Sunday, March 31, 2013

Raila Odinga's Statement On The Judgement of The Supreme Court


29thMarch, 2013

Fellow Kenyans,
Members of the media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon,

You will recall that on 9th March 2013, I issued a statement on the conduct of the elections which had just been concluded.

I expressed my deep gratitude to all Kenyans who had turned out massively to exercise their democratic rights to vote and elect their leaders.

I however expressed my dismay that contrary to the expectations of Kenyans, we witnessed the failure of virtually every instrument the IEBC had deployed to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.

I outlined such failures, with concrete examples of the anomalies that all of us witnessed. It was clear that the constitutionally sanctioned process of electing new leaders had been thwarted again by another tainted election. Democracy was on trial in Kenya.

But that has not dented my commitment to constitutionalism and the rule of law.

Enforcing the spirit and letter of the constitution remains the only sure way to peace and prosperity for our young democracy.

My decision to file a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the validity of the election was a testament of my faith in the independence of our judiciary.

We did so for the sake of our democracy and for the sake of all Kenyans who wanted to exercise their constitutional right to elect their leaders through free and fair election.

We were joined in this endeavour by Africog, which separately filed a petition seeking to nullify the fourth of March Presidential election.

This proves that my petition had nothing to do with personal grudge as contended by the IEBC, Hon Uhuru Kenyatta and Hon William Ruto.

In the petition, I expressed our belief that the court would uphold the letter and spirit of our constitution. I pledged to abide by the court decision.

We prosecuted the case to the best of our ability.

Our legal team, led by Senior Counsel George Oraro compiled formidable and logical evidence showing that massive malpractices occurred during the elections.

We unearthed evidence of technology failure that required a full audit, inappropriate conduct on the part of IEBC staff, irregular and unethical arrangements such as the sharing of servers by IEBC with a competitor and unmarked registers.

We regret that the court disallowed evidence on the grounds that it was either filed late or the court did not have time to inquire into these discrepancies. In the end, Kenyans lost their right to know what indeed happened.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The court has now spoken. Article 140 of our constitution states that “the Supreme Court shall hear and determine the petition and its decision is final.”

Although we may not agree with some of its findings, and despite all the anomalies we have pointed out, our belief in constitutionalism remains supreme.

Casting doubt on the judgment of the court could lead to higher political and economic uncertainty, and make it more difficult for our country to move forward.

We must soldier on in our resolve to reform our politics and institutions. Respect for the supremacy of the constitution in resolving disputes between fellow citizens is the surest foundation of our democratic society.

And the courts should always act within the evolving constitutional culture.

I and my brother and running mate Hon Kalonzo have no regrets for taking our case to court.

Indeed, it is our view that this court process is yet another milestone in our long road towards democracy for which we have fought so long.

Truth, justice and the faithful implementation of the constitution is our best guarantee to peace and security.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my hope that the incoming government will have fidelity to our constitution, and implement it to the letter for the betterment of our people. I wish president –elect Uhuru Kenyatta and deputy President elect William Ruto best of luck in this endeavour.

I also wish all the Senators, Members of Parliament, Women Representatives, Governors and others who were elected in the last election success in discharging the expectations of our people.

I want to thank Senior Counsel George Oraro and the members of his legal team for their hard work and devotion in the quest for justice. I would also like to pay special tribute to the Africog legal team led by Kethi Kilonzo for their immense contribution to the rule of law and democracy.

To the Kenyans who supported us and our petition, I want to assure you that I will continue to work for you and with you to build our county, Kenya, and to help you achieve your dreams.

My actions have always been guided by my desire to bring about a better life for all Kenyans, particularly those who are less privileged. The future of Kenya is bright. Let us not allow the elections to divide us. Let us re-unite as a Nation.

Finally, I call on all Kenyans– our supporters and opponents alike – to remember the sacred words of our National Anthem: Justice be our shield and defender;

Thank You and God Bless Kenya.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cell phones revolutionizing Kenya’s livestock sector

A goat herd in Somaliland by NatGeo
A new mobile technology has revolutionised live stock farming by pastrolist communities in Kenya.

The technology, which sends alerts for livestock diseases between farmers and veterinarians, will also issues alerts quickly about possible animal disease outbreaks and track wide-scale vaccination campaigns.

Using Global Positioning System (GPS) the technology helps to pinpoint with accuracy and speed early warning signs for animal disease outbreaks in a matter of seconds instead of weeks.

The application, EpiCollect, will help detect animal diseases quickly and these early warning can prevent death of tens of thousands of animals, thus safeguarding livelihoods and food security, and preventing diseases that can sometimes be passed to humans.

 “The mobile phone technology aid in reporting animal disease outbreaks, tracking vaccination campaigns and delivery of veterinary treatments, such as de-worming animals,” said Robert Allport, FAO Kenya’s Assistant Representative for Programme Implementation.

“Cellular phones eliminate delays in receiving field data, since all the information is relayed via the mobile network, after the information is assigned a geographic location to be extremely accurate and available in real-time,” Allport said.

The mobile application is funded by FAO, the Royal Veterinary College and local NGO Vetaid to also track animals’ medical history via the mobile Web

In a press statement FAO says the project has been successful in Kenya where three out of four people now have a mobile phone and more Kenyans are upgrading to Internet-enabled phones and prices for the technology inevitably come down.

Although only a third of Kenyans have access to the Internet at present, 99 percent of those Internet subscriptions are for access from a mobile phone which made the project viable.

EpiCollect is set to do away with what has been happening some five years ago when veterinarians would have to travel to remote locations, record data, and then travel back to district-level offices to process the paperwork.

