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The assumption of office of Chief Justice Martha Koome has completed the triumvirate leadership of the three arms of government; the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary raising concerns about regional balance and the face of Kenya in running the country.

Often viewed as a taboo topic, ethnic balkanisation for political gain remains Kenya’s biggest bane. Political exclusion and subsequent marginalisation have been attributed to past election disputes and are the substratum of fragile stability. 

One key requirement of the 2010 Constitution is for the President to table a report before Parliament yearly, on three issues during his State of the Nation Address is regional balance. According to Article 132 on the functions of the President, he is obligated to address a special sitting of Parliament annually.

He is required to table: “report on all the measures taken and the progress achieved in the realisation of the national values, referred to in Article 10, publish in the Gazette the details of the measures and progress made and submit a report for debate to the National Assembly on the progress made in fulfilling the international obligations of the Republic.”


The furore of having President Kenyatta, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and the latest Justice Koome coming from one region as opposed to having the seats spread over the seven other regions captures according to some elected leaders, the source of Kenya's ethnic problem.

By law, Muturi, who was last week crowned as the Mt Kenya spokesperson, is third in the pecking order and would act as President in the absence of the President and the Deputy President.

Alongside Uhuru, Muturi, National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, Koome, Chief of Defence Forces Robert Kibochi and Attorney General Kihara Kariuki are also from Mt Kenya.  


From the interviews to the debate in the Senate and the National Assembly, the question of ethnic balance across the arms of government came out strongly.

“Does it bother your conscience that if you are recommended by this committee, approved by Parliament and appointed, then all the three organs of government in our great republic will be headed by persons from the same region, commonly known as the ‘mountain’?” posed Kisumu West lawmaker Olago Aluoch.

Supreme Court Justice William Ouko, during his interview for the position of Supreme Court Judge by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), pronounced himself on the matter frankly.

“I really have no prescription, what I can say is that we are very deeply tribal even in this commission. I want to leave it at that,” said Ouko, who has been sworn in. The commission has four of its eleven members coming from Mt Kenya. They are AG Kihara, Patrick Gichohi, Macharia Njeru and Olive Mugenda. 

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala caused a spectacle in the Senate when he listed top leaders holding various posts in the three arms of government, rattling Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi.

“I hope the BBI document will sort [out] the mess in the Public service. Facts are facts. Kindly Senator Wamatangi, today evening when you're free, ask yourself who is the head of the Executive, Judiciary, Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) Speaker (National Assembly), CDF boss, Governor of CBK, Attorney General, Solicitor General, Kenyan Ambassador to the United States, Chair KRA, Director-General KRA, DCI, head of civil servants, state House Comptroller. Where is equity here,” posed Malala. 

He argued, “We cannot lie to ourselves. Ask yourself that question and you will come to the reality that there is marginalisation in this country. Security recruitment across the country, there has never been a Wanyonyi, Wafula or Walubengo as Inspector General of Police (IG).”

Said Malala: “Is it that there are certain people from certain regions that are more qualified than others. It is a shame. Let us not use BBI to hoodwink some of us to pass it and go back to the normal practice. I want to see a day when a maize farmer in Kakamega is treated the same way as a coffee or potato farmer in Kirinyaga.”

Senators Wamatangi and Ephraim Maina (Nyeri) could not let the matter fly, arguing that even Mt Kenya has suffered, including the colonial times. “Let’s not mislead this country by creating preferred or preferential treatment to some areas,” said Wamatangi.

When debating Clause 11 (A) in the BBI in the economy and shared prosperity, Senate Minority Leader James Orengo led colleagues Senators Malala, Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni), Johnstone Sakaja (Nairobi) in calling for a more exclusivity public service.

“Of the last two months’ appointments made, I don’t know if we are going in the right direction. Every institution should reflect the face of Kenya whether Judiciary, public service or the security system. Our objective is to ensure the enabling provision call for the face of Kenya, which is fair than we have had,” said Orengo.

