Saba Saba 2014 Resolutions

R. Muko.

The Saba Saba day celebrations were finally held at the Uhuru Park. The celebrations were attended by thousands of Kenyans.

Speaker after speaker reminded the government to exercize a sense of justice in the allocation of resources and also in addressing the welfare of all its citizens.

The Saba Saba Celebrations had been given negative publicity by nearly all the media houses in the country. They had also been painted as a pretext for fuelling violence by the Jubilee Coalition.

Saba Saba is a day of great significance to Kenya. It is a day to be celebrated by both those in the echelons of power and those in the opposition. It symbolizes a great day of dialogue accross the political divide. The fact that the government opted not to dialogue by the opposition has painted it in bad light.

Well, as Kenyans we had been treated to tensions of how scary this day would be, only for it to turn to be very peaceful. Hongera CORD for such a grand day.

At the end of the celebrations the following list of resolutions were promulgated by the Coalition of Reform and Democracy (CORD):

1. We launch today OKOA KENYA, a people’s movement to defend our Constitution, support one another in good and bad times, protect the gains we have made in democratic governance, and rededicate ourselves to national unity and peaceful co-existence. See also: CORD leaders don’t have clean hands

2. Demand that the Jubilee administration addresses the escalating cost of living by reviewing the taxation regime; failing which we will boycott the consumption of goods and services whose prices are beyond the reach of the common Mwananchi and commence commercial sanctions against companies which continue to ignore our plight.

3. Convene an all-inclusive National Referendum Committee (NRC) for the purpose of preparing the people of Kenya for a national referendum on the critical challenges facing our Nation.

4. Mandate the National Referendum Committee to ensure the maximum participation of the people of Kenya in the referendum at the County, Sub-County and Ward levels all over Kenya; in formulating the referendum question(s), collecting and collating one million signatures to initiate the referendum.

5. Having lost all confidence in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC); donow demand its immediate disbandment and the establishment of a new electoral body.

6. Demand the immediate end to corruption, wasteful spending, reckless borrowing within and by Jubilee Government. In this regard, we demand that the Jubilee administrationimmediately cancels the inflated security camera contract irregularly awarded to Safaricom and that Safaricom withdraws from the contracts and subjects itself to competitive bidding, failing which we will commence commercial sanctions on Safaricom and other companies abetting corruption or engaging in monopolistic practices.

7. Demand that the Jubilee administration takes immediate steps to withdraw our gallant soldiers from Somalia to join our forces in securing our nation from home.

8. Demand that the Jubilee administration takes visible, decisive action to deal with runaway insecurity, including holding the senior security officials accountable for hundreds of Kenyans who have been killed and maimed in the various attacks and conflicts across the country.

9. Reject attempts by the Executive through Parliament to bastardise the Report of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC Report) and demand the immediate implementation of the original and unadulterated Report.

10. Demand that the Jubilee administration immediately addressesthe underlying land issues that are at the heart of some of the most enduring historical injustices and conflicts in our society.

11. Demand a National Audit and publication by the Public Service Commission of all appointments made in the public service by the Jubilee administration, with full details listing names, ethnic backgrounds and percentages.

12. Recognizing that the Jubilee administration has failed to apply national resources equitably across the country, we demand that 40 per centum of the projected ordinary revenue of the current fiscal year be allocated to the County Governments.

13. Demand that a National Audit on how resources at the disposal of the National Jubilee administration are applied across the country

Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000127331/cord-s-resolutions-during-saba-saba-rally

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South Sudan: One People, One Nation

An interesting poem by http://theshoeshinereyes.wordpress.com/. Its message is an African message though it speaks of oneness of South Sudanese. Our African poverty is as a result of Tribalism, corruption and selfishness.

