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Macharia Kamau tells off 2 former US envoys to Kenya

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Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau has come out guns blazing in response to an article published late last month by former US ambassadors to Kenya Johnnie Carson and Mark Bellamy in which they called for US intervention in Kenya. The article was published by African Arguments.

Through a statement sent to newsrooms Tuesday, the immediate former Kenya’s ambassador to the UN has said the article fell “flat on their face due to the blatant use of lies, half-truths and innuendos.”

And in an opinion piece published in the same publication, Kamau says there is no need for negotiations since Kenya has successfully gone through its five-year electoral cycle and is now focused on serving her citizens.

In effect, the Kenyan government is rejecting calls to have the United States intervene in the current political standoff pitting it against the opposition.

ABSURD DEMAND

“Our response to the authors’ absurd demand for US intervention in Kenya is a loud no, thanks,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Ambassadors Bellamy and Carson. PHOTO/COURTESY

“This is a clear demonstration of how preconceived notions and stereotypes about Africa by Western technocrats override any practical experience and knowledge they may have acquired on the continent. Their knack for getting it wrong on African and Kenyan issues is not only dumbfounding but also a demonstration of why desk research on Africa, with the only source of information being a biased Western media, should be treated with disdain,” he said.

The Daily Nation reported the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s spokesman Manoah Esipisu appeared to confirm that, indeed, that was the position held by the Head of State.

“The PS has spoken and that is his docket. What else do you want us to add?” he asked.

The former ambassadors offered their joint recommendations in a commentary published in African Arguments, an online journal.

“Publicly shaming the Kenyatta government or threatening sanctions is not the answer. However, the US must make it crystal clear privately that there are limits to what the US can tolerate if it is to maintain its close relationship and that continuing to amass executive power unconstitutionally and flout the rule of law seriously tests those limits,” they said.

 

Mr Kamau Tuesday accused the former envoys of misinforming their readers on the situation in Kenya during and after the General Election.

“The fact that Kenya went through the prolonged campaign and electioneering period and emerged peaceful, should be a reason to celebrate the resilience of her democracy,” he said.

“They talk of political chaos and possible intercommunal violence and a palpable desire to change this trajectory. They even mourn that attempts by Western governments to appeal for calm are not being heeded. The reader will note how the authors are keen to weave the now familiar narrative of a crumbling African State and the ever-benevolent Western states ready to intervene and sort out ‘another fine mess in Africa’,” he said.

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Mr Kamau’s hard-hitting statement, coming at a time US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected in the country, may be seen as an attempt to pre-empt his agenda with observers in the diplomatic circles pointing out that the senior diplomat could in fact be stating the government’s position regarding the campaign for dialogue.

The PS said the 2017 elections presented an opportunity to test the institutions created by the constitution, including the Judiciary and the IEBC.

“The question of whether the institutions withstood the test can be attested by the peace and tranquillity that is existing in Kenya barely three months after the repeat elections,” he said, adding that the electioneering period ended with the swearing-in of President Uhuru Kenyatta on November 28, 2017, after he was duly elected in the October repeat presidential elections.

RULE OF LAW

“The claims that there is a deliberate attempt by the Executive to subvert the rule of law cannot be further from the truth.  Throughout the campaign period, the government demonstrated fidelity to the law with the then incumbent President accepting the Supreme Court ruling nullifying the August 8, 2017 presidential election even as he, and other legal analysts, disagreed with it. The main opposition coalition, clearly aware that their political strategy had failed, dithered and withered, eventually boycotting the repeat presidential elections,” he said.

He accused the opposition of attempting to perpetrate violence in the wake of their electoral loss.

To demonstrate that the country is on the right path, he said, international investors have given the Kenyan economy a vote of confidence by a sevenfold over-subscription of a Eurobond issued by the government in the London Stock Exchange recently.

 

Here is the  full article:

That Mark Bellamy and Johnnie Carson are accomplished US diplomats is not in doubt. It may also be assumed that their relationship with Kenya as former ambassadors in Nairobi gives them a more than average understanding of Kenya’s politics, economy and even social aspects.

But their article, published at African Arguments on 27 February, in which they call for US intervention in Kenya is a clear demonstration of how preconceived notions and stereotypes about Africa by Western technocrats override any practical experience and knowledge they may have acquired on the continent.

