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Opinion

The Effect of Electoral Boycotts: Going Forward, We Are Now Hostages Of Fortune And Why Negotiations Between Raila And Kenyatta Is The Only Way Out.

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Thousands of opposition supporters hits the streets on anti IEBC demos, leaders have announced daily protests next week throughout the country.

By Wachira Maina

We’re in a political crisis not a legal one, in spite of what the talking heads are saying.

The Legal Position: In spite of language in the 2013 Raila Odinga petition that suggested that the withdrawal of a candidate at this stage of an election could lead to fresh nominations I think that on balance the better view is that the IEBC will now treat this as an uncontested election and proceed to declare Uhuru elected unopposed. (The issue of fresh nomination was not an issue in that petition so, strictly speaking, what the court said then is not binding). There is, of course, the decision of the high court- still awaited- in the Ekuru Aukot case -challenging the anointing of Uhuru and Raila as the only candidates eligible to run on the 26th of October, 2017). This could still lead to other candidates being allowed to compete. God knows President Kenyatta now desperately needs this to go Ekuru’s way to give a bland simulacrum of formal legitimacy to what surely is a political curve-ball, irrespective of what Jubilee insiders might now say.

The Coming Institutional Decline: This brings me to the real issue. In my view, this is no longer a legal issue. In fact, further involvement by the court in this issue- whichever way- is not likely to resolve the underlying political problem.

As I see it what we have here is continuing institutional decline of a state which, over time, has become a pure instrument of political struggle and vehicle for pursuing elite interest. If you win power in Kenya, you can bend the law and the economy to your personal interest. This seemed to have changed somewhat under Kibaki but the state as instrument of the ruling power is back with a vengeance.

What we are seeing now is a country on the verge of becoming a ‘warlord democracy,’ a country in which who gets into office will be determined through violence – whether official violence or chaos by private militia and gangs- even though such violence will be marketed publicly in the name of the people. The economy has already been ‘criminalised’ and is bent to those in power and their cronies: as I said elsewhere Kenya is a contractor democracy in which commercial transactions are both personalized and clandestine, defeating all the theories of an open market. (Think- if you doubt our criminal economy- of the runaway corruption, open money laundering and wanton budget raiding at both the national and county level etc). The politics has, so far, been straddling between the lawful ( Sometimes we see compliance with rules and obedience to court decisions) and the unlawful (There is still open vote buying; the opponents are sometimes murdered- especially at lower levels and the hiring of gangs to break the knee-caps of the recalcitrant or the deployment of riot police in non-cmplianct regions).

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In the next phase of this dangerous but evolving game, there will be even less pretence that we are playing normal politics. We shall have the unholy trinity of a) criminalized economy; b) warlord politics and c) a deeply polarized civil society (with some in the marginal areas heavily armed with guns smuggled from regional conflicts). From an economic perspective, the immediate risk is both domestic and external. Domestically, the contraction of economic activity will weaken government revenues, increase unemployment- especially youth unemployment- and ratchet up social stress, all destabilizing factors. Externally, as the government continues to clobber its opponents even as its revenues shrink, our sovereign rating will be further down-graded, making the interest payments on our growing external debt even more burdensome. Sooner than later we shall be talking to all the guys we hate talking to so much: our creditors, the IMF, the World Bank and other members of that usual gang.

The Limits of Law: Will the NASA boycott work though? As a general matter, I believe, that we lawyers are all too often seduced by our faith in the ability of law to solve social and political problems. Behind every constitution, I like to warn myself, is a fundamental moral principle, the commitment that a constitution will always be obeyed even – especially, I should say- when such obedience hurts our vital political interests. Judge Learned Hand once said that if liberty dies in the hearts of men and women neither the Constitution nor the Supreme Court can save it. Our problem right now is that our commitment to legal instrumentalism leaves us stranded on the horns of a cruel dilemma. We have an elaborate constitution but few citizens and leaders are committed to its robust enforcement. In fact, all the social media lawyer blathering by partisans of either side that “the law is clear” are just fig-leafs that mask competing power claims that have slender constitutional legitimacy. A heightening of the heat not a shedding of the light on the problem, if you see what I mean.

The Effect of Electoral Boycotts: Going forward, we are now hostages of fortune. Electoral boycotts are notoriously unpredictable. As a general point, such boycotts are important not because of their effect on the election results but because of their potential effect on the legitimacy of government if the boycott is effective.

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A boycott can lead to 1) a terminal political crisis for the incumbents (as happened in Bangladesh in 1996); 2) no immediate effect on incumbents but a destruction of the opposition (as happened with Blaise Campaore in Burkina Faso in 1991 and Gnassingbe Eyadema in Togo in 1993); 3) a broader constitutional crisis- (as happened in Thailand in 2006- though this was a boycott of the announced election results. The elections were declared invalid by the constitutional court. This led to the resignation of the Electoral Commission with some Commissioners being later jailed for illegalities. A fresh election was then held at the end of that year, 2006).

The second part of outcome 2 – the destruction of the opposition- does not seem likely in Kenya. Elections in Kenya tend to be like an ethnic census. I don’t see NASA’s core support dissipating or crossing over to Jubilee, especially when the situation like the current one exists. Meaning that we are probably looking at a deepening political crisis in the medium-term, hence my fear that we will slide into a “Warlord Democracy” sooner rather than later.

