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Opinion

Let Leaders And People Of The Luhya Nation Unite

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Mudavadi and Wetangula at a Luhya Unity rally after breaking ranks with Raila.

By Nicholas Olambo

Kenyan politics is tribal, and that’s what it is, securing community or tribal backyard is the first step to climbing to leadership at whatever level. Clan politics characterize county assembly, parliamentary, senatorial and gubernatorial positions.

The much talked about handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta opposition leader Raila Odinga sent a strong message both to allies and opponents. It marked an end to a meaningful NASA coalition where Odinga and his ODM party were members.

Odinga was considered to have walked out of the Nasa marriage when he walked through the revolving doors and made the unexpected handshake with President Kenyatta at the doorsteps of Harambee house. His allies (Kalonzo, Mudavadi, and Wetangula ) saw that Odinga needed some break or distance from the relationship, so they had to retreat and re-strategize ahead of 2022.

Mudavadi and Wetangula have since gone back to their backyards to unite their community as the first step towards clinching the country’s top leadership in 2022. Their move has been branded tribal though it’s not different from what other top politicians do. When the two backed Odinga in 2017 it was never seen as a tribe supporting Mr. Odinga but patriotic brothers working with like-minded politicians to provide better leadership.

It must be taken into consideration that the handshake caused political jitters and realignments. Musalia Mudavadi who is rumored to be the brain behind NASA had to ditch snitching friends who hold no much significance around him, and so he altered his perspective and focussed on the unity of his community first.

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There is this myth that is poisoning the minds of the electorate that Luhya nation is vote-rich but never votes as a bloc. Dead wrong, over 70% of this bloc has voted in one direction since 2002, and so in that design, it is not a divided bloc. Nyanza, for instance, is considered a united bloc but in it, Kuria and Kisii regions have been infiltrated by Odinga’s opponents season in and season out.

ODM party should not believe that they live in a perfect and that if you don’t agree with them, then their spanner boys like Edwin Sifuna should call you all sorts of names.

Hon Musalia Mudavadi has a compelling political resume that grants him all the authority to solidify support in his backyard to go for the top seat in 2022. Everybody is playing their game. This country has in the recent past witnessed several visits that idling leaders have made to Kabarak to save the diminishing future of the dynasties. Keyboard politicians from the orange party will call that development, but moves to unite Luhya nation will be branded as efforts to sell the community to the highest bidder.

Luhyas have never been sold to any bidder at any time; they have in most cases voted with Odinga, a renowned stingy man who has collected money from poor Kenyans to aide his campaigns but provided no alternative leadership in the end; instead, he walked his cronies to the unwanted system.

The western bloc is not divided as such; the leadership in that part of the world is only working ways to have a prevailing party like any region in Kenya. They have discovered who the real friends are and individuals who beg for mercy and ride on other people’s back. Ex-partners like the orange party are feeling godly with the fame that came with handshakes and hugs but severely is blind to see that the electorate has realized that they meant no good for the region.

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Handshake didn’t prove that dynasties are statesmen, but it marked the moment when other leaders learned harsh lessons. The electorate is now awake, and the desperate voices to create positions for old and retirees from political dynasties are landing on deaf ears. This country needs a serious and sober leadership, uniting western Kenya should be the first step towards that.


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Opinion

Ethiopian Airlines Maintains Its Brand As The Top Airline In Africa And What Kenya Airways Must Learn

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The aviation industry globally has experienced the worst year start with the recent Ethiopian Airline crash flight 302, a Boeing 737 Max that killed all on board, the year 2017 was the safest with no crash at all which outlay the fact that with focus and determination above all avid safety measures control system the Industry can be made safer.

Ethiopian Airline (ET) is one of the safest airlines in Africa and the recent crash of its plane was one of the worst in the history of the Airline company owned by the Ethiopian Government. Initial reports from the crash investigations suggest that the accident may have been as a result of a software dysfunctionality that has resulted to Ethiopian airline grounding more than 30 planes of the said model and most countries in the world civil aviation authorities have grounded this model of airplane. Ethiopian Airline is best performing airline and only African government owned that has over years recorded an increase in profits, Most Governments owned airlines are loss-making entities that require government funding annually.

