Hate speech causes Assistant Minister to lose job and to be indicted

The assistant minister faces charges on hate speech, murder, assault and property damage

“We must treat all Kenyans equally when applying the law. No one should be treated as special just because they happen to be leaders. When an ordinary Kenya is accused of handling stolen property, they normally face the full force of the law…the same should happen to leaders too. If one is alleged to have committed an offense, all reports of impropriety must be investigated and if necessary taken to court for determination. It’s the only way we can ensure a just and equitable society for all Kenyans.” Presidential Aspirant Martha Karua 28th September 2012.

By Nation 27th September 2012

Embattled Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu was on Thursday suspended as Water assistant minister after he was charged with hate speech and incitement to violence. Read (Embakasi MP Waititu moves to block arrest)

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga asked the MP to “step aside” pending the outcome of the case.

“Following charges in court against the Hon Ferdinand Waititu, President Kibaki after consultations with Prime Minister Raila Odinga has asked the Hon Waititu to step aside as an assistant minister pending the outcome of the case,” read a Presidential Press statement.

On Thursday, the MP denied the incitement and hate speech charges when he appeared before senior principal magistrate Paul Biwott.

Mr Biwott ordered that he be held at Kileleshwa Police Station for a day and be produced in court today for a ruling on the bail terms.

Mr Waititu is now also being investigated for murder.

State counsel Lilian Obuo, told the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, wanted additional murder, assault and property damage charges preferred against the MP.

“Mr Tobiko has ordered the police to probe the MP for the murder of two people in Nairobi’s Kayole estate, shortly after the MP uttered inflammatory remarks against the Maasai community,” Ms Obuo stated, adding that the MP would face the additional charges after investigations.

“On September 24 at Kayole Corner, Mr John Kireri Gitau was killed by alleged Maasai watchmen,” the State counsel told the court.

She said the same day, Mr Waititu went to the scene around 10am, addressed a crowd and made utterances to the effect that members of the Maasai community be evicted from the area.

The prosecution said the utterances caused the crowd to start attacking members of the community and in the process, Mr Luckas Mitibon and Mr Nyangusi ole Sindoe were attacked and maimed while their property was destroyed.

The court was told the DPP’s office was in the process of investigating murder, incitement to violence, malicious damage to property and assault as a result of the “reckless” remarks.

And High Court judge Isaac Lenaola lifted an order restraining the DPP from prosecuting Mr Waititu in a case in which he allegedly called on the public to stone police officers.

“I had warned you earlier that I will not extend the order restraining the DPP from proceeding with the incitement case against you. You are handcuffed now. This is enough reason for me to discharge the order,” ruled Justice Lenaola and allowed the chief magistrate’s court to proceed with the case against Mr Waititu and a former councillor, Mr Patrick Mulili Kiluva.

The two are accused of inciting residents of KPA slums to stone police officers who had allegedly gone to evict them on December 13, 2010.

Justice Lenaola ordered the application seeking to stop the prosecution be heard on October 12.

Earlier, Ms Obuo had sought to have the MP remanded at Kayole Police Station for 48 hours.

She had initially requested the hate speech and incitement charges read to the MP on Thursday at a Milimani criminal court be deferred until police conclude the investigations.

KENYA: Tree Planting Campaign Launched

NAIROBI, September 25, 2012 (CISA ) –The Mother Earth Network tree planting campaign was started on Saturday September 22 at the sprawling Mukuru Kwa Reuben slums in east of Nairobi. Kwa Reuben is one of the 12 villages that form Mukuru slum.

It was done in collaboration with the Reuben Youth Foundation. “We deal with environment matters, HIV and AIDS, drugs among the youths and sports. We want to create a good environment in our slums and all the villages in Mukuru: we want it to be an example to others.

Environment depends on us and we should take care of it for our benefit and that of future generations and strive to make where we live habitable,” says Timothy Kilaka an official at the foundation.

The campaign started at Word Wide Hope Centre then proceeded to all the schools in the village, in several worship centres and at the local police post. In the coming days the campaign will move to the remaining villages before going national.

The exercise involved the slum dwellers led by school going children from schools located in the slum. Over 400 trees were planted. Others present were Mr Aggrey Kere in charge of mobilization at Sustainable National Environmental Programme, Prosper Karagizi from Tangaza College, the Reuben Youth Foundation and Utalii college students.

