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This is how we plan to give Uhuru Kenyatta a new term – Atwoli

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President Uhuru Kenyatta will be free to seek the country’s top job in 2022 once the laws are changed through a referendum, Central Organisation of Trade Unions secretary-general Francis Atwoli, a political mobiliser, activist and kingmaker, told the Sunday Nation this week in a wide-ranging interview during which he also admitted that he and his inner circle are looking to Russia for motivation and clues.

Comparing President Kenyatta’s current situation with that of Daniel Moi in the run-up to the 1992 elections — during which Mr Moi managed to get a fresh mandate to rule the country for another 10 years after the laws were changed to re-introduce multiparty politics — the feisty trade unionist who has been hosting delegations of senior politicians supporting the President at his home in Kajiado said the country should not be in a hurry to see Mr Kenyatta off just yet.

That, it appears, is a script he is not deviating from in the near future, and it seems to be calculated to gain acceptance among the allied political class the more it is repeated in the open. Depending on who you ask, this could be political communication genius, or a strategic blunder of enormous proportions. Whichever way, Mr Atwoli is sticking to his script.

“Uhuru can use the envisioned changes to remain President beyond 2022. Why are people pretending that they don’t know that Moi, after the constitutional changes of 1991, remained in power for another decade? Once the Constitution is changed, we’ll begin from the default and nothing stops Kenyatta from running again, and we will support him,” he said.

Radical changes

He was referring to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce report expected to be launched any time this month, and which proposes radical changes that will see the modification — some say correction — of the Executive arm of government, among others. The first BBI report proposed to re-introduce a prime ministerial position, and sources privy to the content of the final document told us that the same is captured in the yet-to-released final draft.

READ ALSO:   Forget presidency, Atwoli tells Ruto

As if on cue, Mr Atwoli said Mr Kenyatta may as well choose an arrangement akin to that adopted by Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in 2008 that saw President Putin swap places with Mr Medvedev. Mr Putin, a ruthless political strategist, bounced back as president in 2012 and still runs the show in Moscow after exhausting the initial maximum two terms in office.

“The same can happen here,” said Mr Atwoli. “President Kenyatta can take a junior position, wait for five or 10 years and then come back as President. He’s a young man and, most importantly, the provision will be constitutional once the laws are changed.”

Were that to happen, and assuming he wins both the 2022 and 2027 presidential elections, Mr Kenyatta would have the constitutional window to rule the country until 2032.

Soon after the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga struck a political truce in March 2018, Mr Atwoli declared that Mr Kenyatta was too young to go home after his term expires in 2022. His latest remarks reinforce that position, which has irked supporters of Deputy President William Ruto, who is keen to succeed Mr Kenyatta. The DP’s camp believes Mr Atwoli is a messenger for a larger political operation.

This week, however, President Kenyatta said he had no intention of clinging on to power when his term in office expires. Addressing a gathering in Kiambu County on Wednesday, Mr Kenyatta said that although he is “still young”, he has “no problem leaving State House” once his term ends.

“That is my desire, but I want to leave behind a peaceful and united country,” said the President.

READ ALSO:   Photos of Atwoli´s mzungu househelp stirs heated debate

By the time Section 2A was repealed following concerted pressure from the opposition, civil society and donor countries, Mr Moi had ruled for 14 years and remained in charge until he handed over to Mr Mwai Kibaki in 2002, and even then it took a united opposition to kick Kanu out of office after 40 straight years at the helm. Section 2A had been added to the Constitution following the coup attempt of 1982, and served to consolidate power around the presidency and stifle dissent.

The Sunday Nation understands that Mr Atwoli’s views are fast gaining currency among a team of elders who have styled themselves as kingmakers, and who have lately been trooping to Kajiado to consult with the Cotu leader. That group feels — and openly claims — that Mr Ruto has failed their test to take over from Mr Kenyatta, and Jubilee Party vice-chairman David Murathe, a member of the club, is the loudest of them all.

Ruto detractors

“The DP has been on probation; he has been tested and all this time they were trying to see whether they can leave this country in his hands. Unfortunately, the verdict is out there,” said Mr Murathe.

That clique of Ruto detractors has in recent days attracted senior government officials, including Cabinet Secretaries, who ordinarily should be apolitical. The most vocal of them has been Environment CS Keriako Tobiko, who referred to Mr Ruto, his administrative senior in government, as a “mere clerk”.

