Friday, 26 October 2012

Bensouda afika Rift Valley kwa upelelezi zaidi

Kwa hisani ya VOA Swahili na Binafsi
October 26, 2012: Mwendesha mashtaka mkuu katika mahakama ya kimataifa ya uhalifu, ICC, Fatou Bensouda, amekamilisha mazungumzo yake nchini Kenya na Rais wa nchi hiyo Mwai Kibaki, Waziri Mkuu Raila Odinga, Jaji Mkuu pamoja na viongozi wengine wa juu katika serikali ya mpito.

Bi, Bensouda pia  alianza kuchukua maoni Jumatano ya waathirika wa ghasia na mauaji yaliyotokea katika uchaguzi mkuu uliopita nchini humo kabla ya kuelekea katika miji ya Naivasha, Nakuru na Eldoret katika jimbo la Rift Valley ili kukutana ana kwa ana na baadhi ya waathirika wa ghasia hizo.
Ujio wa Bi. Bensouda nchini Kenya unaashiria nia ya Mahakama hio iliyopo Hague kwamba ipo makini na inakusudia kuleta haki kwa waathirika wa machafuko ya mwaka 2007. Bensouda amekutana na mashirika ya kiraia pamoja na wahanga ya machafuko. 

Kesi zinazowahusu wahusika wakuu kama vile Makamu Waziri Mkuu Uhuru Kenya, waziri wa zamani na mbunge wa Eldoret Kaskazini William Ruto na wengine wawili inatarajia kuanza Aprili mwaka ujao.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Uhuru Kenyatta’s meeting with Kikwete: Just a photo opportunity

Nicodemus Minde

October 24, 2012: Kenya’s presidential aspirant and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is meeting regional leaders in a bid to win their backing for the forthcoming presidential elections. Mr. Kenyatta is facing a trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the post-election chaos in Kenya in 2007/2008. Uhuru Kenyatta who is known to be super rich with an estimated net worth of $500 million has planned to go against all odds to run for the presidency. There have been outcries from civil society organizations and the ‘international community’ against his running but Mr. Kenyatta remains adamant that he is eligible to run. The eligibility and moral efficacy of his candidature remains a subject of court interpretation. 

Jakaya Kikwete with Uhuru Kenyatta in Dar
Mr. Kenyatta is now meeting regional heads of state in a bid to win their support for his mission to be president. He recently met Tanzania’s president Jakaya Kikwete at Dar es Salaam’s state house. He carried a delegation of government officials and The National Alliance (TNA) party officials. It is believed that they spoke on a number of issues regarding his quest for presidency. It has been reported in various mainstream Kenyan media that he plans to meet Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame in the coming few days. The meetings have even been termed as ‘Uhuru’s Shuttle Diplomacy’. These meetings have been interpreted to mean that Mr. Kenyatta is winning the support of regional heads of state and that he is positioning himself for leadership. 

The Photo Opportunity
I understand that legitimacy and political authority is sourced and derived both from within and outside. But this been said, Mr. Kenyatta needs to understand that neither Kikwete nor Kagame can salvage his imminent trial at the Hague based international tribunal. Mr. Kenyatta has of late been voracious in attacking the West and the mediator who brokered the peace deal in Kenya, Mr. Kofi Annan. He says that Kenya’s sovereignty should be respected and who leads Kenya should be determined by Kenyans and not any other foreign influences. 

Mr. Kenyatta should first understand that seeking regional support is not a bad idea, neither is it a ticket for his election to presidency. Tanzania’s president Kikwete has two more years left to see off his second term. Mr. Museveni has been heavily criticized for his undemocratic ideals and his hanging on to power. Mr. Kagame on the other hand is said to be destabilizing the region by allegedly financing the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kikwete is facing a difficult political battle in his ruling party and the country in general. These three men are not influential in terms of wielding support for Uhuru’s presidential ambitions. The meeting in Dar-es-Salaam to was just a photo opportunity and will not add any value to Uhuru’s presidential ambitions. Even with the proposed meeting with both Museveni and Kagame, it will count to nothing. The legal process of his imminent trial will definitely hamper his presidential ambitions.    

