Friday, August 16, 2013

Uhuru and corruption; the ‘curse’ of the rich president

Good People,
I am impressed with good reading today. Let us all unite for goodness sake and stop giving the devil a chance to destroy us.........Uhuru should lead from the front........I think I like Eliza, I believe the first lady can help us all to share in the benefit beauty can offer in sharing of ideas to improve things.
Knowing that the devil is in our midst, we should focus on doing good to defeat the devil. We must not let the devil plan to take the lead, if we do, we shall all be doomed.
Each and everyone should engage to do something good towards supporting the government of the day, so to provide delivery to the public. We cannot move forward if we are stuck in the mud.
We must give credit to where credit is due.......and plan for strategies moving forward:
1) Excellent response from Ruto. I salute his move to release the land. That is one credit goes to him.......we can do better still......
2) I like reading about Uhuru not dipping his fingers in public honey jar, but I am concerned about the distribution of service delivery that are not equitable, with urgent implementation of Economic Plan needed to stabilize and improve the economy.
He must urgently commit to give directives to demand for Social welfare Advocacy Group engagements with Report Cards from the County so to have elected officials deliberate on Parliament debate at the Senate for speedy implementations.
It seems like the Parliamentarians have lost focus on what their business is all about, what they need to do; but are wasting time earning salary from Taxpayer money and are doing absolutely nothing tangible towards fixing economy.
I feel therefore that, Uhuru need a special diverse Team of advisory board to help him navigate through governance moving forward. It is not like the coalition left any saving, but people have a right to know.
It is checks and balances for Transparency and Accountability. Uhuru must for the sake success, involve Diaspora Team moving forward in Consultative interactive for Public-Partnership for developments' outreach
3) Legal Justice team must be given chance to work and deliver
4) Business community must adjust to accept reality that, Government system is an underscore medium responsible with authority to govern according to peoples mandate and the power must remain with the Government and not with the business community.
That, the Government directs public mandate deliveries not a dictate of the Special Business Interest. That under the Government all people, irrespective of Status, are equal before the law and all must have rights to mutually access opportunities to public service without discrimination or avoid mistakes of the past and falling out of compliance.......and that, No One is above the law.........!!!
United we are strong, but divided, we fall........
Cheers everybody........


Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ruto hits out as Cord poll plan unveiled

