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Makau Mutua wants the corrupt to be beheaded

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Thomas Sankara, the Burkinabe revolutionary cut down in his prime, renamed Upper Volta Burkina Faso, the Land of Upright Men. Methinks it was the land of Upright Women too. But you get the point – under Sankara’s rule, Burkina Faso would cease to be the land of a thieving, conniving and corrupt elite.

LEGAL-POLITICAL WAR

In Kenya, the administration of Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta has not renamed the country yet. But Mr Kenyatta has made it clear – at least rhetorically – that corruption is Kenya’s most malignant vice. I agree. But talk is cheap. Mr Kenyatta must put his money where his mouth is. He can’t blink, or retreat. The International Criminal Court will be his legacy if he can’t politically guillotine the corrupt.

Corruption in Kenya is not a legal problem. Not by a long shot. It is fundamentally a political problem. One cannot gainsay the utility of the law in fighting corruption. But only a fool would conflate law and politics. The law is a servant of politics, and does only that which politics permits. However, that does not mean that the rule of law, or fidelity to social justice and fairness, must be vitiated by politics. Nyet – the law is inherently political and that is the only reason it is not blind, or impervious, to injustice. So, let us get this straight – the law cannot be apolitical. That is why Mr Kenyatta must wage a legal-political war against the corrupt.

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The arrest this week of Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge along with the mandarins implicated in the colossal Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal could be a turning point in Mr Kenyatta’s putsch against the corrupt. How his government executes the legal fight to prove Mr Rotich’s culpability will speak volumes about his political gumption. Kenyans want to see the corrupt prosecuted, convicted, and frog-marched to jail. As a law professor – one who is faithful to the rule of law – I believe criminal guilt must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. But the presumption of innocence cannot be the reason to rig the legal system in favour of the corrupt. Legal paganism is the refuge of corrupt scoundrels.

 

All those charged, or indicted for corruption, must leave public office at once. They cannot hold public office while under indictment. Mr Kenyatta has taken the right step in replacing CS Rotich and PS Thugge. Alleged co-conspirators must be sent packing in shame. Mr Kenyatta must sever their bureaucratic heads without pity. They should not merely “step down”. No – they must vacate the public offices they hold without any possibility of return. The correct nomenclature is separation from service – a total guillotine. Public shaming as a prelude to criminal sanction is a powerful signal to the corrupt that the vice has no place in Kenya. The power of demonstration will put oomph in Mr Kenyatta’s futile protests against the corrupt.

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It is nary a secret that the dams scandal that has felled Mr Rotich has already been politicised. Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, the political greenhorn, has already tribalised the criminal investigations into it. His political godfather, the irascible William Ruto – who also serves as the constitutionally independent deputy to Mr Kenyatta – reads a sinister purpose in the fight against corruption. To him, the fight against corruption is only intended to stop him from ascending to State House. As if to emphasise the point, Mr Ruto has insisted on continuing to pour millions of shillings into church coffers every Sunday. He does not care when citizens ask where he gets the money for such massive giveaways, which he euphemistically calls “tithes”.

POLITICAL BLACKMAIL

In Kenya, every senior figure accused of corruption runs to hide under the skirt of the tribe. It is nothing but political blackmail. The sad thing is that it works every time. It is a war chant by those who are guilty. They dare the state to hold their corrupt sons and daughters accountable and bear the consequences. Typically, Mr Kenyatta retreats when confronted with such tribal blather. This is the question – will he blink again? My crystal ball tells me that this time round he will stand his ground and call the bluff of his erstwhile political allies. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain. The time has come for Mr Kenyatta to say enough is enough, and mean it.

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Finally, let me end where I started. I invoked Sankara’s name, the martyr betrayed by his political comrades for raw power.

Politicians often make unpalatable bargains to capture office. Call them Faustian bargains. Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto entered into Faustian bargains in 2013 and 2017. That pact has now been put asunder because its raison d’etre has reached obsolescence. Will Mr Kenyatta rise from the ashes of that ignominious pact to leave a legacy that “Upright People” can be proud of? Or will he retreat – again? Will he blink and hand the baton to Mr Ruto?

BY MAKAU MUTUA,  SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of KHRC. Twitter: @makaumutua.

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Nairobi Governor Sonko to spend two more nights in police cells

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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and his co- accused will have to remain in police custody for two more nights pending the ruling on his bail application in the graft case.