The patron of Mother Earth Network  Hermann Borg thanked all those who participated  in the exercise and urged then to take care of the trees that they planted by watering them and protecting them from animals especially goats that roam the streets freely.

“This is just the beginning, we hope to plant as many trees as possible and improve the environment tremendously. Everyone should be involved for all stand to benefit if we have a good environment,” said  Borg.
Mother Earth Network is a faith based organization concentrating on the environment.

 

Grassroots and faith based Symposium on the Gender Dimension of the 2012/2013 Electioneering in Kenya

Find the programme here

“.the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; women, the poor, the sick, the needy, the marginalised and the handicapped.” ~ Hubert Humphrey.

Kenya Moja Jamii Moja: Wewe Mkenya, Tunza Nchi Yako, Tunza Amani
Mimi Mkenya Mzalendo: Nawajali wote hasa Wapinzani Wangu! Ninataka uchaguzi wa Amani!!
Symposium supported by Mensen een et Missie, Consolation East Africa and KARDS

The Symposium for the Faith Based and Grassroots organizations on gender dimension of the 2012/2013 electioneering process will be held at Shalom House, Dagoretti Corner, Nairobi, Kenya, on the 22nd  and 23rd November 2012.

Theme: Gender Dimension of the 2012/2013  Electioneering  in Kenya

Creation and choosing of National leaders who meet the integrity threshold for leadership.

The symposium has been organized by Consolation East Africa(CEA) a Nairobi based NGO that works to build the capacity of the grassroots and the faith based organizations to address gender based challenges within Kenya. The main aim of the symposium is to explore gender related issues in relation to the 2012/2013 political process. CEA works in partnership with KARDS.

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The symposium takes into consideration that this is a politically critical year for Kenyans; as it marks the end of grand coalition government, ushers in the transition of centralized governance to devolved governance. Hence the once very familiar provincial structure based on 8 zones will give way to a new county structure that will divide Kenya into 47 administrative and semi-autonomous regions.The symposium also takes cognizance of the fact  that great milestones in addressing gender issues have been made in Kenya after the promulgation of the new constitution in 2010. The constitution providesan important yardstick in its bill of rights; it has provisions for rights and fundamental freedoms; provisions on equality and freedom from discrimination and makes a special pronouncement about human dignity.

On the other hand there have been serious reforms on the judiciary and there are attempts to introduce these reforms on the legislature in terms of the Leadership and Integrity Bill 2012 which has been the subject of great controversy to date. The main purpose of the leadership and integrity bill was to lock out corrupt people who had perfected the art of bad leadership and impunity from becoming leaders. This bill however is in danger as the legislature have torn down the integrity threshold and have made it possible for all aspirants to be eligible to vie for the next elections unless barred by the constitution. This means that with the integrity threshold watered down by the legislature the adage practices in terms of political electioneering violence, crimes against humanity including sexual crimes, vote rigging and abuse of office  may be normalized.

Drawing from past experiences in Kenya, there is need to address the present anomaly by concentrating on choosing leaders with high integrity and to understand in depth how the new political landscape will be shaped by good leaders in accordance to sections six and seven of the constitution. CEA hopes to engage the new political dispensation by ensuring that human rights and gender issues are taken into consideration as Kenya carves its future destiny. In this case leadership is key.

The specific topics to be discussed include

1. Human Rights a) Chapter four of the constitution on the bill of rights b) exploring the concept of human rights based approach to governace

2. Leadership and integrity a) chapter six of the constitution on leadership and integrity b)  leadership and integrity bill 2012

3. Representation of the people a) chapter 7 of the constitution b) political parties act 2011 c) the elections act 2011

4. Devolved governance a) chapter 11 of the constitution b) Intergovernmental relations Act 2012 and c) transition to devolved governance act 2012

5. Public finance: a) Chapter 12 of the constitution b) Public financial management bill 2012

6. Politics and Peace a) harmonious co-existence amongst different faiths b) harmonious inter-enthnic co-existence c) harmonious co-existence amidst political differences d) harmonious co-existence amongst different political party aspirants and their supporters e) National accord and reconciliation act 2008

7. The gender dimension of politics a) patriachy and gender equity in politics b) female participartion in politics and development c) healthy inter-gender collaboration in politics and development d) working to transform structures that  sanction gender inequality c) addresing electioneering gender based violence.