“The report by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) tabled in the House show a large portion of Kenya is red and a small portion is green. There is a verse in the Bible, those who have will get more, those who have little, it shall be taken. This is the true story of Kenya,” Kilonzo Jnr said.

He said there was unfair distribution, with Mt Kenya getting a lion’s share. “It's a fact that there is 2,500km of tarmac roads in Kiambu while Kakamega only has 750km of tarmac,” he said.

Wetangula said they should not let facts be swept under the carpet and urged Maina and Wamatangi not to contradict the president and purport to support him at the same time.

“Uhuru and Raila sat and acknowledge the challenge of marginalisation, unequal development, unequal opportunity in Kenya and many other historical wrongs. When we live a lie, when we live in denial, we will not solve our problems,” he said.

Wetangula said it’s a fact there are those with comparative advantage. “Cowards will always whistle in the dark hoping to scare away people. The inequality we keeping crying about is real,” he added. By Roselyne Obala and Jacob Ng'etich,  The Standard

Martha Koome during her swearing in on Friday, May 21, at State House. PSCU
  • The Deputy Chief Justice and other judges have pledged to support you. The counsel has pledged to support you. There is really no worry whatsoever, you will be able to deliver. all you need to do is to cooperate with them,"  stated Maraga.

    He further challenged her to stick to her guns and remind other officials that they need to stay in their lanes. 

    "One important thing CJ, just keep reminding everybody that constitutional power is constrained power so that everybody keeps to his/her lane, we will have a wonderful country," he added.

    While accepting the instruments of power from Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Koome vowed to ensure that no cases stay in the courts for more than three years.

    “My predecessors made efforts to improve the judiciary that wants us to embrace the case management system,” she explained.

    She also promised to expand High Courts across the country to aid in the dispensation of justice in a swift manner and prevent backlog of cases.

    “I understand that some court users sell valuable things to file a case, pay an advocate or even raise bus fare to the courts,” she added.

    While approving her nomination, President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated the new Chief Justice Martha Koome for being the first woman to clinch the position. 

    "It is a great day as we celebrate the confirmation of a new CJ to the republic of Kenya and also for me to be the first president to swear in the first female CJ of Kenya," Uhuru stated.

    Koome was nominated after rigorous interview process and trounced over 10 other applicants for the position.

    Retiring CJ Maraga
    Retiring Chief Justice David Maraga.

Photo Anadolu Agency


Rwandan forces have killed two rebels, foiling an attack near the southwestern border with Burundi, the military said on Monday.

Rebels with the National Liberation Front (FLN) launched the attack on Sunday between 9.15 p.m. and 9.35 p.m. local time (1915GMT-1935GMT), with one section of the insurgents crossing the Ruhwa River into the Rusizi district, the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) said in a statement.

Advancing approximately 100 meters (328 feet) inside Rwanda territory, the rebels reaching the border village of Rwamisave, it added.

"The enemy assailants were intercepted by a Rwanda Defense Force ambush; two assailants were immediately killed."

The army said they had also captured military equipment from the FLN rebels, including a submachine gun, seven magazines, a tortoise grenade, and two Burundi military uniforms.

"The enemy assailants retreated back to Burundi across River Ruhwa separating Ruhororo zone in Mabayi commune in Burundi and Bweyeye sector in Rwanda and returned to Kibira Forest, where they have bases," it added.

The FLN is the military wing of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change led by Paul Rusesabagina, who is facing trial in the East African country on multiple counts, including terrorism, forming and recruiting into an armed group, directing acts of terrorism and complicity to murder and arson, among others. - James Tasamba, Anadolu Agency


Authorities in Magwi County of Eastern Equatoria State say a chief and his son were killed on Sunday in Molujere village of Jebelen in Central Equatoria State.

The area chief identified as Santino Wani was murdered along with his son Elia Santino when unknown attackers stormed their home.

Ochieng David Tokwaro, the Magwi County Executive Officer, suspects the deceased chief was killed during a robbery because his goats were driven away by the murderers.