Their knack for getting it wrong on African and Kenyan issues is not only dumbfounding but also a demonstration of why desk research on Africa, with the only source of information being a biased Western media, should be treated with disdain.

The authors seem to revel in misinforming their readers not only on the existing situation but also on the events that unfolded during Kenya’s 2017 election cycle. They talk of political chaos, possible intercommunal violence, and a palpable desire to change this trajectory. They even mourn that attempts by Western governments to appeal for calm are not being heeded.

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The reader will note how the authors are keen to weave the now familiar narrative of a crumbling African State and the ever-benevolent Western states ready to intervene and sort “another fine mess in Africa”. Inevitably, attempts to weave this narrative in this article fall flat on their face due to the blatant use of lies, half-truths and innuendos.

Peace and tranquillity since the elections

It’s a fact that Kenya’s vibrant electioneering period ended with the swearing in of President Uhuru Kenyatta on 28 November, after he was duly elected in the 26 October 2017 repeat presidential elections. The claims that there is a deliberate attempt by the executive to subvert the rule of law cannot be further from the truth. Throughout the campaign period, the government demonstrated fidelity to the law with the president accepting the Supreme Court ruling nullifying the 8 August presidential election even as he, and other legal analysts, disagreed with it.

The main opposition coalition, clearly aware that their political strategy had failed, dithered and withered, eventually boycotting the repeat elections. Their attempts to perpetrate violence in the wake of their electoral loss have been rejected outright by Kenyans, with the government taking the necessary steps to fulfil its cardinal responsibility of protecting the lives and property of Kenyans.

In the long and arduous walk to entrench democratic principles, no individual or institution is exempt from the dictates of the constitution. Just like in any other democracy, the media, various arms of government, political parties, civil society groups, and all citizens are bound by the constitution and its violation has consequences in line with the rule of law.

The fact that Kenya went through the prolonged campaign period and emerged peaceful should be a reason to celebrate the resilience of her democracy. Kenya’s constitution, enacted in 2010, is barely eight years old. The 2017 elections presented an opportunity to test the institutions it created, including the Judiciary and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The question of whether the institutions withstood the test can be attested to by the peace and tranquillity in Kenya barely three months after the repeat elections. Kenyans are back to work and the economy, which had slightly slumped during the electioneering period, is now on an upward trend with the World Bank projecting 5% economic growth for 2018.

Even international investors have given the economy a vote of confidence by a sevenfold oversubscription of a Eurobond issued by the government in the London Stock Exchange on 21 February. The tourists are trooping back to enjoy the unrivalled Kenyan flora and fauna and bask in the white beaches of Malindi and the entire coastal region.

Double standards

The authors’ assertion that Kenya is unravelling due to what they refer to as a widening rift between the ruling Jubilee and the opposition NASA coalition betrays their double standards when it comes to democratic tenets in Africa as compared to in America.

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It is not lost on Kenyans that the differences in ideologies between the Democrat and Republican parties and toxic political drama that culminated in the election of President Donald Trump in 2016 left some social and political fissures in America. But despite their divisive nature, the Trump vs. Clinton political campaigns can rightly be described as a demonstration of the vibrancy and maturity of America’s democracy.

In a clear display of bias and cognitive dissonance, Bellamy and Carson describe similar ideological differences and political rhetoric between the Jubilee Party and NASA Coalition during and after the elections as political turmoil. Competitive politics in a democracy, both in America and Africa, can never be described as turmoil. Political competition is a key tenet of democracy, and Kenya has demonstrated that, with strong institutions, credible and peaceful elections are possible.

An affront to Kenya’s sovereignty

On a positive note, the authors acknowledge the cordial relations between Kenya and the US, which they had an opportunity to strengthen during their respective tenures as ambassadors to Kenya. They use this as a basis for advocating for US intervention to prevent what they see as Kenya descending into violence and threats to rule of law.

But with memories of US interventions in countries such as Libya and Iraq, ostensibly to return them to democracy, still fresh in our minds, jitters about this proposal by senior US leaders are understandable. Any form of interference by the US in a country that has time and again demonstrated her commitment to entrench democratic principles, rule of law, and good governance can only portend danger.

