massive job opportunities as they grow,” Harry noted.
Harry Hare singled out the success of Safaricom’s Mpesa as a global example of Africa’s potential to steer innovation in the ICT sector.
The organisers said Africa has about 15% of the world’s population, but only about 2% personal computer users and such conferences seek to increase investment in technological innovation and real startups being created in Africa, developing real-world solutions, worthy of investment and global attention.
AfDB and Safaricom among others sponsored the function.
The same event will be organized in Kampala, Kigali, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg and Cape Town in different dates.
©Manuel Odeny, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ugandan researcher wins the AfDB 2012 Young African Economic award

Ugandan national economist has won this year’s award in the just concluded African Development Bank (AfDB) African Economic Conference in Kigali, Rwanda. 

Dick Nuwamanya Kamuganga an economist from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, won the award for his paper Does Intra-Africa Regional Trade Cooperation Enhance Export Survival.

Excerpts of the paper which was selected from among 500 submissions, which were narrowed down to 43 papers was presented during the conference at the  Regional Trade and Integration session.

Kamuganga’s paper explores long term African export relationship internationally and in intraAfrican regional trade cooperation increase, It also examines the effects of intraregional trade cooperation on sustainability of Africa’s exports within Africa and to the rest of the world.

He argues that sustainable export expansion is a key priority for all African countries to achieve sustainable economic growth. Kamuganga’s findings suggest that regional trade cooperation, or integration, initiatives in Africa have nonnegligible effects on enhancing Africa’s export survival.

“He also shows that the depth of regional integration matters when it comes to lowering Africa’s export hazard rates relative to countries that are not in any regional cooperation,” AfDB says in an online statement.

“The research explains that actors such costs to export, transit delays (time to export), institutional and policies bureaucracy in  procedures to export and financial depth provide a natural framework for explaining the observable high hazard rates for African exports,” AfDB says.

His paper argues that financial underdevelopment in Africa could have a crucial role in restricting Africa’s export relationship survival.

The researcher argued that regional trade cooperation in Africa would greatly reduce export duration, and would result in a reduction in infrastructure-related trade frictional costs. Benefits of regional trade cooperation would include a reduction in border procedures, harmonization of documentation, product standards and elimination of border tariffs.

The award sought to recognize and encourage research among young Africans and only four research papers were shortlisted and given to a panel of judges to decide which one warranted the award for best conference paper by a young African scholar.

The basic criteria for the prize included that the paper should have been written a single author; the researcher should be under 40 years of age and from an African country; the paper should demonstrate innovation and relevancy in the area of economic policy, and should not have been presented anywhere prior to its presentation at the AEC in Kigali.

“The award which will be apart of the annual conference to boost young African researchers to be recognized by encouraging and inspiring research contribution among young Africans,” the United Nations Development Programme’s Sebastian Levine said.

The conference and the prize was funded by the UNDP, AfDB and the Economic Commission for Africa.

Kenyan Politics: Of Maina Njenga, 2013 Elections and Mutation of the Mungiki sect

Members of the Mungiki sect

Kenyan Politics: Of Maina Njenga, 2013 Election and Mutation of the Mungiki sect

By Murimi Mwangi

I was in Kirinyaga, my home county in 2009 during the bloody war between the outlawed Mungiki Sect and the Kenda Kenda Vigilante Squad, a war which had the blessings of the police and the Provincial administration.

During that bloody conflict I together with other men aged above 17 years were forced to sleep in bushes armed with pangas and other crude weapons away from the comfort of our homes for fear of Mungiki’s attack.

The imminent attack never came but iit did strike at Mathira village in Nyeri County in a grisly manner when 27 innocent Kenyans were hacked to death.

The attack and sad memories of brutality that I have personally witnessed among the sect members has given me a déjà vu with gearing up to next general elections as Mungiki sect is going to bed with politicians, a bad omen for peace.

I’ll start with Mungiki leader (I won’t use former for the sect still exists) Maina Njenga who after dubiously denouncing the sect and camouflaging as a Man of God dines with the high and mighty in the country.