By Deng Mangok Ayuel
We are one nation forever,
In epochs of sadness, we unruffled each other,
In minutes of consternation, we embrace together,
When we shortly fall in politics, we hold each other,
When trepidation strikes, fears, we preserve together,
We are not Dinkas, Nuers and Jurchol – we belong to each other
We are South Sudanese.
——————–
We are one …!
We shall live together as one people,
Call our leaders as leaders, spade a spade
No matter the shame, no matter the darkness,
No matter the fear we live, no matter the failures,
We shall return to our roots, do things right, build togetherness
Pray to God for forgiveness, reconcile immediately and stop killing ourselves,
We are for one objective, one vision for all.
——————–
We are one …!
We fought for our freedom,
And separated from Sudan at referendum.
And we weep, reducing ourselves to doom,
But who to blame, you or cerebral pragmatism?
Everything but the reality, call it mess of realism,
Oh God, oh God, give us peace, free us from tribalism;
……and I am worried of YOU, the leaders, not your realm?
——————–
We are one …!
Patience shall make things right,
And purge political fear under one hat
Let’s respect ourselves, our political height
In order to grow and become a better terrain,
We need to come together as stunning nation,
Put the hate on the ledge to stop the desolation
And the public relation engraves a new assertion
——————–
We are one…!
We are South Sudanese,
No matter who is Mr. Achak,
No matter if he is from Rumbek,
No matter if he is loyal to Dr Machar,
No matter which tribe: Dinka, Acholi, Nuer
He is your brother, from baby nation, South Sudan.
Let’s us fulfill our dreams for freedom, live together as a nation

Ushirikiano wa Wanakiambiu

Virginia Ngina Kisavi

 

Kiambiu Slum  is located near Moi Air Force Base Eastleigh South location. The place is inhabited by several Kenyan tribes. These tribes are a source of diversity bringing about a mixture of different cultures and values. At times too, spots of tension could be felt amongst them.

Sometimes back 2000 there were strong tribal sentiments among the residents of Kiambiu. These sentiments were especially strong among the Kikuyu who were the land owners and the Luos who were tenants. The people were therefore divided and could not associate positively, work or stay together. It even became difficult for Landlords to rent their houses to members of a tribe they did not have any positive regard towards preferring loosing rental income. This meant that no Kikuyu would rent a Luo his/her house.

After post election violence in 2007, some NGOs started civic education to improve the community trust levels, community members were empowered with skills which could help them come together. Self help groups were hence formed with the aim of promoting healing and generating income through “merry go rounds”. These small acts of healing helped in cementing relationships among different tribes and in time they started relating well with each other.

Ushirikiano wa Wanakiambiu was formed as the aftermath of all the associative and cooperation activities. It included several self help groups who came together with the ideas of forming an umbrella organization in the Kiambiu community. Implementing the idea initially was a challenge as people still mistrusted each other. The mistrust extended to the governance structures of the new collaborative endeavor. During organizational committee elections; every group fronted an official as they felt that if they did not do so, their interests would not be effectively represented. This mistrust was quite a challenge nearly bringing the governance process of the new initiative to a standstill and threatened its existence.

The initiative was able to address the so called teething problems of “mistrust”. It in time developed clear objectives and a set of activities. The group started to clean drainages every Saturday, collecting garbage. At the end of the activity each member to contribute 20 shillings for banking. These activities in the long run cemented the relationship amongst the residents of Kiambiu and they started talking about their common problem. Everyone agreed that there was a great need for a toilet in Kiambiu. Once this need was identified, the next step was to look for a site to put up the toilet. A member from the group decided to sell his plot to enable the toilet project to proceed. Once a site was found members went on with their usual contribution meanwhile officials searched for sponsors to help in the construction of the latrine. They later found a sponsor.

After one and a half month the toilet was complete and ready for use by the Kiambiu residents. This gave Ushirikiano wa Wanakiambiu job opportunities like fetching some water for the construction, , transporting the materials from the security base to the working area, digging of the sewer line to connect the main one and also guarding the building. During the time of use also the youth got employed as toilet attendants.