Mr Atwoli approves that derision. “We would be keen to recruit Mr Tobiko,” he said. “We see he’s also aligned. He was right; Ruto is Uhuru’s clerk by virtue of being the principal assistant and we want to see him behave as one.”

Mr Atwoli also has nice words for Mr Murathe, who, despite belonging to the same party as the DP, vehemently opposes Mr Ruto’s presidential bid.

“He is one of the few forthright, open-minded and highly principled Kenyans we have,” said Mr Atwoli of Murathe. “I like someone who speaks his mind, not sycophants. And contrary to what many assume, the President does not send him say the things he does.”

READ ALSO:   Kilobi: Atwoli is an adorable husband

Referendum

While Mr Atwoli denies it, the elders are widely believed to be an offshoot of the mythical “Deep State” that is keen to determine who succeeds Mr Kenyatta. He does not hide the fact that he seems to know the inner workings of the State, yet admits he is not a government employee or functionary.

He, for instance, says with authority that the referendum will be held early next year, preferably around March. Mr Odinga said the same during his political tour of Taita-Taveta County, and Mr Kenyatta, in his address to the nation last month, left no doubt that BBI would aim to repeal laws as it was time the Constitution was made more responsive to the needs of the nation.

“Ten years later, the moment to improve on it is now,” President Kenyatta said on August 27. “We must treat a Constitution as a living document that must constantly adjust to emerging realities.”

Mr Atwoli said some of the changes could be through Parliament, where there would be little opposition “after the purge in both National Assembly and the Senate”.

The BBI taskforce chairman Yusuf Haji told the Sunday Nation previously that the report has been divided into three key segments; those on areas that can be addressed administratively through policy changes, those that Parliament can take care of via legislation, and the ones that fundamentally alter the structure of governance through a referendum.

-nation.africa

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Lifestyle

Why I walked away from my marriage and never asked for a shilling

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Recently, a heated debate ensued on radio host Maina Kageni’s Facebook page, with numerous women commenting on their take on child support from their estranged partners. While some aired their frustrations about the process, others confessed that they had never sought or received support from their former spouses. What would drive them to never look back? Caroline Njoroge speaks to one such woman, Valentine Kawira (pictured).

“Everyone knows when they are about to hook up with a disaster in waiting. There is that red flag that goes off in your spirit but hormones get in the way of good judgement. When I started dating my now ex-husband, something didn’t feel right. But I was in love and chose to ignore everything that did not line up with my wanting to be with him.

It was in the little white lies here and there. I couldn’t figure out at that time that pathological liars don’t always reveal the full extent of their lying potential on the first date.

Things began changing when I gave birth to my second born. Why do men change when we give birth? The arguments became more heated and threats interwoven in the arguments became a bit scarier with every argument.

The last straw came when he lied perpetually about the money I gave him to pay school fees for my first born (she is from a different relationship I had while I was a university student).

She had just started going to school. I remember getting a letter from her school about outstanding fees. Whenever I asked him about it, he would respond that there must be a problem with the system at that school. He would go, talk to the bursar and things would go on as normal.

Then one day, the school bus driver refused to pick the child up and said it was because the outstanding fee was substantially high. When I told my husband what the bus driver had said, he hurriedly prepared and left. At that point, I decided I would go to the school myself to find out what was going on.

READ ALSO:   How Francis Atwoli treated wife Mary Kilobi in Seychelles

At the school, the bursar said my daughter owed the school fees for two terms. They had not received any money before that morning when my husband had walked in to pay Sh10,000.

As I was seated there still trying to process what was happening, my ex walked in. The bursar asked him why he had come back and his response was quite the performance: “Me? Mimi? Nikakuja hapa?’. He completely denied that he had been to the school earlier on. He was the kind of guy that would make you believe that regardless of what you think you know or have seen, you are the one with a problem.

So, I sat and watched the drama unfold. When it was over, I paid the outstanding fees (Sh30,000) from what I had in my mobile money account and we went home.

I had questions: “So, where did the money which I gave for payment of school fees go? You said you had paid. You gave me narrations of the long queues at the bursar’s office…”

“I gave the money to my sister because she was in need,” was the response.