Sonko lawyers had applied for bail application, arguing that the governor was sick and needed medical attention, but Prosecution team opposed the application saying the governor was a flight risk having escaped from jail before.

While setting the ruling date to Wednesday at 11am, the magistrate ruled that the governor be treated in the presence of the prisons’ authority.Sonko and his co-accused comprising county officers and directors of companies denied multiple corruption and economic crimes charges before Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi on Monday.

Prosecution team led by Gitonga Riungu and James Kihara had objected Sonko’s release on bail, citing the 1998 incident in which he was convicted for failing to appear before a Mombasa court three times in his previous cases.

The prosecution referred to the instance where the Shimo La Tewa Commissioner of Prisons advanced claims that Sonko escaped from lawful custody after going to Coast General Hospital for treatment.But Sonko’s defence team rebutted arguing that his alleged escape from Shimo La Tewa is a malicious claim aimed at mudslinging him.

The accused face nine charges including conspiracy to commit offence of corruption, willful failure to comply with procurement laws, conflict of interest, abuse of office, unlawful acquisition of public property, deceiving principal, money laundering and acquisition of proceeds of crime.

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In the soup are also county officials who have been charged with benefitting from the irregular procurement and payments. They are County Secretary Peter Mbugua; Head of Supply Chain Management Patrick Mwangangi; Negotiation, Tender Opening and Evaluation Committee members Edwin Kariuki, Lawrence Mwangi, Preston Mwandiki and Clerical Officers Wambua Ndaka and Andrew Nyasiego.

While setting the ruling date to Wednesday at 11am, the magistrate ruled that the governor be treated in the presence of the prisons’ authority.Sonko’s lead lawyer Cecil Miller introduced a phalanx of his lawyer colleagues ahead of the plea taking.

They included Mutula Kilonzo Jr, Harrisson Kinyanjui, Daniel Maanzo, Kipchumba Murkomen, Nelson Havi, George Kithi, Kwanga Mboya, Osundwa Micheal, Alphonce Mutinda, and Phillip Kaindu among many others.

The governor alongside the directors of Web Tribe Ltd is accused of corruption and conspiracy to defraud the county government of Sh24 million.The charge sheet tabulates other fifteen charges of conflict of interest involving Governor Sonko and Web Tribe Ltd, ROG Security Ltd associated with Antony Otieno Ombok among other companies and their directors.

The governor is largely accused of receiving Sh1 million from Yira Enterprises in each of the several deals that involved hiring heavy equipment from the county government.Under the charge of conflict of interest, Sonko is accused of acquiring Sh1 million from Fredrick Odhiambo of Yiro Enterprises on multiple occasions which are proceeds of crime.

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Sonko also faces charges of money laundering and receiving proceeds of crime from Hardi Enterprises Ltd and Toddy Civil Engineering Ltd associated with Antony Mwaura Ng’ang’a and Rose Njeri Ng’ang’a.

On Monday, another charge sheet emerged in which the governor was accused of committing three offences during his arrest in Voi on Friday. They include assault of police officer, willfully resisting arrest and using abusive language towards police officers.He protested his arrest yesterday and blamed his woes on politics.

“I am convinced that my arrest was politically-schemed and designed to humiliate and embarrass me,” read his statement.“There was no point for the deployment of a police helicopter, more than 25 police cars, and 200 police officers to locate and arrest me while we all know on that on the same material day there was terror attack in Wajir County where the chopper with this kind of reinforcement, deployment and operation was needed.”He denied claims that he was trying to escape to Tanzania on Friday when he was arrested in Voi.The Nairobi County crisis has compelled the Council of Governors (CoG) to urgently ask for a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta following the arrest of Governor Mike Sonko.

It is not clear when Uhuru will honour the request.The President on Sunday said no leader would use their position to escape prosecution.

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He added that leaders found guilty of corruption should carry their own cross.He was speaking at St Francis of Asisi Catholic Church in Ruiru town during a fundraiser.In a statement on Sunday, CoG, the body that brings together all the 47 county chiefs, said it has been monitoring and consulting widely.

“We are, however, aware of the uniqueness of the County Government and therefore shall reach out to President Uhuru Kenyatta to convene an emergency Summit to address the evolving situation,” the council chair Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said.

What next for Nairobi?

