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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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Shock as decomposing body in a sack found in school compound

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A decomposing body of a woman stashed in a sack was yesterday found at Tumaini Primary School playground in Umoja Estate in Nairobi.

Buruburu OCPD Adamson Bungei said the incident was being treated as murder and investigation have started. He said no identification documents were found at the scene and killers may have capitalised on the ongoing curfew to commit the heinous act.

Locals expressed shock following the horrific discovery and urged the police to bring the killers to book.

Bed sheets, mosquito nets and some clothes stashed in separate sacks were at the scene.

It appeared that the body was thrown over the fence as the area is well fenced and guarded. On the other end, the Amani Court of the Umoja Two estate is guarded round the clock.

Locals said this is the third mystery death in a month.

Tenants in the nearby plot, just metres away from the fence of the school said they have not heard any suspicious movements in the recent past and were only alarmed by the smell from the school prompting them to notify police officers on patrol. The body was later moved to City Mortuary.

By The Standard.co.ke

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Alex Ndiritu: ‘I had no ill motives on White House post’

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When 27-year-old Alex Ndiritu (pictured) replied to an online broadcast by CNN about the protests in the United States of America, on Thursday, May 28, 2020, he didn’t expect it would attract the attention of the whole world. The protests from the angry Americans were about the death of an African-American, George Floyd, who is believed to have been murdered by the American police in Minneapolis, USA.

It’s for this reason that the young Ndiritu decided to express his discomfort through an online platform, Twitter. “Burn White House now…we are not turning back…” read his tweet.

But Ndiritu says that he had no ill motives when he was tweeting, and that he was only raising alert to demonstrators that a time has come for all human races to be treated with some dignity.

“It was out of anger, and just the way they took my tweet serious, it’s the same way I expected the American government to respond to George’s murder” he said.

Alex Ndiritu still believes that demonstrations are the only way the governments of today can understand. He says that he is a Pan Africanist, and he will keep fighting for the rights of the black people, and trusts that this could be the end of racism in the world.

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“When you see people reacting this way, it’s about justice, and it means they are tired of what is happening. So this could probably mark the end of racism in the world” he added. Since Alex tweeted on Thursday, he has received a lot of feedback, both positive and negative. Some have encouraged him to keep on the fight while others have been criticizing him for inciting demonstrators in the USA. Some have even asked him to pull down the post but he is adamant that there is no reason for that.

“I cannot withdraw what I posted because it’s already viral. And even if I withdraw, it will not bring George back to life, what we need right now is to look for a solution to end racism not pressuring me to withdraw my post” he said.

He has also been receiving phone calls and text messages from strange numbers.

This has made him worried about his safety, and has since stopped receiving friend requests on Facebook, but he still hopes that everything is okay.

Moments after Alex tweeted, demonstrators headed to the White house with unknown intentions, something that triggered the US government to deploy police to protect the White house against the protesters. Alex Ndiritu, the man who trended at number one in Kenya for the better part of Saturday, hails from Tetu Sub County in Nyeri County.

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He says that he is inspired by other pan Africanists like the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Bobi Wine in Uganda and Julius Amalema of South Africa.

Tetu is the same sub county that produced the Kenya’s freedom fighter, Dedan Kimathi and the Nobel prize winner Wangari Mathai.

The determined Alex told The Standard that he is an author having written pathways to Success, a book he says he wrote immediately after his High school education. He is also involved in some community projects like making of interlocking bricks back in the village.

However, he noted that Kenya also needs revolution, saying that there are things that happen in this country that should not be happening. “We are going to address some of the issues happening in Kenya in a better way until we get a solution, we want people to understand the importance of humanity” he said.

By The Standard

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Foreign students rethink US business schools

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This summer, dozens of incoming students at New York’s Columbia Business School had planned to sail around the coast of Croatia for a week to get to know each other.

Instead, they are chatting online and playing icebreaker games on Zoom. With the coronavirus still spreading, social gatherings like the sailing trip organised by students are on hold, and there is a good chance that when school starts in September, many classes and events will be held online.

Columbia and other elite US business schools like Harvard Business School and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania have said they will likely move to a “hybrid” model of virtual and in-person learning. It is a far cry from the typical MBA experience which features close contact with fellow students, in-person networking events, trips overseas and lunch sessions with CEOs.

The changes have some students reconsidering the value of a degree that can cost upwards of $100,000 (Sh10 million) a year in tuition, housing and other fees.

International students, who make up roughly 35 per cent of the student body at most elite US business schools, are particularly unsure about the decision.

“The virtual environment might take away a chunk of the MBA experience,” said a 27-year-old student from China who was admitted to Wharton and is considering whether to defer for a year.

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“That’s what a lot of people including myself are thinking through now,” said the student, who declined to be identified because of concerns about his visa status and employment prospects

. Education upended

The United States has been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 1.7 million cases and over 100,000 deaths.

Higher education has been upended with most schools sending students home in the spring and moving classes online. The US hosts over a million international students at its higher education institutions, according to the State Department data.

International candidates account for 36 per cent of people who enroll in full-time US MBA programmes, according to Graduate Management Admission Council, an association of business schools.

If institutions do not resume in-person learning, enrollment, particularly among international students, is likely to take a hit, according to a GMAC survey. Only 43 per cent of the international MBA candidates surveyed said they planned to enroll if programmes begin online. Forty-eight per cent of them indicated they would defer in that scenario.

By Standard Business

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