“So, why did you not tell me that? For two terms?”

I found out he had also been taking money out of our joint account and not telling me. The last argument ended this way, “Nitakuvunja shingo wewe!”

I figured he might be serious, so I packed my bags and moved out with my children. I was of more value to them alive than dead. I figured I did not have to wait for him to become physically abusive for me to get the point. I walked away while I could.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Atwoli brags about his prowess in bedroom matters with his latest wife Mary Kilobi

It has been about four years. You ask me about child support! What child support? I don’t even expect it.

Our separation made me realise just how much I had neglected myself. I was taking care of everyone else but myself; too busy working to become a wife and a better mother. It made me realise that I had struggled with feelings of failure for long and having a failed relationship did little to salvage the situation.

I found myself sliding into the pit of depression; struggling to understand who I now was. I got panic attacks. People tell you to be strong because you are not the first to go through it, it’s like telling a patient in a coma to get up, they are not the first to go through it. It doesn’t help.

If anything, it makes things worse. There have been times when I thought I had moved on, but slid back into that dark cave. It feels you’re drowning and there is no one to hold your hand and pull you out. You could be in a room full of people but you feel so alone.

I’m fine now, I am strong. That word strong, I don’t really like it because it’s the same one some well-meaning people would use right after they would say I wasn’t the only one who had gone through it.

I have learnt how to take good care of myself and have no expectations when it comes to relating to people. That way, there are no surprises or disappointments experienced.

My advice to that girl, that woman feeling trapped in something that is just not working is that it is okay to walk away. If he is emotionally and physically abusive, don’t use your children as an excuse to dig your own grave. Walk away. I walked away after less than five years of being in a union that was about to cross over to a physical disaster.

READ ALSO:   Atwoli proposed to me but I said NO due to his advanced age, says Mary Kilobi

As far as child support is concerned, if you are lucky enough to get it, be grateful. If not, don’t waste your money on legal fees or unnecessary drama, God will provide for you and your children. Focus your energy on finding yourself again and rebuilding.

To the single girl, don’t put your money in one basket. Before I got into that relationship, I heard someone say that it was not a good idea to have a joint account with your spouse. I thought the people that said that were archaic and not with the times. I now know better.

It is okay to share financial responsibilities but have your own money in your own account. Also don’t ignore red flags, if it doesn’t feel right, if there are some telltale signs that don’t augur well with you, run. Feelings will catch up with your decision. Walk into a relationship with your head and not just your heart.

To the divorcee, to that woman still feeling crushed; I know it hurts, but it will get better if you allow it. It takes a decision and surrounding yourself with the right support system. Don’t allow yourself to harbour bitterness and please don’t take it out on the kids or on those that love you.

Statements such as, “wewe ni mjinga tu kama baba yako!’ will crush that child’s esteem. Bitterness is a poison that will destroy whatever you have left. Allow your heart to channel out the pain. Give yourself permission to cry. Be okay with not meeting people’s expectations. Accept where you are and know that even if life didn’t work out as you had planned, you will be fine.

by Standardmedia.co.ke

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Africa

Tough visa rules for students from Kenya, other countries seeking to study in US

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President Donald Trump’s government is planning to bar Kenyan and other  East African students from pursuing degrees in the US by limiting their stay in the country.

The move which is contained in proposals by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will also see students from a majority of African countries barred from getting student visas longer than two years.

This means that the students will be unable to pursue education in American universities where degrees and other certifications take about four years of study.

“If DHS’s new proposed rule goes through, international students from countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Vietnam, and the Philippines would be effectively banned from getting four-year degrees in the US,” US Immigration lawyer Aaron Reinchlin-Melnick, who is a Policy Analyst at the American Immigration Council, warns.

According to the new DHS proposal, students from countries on the State Sponsor of Terrorism List (Iran, Syria, Sudan and Northern Korea) and citizens of countries with over 10 per cent overstay rate will be limited to the two-year student visa.

“Most of those countries would be subject to restrictions because of the “10 per cent visa overstay” threshold,” Mr Reinchlin-Melnick tweeted.

The majority of the affected countries are in Africa and others in war-torn countries in Asia. The list seems, however, to avoid countries dominated by white people, especially in Europe.