The company has regional subsidiaries like Eritrean Airline, Malawian Airline, etc and owns the Bole International Airport which was crowned as the best and busiest airport in African. Ethiopian Airline is the oldest in Africa; it operates 125 passengers and 44 cargo destinations across the world. It was Crowned Best Airlines in Africa Award, for the 7th Consecutive year. ET boasts of having many fleets of the airplane including the famous Boeing 747-200 and several Boeing 777.

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Tentatively our national carrier the Kenya Airways has been experiencing losses for quite some time, the Kenyan Government owns the majority stake in this company however regardless of the shortcoming KQ is ranked 5th best airline in Africa, notably, it has 43 destinations across the globe with only 12 being international destinations. Owing to its good ranking in the region, with adequate marketing plus good business model the airline has the propensity to grow in the future but it must also fight the corruption and mismanagement leveled against the carrier in recent past.

The traditional Pan American Airline and the Trans World Airlines which were the household or most preferred airlines in the 1980s thus most profitable in the world all the companies went bankrupt and collapsed not due to competition but mismanagement of the companies and funds. KQ must shift its focus from laying staff in a bid to cut off cost and start vibrant marketing strategy to expand its market niche, for example, the largest airline company in the world is the Fly Emirates with a large staff size but makes profit owing to its large market niche and efficient management of the company.

Ethiopian Airline is the largest in the region and the only government-owned airline that makes profits. KQ needs a benchmarking schedule with the ET that also owns other regional subsidiaries mentioned above but our KQ only has the local Jambo Jet as its subsidiary. Fly Emirates has several Asian region based subsidiaries, by KQ expanding it market niche will go a long way in making it profitable and truly the Pride of Africa, KQ should be thinking about acquiring stake in the Uganda Air or Tanzanian Airto help it expand its financial muscles. This expansion can be done through voracious marketing both regionally and abroad, KQ recently launched direct flight to New York is experiencing a slow down due to lack of passengers and cargo plying that route, this again calls for serious marketing.

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I support the move by KQ to acquiring the running and operation of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) since it will have a positive multiplier effect on the profitability and growth of the firm. JKIA is among the top busiest airport in Africa and will offer a good leverage for the KQ notably all the best performing airlines in the world had an airport that the airline owned and thus operated, for example, Fly Emirates has the Dubai International Airport and Ethiopian Airline has the Bole International Airport that both of these airline companies ran and own, however, they should not move in haste to acquire such a property if managing the airline has proven to be a tall order for them over the years, that will only be viable to KQ in the future after making the company financially stable.

Baraka Juma.


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Opinion

Sameer Group’s Naushad Merali Impersonation Saga Of President Uhuru Opens A Pandora Box

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In what seems like a well planned out plot of people who’ve studied the system well to know how it runs and who to target a can of worms has been ripped out.

Merali whom has had close ties with almost all administrations since Kenyatta era, was targeted by the now famous group of seven individuals in what has turned out to be an historic scamming.

On January 14 recieved a call from the ‘President’ about a tender, the tycoon had no reason to doubt he caller was not the head of state. The caller perfectly mimicked his voice.

Merali and the ‘President’ exchanged pleasantries on the phone, then got down to business.

The ‘President informed Merali of a state tender he wanted the well-known businessman to enjoy. But there was a catch. The ‘head of state’ asked Merali for a small favour before he could embark on the lucrative contract, Sh10 million in advance for facilitation. That presumably was a trifle compared to the tender itself.

It happened that Merali was outside the country but that wasn’t gonna stop the show given his appetite, he took the risk and tadked his financial officer to process the facilitation fee which at this point we will call it as it is, a bribe.

So elaborate was the plan that the ‘President’ sent his men to pickup the cash from Merali’s office in Mombasa road. Sharply dressed men arrived with full Police escort and high range cars to clear any touch of doubt. They were given the Sh.10M.

So here’s what I pick from the story that Mr. Merali and President Uhuru are obviously not new to each other and probably have had other personal engagements together beforehand for Merali to quickly give in to the mimicked voice.

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The suspects didn’t target Merali randomly and using uhuru’s voice randomly, this was elaborate, they must have had an insider information in order to be able to exploit the weak links. Sh10M is not a few coins that Merali would just give easily without solid assurance like the president himself collecting the money. The level of confidence Merali had on the ‘President’ could easily point at a possible previous and similar engagement.

It also can mean that, there’s an elaborate ring including Statehouse officials who target businessmen and defraud in President’s name. Infact, Police investigations are exploring this possibility.

