According the Central Bank of Kenya’s statistics, our country’s domestic debt is Sh2.118 trillion while the international debt is Sh2.294 trillion. But remember this was in June. In essence, the government is borrowing at a monthly rate of Kshs. 86 billion, tremendously beating the average rates of 2016 and 2015 which stood at Kshs. 54 billion and Kshs 55 billion respectively. It is, therefore, the highest rate since our country begun listing public debt.
In 2013, barely two months after Jubilee had come into power, our total debt was at Sh1.894 trillion, which was 42 per cent of GDP then. Today, our national debt stands at Kshs. 4.4 trillion and our debt to GDP ratio is at a whopping 59%. With a population of about 45 million people, it then means that each Kenyan owes at least Sh97,000.
The primary reason for Jubilee’s insatiable appetite for syndicated loans is to fund infrastructural projects and budget deficits. However, these projects have proven to be cash-cows. Their costs are highly inflated and billions of shillings of the borrowed money end up in private accounts. For example, this administration is yet to give a comprehensive report on how it spent the Eurobond proceeds. One would then wonder why some people still support such a regime.
Blinded by hatred and tribalism
We, the young generation, hardly believe it when we are told Malaysia and Singapore are our peers. The ASEAN nations have made tremendous progress. While these counties are now Asia’s financial hubs, we remain a third world country that depends heavily on international borrowing and grants.
We still grapple with episodes of hunger and famine. We still fight over elections, defend our tribesmen who loot from the public coffers, and judge our fellow countrymen and women not on merit, but their native regions.
When the youths in Singapore are using the internet technology to come up with solutions to their country’s problems, we Kenyans are using it to spew hate and spread propaganda. These widening cracks in the foundation of our nation have made the country be like a Skyscraper with a shaky foundation.
We can barely feed our families as the cost of virtually everything has gone up. The cost of higher education is at the rooftop, and is set to increase even further. The lecturers are on strike. Our hospitals are ill-equipped and staffed; the nurses are just from a six-month national strike and the doctors are threatening to go back to the streets if the government doesn’t implement their CBA. But in the sight of these glaring problems, we’re still too blinded to see any evil and crimes committed by Jubilee. We feel the impact of the huge public debt, but would suffer under Jubilee than have a regime change.
It is less than 20 days, and we celebrate our 54th Jamhuri day, the day our country became a republic, just a few months after we freed ourselves from the British rule. As we’ve learned in history, back then, we believed that with self-rule, all Kenyans would be equal in the eyes of the law. Nobody thought one tribe was superior to another, and neither did we have stereotypes that a particular tribe is violent or corrupt. Yes, we were poor, uneducated and we had health care problems, but we coexisted as a people of one nation called Kenya.
But after decades of misrule, heinous impunity, pervasive corruption, poor policy choices, and rampant tribalism and nepotism, the fiber binding us together became loose.
On Monday, after the Supreme Court upheld Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in the presidential election rerun, our country became even more divided. There’s no better way to elucidate our country’s current state of affairs than the caption done by Gado, arguably our best cartoonist. He drew a cartoon of a woman (Wanjiku) split into two halves. One side of her is jumping and ululating in celebration, and the other half is upset and bitter.
If you open your TV today, all the stations are preaching peace and unity. The panelists are advising Uhuru Kenyatta, and to some extent, the opposition chief Raila Odinga, to unite our country. But the question is our country able to come together again and get back to how it was at independence?
Words of Our National Anthem
54 years of reciting our national anthem, yet those words remain just words, as meaningless as the head of a corpse.
How can justice be our shield and defender when one tribe celebrates an injustice done to the other tribe, while another tribe bemoans a justice accorded to another?
How can we dwell in unity when Jubilee butchers our brothers and sisters like rodents?
How can we’ve peace and liberty when the people who have the mandate to protect us are the same people maiming and killing our loved ones?