READ ALSO:   Photos of Atwoli´s mzungu househelp stirs heated debate

Students who will be affected by the new rules include those from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia.

Other than the East Africans, students from countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, and Zambia are affected.

Others are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Guyana, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Syria, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.

Although the students would be able to ask DHS for an extension of their visas past two years, those extensions will not be guaranteed.

In its explanation, the Department says that its intention is to fix a major problem on students overstaying their welcome in the US.

But an analysis of the Department of Homeland Security points that only 32,023 people were suspected of overstaying a student /exchange visa last year.

Overstayed

Whereas the Trump government argues that the rule to restrict some countries is based on the percentage of students who overstayed, countries with the highest number of overstays like China, India, Brazil and Canada are not included in the punitive list.

READ ALSO:   Atwoli proposed to me but I said NO due to his advanced age, says Mary Kilobi

A downward trend is also developing as fewer students from other countries are enrolling in US colleges and universities, according to a study published recently by a State Department bureau and Institute of International Education, a New York-based NGO.

Last year’s 0.9 per cent drop in new enrolments of international students continued since the start of the Trump administration in 2017.

A spate of gun violence in a number of States especially targeting black population is also reported to have a number of parents reconsider sending their children to the US.

Kenya ranks third among sub-Saharan countries and the first in East Africa and followed by Ethiopia in the number of students attending US colleges or universities.

Nigeria leads the pack with a total of 13,423 students last year, an increase of nearly six per cent from the 2017-18 academic year followed by Ghana.

In July, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that students on non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 visas who attend universities that operate entirely online amid the Covid-19 pandemic may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. It meant students under the category were required to return home.

The order was however rescinded after a public outcry.

-The EastAfrican

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Africa

Why all the hullabaloo about the 2-year US student visas for Kenyans?