 Deputy President William Ruto together with Kwale County governor Salim Mvuria at this years Law society of Kenya meeting at Leisure lodge resort in this picture taken on 15 August 2013. Mr Ruto Thursday dismissed the push for a referendum, saying those behind it were looking for a new political platform after losing the March 4 election.
Deputy President William Ruto together with Kwale County governor Salim Mvuria at this year's Law Society of Kenya meeting at Leisure Lodge Resort in this picture taken in August 15, 2013. Mr Ruto Thursday dismissed the push for a referendum, saying those behind it were looking for a new political platform after losing the March 4 election.
Deputy President William Ruto Thursday dismissed the push for a referendum, saying those behind it were looking for a new political platform after losing the March 4 election.
Mr Ruto cautioned that changing to a parliamentary system would mean a major overhaul of the Constitution.
Under the 2010 Constitution, a president is elected directly by the people on garnering more than 50 per cent of the national vote and at least 25 per cent of the vote in more than half of the 47 counties.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Cord, who lost at the presidential elections to Jubilee Coalition’s Uhuru Kenyatta, has lent his voice to proposals for a constitutional amendment that would do away with the direct presidential vote and instead have the Head of State chosen by an Electoral College comprising MPs.
Mr Ruto said those pushing for a referendum were insincere.
“It is time to call a spade a spade. If you lose an election, there is another chance next time. Election losers should take time to prepare for another election,” he said while officially opening a two-day Law Society of Kenya Annual Conference at Leisure Lodge Resort in Kwale County.
Mr Odinga and his presidential election running mate, former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, are scheduled to address the same conference today.
The proposed referendum fronted by Mr Odinga carries with it far-reaching changes, which according to proponents are designed to block the ‘Tyranny of Numbers’ — populous communities dominating leadership.
In a telephone interview with the Nation Thursday, Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama revealed for the first time the proposal Cord leaders had in mind. It seems to mirror closely a move already floated by civil society activist Okiya Omtatah based loosely on a US-style electoral college.
Preferred candidate
But in a press statement Thursday, Mr Omtatah distanced his March 4 Movement from the Cord initiative. He denied that his campaign, which has recently been joined by Mr Odinga’s aide, Mr Eliud Owalo, aims to replace the direct presidential vote with a vote by Parliament.
He said that his proposal is for a people to elect their preferred presidential candidate, only that the votes will be tallied at the county level. The candidate winning a majority in a county would then be taken to have the presidential vote for that county. The candidate who wins in most counties becomes president.
Under Mr Muthama’s plan, 431 delegates will elect the president. Of these, 290 will be MPs and 47 each for senators, governors and county women representatives.
Mr Muthama said the proposed referendum was intended to end the domination of populous communities, which he described as a dictatorship of the big communities.
“The phrase ‘tyranny of numbers’ was used and all it means is dictatorship of the bigger communities who will have their way whether you like it or not. For us to deal with it, we have to go for the parliamentary system which will bring unity and enable small tribes to have their own in State House,” he said.
In a separate telephone interview, Siaya Senator James Orengo said the proposals were meant to make the government more accountable. “Cord is not seeking to change the political theory which underpins the Constitution. It is only the character of the Executive we want to be changed.”
Mr Orengo, however, did not provide, details, saying that the formula to be put forward was still under discussion.
Similarly, Mr Musyoka said Cord leaders would agree on the kind of parliamentary system they would want.
“This other (parliamentary system) has only been discussed in Homa Bay and in Taita. It will require fuller consultations,” he said. But Speaking in Kwale, Mr Ruto warned that the referendum would mean a total overhaul of the Constitution, hardly five months since it started being effected.
“In the last 10 years, our country has been in a constant mood of elections. From a general election to a referendum to another general election. And now in 2013 hardly five months after a general election you want a national referendum?” he asked during his address to lawyers.
Meanwhile, governors drawn from both the Jubilee and Cord have distanced themselves from Cord’s push for the referendum, saying they were only interested in strengthening the Senate’s capacity to protect devolution and county governments and to increase the budgetary allocation to the counties.
“We are not interested in power plays, ours is not about who gets elected whether as MP, governor, senator or president and how he gets elected. On this, we are united as Cord and Jubilee,” said Bomet governor Isaac Rutto.
Meanwhile, TNA secretary–general Onyango Oloo has said that no party member or leader would be victimised for taking a position on the proposed referendum. However, he accused Cord leaders of using the referendum debate to create tension in the country.
—Additional reports by Peter Leftie and Daniel Nyassy

Controversial city man claims he didn’t smuggle Sh8 billion Congo gold to Nairobi

Updated Friday, August 16th 2013 at 13:40 GMT +3
By David Odongo and Solomon Koko
Few Nairobians knew much about Paul Kobia before March 2011 when a furious President of a troubled neighbouring country made an impromptu visit to Kenya.

What President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wanted his host President Mwai Kibaki to do was soon apparent: Order the return of 2.5 tonnes of gold worth at least Sh8 billion and arrest those who allegedly smuggled the massive haul from the mineral rich state.
Kabila insisted some of the loot had been freighted from Nairobi to Dubai and South Africa but part of it was in a warehouse in Embakasi.
Prominent among those named in the supposed international smuggling syndicate was Kobia, who until then had only been vaguely mentioned in relation to either the alleged illegal gold trade in Nairobi or a con game hinged on the precious metal.
The man, who UN officials and Kenyan investigators believe also holds a Congolese passport under the name of Ilunga Ngoei (or Paul Ilunga), was reported to have fled to Tanzania. He eventually returned home, but the investigations seemed to have fizzled. Last year a KTN investigative Inside Story /Jicho Pevu series, Blood on Gold/Dhahabu ya Mauti also linked Kobia to a gold con scheme.
This week, Kobia, in a rare media interview, has told The Nairobian that he is a clean man.Â
“I did not steal or smuggle Kabila’s gold. I am a legitimate businessman,” he says matter-of-factly.
The controversial city man says he trades in gemstones and has invested in real estate.
“I own a lot of property in Embakasi and other parts of the country. All my wealth can be traced. I work hard for my money. It is all legitimate,” insists Kobia, without giving much details.
He believes reports linking him to illegal gold trade are a witch-hunt that have sometimes led to police raids at some of his offices in View Park Towers. He even doubts the authenticity of information released on the supposedly smuggled DRC minerals.
“If someone had 2.5 tones of gold, would he store it in a ware house in Embakasi?” asks Kobia, alluding to the futile 2011 search by city security agencies at a warehouse.