Maina enjoys status despite the indelibility of the innocent blood that still stains his hands. He even met the late Muammar Gaddafi before his demise.

He has shared podiums with parliamentarians, ministers, businessmen, politicians and presidential aspirants.

With this political bed hopping with Mungiki Kenya is breeding a sect which will be more brutal than Mombasa Republican Council (MRC). This will be the worst tragedy if you consider the sect was heavily involved in the last PEV. A clear sign of political manipulation.

With the brutality of Mungiki the country should be ready to wake up to news of headless bodies and kidnapping from the sect.

To get the gist of this post I’ll start with Njenga’s current leadership at Mkenya Solidarity Movement (MSM) party, formally headed by the veteran politician GG Kariuki before he decamped it for Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA.

Before mutating into a MSM rumours were abound of Maina Njenga weighing his options to either throw his weight behind Uhuru Kenyatta or the Prime Minister Raila Odinga presidential bids.

However, Uhuru Kenyatta, aware of the muck that Mungiki has brought to his name and his presidential bid, denounced the sect. Uhuru then immediately directed the TNA Chairman, Johnston Sakaja to reject Maina Njenga’s friend request during a press conference.

During the recent Kangema by-election that followed the demise of John Michuki, Mkenya Solidarity Movement (MSM) sponsored John Gathongo to face the PNU and TNA candidates. Kangema was considered a TNA or at least an Uhuru stronghold, so ODM declined to sponsor a candidate there.

However, the ODM still financed the MSM candidate. In appreciation of the underground ordeal between ODM and the MSM, Maina Njenga was swift to proffer his appreciation. He immediately declared he would support Raila Odinga’s presidential bid next year.

Prior to all this, Uhuru Kenyatta had received the endorsement of the GEMA association during the Limuru meeting dubbed Limuru 2.

This had angered the the Gitobu Imanyara Meru faction, so the Mungiki sect took advantage of this and staged a Limuru 2B meeting at the same venue, to denounce the endorsement of Kenyatta by the GEMA association. They did this with the support of Paul Muite, Gitobu Imanyara and a few politicians from ODM.

The ODM faction of the government pressurized the government to grant the meeting permit to the organizers of the Limuru 2B.

As it was expected the PNU arm of the government, under which the internal security ministry falls used the police to disrupt the meeting. This received massive criticism from the US and other western Embassies.

Though many might be shortsighted about this, Maina Njenga is a key player in the forthcoming elections.

The presidential campaigns for next year’s elections are built around the politicisation of the ICC, and Maina Njenga could be holding the secret key to Uhuru Kenyatta’s chances.

Uhuru is defending himself in a case at the ICC, for allegedly providing the financial and logistical support to the Mungiki during 2008 retaliatory attacks in Parts of Nairobi and the Rift Valley at the height of Kenya’s post election violence.

That ICC case is the major stumbling block to his presidential candidacy in the forthcoming elections. It is common knowledge that Raila Odinga wants Uhuru and Ruto completely off the presidential race.

And here is where Mungiki’s dalliance with either TNA or ODM looms, let’s consider the facts I’ll postulate here.

Maina Njenga
This is my justification. A high number of youths from central Kenya are Mungiki members, majority of them are poor and uneducated. Additionally, their oath of allegiance to the sect forces them to follow any decrees passed by the sect.

From this basic fact, most of them will blindly endorse the sect’s as it has happened in the past. It is the old politics of who gets what when and how!

It is my plea to the government to clear this sect because it is undergoing resurgence in many parts of central Kenya.

Recently a childhood buddy and a  Mungiki sect member called me over the phone boasting about high underground recruitment and oath taking in Katrina Town which inspired this post, but that’s a post for another day.