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BY BOB MWITI
There has been a lot of outcry about the latest news that Kenyan students will be getting 2-year US student visas instead of 4 years as it has been the case before. I have received several messages from my followers asking clarification on what this means.
It is said that the main reason for the latest student visa changes is because Kenya is one of those countries whose students have notoriously overstayed their visas. Quite true though!
Well, rather than create a fuss about this drastic change by the US government, let’s first of all ask ourselves, why do we overstay our visas, and how can we solve this issue of visa overstay.
I will first address the overstay issue before I give you my view on the ramifications of the new 2-year visa changes.
Please note that this post may make some people “catch feelings”, but that is fine. As someone with an organization that deals with student matters in America, I have an obligation to educate those prospective smart international students who religiously follow me and consume my content. If you are not one of them, it is fine, just pass this!…Ok?
You see, us Africans never talk about undocumented immigrant issues openly here in America, mostly because they affect almost every one of us. Almost every household know one or two people who do not have the right immigration papers, and therefore it is an extremely sensitive topic to address.
However, people back home need to know these things so that they can make an informed decision.
Here in the US, about 30-40% of African immigrants do not have the right immigration papers. Meaning they live and work in America illegally.
One interesting fact is that majority of this group of our people came to America as International students. They never crossed the border illegally! They went to the embassy, were given a visa and were admitted at the US airport, but somehow, they found themselves in this situation of not having the right immigration documents.
I have always said this a million times, that as an international student, one of the most challenging thing that you will ever face if you want to live and work in USA is to figure out how to transition from a student to a permanent resident.
Majority of our students come here blindly without really thinking about how they will make that transition. No one tells them before they leave Africa. They come here and then they are surprised with what they must do.
One of the major problems us Africans have and continue to make the same mistake repeatedly, is coming to USA without enough funds to take care of our studies as international students.
You know how we normally do it? We get just enough to push us through school for one semester, and then hope that we will be able to work and pay for the school fees.
Who told you that you can earn enough to pay for your school fees? Do you know how much it costs to study here? Do you know that as an international student you are only allowed to work 20 hours a week on a minimum wage and that this kind of money is barely enough to pay your rent?
You see, if we keep making the same mistake, we will continue suffering as international students.
If you are a smart prospective international student, you need to make sure that you have enough funds to push you through school in America. If not, you will drop out of school and fall out of status and once you do that, you will become an illegal alien.
The consequence of being an illegal immigrant is that it is extremely hard to work in corporate America, even if you are smart. You will end up working those odd Jobs that a lot of Africans do. They do those jobs because, those are the only jobs one can do if they do not have the right papers.
Now, you may ask yourself, how do you get enough funds to take care of your education in America?. There are options for unsecured international student loans and loans that require a cosigner. This is a great option for needy smart student who want a US education.
When I came to US as an international student, I realized majority of Indian students study in the US on student loans. Only Africans do not….and these Indians complete their studies and work good jobs in corporate America. Such jobs come with work visa, and most of these work visas are taken up by them.
The US government offers 140,000 employment-based green cards every year and each country is allotted 9,800 of those visas, yet very few of us Africans get them. 80% go to Indians!…..Reason being, Indians complete their studies, and remain in good standing under the law and therefore are able to transition seamlessly.
Most Indian students know what career trajectory they will take, even before they land here. One time I asked an Indian friend of mine that I was working with, if before he came to study in USA, he knew whether he would be doing the same IT consulting job he was doing at that time. Do you know what he said?…”heck yea!..I knew it!”.
Guess what?, for me when I left Kenya, I had no idea what would happen to me after I got to America. I came here blindly like millions of other Africans do. Vastly different from what these Indians do. No wonder they are many steps ahead of us on so many levels.
Indians are richest group of people in America. They make more than the white Americans, and yet they came to USA as immigrants just like us……and majority came as students on student loans!!..Yes!..Student loans!
Very few Africans get permanent residency through employment, and yet it is one of the easiest ways to transition from a student to a skilled worker in USA.
Unless we figure things out, we will keep struggling in getting the right immigration papers in USA.
Now back to the 2-year visa issue. In one of my episodes on my popular show “Success with Bob Mwiti”, I actually addressed the issue of what a visa and an immigration status mean.
So, let me clarify, A visa is just a stamp you get on your passport that allows you to leave you country and seek admission at the port of entry here in the US.
Once you land here in the US as s student, you must attend the school and maintain your immigration status as a student. Key word here is MAINTAIN. Failure to do so will make you become an illegal alien and if you are caught you may be deported.
So, what really matters once you are here in the US as a student, is that your immigration status is current as shown on your SEVIS record which is tied to your I-20 document not your visa stamp!!..ok?
Let me clarify this a bit, let’s say you have 5-year visa like it was before, and you come here and drop of out of school due to school fees issues after one semester. Then even though you had 5-year visa stamp on your passport, you will be out of status and you could be deported.
Now assume, you got 2-year visa on your passport, and you came for a 4-year undergraduate program and you have been studying smoothly, and by the 3rd year, your visa has expired. What that means is that, even though your stamp is expired, you will still be fine because your immigration status as shown on your SEVIS record via your I-20 is still intact. What matters is your SEVIS record on your I-20 document!
The only slight concern with this 2 year visa when studying a 4 year course is that, if for any reason you decide to travel outside the US after 2 years, then you will have to attend a student visa interview. If you were in school throughout, you will never have a problem getting your student visa renewed, but if you did not maintain your status then you will be in trouble.
In conclusion, what we need to fix is our mentality on the best way to migrate to USA as international students and how to get the funding needed to take care of our education in America.
There are abundant opportunities for smart students in America and Indians have figured this out, and yet us Africans keep languishing down there with low paying jobs and lack of immigration documents. Unless we fix that, we will keep on struggling and it will become harder to get these student visas at the US consulates!
A Little Bit About Me!
I am a former international student in USA and I am a senior IT consultant in the areas of Oracle EBS Financials and Robotics Process Automation (RPA) here in USA. I am the programs director of Appstec America – A consulting company based in Tampa, Florida, USA.
I’ve been blessed to have learned a lot in my career as an IT consultant. My life has truly changed, and I’ve made it my mission to give back and serve others beyond myself.
Whether that be helping you to relocate to USA as an international student, train you as an IT consultant, help you start and build your own online business, creating your financial freedom, motivating you to pursue your goals and dreams, to being more productive, to inspiring you to constantly improve yourself.
My mission is to get you to wake up to the unlimited potential within you and achieve what you’re truly capable of through my various self-development training programs.
On the internet, I openly and passionately share my life experiences and all of the very best concepts, strategies, tools, and resources that I continue to discover that have made a measurable difference to my life, and will do for you as well.

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