ONCE AGAIN THE GREATNESS OF KENYANS SHINES WORLD OVER!

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So the Supreme Court of Kenya has made its judgment by pronouncing itself on the just concluded presidential election! In a stunning decision that has reverberated across the world, the Kenyan Supreme Court nullified the election victory of a sitting President and ordered a new election within 60 days. Friday 1st September 2017 will go down the history of the country where a 4-2 decision by the Supreme Court ruled that the election’s integrity had been tainted by irregularities and illegalities in the vote-tallying process. What is striking though is that this decision is the first of its kind in African history that an opposition court challenge has led to the overturning of an election result of a sitting president!
While the court’s ruling has been praised across the world as a step forward for African democracy, it raises awkward questions about the Western governments – including United States, European countries and Canada – that had rushed to endorse the President’s victory even while the opposition was challenging the result. According to the western powers the election was an improvement and the best we could have done, which begs the understanding of the yardstick they are using to measure us with.
I have heard the president compare our election with the United States in the case of George W. Bush and Al Gore that the Supreme Court at that time did not nullify their election. That the US is a bigger democracy and that we ought to emulate them by playing second or third! Which begs the question, ‘are we children of the lesser god?’
It is also worth to note that the US presidential election of 2000 had in essence, been decided by the vote of one Supreme Court judge as the Judges voted 5-4. This is unlike Kenya where the voting was 4-2. I understand the pain of losing a case. Or is it an election? It brings out the anger in you and most of the time you lose your cool. You become bitter. This is where professional counsellors should come in since irrespective of the positions we hold, we are first and foremost human beings!
We now have less than 60days to face another presidential election with the country divided almost in the middle between Jubilee and NASA. No matter who wins, half of our deeply divided country will be mourning and grieving as well.
It is true to state that this political season has inflicted deep wounds on the individual and collected consciousness of many, even some who may not even recognize their pain. The electorate are feeling bruised, confused and dismayed about the bitter and long-running political battle that has dominated our national landscape.
The social media is filled with resentments and name-calling. People have been forced to “unfriend” people on Facebook over their political beliefs. There’s so much anger in both our political class and general citizenry, and the worst bit is that anger is not going to go away soon.
Now let’s look at the school of thought that Africa should play second or third when it comes to making decisions. In that we need to learn from other ‘mature’ democracies! This in itself pours vitriol to our intelligence in that we can only be followers and it’s impossible for Africa to conceive an original idea.
The western media expected us to fight and maim eachother as we seek solution from what some believe was a bangled election. Am sure they were amazed at the intellectual exchanges in our highest courts where the homegrown finest lawyers traded their wits instead of their fists!
This has proven that Kenyans and Africa in general can be inventors. There are so many examples to support this. My simple question here is, “who invented world-class technology Mpesa services?” Everybody knows that M-pesa has been hailed as the “Kenyan technology success story” since it’s a testimony of our greatness as a country.
For those that don’t understand what M-Pesa is, it is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service, launched in 2007 by Safaricom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya. The concept has since been expanded to Afghanistan, South Africa, India, Romania, Britain, Albania and many more countries. M-Pesa allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services (Lipa na M-Pesa) easily with a mobile device. Banks in Kenya have also embraced the technology where I can access and undertake transaction with my phone at the comfort of my sitting room. By the time of typing this story I have just used my phone to withdraw money from my account, then paid school fees for my son, paid electricity bill, water bill and transferred money to my dad who lives about 1000km from me. All these I have been able to undertake in comfort of my bedroom! How convenient technology can be. And this is a Kenyan technology. We did not import it from the western powers.
Back to our case at the Supreme Court. The case has proved that the country can produce best brains in the world by mere fact of following the proceedings of how the litigants argued their cases in the court. There was no single lawyer or foreign judge in this. All were Kenyans! We truly have the tyranny of brains as country. It therefore shocks me that at times we refuse to use our God-given brains and wait for Mzungu to instruct us on what to do.
Once again as a country we continue to set the pace that the world should follow.
Did you also know that it was a Kenyan who negotiated a deal between Mandela and Buthelezi before the historic elections in 1994 and in the process helped to avert ‘war?’ Since some of us can’t remember this allow me to take you a bit back in history. About a year to the first democratic elections in South Africa, supporters of two top leaders in South Africa: Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) and Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) were on the verge of war with a possibility that the elections might not take place. Many top diplomats including US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his British counterpart Lord Carrington were making frantic efforts to avoid the looming violence, but never quite earned the trust of the two leaders and as such their efforts remained futile.
And once again a Kenyan former diplomat, Professor Washington Jalang’o Okumu was called upon to craft a deal that was agreeable to both Mandela and Buthelezi and succeeding where Henry Kissinger and Lord Carrington had failed. The deal would pave way for South Africa independence elections that brought the African National Congress (ANC) to power. Aren’t you still sceptic on what Kenyans can do? Should we continue comparing ourselves with the foreign powers? Give us a break! I think we are better than them.
It is a high time that as a country we realized our full potential and believed in ourselves that we can set the pace for the world. And by the way did you know that the first black president of the United States of America is by all means a Kenyan having been sired by a Kenyan father! For those who doubt I will refer them to Article 14.1 of the Kenyan constitution which states that “a person is a citizen by birth if on the day of the person’s birth, whether or not the person is born in Kenya, either the mother or father of the person is a citizen.” Now you know! Ama namna gani my friends?
Lastly but not least I hope we remember that the late Prof. Wangari Maathai who became the first African woman, and the first environmentalist, to win the Nobel Peace Prize in2004 for her “contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace”.
What strikes more is the Norwegian Nobel Committee, in a statement announcing her as the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner stated, “Maathai stood up courageously against the former oppressive regime in Kenya. Her unique forms of action have contributed to drawing attention to political oppression – nationally and internationally. She has served as inspiration for many in the fight for democratic rights and has especially encouraged women to better their situation. ”
It is for this achievements and many more firsts from Kenya and Kenyans that I will always stand proud with my head raised as a Kenyan. God bless Kenya. read more

