So, the ICC finally confirmed charges on 4 of the Ocampo 6.
The four confirmed were:
1. Francis Muthaura
2. Uhuru Kenyatta
3. William Ruto
4. Joshua Arap Sang
Now, to be clear; they aren’t guilty yet. Just going to continue with further trials and such. The only surprise there for me is Uhuru. Pretty sure he’d have been free seeing as palms were presumably gratuitously greased.
As I step out briefly from the birthday festivities at the DR HQ, I do so to ventilate and share some quick thoughts on several events which have shaped this past week.
Depending on where you’ve lived in the diaspora or visited in Karen, hearing anyone trivialise racial discrimination isn’t something you take lying down. This clearly explains the public outrage and condemnation of FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s remarks that in the case of football, any racial incidents could be settled by a handshake at the end of a match. That would be like Francis Atwoli saying that ethnic and gender discrimination doesnt exist in the workplace and if you’ve been discriminated against, you should just hug it out with your employer or colleague and move on. REALLY?
But the thing about discrimination in Kenya in particular is that more people need to speak out against it so that we can move past labeling and stereotyping and start looking at each other as brothers and sisters working towards building one nation: Kenya. The problem especially with ethnic discrimination in Kenya today is that it is so entrenched in our every day life that it has become accepted as normal and in politics, we accept it simply as the modus operandi. This mindset must change. Do keep in mind that we have a Bill of Rights now that enshrines Equality, which means that if you’re ever discriminated against, you can now go to court and seek damages.
Moving on, Forbes Magazine claims that Uhuru Kenyatta, 2012 presidential aspirant, International Criminal Court suspect and son of former president Jomo Kenyatta, is the richest man in Kenya and 26th richest man in Africa. Does it not bother us to have one surname owning over 500,000 acres of land in Kenya? Okay, that was rhetorical. Frankly, I pray that Mr. Kenyatta never sees the inside of State House in 2012 (although he was born there 50 years ago) because I have a sneaky feeling that Kenyatta would be among those that oppose all broad-based land reform/land redistribution policies that would be made pursuant to the Constitution. All in all, I find it all very sad that he sits on all these huge tracts of prime land, most of it unused, yet we still have displaced persons living in camps all over the country while the government continues to deprive many more of land including the residents of Syokimau.
While it would be overly dramatic to describe the state of Kenya’s finances as being in the red zone it is safe to say that there are some slight causes for concern. These causes for concern mainly relate to the growing levels of debt and the deficit. As things stand the total debt is currently around 50 % of GDP while the past budget deficits have hovered between 5.5% – 6.8 % of GDP.
A budget deficit is not inherently devastating, seeing as governments are not in the business of profit making. In fact, it would be reckless for a government to sit on a huge surplus while that country faces welfare, recurrent and development expenditure needs. However, large deficits year after year translate into troublesome/unacceptable government debt, which is more often than not paid for by future generations by way of taxes. This is the case in Kenya, where over the last few years, government spending has consistently exceeded government revenues. And based on the recently released estimates from the Treasury, showing planned spending of KShs. 1.2 trillion, all indications are that government spending is on a one way path upwards. This, coupled with the government reducing tax on various fuel products and cereals, all have the effect of further widening the deficit, accumulating the debt and further burdening future generations. Continue reading →
I am writing to you from a country where generations have grown up fearing the government. A country that has never been free.
In the past, there were several particularly oppressive periods, among them the colonial era during the Mau Mau times then later during the last years of Kenyatta’s regime and ofcourse the Moi era. Granted, during the latter era, Kenyans were griped by a palpable fear of secret police, disappearances, detentions, dungeons, Nyayo torture chambers, persecution of individuals and their family and so forth. This type of fear, I am happy to report, has been largely neutralized by the current regime of President Kibaki.
However, the fear that currently grips citizens of this country is the fear that the government continues to do stupid things and endangers the two public goods most valued by the citizenry: law and order, and the improvement of the economy that benefits all. Continue reading →