Faith based and grassroots organizations are welcome to the symposium. Kindly express your interest for the symposium by October 30th 2012. Contact us at

Physical Location: Shalom House, off Ngong’ Rd.
Address: P.O.Box 16139 – 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Cell Phone: +254 720 812638 / +254 736 935387

Email: consolationeastafrica@gmail.com

Enforce Peace, Church Tells Government

NAIROBI, September 21, 2012 (CISA ) -The Church in Kenya has urged the government to ensure security in the country. This comes in the wake of recent killings in Tana River delta where clashes led to the death of over a hundred people.

At a press conference held on September, 20 at Waumini house, church leaders voiced their concern over the skirmishes and questioned the manner in which the Government handled them.
“Put in place mechanisms to ensure that no other Kenyan, is killed, hurt, displaced, abused or in any other way is mistreated or discriminated upon as was recently the case in Tana Delta and Mombasa clashes,” urged the leaders.

His Eminence, John Cardinal Njue, Chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, asked Kenyans to reflect on the series of events taking place that could plunge the country into lawlessness, and urged them to pray and fast.

Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya, The Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, said the clashes raise questions over the ability of the government to protect its people.

“While the deployment of GSU officers is commendable, the Government needs to address the root causes of the skirmishes that destroy the precious gift of life,” the Archbishop said.

The Leaders further explained some of the consequences of the ongoing teachers’, lecturers’ and doctors’ strikes: “We are deeply concerned that children and students have had to stay at home when they are supposed to be in school. This is devoid of the fact that national examinations are only less than a month away… With the doctors on strike, the patients suffer the consequences; the God-given gift of life is compromised and becomes the negotiation chip.”

The joint statement was also signed by, Rev Dr Stephen Kanyaru (Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church in Kenya), Rt Rev David Riitho Gathanju (Moderator of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church of East Africa) and Rev Dr Charles Kibicho (Representative of the National Council of Churches of Kenya).

 

Is Kenya Ready for an Openly Gay Politician?

Original Story from Daily Nation 18th September 2012, more stories here, read Mr. Kuria’s site here and see his interviews on capital talk here, here, here and here

 Mr. David Kuria has been on the forefront of fighting against poverty, increasing access to HIV services and for inclusion of the minority gay community in Kenyan mainstream.   Is there a chance that he could become the first openly gay man to become a politician in Kenya?
The first openly gay man to run for office is drawing attention to Kiambu County by running for the senate seat. Mr David Kuria recognises that his sexual orientation may be an extra challenge in the already competitive political sphere. “People may not see beyond the issue of sexual orientation and listen to my agenda” he admitted to the Nation.
He holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Nairobi. Going against the advice of many to marry, he hopes that voters will interpret his openness about his sexual orientation as honesty.
Mr Kuria hopes that the discrimination he has faced will allow him to better represent others in the society who are marginalised.
The 40-year-old has developed a campaign platform focusing on reforming laws and other structural barriers that prevent access to HIV services and fighting poverty.
Mr. Kuria has a five point agenda: 1. effective representation 2. Kiambu visibility 3. Health 4. Kuria foundation and 5. Second chances. Most of these points have been elaborated in his website above. Accordingly, Kuria proposes to apply the cluster approach to development where the periphery benefits from the trickle downs of the core; hence Kiambu’s nearness to Nairobi is a potential that needs to be exploited. According to Kuria, exploiting the current advantages well would move Kiambu beyond subsistence and enrich it.
The most unique contribution Mr. Kuria proposes to the county is that of second chances. Kuria realises that there are many people facing social exclusion because of poverty or other reasons. He proposes a model of inclusion through the social enterprise approaches and addressing the structural issues that contribute to exclusion. Hence he looks at development beyond the pure economic terms and includes the human psycho-social dimensions.
In this race Kuria faces veteran politicians with alot of experience and resources.