THE SECOND AMENDMENT TO THE 2010 CONSTITUTION…

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At this point you cannot envy Justice Maranga’s position. This is after the veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga filed the case against the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday 18th August 2017 as per Article 140 (1) which states that “A person may file a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the election of the President-elect within seven days after the date of the declaration of the results of the presidential election,” of the Constitution states. The Supreme Court has 14 days to hear and determine the petition. As per the Kenyan 2010 constitution these strict timelines includes Saturday and Sundays. With this in mind the Supreme Court will be forced to work over the weekends. read more

LET’S HAVE A NON RENEWABLE TEN YEAR TERM FOR PRESIDENT TO SAFEGUARD US FROM ELECTORAL VIOLENCE

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It is now a week after Kenyans went to an election. The Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) released results on Friday 11th August 2017 proclaiming that the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta has retained his seat against his close rival Raila Odinga. The National Super Alliance (NASA) leadership has since disputed the results. The streets outside are virtually empty through self-imposed curfew. From experience with elections almost everyone is fearing that post-election violence might occur. Most shops have been closed within my neighbourhood for fear of looting by the rioters. This is the sixth general election the country is undertaken after the reintroduction of multi-party democracy in 1991 when section 2A of the constitution that made Kenya a de jure single party was repelled.
Everybody is tense while anticipating that violence might take place. Like the rest of the middle class, I was able to purchase enough stock of food to safeguard me and my family against this eventuality. The memories of 2007 post-election violence where 1300 people lost their lives while hundreds of thousands were maimed and displaced is still engrained in our minds. It is barely ten years when this event occurred.
The tension has been building up since the Election Day on 8th August 2017. As I write this scores of people have been reported killed by the police in some parts of the county. The Opposition has put the figure of those killed to 100 while the rights groups led by Kenya National Commission on human Rights (KNCHR) puts the figure to 24. The government through the police spokesman says only 4 were killed. Among the dead is a 9 year old girl killed in Mathera which is an informal settlement in the Capital Nairobi. There are also number of those injured, among them a 6months old baby in the lakeside town of Kisumu. read more

Celebrating Hussein Khalid

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CELEBRATING HUSSEIN KHALID
So 10th December 2016 is Human Rights Day! It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was in 1950 that the United Nation’s Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.
What strikes my mind (my heart included) is this year’s Human Rights Day theme that calls on everyone to stand up for someone’s rights! It has elicited my feelings to think of someone I know who have several times stood up for others rights. It is true to note that many of us are fearful about the way the world is heading. Violations and disrespect for basic human rights continues to be wide-spread in all parts of the globe. Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Messages of intolerance and hatred prey on our fears as our humane values continue to be under attack. read more

Celebrating Sheikh Munir

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Since this is an inaugural article on this column, allow me to start by celebrating a hero that drove me to human rights. He is Sheikh Munir Mazrui. Apart from being founder of MUHURI and Haki Africa, Sheikh Munir was a Trustee and founder of CICC. He has been in the board since 2001 when the organization was formed. Sheikh Munir is an Islamic Scholar and human rights activist. He was one of the pioneers who started the Ukumbi wa Kislaamu TV show in the KBC. Sheikh Munir is not only the father of Human Rights at the coast region but also the doyen of interfaith and interreligious tolerance. He remains the pinnacle and doyen of democracy and civil liberty at the Coast and Kenya at large. Though old age has caught up with him, at 82 he is still strong and ardent in his quest for freedom and equality. read more