The group has links to State House, Harambee House and other powerful offices which they use to execute their swindles.

The scammers lure rich business people with the promises of restricted tenders mainly involving the supply of goods.

To win the trust of potential bidders, the fraudsters in collusion with government officials and police officers forge documents on letterhead and invite their targets to government offices to sign fake documents. This opens up the Pandora box of how tenderprenuers enjoy privileges from the state officials and how money exchange hands to win contracts.

Merali should be arrested on arrival at the airport from wherever he’s now comfortably hiding to answer on bribery and I’m certain investigators can extract more information from him to catch those in the web that is if they’re serious to take this case to the end.

It also opens up a box of lies that the so called flamboyant ‘businessmen’ make their money, most of the suspects arrested live large, they’ve enjoyed positive press before. This isn’t the first time scamming case to hit the airwaves, it’s still fresh in minds about yet another flamboyant ‘businessman’ Jared Otieno who was also in the spotlight for fraud.

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Opinion

Uhuru Must Replace The Rejected Ambassadors By Host Country With Competent Kenyans

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Ambassadorial posts like many other parastatal appointments have been largely awarded on political weighing as opposed to merits. International relations is an important aspect of any country’s growth that’s why serious country’s only assign career diplomats to such duties.

However, in Kenya such posts more often are awarded to political rejects who’re given the positions as reward for sycophancy. It now emerges that seven ambassadors of Kenya have been denied accreditation by their host countries given their tainted records in Kenya.

Though the government has been trying behind the scenes to resolve the unprecedented diplomatic development on the postings, it would appear Russia, Turkey, Austria, China, Malaysia, Namibia and Qatar have rejected the new envoys.

And six months after being vetted by Parliament and consequently appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the seven; Ndegwa Muhoro (Malaysia), Hassan Wario (Austria), Benjamin Langat (Namibia), Johnson Kimani Ondieki (Turkey), Richard Ekai (Russia), Sarah Serem (China) and Paddy Ahenda (Qatar) have yet to report to their foreign duty stations.

Other appointments said to have run into the rare diplomatic headwinds include that of ambassador to the European Union (EU) Phyllis Kandie, who was later replaced by former Cabinet colleague Prof Jacob Kaimenyi.

This is a clear manifest that the so called vetting processes conducted in Kenya are just a farce and that other countries prioritize integrity. It still baffles me how someone like Ndegwa Muhoro successfully went through the vetting process despite having an immensely controversial record while he was the DCI.

Here’s a man who was at the center of extrajudicial killings including unresolved murders of many including businessman Jacob Juma whom many believe was assassinated by the state and IEBC’s ICT Director Chris Musando. Not to mention a heap of corruption accusations labeled against him including the land grabbing of Tatu City.

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It therefore doesn’t come as a surprise that Muhoro’s former position as Directorate of Criminal Investigations, might have worked against his appointment as ambassador to Malaysia.

Apparently, Malaysian government has blocked his appointment citing his alleged blighted record during his tenure at Mazingira House, the DCI headquarters.

During his vetting process by the National Assembly, Muhoro whose first appointment to Israel as an envoy did not materialise, was confronted with allegations of spate of extra-judicial killings and unsolved high-profile murders during his tenure. Malaysian government under the new tough Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad blocked the former sleuth’s ambassadorial job.

Another crook who doesn’t deserve to hold any public office is Hassan Wario, the Former Sports CS Wario’s appointment may have run into trouble after he was charged together with Olympics legend Kipchoge Keino over the Sh55 million Rio Olympic graft scandal. His case is still pending in court.

Honestly, these are the peiple expected to represent the face of Kenya in the host countries and they walk in with taunted images? What will this say about Kenya? Malaysia for instance has been a safe hum for many corrupt Kenyans who hide their wealth and then you purport to fight corruption and assign a more corrupt individual like Muhoro to represent the country?

The President Must now live by his words, he recently said that none of those implicated in corrupt cases would be allowed to occupy public offices. This is the perfect time for Uhuru to cut links with his corrupt friends. We have able Kenyans who’re experienced diplomats to fill those voids. More time must not be wasted.

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Muhoro and his group of unworthy choices must be immediately discharged to retirement. The country won’t stop running because a few monkeys fell off the tree. President Must now prove a point on what he really stands for.


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