Pay a tribute to Prof. Wangari Maathai by planting a tree

In memory of Wangari Maathai

 

Mike Mungai

A tree; A plant beneficial in many ways but most are the times that only a few of us bother to think of the particular benefits. Prof Wangari once remarked, “It’s really amazing. You plant a seed; it germinates and looking so fragile, and within a very short time it becomes a huge tree. It gives you shade and if it’s a fruit tree it gives you fruit.” In times that we travel to “ushago” many see the avocados and mangoes and actually forget to look at the tree, only noticing it’s absence and of course that of fruits, only when it has long been cut down. The more trees are cut down either for firewood or simply because we want to expand our houses or initiate a poultry project, that is another source of fruit terminated. Next time you go to the market and find that the prices of these fruits are high or experience scarcity of particular fruits, do not complain since you played a role in the price hike.

As above stated, apart from providing fruits there are nitrogen fixing trees, trees that improve the fertility. Nitrogen is an element so necessary for the proper growth and development of crops. As such, some trees are natural fertilizers, which could be of great economic importance in areas where soils have lost their fertility. Trees also act as wind barriers; they reduce the impact of strong winds on crops and buildings. Felling down of trees not only keeps crops and buildings exposed to strong elements of weather which may in the long run lead to retarded crop growth and weak buildings. Apart from increased soil fertility, the amounts that would have been used to purchase fertilizers can be put to other uses by farmers.

A group of trees also function as water catchments. When hundreds of trees lose water daily through transpiration to the atmosphere, the water vapor rises accumulates and condenses to form clouds which result in rainfall. The importance of rainfall water for our economy is great considering the fact that as an agricultural dependent economy we also rely much on rainfall fed agriculture rather than irrigation. Rainfall water in rivers is used for hydroelectricity production, for consumption and rivers provide shelter for fish. Cutting down of trees for whatever purpose is detrimental to the constant supply of rainfall which leads to adverse effects on agricultural and energy production. It also leads to pipe water shortages or rationing.

Trees consume Carbon Dioxide, a green house gas that causes global warming from the atmosphere and gives out Oxygen a vital gas for the survival of human beings and animals. Global warming leads to; adverse climate changes such as increased or decreased amounts of rainfall, very warm summers or very cold winters, melting of glaciers and consequential rising of sea and ocean levels. Desertification, the spread of deserts also occurs due to increased temperatures and decreased vegetation covers amongst other factors. It is said that the Sahara Desert expands at a rate of 48 kilometers every year. Pretty soon it will be knocking at our doors. Prof Wangari’s advice in addressing the desertification issue was, “We want to see many Africans planting trees. There is absolutely no excuse to stop desertification because this is something that is doable and cheap.”

Every once in a while it is possible to see individuals taking a rest under trees. Trees provide shades from sun radiation. Years ago, I recall that Wazee’s baraza used to be held under the shade of trees, and to really understand the importance of these shades, imagine Uhuru Park or City Park without trees.

Trees provide much needed shelter for different types of animals and birds. It cannot go without mentioning the economic importance of these particular animals to the much needed income from tourists who come to see the different bird and butterfly species among other animals. The resulting effects of tourism is the many jobs created in the hospitality industry. Accordingly, tourism is the third largest contributor to the gross domestic product of Kenya.

When it comes to property ownership especially real estate, it is much more expensive to purchase a piece of land or a house in areas where there are trees as compared to those that lack trees. Most of us study, find employment and make a lot of saving so that one day we can purchase land or a place to stay in the posh neighborhoods’ of Lavington, Kilimani, Karen, Runda, Kitisuru to mention just a few. Why not save for a piece of land or a house in areas with little or no tree cover? The answer is simple, the trees add aesthetic value to the surroundings and many times where there are trees, there is beauty and there is fresh air.

The above are just some of the benefits of trees to the world – the environment, economy and to us. Sadly we never put into consideration some of these benefits before we encroach and settle in forests, before we cut down every tree that we see before us for either charcoal production, firewood or so that we can use the wood to construct houses, make sculptures or furniture.

We should all engage in afforestation and reforestation programs. Planting trees where none exist and where others had been felled. We should also strive to plant a tree whenever we cut down one. As we commemorate an year since the passing of Prof Wangari Maathai, let us take it unto ourselves to engage in environmental conservation initiatives. There is a lot to be done when it comes to the environment, it can be done but what matters is are we ready to do it? Are we ready to participate in cleanup activities? Are we ready to engage in recycling processes, especially that of paper bags? Are we ready to participate in proper waste/garbage management practices?