“Now data is transmitted real time and includes total number of livestock in a herd, number of animals vaccinated and herd movement during search of pasture and water which is regularly update and stored online,” FAO said.

The EpiCollect database is not searchable in online search engines which keeps sensitive information safe and can only be accessed by national vertinary officers and field vets who are assigned unique location code for each project.

“Presently EpiCollect is only being used by field veterinarians with phones provided by Google Kenya for the testing phase but it will be available to village elders and well-established networks of community animal health workers,” it said.

FAO is also set to use the same technology for better link to livestock producers with markets and livestock traders.

“Traders and sellers can relay information to central point about how many animals they have to make markets function efficiently with transparent pricing and collective bargains,” FAO Kenya’s Allport said.

The same technology has been used by FAO’s, Oxfam and Nokia using Nokia Data Gathering (NDG) to monitor water points in pastoralist areas as an early warning indicator for drought in Kenya and Ethiopia where communities monitor water levels regularly via Internet-enabled phones.

In the Karamoja area of neighbouring Uganda, the same NDG system is being used by local chiefs to monitor drought indicators to allow for early response.

Manuel Odeny © 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Business: African Migrants to benefit from reduced remittance fee – World Bank

An illegal African immigrants being frisked after landing in Europe PHOTO: Courtesy

BAfrican migrant workers in European Union countries and their families back home are set to save US$4 billion annually after remittance costs are reduced to 5 percent from the current 12.4 percent.

The benefit comes after G8 and the G20 established 5 percent as the target average remittance price to reach by 2014 which is set to benefit African migrants, who pay most to send money home than any other migrant group most.

World Bank in a press release said that in 2012 Africa's overseas workers sent close to US$60 billion in remittances in 2012 although the Sub Sahara region is the most expensive to send money to for migrants.

WB’s Send Money Africa database said the average cost of sending money to Africa is almost 12 percent- higher than global average of 8.96 percent, and almost double the cost of sending money to South Asia, which has the world's lowest prices at 6.54 percent.

The move is expected to increase remittance which will benefit millions of Africans.

“Remittances play a critical role in helping households address immediate needs and also invest in the future, so bringing down remittance prices will have a significant impact on poverty,” said Gaiv Tata, Director of the World Bank's Africa Region and Financial Inclusion and Infrastructure Global Practice.

Tata observes that this lower cost in remittances is set to advance financial inclusion by increased use of other financial services like opening accounts and borrowing loans since remittance are often the first financial service used by recipients.

WB said that banks which are often only channels available for African migrants are the most expensive remittance service providers and the reduced cost which will dome with a regulatory environment will encourage competition among other remittance service providers.

Under such an environment migrant workers, Africans included will benefit from more transparent information on remittance services.

Manuel Odeny © 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Amy Winehouse Waistcoat Worn at BRITs to be Auctioned at New York Gala

The waistcoat with an image of Amy Winehouse on the back, which was worn by Mitch Winehouse to the BRIT Awards last month, will be auctioned in New York on Thursday 21st March 2013 at the Amy Winehouse Foundation Inspiration Awards and Gala.
The waistcoat will be signed by a number of celebrities including Tony Bennett, who’s receiving a lifetime achievement award, and Jennifer Hudson who is performing at the Gala.

The waistcoat was designed and created by British celebrity tailor Stephen Williams of tailoring house Bespoke HQ, who also made the suit Mitch wore to the Amy Winehouse Foundation Ball held in London last November.
Stephen has dressed and created suits for the likes of David Beckham, Stephen Dorff, Jermaine Jackson, and Jacobi Calthorpe, and he previously worked for Giorgio Armani before working as a tailor at William Hunt on Savile Row.

“The uniqueness and extra detail we have put into the garment celebrates the impact Amy had on the music industry and comes after great feedback from the press and Amy’s fans when Mitch wore it,” Stephen said.
Mitch said he wore the beautiful suit which Stephen created to the BRIT Awards when Amy was nominated for a posthumous award and everyone loved it with pride.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation are raising money for various charities in the USA, including the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) to assist in supporting after school music programs for children in those districts still struggling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
The foundation hope the Inspiration Awards and Gala will become an annual event to raise awareness and resources for the Amy Winehouse Foundation in the US. All monies raised in the US, including from this event will go to US programs.

The function will take at the famous Waldorf Astoria in New York City and will honour Tony Bennett, NAS, SaLaAM ReMi and Elhadj “Moe” Kane.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Poem: Home For Love by Manuel Odeny

hey love
just a warm smile, an assurance you are mine
embrace me for loneliness to ease
a hot calabash of uji*' for my soul to soothe
smooch my salty lips, to remove the bitter bile
come closer sweet, for your body i desire
the rob and urge in me to release.
I will whisper what i miss dove
coz I am home.

*Uji (from Swahili, porridge)


Friday, March 1, 2013

Poem: The Fall by Manuel Odeny

I slipped
I felled
and never regained my balance
I grouped frantically for something to save me
And in my confusion I looked
and thought
I was falling in love with you
only to realize I was alone
with a broken heart
to keep me company

Gullibly I offered you my hand
you took my heart and life too

You were always there
you smiled, giggled, chuckled, joked and laughed
you listened, understood, comfort and counseled
you advised, sympathized and empathized
we touched, hugged and kissed
all clothed with friendship
to cover the nakedness of love

I’m seated patiently waiting for love
but the man standing is not yet satisfied
how can you talk to the seated
when people standing are still empty-handed?
I’m crawling to love
but some one is running to the alter
how can you run before you even learn to walk?
how can you run to unknown destination?

Silently like falling dust
the smoke rises and floats away
from dying embers of love

Manuel Odeny ©2013