“The Payam Executive Officer of Agoro told me that the incident happened yesterday (Sunday) in Jebelen in a village called Molujere. A chief was killed, including his son, just because of goats. He has so many goats at home. Then they killed him and his son and the killers drove away with the goats and in fact, this area is under Central Equatoria,” Ochieng said.

Meanwhile, Captain David Kasmiro, the police Inspector in Nimule town, confirmed the incident after getting information from the Criminal Investigations Department officers on the ground.

“That area does not belong to us but I tried to confirm. That area belongs to Central Equatoria but I confirmed from those of CID and they said yes it happened. This is not in Aru but it happened between Jebelen and Kuba, there is a place called Kuba. The chief and his son were killed and they even raided goats or heads of cattle, I don’t know. These are robbers,” Capt. Kasmiro said.

Last week, six people were killed when armed men raided nearly 4000 head of cattle in Achwa, Magwi County of Eastern Equatoria State. - Radio Tamazuj

Jacob Oulanyah. Photo The Observer


The ruling National Resistance Movement central executive committee (CEC) has allegedly endorsed Omoro County MP Jacob Oulanyah over Rebecca Kadaga as the party's flagbearer in the race for the next speaker of parliament.

Oulanyah was reportedly the favourite candidate from Saturday evening when CEC adjourned to today. However, some members requested that the decision be made Sunday, and following lengthy deliberations this morning, a majority of the members backed Oulanyah over Kadaga for the job.

According to sources, many CEC members gave testimonies against Kadaga and the tension that she has caused during her reign as speaker of parliament.

The CEC also discussed issues of bribery where MPs were reportedly given money to support and vote for Kadaga who is seeking another term as the speaker, while the NRM chairman Yoweri Museveni reportedly complained about candidates who defied his directive on campaigns for the position.

According to sources that attended the meeting, Oulanyah used the recent performance of the NRM in northern Uganda in recent national polls to justify his achievements, pointing out that NRM secured more than 80 per cent of the votes in the region compared to the dismal performance from Busoga region and eastern Uganda, where Kadaga comes from.

He also reminded members about his respect for the decision of the CEC and the party chairman, when in 2016, he was asked to step down for  Kadaga to allow her complete 10 years as speaker. But Kadaga reportedly accused Oulanyah of insubordination, dodging work, and traveling abroad all the time. According to sources, once Kadaga stormed out of the meeting in protest against inviting non-CEC members into the meeting, CEC declared Oulanyah as the NRM flagbearer. 

The matter is now to be presented before the NRM caucus composed of NRM MPs and independent-leaning MPs. Oulanyah will reportedly be the only candidate for NRM and will not be subjected to any election in the caucus, while the contestant for the deputy speaker could be subjected to a contest, according to the source.   

CEC is however yet to finalize the choice of a candidate for deputy speaker between West Budama North MP Jacob Oboth-Oboth, Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among, Ruhinda North MP Thomas Tayebwa, Gomba West MP,  Robinah Rwakoojo.   

CEC is the second-highest organ of the NRM party after the national delegates conference. Its membership includes the chairman of the party Museveni, his two national vice-chairpersons, Haj Moses Kigongo and Rebecca Kadaga, six regional chairpersons who are joined by the secretary-general of the NRM, her deputy, the treasurer, chairpersons of leagues such as the youth, women, veterans, the prime minister, and the government chief whip.

According to the NRM constitution, CEC performs functions such as providing and exercising political leadership in the country, formulating policy for consideration by the national executive conference (NEC), supervising the day to day conduct of the NRM’s activities, appointing organizational functionaries from amongst members of  NRM and propagating NRM policies.

CEC also recommends candidates seeking nomination for the offices of national chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary-general, deputy secretary-general and national treasurer and presidential candidate for NRM. It implements the decisions of the national conference and NEC among others. Kadaga is set to address the media at Hotel Africana today evening. - URN/The Observer

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