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Unacceptable face of Capitalism in Kenya: The Matatu Fare Madness

By Nicodemus Minde
Capitalism; Hidden Mysteries. A matatu in Nairobi's Thika Road
Francis Fukuyama famously declared the ‘end of history’. This was the antithesis of the belief that history is progressive and cumulative. All in all, his thesis was that liberal capitalist democracy had triumphed over communism.  The author explored the dynamics of international relations with the end of the Cold War. He was the literati progenitor of the discourse of the universality of post-Cold War triumph of capitalism. Alan Greenspan once said that ‘Capitalism is based on self-interest and self-esteem; it holds integrity and trustworthiness as cardinal virtues and makes them pay off in the marketplace. Capitalism is constructed by the thirst for more profitable productivity at the expense of moral obligations and societal virtues. Karl Marx, the greatest critique of capitalism says that this system saps into the original source of all wealth, from the soil to the laborer. Society has been built on such exploitation. From slavery to colonialism to now globalization, the cruel face of capitalism has oiled the engines of life.

Matatus in Nairobi
Britain’s Prime Minister Edward Heath is credited for coining the phrase “the unacceptable face of capitalism-to refer to the activities of Lonrho, the predecessor to Lonmin (the mining company operating in Marikana, South Africa). These companies are the embodiment of global corporate capitalism which saps not only the soil but the laborer in which the end result is profit. The phrase ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism” has caught my eyes in Kenya. Tanzania’s founding president Julius Nyerere famously labeled Kenya as a “man-eat-man society” ridiculing its capitalist approach to post-independent policies. Kenyans rebuffed this label by saying that ‘Tanzania was a man-eat-nothing society”. This was also a public ridicule to Tanzania’s socialist policies. Kenya has grown into a nation of extreme capitalist tendencies which has ruined the social fabric of its people. Hitherto, every form of the Kenyan society has been based on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. This has led to growth in the ugly face of individualistic capitalism. The class divide in Kenya is now of concern.

No where has this divide been much visible than the transport industry in Kenya. The capitalism code calls for non-state interference in the economy and the stringiest application of market forces of demand and supply. Today the matatu transport industry is in the hands of capitalist investors whose aims are profit. The matatus charge fares according to the ‘market forces’ of demand and supply. The demand and supply here is (1) flow of traffic, (2) weather changes, (3) residence status, (4) time of day etc. This has also led to a unique scenario which I believe only occurs in Kenya. The transport fares to the city and back are different. But again, this is a relational type of equation to factors affecting ‘the demand-supply’ of people’s needs when it comes to transport. 

Even with the completion of arguably the best highway in East Africa, the Thika road route remains the most notorious when it comes to fare variation and cruel exploitation of the public transport users plying that route. The matatu people have now solidified the exploitation of people by charging exorbitant and sometimes ridiculous fares. This is not unique to the Thika road route but is rampant in all other routes across the city of Nairobi. The Ministry of Transport and the government in general has not reprimanded this heinous exploitation of its people. The sad part is that people are now adjusting according to this ‘matatu fare madness’. These adjustable mechanisms are only unique in places where the tenets of capitalism have triumphed.            

What a Magnificent Sight: St. Peters Basilica

A general view of St Peter's Square as Pope Benedict XVI presides over a special mass to name seven new saints, in the Vatican, October 21.

Obama, Romney hold round 3 presidential debate

Via Press TV
US President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney have held the third and final debate of the US presidential campaign, which focused on international affairs.

On Monday, Obama and Romney met for the 90-minute debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, the biggest swing state.

The debate touched on a broad range of issues, including the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, the threat of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, and the US-led war in Afghanistan. The two candidates also talked about Iran's nuclear energy program and trade with China.

Romney faulted President Obama's leadership on the Middle East.

"We certainly can't kill our way out of the mess," the former Massachusetts governor said.

Obama responded by saying Romney had changed his position on foreign policy over and over again and warned that he lacked the consistency needed to be a commander-in-chief.

"On a whole range of issues, whether it is in the Middle East, Afghanistan, whether it is in Iraq, whether it is in Iran, you have been all over the map," the president said.

And he challenged Romney's claim that he had run down the armed forces to levels not seen since early in the 20th century.

"You mentioned the navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed," he said to laughter from the audience.

On Syria, Romney said he did not want military intervention in the country. Instead, Washington should play a bigger role in financing and arming the insurgents, he suggested.

Obama also voiced support for the armed groups fighting against the Syrian government.

“…we are going to do everything we can to make sure that we are helping the opposition. But we also have to recognize that for us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step," Obama said.

Both candidates repeated the accusation that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons and expressed strong support for Israel, the only player in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons.

"Israel is a true friend. It is our greatest ally in the region. And if Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel. I've made that clear throughout my presidency," Obama said.

The 57th US presidential election is scheduled to be held on November 6, 2012.