How can we have plenty within our borders, when one tribe prides itself as the owners of the economy
It took all the 43 tribes to build the country Kenya; it is, therefore, sick and saddening when the state denies the citizens of this country the right to choose their own path. If we want peace, we must seek justice. Justice needs all our hands on deck, and here we surely have some work to do.
We cannot move forward as a nation when one or two tribes control the country’s resources and view the presidency as a preserve of their own. Under such circumstance, the best step forward is to disintegrate! Yes, let’s secede.
Secession may be a herculean task, and yes it should; it is the easy approaches, like “there’s always another chance,” and “ACCEPT and MOVE ON,” that have landed us where we are today.
To coexist together, the principles of equity, fairness, and justice must suffice. But since this has failed, let us just separate in peace, and save whatever little respect and dignity we’ve left.
The cracks in the foundation of our country are perhaps beyond repair, and, therefore, we may bring down the building called Kenya and construct it afresh. If this is no done, then the Skyscraper is likely to collapse, and the impact of this fall will be gargantuan and calamitous.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld Uhuru Kenyatta’s October 26th Presidential Rerun victory. The victory has been met by a protest, deaths, and tears spread across the opposition’s strongholds.
In Mathare and Ruaraka Constituencies, yesterday was a day and night of terror! Gunshot sounds reined the air for the past two nights, and teargas whiff has become the scent of the neighbourhood. The protest tempo was preset by the Ruaraka Killings, in which Jubilee supporters are accused to have attacked members of the Luo community living in the Riverside area in Babadogo ward.
Following the incident, protests emerged in the outskirts of the Capital, with the NASA supporters torching two buses and a 14-seater matatu in retaliation. A young man, a resident of Mathare 4A from a Kamba community, was hacked to death by the Kikuyu militia at Mathare North 29/30 stage, while another from the same tribe was shot on the head by the police in Mathare 4A at gateway area.
The police have not helped the situation; they shoot aimlessly and carelessly, shooting any Dick, Jane, and Harry that crosses their way. The carelessness has led to the deaths of many innocent Kenyans, and now even the Mathare MP, Hon. Antony Oluoch is nursing a gunshot wound. The MP was among the NASA leaders who on Sunday went to see the bodies of their supporters killed at Riverside. The police started shooting carelessly in what they said was an attempt to control the crowd and in the process hit the first term legislature on the leg.
Since the botched August 8 polls, Mathare 4A residents have engaged police in running battles, participating in the protests when called upon by the National Super Alliance leaders. Since then, the small area has lost four youths, including the two that were killed over the weekend. The first death was that of a young protestor whose brain was splashed by the police bullets in Mathare Number 10. The second incident was that of a form three student at Barding Secondary School in Siaya, who was in Nairobi for the August holidays. He was beaten mercilessly by the police after they forced their entry into his brother’s shop where he was working.
Those who have sustained bullets wounds, police assault injuries and the Kikuyu militia panga cuts are in numbers. While NASA boycotted the polls citing unlevel playing field, the questions many NASA supporters are now asking are: What happens next after Uhuru has been given the mandate for another five years? Could the bloodshed in Mathare 4A be in vain? And when will this Uhuru tano terror come to an end?
Our country Kenya is bleeding. My motherland is at a crossroad. One group ‘BORA UCHAGUZI’ advocating for fresh elections to be done tomorrow regardless of its quality, while another ‘UCHAGUZI BORA’ demanding that the elections be postponed until the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is reconstituted, and the environment is conducive to a free, fair and credible process. I’m for the latter.
The proponents of tomorrow’s elections, which the opposition has dubbed “Jubilee’s Opinion Poll,” argue that the economy is ailing as a result of the prolonged electioneering period. They say we should not be stuck in one thing and it is now time we get over and done with it. They say so albeit the challenges that we witness within the presiding body, IEBC.
The Commission in Tatters and the Envoys of Doom
The European Union and the US seem to be reading from that same script. The envoys have chosen to be silent on the commission’s grievous mistakes but louder on criticizing the opposition’s hard stance.
The west, led by the American ambassador Bob Godec, have regretted the opposition’s withdrawal but they do not seem to raise concerns over the issues raised by the opposition, which successfully petitioned the August polls.