The environmental challenge and responsibility is up to us; to act negatively, remain as bystanders or act constructively. However, we should remember that if only we could act like the hummingbird in Prof Wangaris’ fable, we could achieve a lot, collectively!

Charity Ngilu joins the presidential contest in Kenya

Daily nation 31st August 2012

Charity Ngilu indicated her desire to contest for the presidential race in Kenya. She becomes the second lady to express her desire after Martha Karua. In her first time appearance Charity Ngilu has raised important concerns about the poor policy environment in Kenya which in essence ends up impoverishing its citizens. It is a blessing for Kenya that a second woman joins to contest the elections. Let us hope that Kenyans for once will decide to change the odds and become the third African country to have a female president. In the future we shall explore the  policies of the two female candidate in Kenya.

Water minister Charity Ngilu has said she is not angling for the running mate post in the next General Election as she prepares to launch her presidential bid Sunday. Ms Ngilu said she was not raising her profile by re-launching the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) to be considered for a joint ticket by presidential aspirants. “That (being a running mate) has not been the position of the party. I will be tabling my candidature at the re-launch on Sunday and the delegates will decide whether to back it.  “My politics is not about personalities that you keep mentioning but about the issues I have outlined,” Mrs Ngilu said when she unveiled her manifesto to the media during a breakfast meeting at the Inter-Continental Hotel, Nairobi Friday.

Key contenders

The minister’s critics see Ms Ngilu’s bid for the presidency as a way of enhancing her chances of being chosen as a running mate by one of the key contenders for the presidency. The Kitui Central MP has been touted as a possible running mate for Prime Minister Raila Odinga in next year’s elections. On Friday, Ms Ngilu said that she has never been a member of ODM and will remain in her Narc party.

The minister said that her government would have five priority areas to focus on: eradicating poverty; fighting illiteracy; improving healthcare; women empowerment and enhancing food and water security in the country. Mrs Ngilu said that joblessness among the youth was a major cause of insecurity, which the leadership must address immediately. She added that the country would continue to spend more on security if jobs are not created.

“We cannot continue condemning the youth for insecurity and yet we as the leadership have not invested in job creation. We are buying guns to protect whom from whom?” the minister posed. Ms Ngilu said that her government would enhance the Women Enterprise Fund and build capacity for women to allow them take up large government contracts. She said there was need to also enhance the capacity of the informal jua kali sector and ensure that the artisans have a larger market in Kenya.

“We are spending a lot of money on imports of things that are available locally. I once asked why we should not buy hospital beds from the artisans at Gikomba and was told that the people who operate there do not know how to deal with procurement. My question is why can’t we then teach them about procurement,” Ms Ngilu said.

Wrong policies

She added that the government was importing furniture from Asia for its offices and yet there were many carpenters in the country who are capable. “Kenya has had the wrong policies for wealth creation. We seem to consume more from imports than we produce for our own consumption and export. “Why do we import rice, sugar, maize and wheat and yet we have farmers? Why should we import mitumba (second hand clothes) and yet we have a textile industry?” Ms Ngilu posed.

Ms Ngilu said that she failed to support President Kibaki in 2007 because his Narc government had failed to keep its promise to Kenyans. She said that even after supporting Mr Odinga in 2007, ODM had also failed to push through the agenda set in its manifesto in the coalition government.

This will be the Kitui Central MP’s second stab at the presidency. In 1997, she and the late Wangari Maathai made history by becoming the first female presidential candidates in Kenya. This time round, she will be the second female aspirant after Gichugu MP Martha Karua of Narc Kenya.

On Tuesday, a group of Kamba elders endorsed Mrs Ngilu’s bid and promised to support her. Just last month, the same Kamba Council of Elders endorsed Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka for the same seat at a rally in Kitui. Mrs Ngilu is a strong critic of Mr Musyoka and has recently declared that she would rather support Mr Odinga than the VP. Mr Musyoka, she argues, “lacks credentials that would see Kenyans trust him with the highest seat in the land”.