The new toilet project has changed the condition of Kiambiu which was  uncouth when there was no toilet. You could find flying toilets all over the streets and even along the houses. People never knew the importance of unity and cooperation but for now we have strong groups in Kiambiu. Three other toilets serving the community which are affordable by the residents with adults paying 3/= while children enjoy the services freely. The new toilets created new jobs. Apart from the toilets, members started other activities  which generate money for the group. This has developed Kiambiu as a slum with 220 members hence recruiting many more members every year regardless of ethnic groups. They get dividends every year and monthly allowance.

The story of Muungano wa Wanakiambiu is a story of Social Innovation. Social innovation occurs in situations where people think of developing simple solutions to community problems. The endervor started to unite the Kiambiu Residents not only achieved its aim but has also contributed immensely to improving their living conditions. There is a great need for integration of Kenyans not only in Kiambiu but in the entire country. The fact that there is prejudice makes us not being able to address our development needs.

A process of deliberate integration could lead us to  experience a change in social relations especially with regard to influencing the governance while increasing participation in social political process. This happens because the once excluded person feels that he or she has been integrated in the societal structures that alienated him or her in the past.

Decreasing social exclusion has many positive outcomes such as increasing integration independence and participation in various dimensions of life that helps people like their life respectively.

 

Building Roads to Equality: the Gradual Political Journey of Kenyan Women

By Julie Bowen

In recent years there has been a determined push to put more women into strategic positions in Kenyan politics. Much of the pressure has come from the various women’s organisations in the country – in particular the Women’s Leadership Academy and the Women’s Empowerment Link, which is managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – under the auspices of Amkeni Wakenya, a civil society that works to encourage communities to be involved in the democratic process, and in particular to promote policies that are favourable to women. In 2010 the new Constitution was signed, promoting gender equality and seeking to encourage the inclusion of women in political leadership and decision making. The ‘two-thirds rule’ that requires a maximum of 66% of either gender in elected political bodies forced all the political parties to recruit an average of 23% more women. Although a significant gender divide remains, the future of gender equality in Kenyan politics looked set to change.

In the run-up to the March 2013 election, as a result of the Amkeni Wakenya initiative, more than 350 women from all areas of rural Kenya had been trained in leadership skills as a preparation for becoming candidates at county and national level. 70 of these women were able to enter the contest with a real prospect of victory. This was to be an election of real significance in Kenya – both as the first general election since the violent aftermath of the 2007-2008 election, and the first to be held under the new constitution. As such, hope ran high. The result, with women winning nearly 20% of the seats in the National Assembly and the new Senate, compared to only 10% in the old Assembly, vindicated all the effort put into realising the dream of a more equal political landscape in Kenya where women have a real power to influence policy.

During the election, various local civil society organisations worked with UN Women and the Angie Brooks Centre to coordinate 500 trained election observers, which made over 1,200 reports from around the country about complaints, threats to the electorate, property damage and violence, which were resolved efficiently. The election was judged to be a success, although there is still a way to go before the process is considered as representing the ideal of a fair and peaceful democratic process.

A Different Approach 

The political spheres in many countries have encouraged an increase in the number of female politicians and leaders for a number of reasons. While it is not wise to over-generalise about character and gender, women are generally known for being non-confrontational, motherly and hard working. In the cut-throat world of national and international politics and business, this caring side often equates to a more soothing and measured counterbalance to male ruthlessness. According to Debra Burrell, females are thought to be generally better than men at seeking and implementing compromises, which translates into a desire to build for the long term rather than aiming for the short term relish of a single moment of victory. While any man or woman can pick up a book and learn about the theory and application of politics and business, their actions are usually influenced by their gender. Collaboration, democracy, persuasion and attentiveness are all attributes commonly brought to the table by female leaders. Women have therefore come to have a crucial position in politics and business in Europe and the United States.