The Common Wealth has already withdrawn its observers citing insecurity, and the withdrawal of the opposition from the rerun.
Last week Roselyn Akombe, the former IEBC head of public relations, withdrew from the commission saying it is lying to Kenyans. In her resignation letter, Akombe narrates her ordeal at the election body as she tried to get things right. Her statement just came a day after the envoys, who since been dubbed “envoys of doom,” had lauded IEBC’s preparation levels.
The commission chairman, while responding to Akombe’s resignation, confirmed her claims. He read what seems to be a warning notice to the political actors. And the commission’s drama didn’t stop there. The intrigues continue with news emerging day and night.
Deaths and Poachers of Men
In the run to August 8 elections, we lost the country’s Cabinet Secretary in charge of security. Bomas, which was under preparation to host the IEBC’s national tallying centre, is the last place he visited before retiring home to meet his fate. His death was not investigated, but the police were quick to rule it as a case of heart attack. His death came exactly a month to the elections.
One week to the Aug 8 polls, the poachers of men descended on the IEBC, this time it was the commission’s head of ICT, Chris Msando.
On that fateful day, Msando spent the better part of the day in media houses trying to explain how the polls would be tamperproof. He went back to the office and left late in the night, only to be kidnapped by unknown people.
At about 1 am, the CCTV cameras captured Msando, together with two other people, one of them a woman in his Land Rover within the CBD, making a call and later along Mombasa road. His body would later be found in a thicket in Kikuyu. The police are yet to come out with any meaningful information on his murder, but they h suggested that Msando’s death was perhaps a case of a love triangle.
Last week, the police descended on Jimmy Wanjigi’s house. They broke into the house like thieves, without a search warrant. Not even a court order against this invasion could stop them. It took the intervention of the opposition Chief and his supporters for the police to leave.
A day later, a similar incident happened at another billionaire’s home, this time Bobmill’s owner is the victim. However, Bichul is not as lucky Jimmy; he loses his life in unclear circumstances.
These poachers of men spare no one. Yesterday, we woke up to another sad news. Do you remember the Bondo reverend father who warned Kenyatta against profiling and killing of Luos by the police? Yes, that man of the cloth is no more! He was shot in the head and his car burnt.
Sublimely Tamed Supreme Court
Yesterday, as the Supreme Court prepared to hear the cases relating to tomorrow’s election, the DCJ’s car was shot at. Her driver was injured and rushed to Nairobi Women’s Hospital, where he succumbed.
The acting Internal Security CS and the Inspector General of police went to visit him. While we thought he would recover, the injury he sustained was fatal.
So in the morning, we wake up to screaming headlines about the impending case at the Supreme Court. And when Maraga came out, he was only accompanied by Justice Lenaola. And as principled as Maraga is, he decided to let the public know who is where and why they have not appeared in court to preside the case.
As you have anticipated, both the dissenting judges Justice Njoki Ndungu and Justice Ojwang were conspicuously absent. As Maraga reported, Ndungu was out of Nairobi could not get a flight back to the capital to hear the case. Ojwang’s whereabouts were not known.
Judge Mohammed Ibrahim is still sick. His counterpart Wanjala was said to be uncomfortable with the case, while Justice Mailu was so devastated after yesterday’s incident. But this evening, it is emerging that the DCJ might have been under house arrest. The other four are yet to verify their stories.
Could yesterday incident have been a warning to the supreme court bench? Did it mean that the case that the outcome of the case was so obvious that it had to be nipped in the bud? Only God knows and time will tell.
The Birth of National Resistance Movement
Tomorrow, Oct 26, about half of the country will be going to the election while the other half would be staying away. As the opposition chief as advised his supporters, none of them is expected to turn up for tomorrow’s “ritual.”
While I pray that all of us remain safe, bloodshed is eminent should Jubilee try to force elections in the opposition stronghold. To say that tomorrow will go without shedding blood would be living a lie.