However clean he may claim to be, Kobia has been treated as a suspect in various investigations and cases. For example, early last year police dropped fraud charges against him after a complainant in the case, said to be linked to Hong Kong-based Meranti Holdings, withdrew from the case.
"The complainant refused to come and we are told he has sworn an affidavit to that effect," said CID head of investigations Mohamed Amin.

Kobia had been arrested and charged on November 2, 2010 with pretending to sell 825kg of gold and obtaining $200,000 (Sh17.4 million at current exchange rate) from a South African Dennis Ray Schmelzenbach.
A UN report last year also linked Kobia to a gold con game and a warehouse at JKIA, which he allegedly used to dupe his victims. The 392-page report also claimed the syndicate ran a gold refinery in Nairobi. Kobia denies all the allegations.
“I honestly have no idea why I am on that list. Nobody asked me anything. I just heard that the UN had mentioned me in a report. But my conscience is clear, I have nothing to hide,” claims Kobia, who also denies that the Banking Fraud Investigation Unit froze his Sh800-million account. Â
 “That never happened my friend. If you follow the case, you will realise that the matter was concluded, and somebody (George Mutiso) was charged in court. It wasn’t me. My accounts haven’t been frozen,” says Kobia.
However, Directorate of Criminal Investigation boss Ndegwa Muhoro told The Nairobian that Kobia and others were not off the hook yet.Â
"For now I can't say that the case has been abandoned. It will depend on the progress and findings of our investigations. The evidence will be crucial," he said.
So who exactly is Paul Kobia? Well, the ‘exactly’ part does not come out quite clearly after our interview, but he nonetheless opens a window to his life.
“I am a humble man, who trained as a priest,” claims Kobia. “But I remain deeply religious.”
For a man who says he left priesthood in Tanzania for the business world, Kobia does not hide the fact that he is doing well. For example, he tells us he once paid Sh16 million in cash for two Range Rovers at a Nairobi car bazaar. He also lays claim to being the first to import an Audi Q7 to Kenya.
Designer suits have replaced the religious robes and instead of a rosary he has a gold chain. He tells us he bought his Dunhill ‘pure leather’ belt in Monaco for $320 (Sh27,840). As the interview progresses, it is clear fine single malt whisky has also replaced church wine.

On the Congolese alias, Kobia alleges he was nicknamed Ilunga Ngoei by his friends from DRC because of their respect for him. He claims to have once been involved in legitimately exporting raw copper from DRC to a Chinese firm at a tidy profit.Â
Today, Nairobi-based Congolese refer to Kobia as ‘Prezda’ (President), perhaps since he lavishes cash on band members at various city venues whenever he shows up.