Getting Started 

The greatest battle faced by women is to get their foot in the door. According to Nicholas Anyuor, many parties have found it challenging to respect the Constitution with regard to gender representation because of the lack of any decisive strategy to implement change. Without proper intellectual and logistical infrastructure, engendering real change will always be a challenge. For example, the UK elected its first female Prime Minister in 1979, and she continued to hold that position until 1990. A ruthless politician whose success apparently stemmed from a combination of her fierce intellect and caring femininity, Margaret Thatcher was virtually alone female in a male political world. Even now there are only 146 female members of parliament in the UK compared to 504 men. Between the three main parties there is considerable inequality. In the coalition government the leading Conservative Party has 19% women, the Liberal-Democrats 14%; only Labour, the main opposition party, has a healthy 51% female representation. If the UK, which has been striving towards gender equality in politics for more than thirty years, has still failed to achieve equal representation, it is no surprise that Kenyan politics, which began to address the issue only three years ago, has not yet achieved equality; but there has been remarkable progress.

In 2012 the Supreme Court judged that the ‘two-thirds rule’ would not be achievable in 2013. The Court ruled that this would be implemented progressively during the three years up to August 2015. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga spoke against the majority ruling: ‘Parliament by its silence cannot deprive women of this country the right to equal representation. In the event that Parliament fails to implement that principle, any of the elected houses will be unconstitutional.’ Equal representation may be a long way off, but the situation overall is one of hope and good intentions. The fledgling constitution has managed to increase the number of women in politics despite inequalities in the system and the resistance that females in Kenya continue to face.

Worldwide Scrutiny

Other countries such as the UK, US, and Australia have already done much of the groundwork in showing the world that women can become competent politicians and business leaders, which should make the struggle for Kenya’s women easier. Religion, tradition and superstition continue to be used to dissuade women from entering the political race (for example, a reporter for Aljazeera News claims that voters are warned that they will go to hell if they vote for a woman); but the internet and globalised media have opened up the situation in Kenya to worldwide scrutiny and the results are beginning to show. As a new generation of women reaches their intellectual maturity, the country has never been in a stronger position to make the transition to gender equality. The finish line may be a long way off, but if campaigners and politicians keep working to pave the way the chances of reaching it are high.

Abyei Referendum Pictures

Here are some pictures of the Abyei referendum vote counting process

Residents of Abyei awaiting patiently for the vote counting process to be complete

Residents of Abyei awaiting patiently for the vote counting process to be complete

Foreign journalists and observers follow keenly the counting process

Foreign journalists and observers follow keenly the counting process

Journalists taking pictures of the counting process.

Journalists taking pictures of the counting process.

An open ballot box after the voting process.

An open ballot box after the voting process.

The vote tallying process.

The vote tallying process.

A t-shirt bearing a campaign message on the Abyei Referendum

A t-shirt bearing a campaign message on the Abyei Referendum

The Abyei referendum vote tallying process

The Abyei referendum vote tallying process

The information, educational and communication material on the Abyei referendum

The information, educational and communication material on the Abyei referendum

The Abyei Vote Counting Process

The Abyei Referendum symbols. The one hand means voting to be with South Sudan. The two hands mean voting to be with Sudan.

The Abyei Referendum symbols. The one hand means voting to join South Sudan. The two hands mean voting to join Sudan.

The Vote counting process in the 29 stations of Abyei began after the voting process was finished. The process began by ascertaining the voter turnout. Accordingly, there were 65,000 registered voters.  The vote counting is expected to go on up to the 31st of October morning hours. On 31st October evening the results of the vote will be announced by the Abyei Commission of the referendum. The process also allows those contesting the election to file their petition in the high court of Abyei against the results.

The situation however has become complicated with the Misseriya also resolving to holding a parallel referendum in Abyei. Reports indicate that about 300 Misseriya families have arrived in Diffra which is much earlier than their normal normadic journeying. The holding of a parallel vote by the Misseriya, certainly will usher in a complication as they will certainly vote for maintaining unity with Sudan.