It is no wonder that the current US ambassador in Nairobi, and indeed the entire US government, has risen above Kenya’s political challenges. Just as Ambassador Carson was proven wrong on his assertion before the 2013 elections that a victory for Uhuru Kenyatta would have negative consequences, the two countries have once again continued on the path of strengthening their bilateral relations and partnerships with a clear understanding of the need for mutual respect. The threats issued and grandstanding advocated for by the two US leaders is not only unfortunate but also an affront to Kenya’s sovereignty.

On her part, Kenya will maintain momentum in strengthening governance institutions, entrenching the rule of law, building a cohesive society, and buttressing peace within its borders and in the region. While we welcome positive and constructive criticism from our partners and friends, we remain averse to any suggestions of interference with our internal affairs from any quarters.

Our response to the authors’ absurd demand for US intervention in Kenya is a loud NO THANKS!


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Africa

Kenya Airways to resume NY direct flights on 29th November 2020

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Kenya Airways will resume direct flights to New York on 29th November 2020 after a seven-month hiatus occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, the airline was slated to commence the New York direct flights on 31st October 2020 but has since extended the resumption date due to increased cancellation of flight booking to the city.

According to CEO Allan Kilavuka, early bookings for the October 31 flight had registered a 40 percent cabin factor load. The airline plans to operate two weekly flights on Sundays and Wednesdays and gradually increase the frequency to three flights subject to demand.

In this case, Kenya Airways says that the three flights will run on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The direct flights to New York launched in 2018 and by October 2019 had completed 594 trips to and from New York and flying 105,084 passengers.

Kenya Airways has been keen to resume its former routes following opening of international flights in major cities across the globe. For instance, the airline resumed the Nairobi to Mumbai flights plying the route thrice a week.

The onset of the pandemic saw the airline’s revenues fall due to travel restrictions and lockdowns that reduced network activities connecting the home market to key cities. In the first six months of 2020, total income fell by 48 percent to Ksh30.2 billion compared to Ksh58.6 billion recorded in the six months to June in 2019.

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The effect of the pandemic was evident in the 55.5 percent reduction in passenger numbers to 1.1 million in the six months compared to 2.4 million in a similar period last year. The drop in revenue saw loss for the period rise from Ksh8.5 billion in H1:2019 to Ksh14.3 billion in the H1:2020.


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Ginimbi had planned his burial, including dress code, VIP tent and guest list

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Flashy Zimbabwean businessman Genius Kadungure, popularly known by the sobriquet Ginimbi, had fully planned how his burial will be conducted several months before he died on Sunday, November 8, 2020, his sister says.

Ginimbi, 36, died after the vehicle he was driving, a Rolls Royce Wraith, collided head-on with a Honda Fit in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Following the crash, Ginimbi’s car hurtled off the road and hit a tree, sparking a huge fire that engulfed the entire vehicle, instantly calcining the three trapped occupants to death.

Ginimbi had been rescued from the driver’s seat by well-wishers, but succumbed to his injuries a few meters from the fire scene.

The other three, who died in the accident, include fitness enthusiast Mimi Moana, her female friend Elisha and Ginimbi’s friend Limumba Karim.

Mimi Moana was celebrating her birthday party on Saturday night, hours before she was involved in a fatal crash alongside Ginimbi and two others. [PHOTO | COURTESY]

The four had Saturday night celebrated Moana’s birthday at Dreams Nightclub in the capital Harare, and were on their way to Ginimbi’s home when the accident happened.

Elisha also died in the Sunday morning crash. [PHOTO | COURTESY]

The crash occurred at Borrowdale, a residential suburb in the north of Harare. The neighbourhood forms the most affluent and prestigious residential area in the whole of Zimbabwe, online search shows.

Following news of Ginimbi’s death, his eldest sister, Juliet Kadungure, has now come out to reveal that her flamboyant brother had fully planned his burial months in advance.

“Genius was a fun-loving character,” Juliet told The Herald, which is the largest daily newspaper in Zimbabwe.

“He always reminded us about how he wanted his funeral to be conducted. In fact, he had a plan and always said ‘ndiri big’, so make sure on my funeral, you do not hurriedly bury me,” said Juliet.

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According to Ginimbi’s wish, all the people who will attend his burial penciled in for Saturday, November 14, 2020 must be dressed in white attire. The dress code is synonymous with Ginimbi’s trademark dressing for the lavish parties he used to host.