Could tomorrow’s election solve our current problems? No, it won’t! In fact, it could escalate the problem.
Listening to Raila today address his supporters at a rally at Uhuru Park, he said the coalition has morphed into resistance.
If we are to move out of the current quagmire successfully, we must open our eyes to see and our ears to hear voices of reason.
We must first accept that we have a problem, and agree to dialogue about it. Much blood has been shed, and only the truth will set us free. If we want to see the light, let’s put our heads together and open our hearts to have a national dialogue, for there’s nothing greater than coexisting in peace, love, and unity.
Right now everybody is wondering when the political tension in this country will simmer. It has taken like forever for us to get it over and done with! However, it doesn’t seem to go away. We are back to where we were last year, “IEBC Must Go!”
Back then, the commission was led by Isaac Hassan. The chairperson is currently Mr. Chabukati, and yet, after pushing for reforms late last year, the August 8 polls were nevertheless rigged. What could be the problem; is it the candidates, the commission or the system?
Come to think of it; we always pay more for virtually everything. Our elections are the most expensive in the East African region, if not the continent, yet we are not the most populous nation and our elections are not the best either. Our SGR is the most expensive in the region, but it is neither the longest nor the best!
Polls and Money
For the August 8, polls, our electoral agency paid the Dubai-based Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company Sh2.5 billion tender to print ballot papers. This figure is more than twice the price paid by our closest neighbors Tanzania and Uganda, which both had their elections in the recent past.
While we spent an average of slightly over Sh20 per piece, our neighbors paid somewhat less than Kshs. 9. 50. However, the August 8 price is lower than the $3 billion the Isaac Hassan led commission paid to the British Printing firm Smith & Ouzman for the 2013 polls. The tender to the British printer later mutated into the infamous Chickengate Scandal, and the company’s directors are since serving their jail terms in the UK. Back at home, the people who implicated in the scandal are free citizen, save for the former Commission CEO Mr. Oswago who is facing charges.
The IEBC chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba, however, downplayed the price difference. In an interview with Capital FM radio, he said the country was getting value for its money.
“If you look at the type of ballot papers that we have, it’s closer almost to our currency. Also, the price being determined by the size; the size being determined by the number of candidates. So the prices will vary. You cannot just say that we are paying much more than other countries. Kenya is not Tanzania. Kenya is not Uganda, “he explained.
The October rerun surrounded by uncertainties has already cost us close to Shs. 12 billion. The information is still scanty, but we understand that that the French firm offering IT Services OT Mopho has already pocketed Shs.2.5 billion.
Are you are still wondering why the IEBC indicted personnel won’t step aside in the sight of glaring inefficiency? It is all about money! The commission controls a lot of money, and there is interest from all quarters. Chiloba would rather die than leave that office. At least not now that he still enjoys the government’s unreserved support!
The New Currency
Our country lost close to Shs. 2.5 billion in a currency printing fiasco. The Bonny Khalwale led Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that investigated the multi-billion shillings scandal discovered that the Bank Governor Njuguna Ndung’u opted for the higher rates that the government used to pay in 2002.
As we speak, the printing of a new-look currency in line with the constitutional requirement, according to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), is set to cost the country Sh18 billion. The current CBK Governor Peter Njoroge said the blueprints are already available.
The Constitution rejects the use of images of the country’s presidents or images of any individuals on currency. Article 231(4) of the constitution states that notes and coins issued by the CBK may bear images that depict of symbolizing an aspect of Kenya but shall not bear any individual’s portrait
The demonetization was expected to begin last month, but the CBK had to shelve the idea because of the prolonged electioneering period.
“It is not advisable to issue new currencies towards an election. It can cause disruption and poor acceptance of the new currency,” alluded Dr. Njoroge.
There has been a feeling that some people have naturally been misled to think this country is theirs while others are guests. Therefore, the move which now requires notes and coins to only bear images that depict or symbolize an aspect of Kenya bores well with communities whose sons or daughters have never ascended to the presidency.