Without a deputy governor, Nairobi County has found itself in a dicey situation but lawyer Duncan Okatch argues that there is no cause for alarm.”The seat of the governor has not fallen vacant, therefore, we are not in the situation where the law indicates that the Speaker act for 60 days,” he said, in an interview with Standard Digital.

BY Standard Digital

 

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Son of ex-VP Wamalwa dies at their Milimani home in Kitale

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A son of the late former vice-president Michael Kijana Wamalwa, William Makali Wamalwa, is dead.

His uncle, Robert Wamalwa, Monday confirmed that his nephew died on Sunday evening at their Milimani home in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County.

The family suspects it could be diabetes that led to his death but are waiting for a post-mortem report.

“My nephew was diabetic and that might have led to his death but, of course, when the official post-mortem report is out, we will know what happened,” Mr Wamalwa told the Nation.

Makali, who was the third born in his family, was in his mid-20s and was a second year student at the University of Nairobi where he was studying commerce.

His uncle dismissed claims on social media that Makali died of depression, alcoholism and drug abuse.

“It is far from the truth. It is very unfair and people should not capitalise on something like that. They should respect the family and the dead,” said Mr Wamalwa.

He added that he was with his nephew the previous day and he looked fine.

An official family statement will be given after a post-mortem examination report is released.

Makali will be buried at the family’s Three Rivers farm in Saboti on December 14, 2019.

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by nation.co.ke

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Welcome to the Nyeri matatu stage, a ‘highway to heaven’ for drivers, touts

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For a long time, the matatu sector has been viewed as a hotbed of deceitful, dishonest, cunning and undisciplined people. Already overburdened commuters often struggle with the whimsical arbitrariness of the charges demanded by the public transport operators.

But matatu operators in Nyeri town are trying to portray themselves in a new light. Every morning at 8am at the main matatu stage, a group of men in blue and maroon uniforms plug in a sound system and begin their morning fellowship.

They start with prayers and a number of worship songs. Their aim, they say, is to reach out to as many drivers, touts, businesspeople and passengers at the terminal as possible.

James Waruingi Ndirangu, a driver who has been operating in Nyeri town for more than 10 years, started the fellowship two years ago. He had seen the lawlessness, fights, vulgarity and drug abuse and sought divine intervention for these social ills.

“I was seated at the stage waiting for my turn to ferry passengers when, being a staunch Christian, I felt the need to start the morning prayers,” he said. He printed out notices of the prayers and passed them around, asking people to join him during the prayers.

“I was afraid that people would not embrace it but I decided to try it anyway and on July 16, 2017, we held our first prayer meeting. There were only a few people but that was more than I expected,” he said.

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With time, more people embraced the idea and with their help they received enough donations to purchase a public address system.

“I started these morning prayer meetings to reach out to the operators, who are usually too busy and they do not go to church on Saturday or Sunday. There are also passengers who have been travelling and they need it too,” he said.

Mr Ndirangu and his team start the prayers at 8am with singing, prayers and a devotion.

He says that the prayers have brought sanity to the stage, with the young men turning over a new leaf by quitting drugs and some being bold enough to participate by playing the instruments and being on the alternating preaching schedule.

“We have managed to reach out to the youth and pull them from drugs and substance abuse and now they work just like the rest of us to make an honest living,” he said.

A few metres away at an open field, where lorries are parked just behind the governor’s office, Pastor Joseph Kinuthia preaches to a group of men who are quietly seated and patiently listening to him. They are lorry drivers.

He started the fellowship in 2018 after many members of the Nyeri Lorries Self Help Group, which he chairs, were afflicted by diseases and death.

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“Every week we would have at least two cases we were contributing to. Other members were being arrested for fights, and being a pastor, I knew that these issues could be solved if we indulged in our faith,” he said.

He says the group, which has at least 300 active members, embraced the idea and now they hold their fellowships three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

At a glance
HOW IT STARTED

James Waruingi Ndirangu, a driver who has been operating in Nyeri town for more than 10 years, started the fellowship two years ago. He had seen the lawlessness, fights, vulgarity and drug abuse and sought divine intervention for these social ills.

“I was seated at the stage waiting for my turn to ferry passengers when, being a staunch Christian, I felt the need to start the morning prayers,” he said. He printed out notices of the prayers and passed them around, asking people to join him during the prayers.

by nation.co.ke

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