Juliet said her brother used to tell them that he wanted a big burial ceremony.

“Take time, planning for it. Check my requirements well and one of the things is that I want everyone who will be at my funeral to be dressed in all white, no matter who. Please, make sure you emphasise that, remember, I am an all-white guy. The all-white should be on the day of burial.”

Juliet said according to the plan left by Ginimbi, they will have to wait for his foreign-based friends to arrive for the ceremony, failure to which, the event should be postponed.

“He would say: ‘make sure you get in touch with my other friends abroad and wait for them to come,” said Juliet.

“That is why we are saying for now the funeral will begin on Thursday, [November 12] and for now people are gathered at our father’s residence which is 400 metres away from Ginimbi’s mansion.

“We have set up a tent because there are lots of people coming from all walks of life and we could not accommodate them at the mansion.”

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Juliet said there will be two tents pitched for the wake.

“There will be a tent for friends and fans, then a VIP tent,” she said.

“Ginimbi will be buried on Saturday, [November 14] in his yard as he wished to. It is very difficult for us as a family and we kindly request the public to respect us and avoid spreading malicious rumours.

“For now, we have put a family spokesperson who is Clement Kadungure. Anything you hear which is not from him, is not true.”

Juliet said the family was not stopping people from mourning Ginimbi at his mansion, as being reported on social media, but the reason why the funeral was on the other side was to accommodate everyone.

“You may think the yard is big, but it is not big to accommodate everyone as you know many people are coming,” she said, adding: “Like I said, we decided to pitch tents at the open space near my father’s house. It is also for the security of the house.”

Juliet said Ginimbi always wished for his house to be turned into a museum or a hotel upon his demise.

“We are going to invite some local artistes so they will perform on Friday, [November 13], when his body lies in state at his mansion,” she said.

“Remember, Genius owned G-Entertainment where he promoted some local artistes, so we will do his wishes and they will also be dressed in white.”

READ ALSO:   Covid-19: Five Kenyans died in the US over last month

Chief executive officer of Ginimbi’s G4K security company, Dr Peter Gwaza, said some people were coming with the intention of stealing Ginimbi’s property.

“We have already caught two people who had stolen plastic chairs,” he said. “Again, the house has a lot of property that needs to be protected. I respect the decision by the family to have the funeral outside the mansion.”

Who is Ginimbi?

Ginimbi had interests in oil and gas business. [PHOTO | COURTESY]

Genius Kadungure had business interests in gas and petroleum. It is reported, in a section of Zimbabwean media, that he owned several filling stations in the capital Harare, and other parts of Zimbabwe.

However, it was alleged that he engaged in fraudulent activities to defraud wealthy Zimbabweans and South African businesspeople.

Ginimbi was popular on social media platforms, particularly Instagram, where he had over 650,000 followers and 644 posts at the time of his death. On the social networking pages, he flaunted the “good life” he lived, including posting pictures of the high-end vehicles he bought nearly on a yearly basis.

Some of the car brands Ginimbi owned include Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Range Rover, Ferrari, Bentley, among others.

Ginimbi hosted multi-million-shilling birthday parties annually since 2009. In March 2018, he paid Nigerian artiste Davido to perform in Harare.

In Kenya, Ginimbi was a friend of socialite Huddah Monroe.

In Uganda, Ginimbi enjoyed a close relationship with socialite Zari Hassan’s late ex-husband Ivan Ssemwanga.


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Why Kenya Airways postponed resumption of New York flights

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On Saturday, October 31, Kenya Airways announced that they had postponed New York flights’ resumption. Through a notice, the airline said the decision to postponed the flights was informed by the increased cancellation of flight bookings to New York. The resumption, which was set for Saturday, was postponed to November 31.

“We regret to announce that due to increased cancellations of flight bookings to New York City, we have pushed back the resumption of our service to this destination to November 29. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused,” read the statement.

The national carrier last operated the passenger flights using the route in April after disruptions by the Covid-19 pandemic. Kenya Airways resumed international flights in August after suspending all its operations in March following the government’s directives on Covid-19.

Kenya Airways inaugurated direct flights to the US in October 2018, cutting the journey to 15 hours. In October 2019, KQ flew at least 105,084 passengers after completing 594 flights to and from New York.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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