But back to our story, in Kenya, every project has always come at an extra cost. It is only a matter of time before we discover a scandal in the printing of the new currency.
The most expensive second tire SGR
Kenya paid $3.8 billion (Sh380.4 billion) for SGR with diesel-powered locomotives upgradable into electric in future. Besides, the government spent Sh11.7 billion on land acquisition. Our SGR is slightly over 470 kilometers long. The diesel-powered engine speeds are 120 km/hr for passenger train and 80 km/h for freight.
At the cost of $3.4 billion, Ethiopia built an electric SGR. The 750 km Ethiopia-Djibouti line was unveiled in Oct 2016. It now links Addis Ababa to the Red Sea port city of Djibouti. The train travels at 120 km/hr, cutting down the time taken between the two points from three days by road to about 12 hours.
Tanzania has just launched its electric railway project, designed to support a maximum speed of 160km per hour for passenger trains and 120km per hour for freight. The SGR is expected to be operational in about 30 months. The project will cost $1.92 billion, which is almost half the price our country paid for the second tire SGR. The 422-kilometre line, covering the distance from Morogoro to Makutupora, both in central Tanzania, is tipped to transport 17 million tonnes of cargo each year.
There are many other cases out there; you are just yet to identify them. But we Kenyans always pay more for everything. And it is a straightforward reason, corruption!
In my opinion, we are the most dishonest people, perhaps in Africa, if not world over. We pretend to be religious, but when it comes to politics, we repudiate to our ethnical backgrounds. Though we won’t openly say it, most of us believe, an evil committed by our tribesman is no evil if it benefits my tribe. The sooner we change this narrative, the sooner we’ll start to live in harmony and develop our nation.
The Nairobi Business Association Must Disown the ‘Businessmen’
A group in the City, calling itself the Nairobi Business Community and reminiscent to the infamous National Youth Alliance, has made it its business to disrupt any form of demonstrations within the CBD.
The group first came out on September 26th, vowing to protect businesses against protesters in the impending demos announced by the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition. They were not your typical businessmen. As one journalist remarked, you would think they were in town for a reggae show! Even if we disregarded their looks, their austere faces left more to wonder than desire, and the social media was awash with hilarious jokes about the ‘businessmen.’
But back to the basics, security is the primary duty of the government, through the police service. As enshrined in the bill of rights, chapter four of the constitution of Kenya (CoK)), in article 29, every Kenyan has a right to security.
In layman, the easiest justification of a government is to protect its citizens from violence against each other and foreign foes. According to Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, the world becomes an unrelentingly insecure without the government to ensure the safety of law and order. It has been proven that when a government relaxes on this duty, the country becomes fragile, and chaos erupts everywhere as the citizens resort despotic options to sort their differences.
From where we sit, we all know too well that the Nairobi Business Community group is the once dreaded Gikuyu sect, the Mungiki. As we speak, the sect has been left to come out and do pressers, and carry out their rituals on live National TV. As a nation, it is evident that we forget very fast! Isn’t this the same Mungiki that ran havoc in most parts of the country, particularly central Kenya? The big question is why the Nairobi Central Business District Association (NCBDA) is yet to disown the group or is the association the employer of this sect?
You can all remember Mr. Gitau Njuguna, spokesman for the National Youth Alliance, the political wing of the Mungiki sect. The young man was gunned down by unknown assailants in downtown Nairobi on November 5, 2009. His death was just one of the various assassinations of the members of the sect that ensued in that year
I suppose the group had become too powerful for its handlers. The handlers then chose to annihilate it. Young men, be advised that the people currently using you to drive their political agenda, are the same individuals who will orchestrate your extinction from the face of the earth to cover their footprints. To them, you are expendable.
My unsolicited advice to the NCBDA is to come out and disown this group as quick as yesterday. The said community will soon start extorting money from your businesses in the City in the guise of protection fee.
As for the ‘businessmen,’ kindly learn from our nation’s history. It is only a matter of time before it unravels on you. When that time comes, you’ll remember I told you so!