Meanwhile, the Africa Union Peace and Security  Council (AUPSC) had promised to visit Abyei on the 5th to 6th November 2013. Their visit was meant to help diffuse tensions in the area. AUPSC had made their promise to visit the Abyei Area prior to the referendum, when they had also warned the residents of Abyei not to take a unilateral decision to conduct the referendum.  This warning was condemned by the residents of Abyei who felt that the AU was changing goal posts from their decision of 2012 on the issue of Abyei. It remains to be seen as to whether the AUPSC will still visit Abyei after the referendum.

Analysts fear that the outcome could trigger violence. On the other hand, the Sudan Government denied blocking the AU mission from visiting Abyei. According to the Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson Abu Bakr Saddiq, the Sudan government never prevented the AU and will be welcoming the mission next week. Accordingly the Sudan government supports the AU mediation panel. Khartoum  on the other hand welcomes the AU’s call for the UN security council to intervene in Abyei.

Abyei finally Conducts the Referendum

Abyei Vote8

Residents of Abyei que in a polling station in Abyei Town. Voters have turned to vote for the referendum in thousands.

On Sunday 28th October 2013, the Ngok Dinka residents of Abyei went to the polling stations to determine their “final status.” This is a ‘unilateral’ referendum which is meant to determine whether it will be possible to split from Sudan and join South Sudan. Ballots were printed with two symbols: a sign of two hands clasped and another one of one hand alone. The former symbol meant continued unity with Sudan, the latter separation from Sudan. Voters turned out in thousands at 29 voting centers across the Abyei region, 4 of which were in Abyei town. In the past months, there was a massive voter registration exercise and compilation of voter registers. During the voting exercise, each  voter first checked whether his or her name was in the referendum register. He or she was then given a ballot paper and marker pen before being sent to a separate place to cast the vote. The voter marked his or her choice with a pen or thumbprint.

Voters cross checking their names with poll clerks.

Voters cross checking their names with poll clerks.

The Abyei referendum is in defiance to  the directive by heads of states of South Sudan and Sudan amid concerns that the poll had the potential to destabilize bilateral relations between the two countries as well as with the neighboring Misseriya tribe. The poll also defied the advise of African Union and the International community. According to a letter addressed to the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC) by the NIne Dinka Chiefdoms of Abyei Area of 26th October 2013, the right of self determination for the people of Abyei was affirmed in Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972 between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the then South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM), in 1995 by all Sudanese opposition parties, in the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement between GoS and SPLM/A and in 2012 by the Africa Union Commission.

A voter at the polling station

A voter at the polling station

South Sudan’s government has warned that it will not consider the poll legitimate and denied participating in the logistical preparations for the conduct of the vote. Leaders of the Ngok Dinka,  point to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005, according to which the Abyei Referendum was supposed to take place concurrently with South Sudan’s referendum. The Ngok Dinka rushed to hold the vote before the end of this month because the African Union had set a one-year target for holding the vote when it sought endorsement of a plan of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel in October a year ago.

A sample of the voter register in Abyei. Voters have to first countercheck their names before going to poll.

A sample of the voter register in Abyei. Voters have to first countercheck their names before going to poll.

Although there is no formal international election observation mission in the region, members of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) are taking part in observing the poll, among others. The voting was thorough and all attempts were taken to ensure that there is no rigging. The voting is expected to end in three days and the results will be announced on the 1st of November 2013.

Time to cast the ballot. All ballot boxes were transparent.

Time to cast the ballot. All ballot boxes were transparent.

Abyei Vote6

After the voting process voters dipped their fingers in ink in order. This identified those who had voted from those who had not.

Abyei Vote5

“I have voted at last. I have made my voice heard about this referendum.” This seems to be the message conveyed by this woman showing her coloured finger.

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