The writer studies communication and media at Maseno university

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Poem: My Heart Has Chosen by Anonymous

By Anonymous
(I found this poem in my laptop and it blew me away though all of my friends say they didn’t compose it. It’s simplicity makes me want to share here it here)
My heart has chosen                                            
But society frowns at me
I went out of my way, to assist a needy person
Anajifanya mzuri atachoka tu!
My heart has chosen
But society frowns at me
When I offered my resources
To the one who had none
Anajiona sonko atasota soon
My heart has chosen
But society frowns at me
I saw and loved you
But u weren’t good enough for them
Yet it’s between you and me
Hawa lovebirds tuwape muda watabreak tu!
Yes my heart has chosen
But society frowns at me
Am I to turn from my neighbour in need?
Turn away from the one I love?
Close my eyes and ears to the ills around me?
Tell me so coz you could be the next my heart chooses!

Why TNA, ODM two horse race will lock out reform in Kenya

By Murimi Mwangi

The two-horse-race cliché has dominated the presidential campaigns. The ODM team has already bestowed the reform tag on their horse and is rubbishing the G7 horse as a wagon of conformists of impunity.

However, this reformism-conformism gimmick is a lyric that the public must ignore since riders of both horses have a history of being merchants of impunity and none of them qualifies the title of a true reformist.    

For starters, Uhuru Kenyatta has over history dirtied himself with the muck of impunity due to his relationship with all the post independent governments. He was a Moi project in 2002, despite being a political naïve then. It is widely believed that Uhuru never joined politics to serve the interest of the wide citizenry but to protect members of the elite class that had illegally amassed wealth during the Kenyatta and Moi regimes.

The unprecedented merger of KANU and other pro-Kibaki parties in 2007 into PNU was a deliberate attempt by Uhuru to remain politically relevant after his untenable loss to Kibaki in 2002. He did this with the hope of in inheriting the kikuyu chiefdom from Kibaki, which he has dully achieved despite having serious crimes against humanity in The Hague!

His rival horse rider, Raila Odinga’s credentials of reformism are pegged on his 7 years detention by president Moi, his vigorous campaign against the insubstantial 2005 constitution and eventually his efforts in acquisition of the new constitution. Ironically, Uhuru also rejected the 2005 draft and campaigned for the 2010 constitution alongside Raila. So why does Raila qualify to be a reformist for the same things that the alleged impunity-conformist also did?

Raila has also been acclaimed for his momentous role in bringing the lakeside nation into the Narc coalition of 2002 that trounced the 24 years of the despotic Kanu regime.

However, Miguna Miguna, in his memoir peeling back the mask claims that prior to Raila’s  historical pronouncement, ‘Kibaki Tosha’, he was just from signing an MOU endorsing Nyachae’s presidential bid. This is a clear indicator of a wavering politician; an allegation that has also been confirmed by his former head of protocol Tony Gachoka.

Raila’s campaign strategy in the 2007 election to date still encapsulates serious suspicion. Muted allegations that he conducted the campaign based on a concealed agenda of 41 tribes against 1 (that fuelled the 2008 chaos), is a serious negatron of his alleged reformism.

Additionally, his occasional doublespeak on national matters also portrays a leader without a clear stand. In parliament he says MRC is a prescribed gang but at the Coast he has the guts to say that the armed hooligans wrecking havoc there can come to a round table with him and discuss peace!

At one time he says that ICC suspects should be locked up in Kamiti Maximum prison, but later on we hear he is in serious coalition talks with Ruto, one of the ICC suspects.

Paradoxically, both Uhuru and Raila claim that they would fast track the full implementation of the constitution upon election.  However, for Uhuru to be given the green light to even contest the presidency a flawed integrity bill mutilating chapter 6 of the constitution has to be effected- that tells a lot about what would be his style of constitution implementation.

Raila’s promise of speedily implementing the constitution also sounds ridiculous. On one hand he wants to forge an alliance with Ruto, yet that can’t happen unless the integrity Bill is blemished to allow Ruto into the arena. Additionally, how will Raila Marshall his government to implement the constitution if he brings aboard Ruto who captained the rejection of the draft by the Kalenjin nation?

A true reformist is an indefatigable leader that not only stands by a single voice but who also walks their talk.

However, none of the two horses prognosticated as key contenders for the presidency pass the test of reformism! Perhaps we should select among the rest who have been discarded as insignificant by the polls.

The writer is a communication and media student at Maseno university