Kobia, who says he is so popular in the city that he can walk around “even in the most dangerous slum” without a bodyguard”, admits he has two licensed gun.
“I have never had occasion to draw them or even think of using them. I only applied for the licence because I sometimes carry huge amounts of cash, and I also want to protect my family,” claims Kobia.
 ‘Officially’, he says, his family is made up of one wife and four children but he ‘takes care of’ 10 children in universities and about 40 in various primary and secondary schools.Â
His son Geoffrey ‘Jeff’ Kobia made an unsuccessful bid to be Nairobi Governor in the March 4 elections.
“I spent hundreds of millions but we didn’t win because we started campaigns a bit late,” claims Kobia, adding that he plans to spend at least Sh700 million for his son’s campaigns in the 2017 elections.
He thinks he would have made a good governor for Nairobi, but “I don’t have a degree,” which is a requirement. Kobia, however, says Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko is a close friend.
“We used to share a single room many years back when we were both ‘hustlers’,” he says.
As he animatedly waves his left hand, which has a missing finger, we ask the inevitable question. What happened?
“It wasn’t anything close to the rumours about my finger being chopped off by business rivals. I was simply involved in an accident and shrapnel severed my finger. In fact, I have been trying to get the nurse who treated me in a clinic in Huruma so that I can say thanks to her nicely,” claims Kobia, saying he could buy a car for the nurse or pay fees for her children.
For now Paul Kobia says he is minding his business — perhaps in the hope that no furious president, inquisitive cops or nosy UN officials will disturb his peace.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Uhuru and corruption; the ‘curse’ of the rich president

By Charles Onyango-Obbo
More by this Author

In Summary

  • I suspect that if a poor man became president, was himself incorruptible, and led an anti-corruption campaign, he would meet less resistance.
  • Still, being a rich president presents Kenyatta with a couple of possibilities. Corruption is among the vices that most discredits African presidents. Kenyatta has an opportunity of keeping the job dignified, as he is not the kind of man who dips his fingers in the national Treasury

There is one thing both the enemies and fans of Kenya’s new President Uhuru Kenyatta agree on – he is not a corrupt man.
Of the many nasty things I have read and heard about Kenyatta over the years, not once has anyone accused him of personally being long-fingered.
Indeed I was visiting with my sick old man in Tororo, eastern Uganda a few days. He is unusually cynical about politicians, but even he said the good thing with having very rich presidents like Kenyatta is that “they have no need to steal”.
Of course, there are many who say that Kenyatta’s old man, Kenya’s founding president Jomo Kenyatta, leveraged his position to enrich the family, and that therefore the president is heir to an illegitimately accumulated estate.
But, his supporters say, there are many Kenyans and, indeed, other African families who have vast lands like the Kenyattas, as there are other presidents who also used their positions to give themselves an “initial advantage”. However, they are not as wealthy as the Kenyattas.
The point being that the Kenyattas got rich because when they were given lemons, they made a lot of lemonade because most of their wealth today is from modern enterprises like the Brookside milk company, Commercial Bank of Africa, Heritage Hotels, and so forth, and not land rents.
But was my old man right that having a rich president like Kenyatta is good in the fight against the corruption that plagues Kenya? I am not sure.
I suspect that if a poor man became president, was himself incorruptible, and led an anti-corruption campaign, he would meet less resistance.
He could argue that as a poor man, he could easily have stolen from the taxpayer as is the custom, and become rich. But he was giving up the opportunity, for the sake of the country. That can be a powerful argument.
Some would consider Kenyatta, thought to be the richest African president, a man who can afford to donate all of his salary if he wished, “selfish” if he went chasing after the corrupt. He could be accused of trying to pull the ladder of wealth behind him. Also, all over the world people generally resent rich people – see how Mitt Romney was clobbered in the last American elections against Barack Obama because he is rich.
Still, being a rich president presents Kenyatta with a couple of possibilities. Corruption is among the vices that most discredits African presidents. Kenyatta has an opportunity of keeping the job dignified, as he is not the kind of man who dips his fingers in the national Treasury.
Secondly, if he can deliver, then he can prove that just because a leader is rich doesn’t mean he is out of touch and doesn’t care about, or understand, the less privileged.
Thirdly, it means one of the rewards he can take away from the presidency is his reputation. A president, who brings a reputation for not being corrupt to the State House, and worries about leaving office with it intact, is likely to do one or two good things along the way to maintain his image.
That said, it is supremely ironical that a rich president like Kenyatta could actually face more opposition in fighting graft because he is rich and not corrupt. And that a half-crooked president who “eats a little” would probably find it easier to do so. & twitter:cobbo3

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