The Brutal Truth: There is NO long-term solution that does not involve either 1) Uhuru and Raila agreeing a political solution (I don’t know the shape and content of that. I do not buy the argument that NASA has all along been playing this game to force a coalition government; or 2) failing that, Raila would have no choice but to up the ante if he wants to keep his base intact. Unfortunately, Uhuru is temperamentally incapable of restraint. His pride is easily wounded when he feels slighted and right now he seems to feel that the opposition do not see him as “Commander-in-Chief”. He will almost certainly call out the police and brutalize Raila’s base. Unfortunately, few countries can sustain a cycle of protest and violence beyond a month before the police and army break down into partisan political factions. If I am right about this, then one of either Raila or Uhuru will eventually buckle. When that happens, we shall revert to either option 1 – negotiations – in which Uhuru is the weaker party- as is always the case when an incumbent is forced to make concessions – or Government resistance with more aggressive repression targeting all regime opponents- in the short-term, this might politically marginalize Raila but it would take the country back to the early 1990s, which would incinerate any legacy that Uhuru thought he had secured.

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We are in this situation because the antipathy between the Kenyattas and the Odingas has completely clouded either side’s perception of what a reasonable way out is. The two are a phone-call away from each other. I am sure they have each other’s cellphone numbers. And still they bellow at each other through TV microphones and loud-hailers at political rallies. The problem is that their respective political bases – egged on by their social media nutters- see the other side exactly as the two see each other: grasping and double-dealing ogres with whom it is impossible to strike a deal that could be honored. Uhuru’s core support is not pro-Uhuru, some are in fact viciously critical of him, they rather are rabidly anti-Raila. Raila still has more ‘religious’ support than Uhuru but this, too, has somewhat dissipated over time. Yet such support as he still has is hysterically anti-Uhuru. They too are shouting at each other across a chasm that might yet swallow the county. Thus does Kenya suffer from a family feud that increasingly begins to look like a blood feud. I despair.

(NB: There are some who think that I am exonerating the IEBC from culpability for running a monkey of an election. I am not. However, the form that the crisis has now taken is unquestionably driven by leaders. Once the Supreme Court delivered its judgment, it lay with the politicians to get the IEBC problem sorted out. Uhuru and Raila cannot sort IEBC out because they won’t talk to each other even though they both know that Kenya is hurtling to a terminal crisis. Of course, the structural cause of all this is our screwed up ‘state” as well as the terminally decrepit electoral system. However, the proximate cause is the politicians. And no, the structural problems cannot be addressed before the 26th of October 2017!)

Writer is a lawyer and seasoned columnist. 

 

Opinions are writers own and don’t necessarily reflect those of Kenya Insights. 


Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram

Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Send me tips to [[email protected]]

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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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Opinion

Why Wilkins Fadhili Will Get Away With Everything

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Wilkins Fadhili.

The 2013 block buster ‘wolf of wallstreet’ was a hit that aimed to caution the young and money obsessed individuals on quick and dirty tricks to earn money. Instead, it served as a blue print to escape poverty by any means. Taking advantage of grey areas and loop holes in the constitutions, many young and old people learnt tricks on how to fake it and make it across the globe. Faking lavish lifestyles, talking like super hustlers and posing to inspire the young and gullible.

Survey shows that out of three young people, one is most likey to be living under pressure to present themselves as having a ‘perfect’ life on social media. This is what the coning pair, Wilkins Odinga Fadhili and Ruth Ambogo took advantage of. Wilkins chose to be a fake brand strategist, developer and his bae, Ruth Ambogo who came to some sort of limelight through Daughters of Raila campaign team was posing as a successful young lady, below 25 years of age. What she succeeded on is yet to be known.

Ambogo has been taking advantage of the unsuspecting young people, posing as one within their age bracket who has made it. She has organised seminars and workshops, coned young and extended to rip on githeri media that does no background check. If she was not elsewhere coning the youth in the company of Fadhili, she would be the slay in television interviews slotted between soap operas or naija movies because that’s when many gullible kids in their late teens and mid tweenties are watching. ‘Motivating’ and talking as one who made through hardwork but what did she make it on? nothing but fakery.

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Ambogo and Fadhili were enroute to enjoying the heroic status like that of a successful athlete, a musician or business person. She was nearly becoming a female Myles Monroe. Only that her motivation was fake and in her head she was living her dream, mid day dreams. Both of them were nominated for funny awards as the most promising under 25s. Are they under 25? Ambogo smears anything in her face to seal pot holes and wrinkes to atlease resemble a young person but even a mad man will tell you that that bae is over thirty and counting.

Back at home they were having living together and having sex, which is allowed if anything they are two very old people thinking of their 40s. With age advancing and world changing, it’s like Wilkins was running short of tricks to keep the coning business a float and you know romance without finance is not easy with a slay as your bae. Their thing was hitting rock bottom, reports were doing rounds that Wilkins was moving from one girl’s house to the next. Sources close to the couple revealed to K.I that Ambogo was getting tired of Wilkins but still had a feeling that his coning tricks would make a big killing. 

He was under duress, people he had coned or borrowed money from were blowing his phones, he was not landing on new preys, the ‘business’ was literally bad for him and like any other slay, Ambogo was becoming impatient. When Fadhili’s trick to con Larry Madowo (a journalist) failed and Larry bursted him, Ambogo took that as an opportune time to distance herself from her man. She wasn’t lucky though, netizens were on her with water tight eveidence that tied them together. 

First coning couple of 2019. Look at where faking has put them, if these guys were real, their friendship would stand the test of time and hardship. No law bars one from being nominated for awards, you actually create your own, nomiated yourself and even award yourself. They faked it to this level. With conversations over millions in public while back at home they argued over tomatoes and secretly went through each others phones. Trust was at its all time low.

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Ambogo was faker,  distancing herself when Wilkins was bursted is why, “Fake friends are like shadows: always near you at your brightest moments, but nowhere to be seen at your darkest hour. True friends are like stars, you don’t always see them but they are always there.” – Habeeb Akande.

By @grinlightmedia on Twitter.


Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram
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