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United Kingdom Defence Secretary Wallace has committed to a joint approach to regional security challenges during a high-level meeting with Kenya Internal Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi at the start of his two-day visit to Kenya.

During the meeting he co-chaired with CS Matiangi under the third UK-Kenya Security Dialogue, the duo signed a pact to strengthen partnerships in pursuit of more stable region.

The UK Defence Secretary said the refreshed UK-Kenya Security Compact will allow the two governments to further deepen their relationship and tackle regional defence issues as ever closer partners.

“Kenya is a standard-bearer in this region for shared values with the United Kingdom, rule of law, democracy and security, its important that friends and allies support you in the task ahead, that when we face the common threat of Al shabaab, we work together to defeat that both there in Kenya, United Kingdom, International community and through the United Nations Mission in Somalia,” Wallace said.

The two leaders discussed ways to enhance coordination and collaboration in tackling Al Shabaab and demonstrating joint leadership on security challenges of international significance.

“The evolution of the Compact is testament to the responsiveness of our bilateral partnership, as we adapt to the changing nature of threats, in working together for the security of our two countries, East Africa and the wider world,” the UK Defence Secretary added.

Matiangi, on his part, noted that the Security Compact will see both countries strengthen their capacity to respond to various facets of global security challenges in a more formidable manner.

“Kenya has been on the forefront of the global war against terror and it is partnerships like these that make a difference, and the world a safer place to be in, this Security Compact will see both countries strengthen their capacity to respond to various facets of global security challenges in a more formidable manner. I look forward to working closely with the UK in achieving this goal.” Capital News

WHAT'S THE MESSAGE? ODM leader Raila Odinga accompanied by former Starehe MP Maina Kamanda and other ODM officials after a church service at Soweto Catholic Church, Lower Savannah Nairobi, on January 17. Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is facing a massive dilemma to sustain his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta and maintain his support bases without jeopardising the Jubilee administration’s agenda.

The ODM leader is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Attacking his nemesis,  Deputy President William Ruto, who is the country’s second in command, without appearing to hit out at the President. 

Raila’s allies are mounting pressure on him to reassert his influence as the ‘poor people’s defender’, amid concerns he may have lost a chunk of his constituency to the DP with his hustler nation and wheelbarrow movement. 

He began the fresh onslaught with a swipe at the Teachers Service Commission for killing giant teachers union, Knut.

The ODM chief later hit out at county governments and the ministry of health over the nurses, clinical officers and lab technicians' strikes.

Raila has sustained the salvo against the Jubilee administration during his political meetings, swipes specifically targeting Ruto.

With barely 17 months to the next election, pundits argue at the ODM leader could be running out of time in his desire to appease his traditional support bases.

He has castigated the government over broken promises of laptops or tablets for Class 1 pupils, construction of stadiums and jobs for youth.

His allies have taken this criticism in stride, saying their handshake was meant to give President Kenyatta’s administration a conducive environment for business.

Siaya Senator James Orengo – a Raila close ally - also took a swipe at Uhuru, citing uncontrolled borrowing, violation of the law and disrespecting court orders.

Prof Macharia Munene, a political analyst, concluded that Raila’s attacks are a survival tactic to counter Ruto’s support wave ahead of 2022.

He argued that the ODM leader is trying to recover, “having been known as the fighter and that position is being taken away by Ruto.

“He has to regain the image of fighting for the underdog. It is a dicey situation for him. He is trying to respond to Ruto because the DP has stolen his thunder. It is about political survival,” the USIU don said.

He told the Star that Raila is desperate, largely because the ‘Stop Ruto’ machinations haven't worked well.

Munene observed that these developments are not healthy for the handshake, especially now that the President is saying he is in charge.

“This means all the problems are his. When Raila goes around saying things are terrible, then who is he saying is terrible?”

The USIU don said Raila has a way of reengineering himself, hence, people should not be surprised when he emerges stronger, saying it was the same with Ruto.

Political analyst Prof Edward Kisiangani agreed with Prof Munene that Raila is getting desperate.

“He is trying to talk like that so as to recover the ground that is now taken over by Ruto,” the analyst said.

“He wants to speak for the people, but they have moved on and think he is not genuine and is now working with somebody else.”

Kisiangani said the sentiments by the ODM leader are “political naivety”.

"Sometimes you’d think he is losing some memory. He doesn’t remember that government policy is articulated by Uhuru and all the people who work under the President articulate the same policy on behalf of Uhuru,” he said.

 

Kisiangani argued that when Ruto was campaigning in 2013 and 2017, the DP was not articulating his policies but “a collective government policy".

“The head of that government who provided the basis for that policy is Uhuru, who is the CEO. Even if Ruto did want the stadiums built and Uhuru supported the call, they’d be built.”

His take is that Ruto should be excused from the problems Jubilee encountered in the second term, citing among them the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Raila has been defending the government and has been acting as the chief spokesman. How can he turn round? I doubt his gimmicks will work. The ground he used to control has gone. It is difficult for anybody to believe him,” Kisiangani added.

He is trying to talk like that so as to recover the ground that is now taken over by Ruto
Political Analyst Edward Kisiangani

But Dr Charles Nyambuga, a communication expert from Maseno University, said that much as time is tight for Raila, he has room if he messages properly.

“The truth of the matter is that he is not in government. He is in opposition. Being in the opposition doesn’t mean being at war with the government.”

Dr Nyambuga holds that President Kenyatta and Ruto are the ones in government, “irrespective of the circumstances that they find themselves in".

“The final responsibility is not with the handshake but with those who are constitutionally bestowed with the power of ruling,” the don said.

He added that if Raila embarks on an aggressive campaign to counter Ruto, he has a chance of regaining his constituency.

“Ruto is very adept at propaganda. Raila needs to make Kenyans understand and know the truth. If he does an aggressive campaign, then he has a chance. He is late but he can catch up,” Nyambuga observed.

Ruto and his allies maintain that the Jubilee agenda, which Raila is criticising, was derailed by the handshake.

In a fightback, ODM has dismissed the notion that the opposition leader is the cause of Jubilee woes and the birth of the hustler movement’.

Party chairman John Mbadi said, “I don’t think there is anything inconsistent with what we are doing. When we went to the handshake, did we join the government? No.”

He said that the opposition only provided the ground for the government to function, adding that it should thus not be construed that they were part of it.

The Suba South MP said they have qualms with Ruto whom they feel “wants to run away from the mess he created in the Jubilee administration".

ODM is blaming Ruto for having a hand in the country’s bulging public debt – saying the country’s debt almost tripled between 2013 and 2017.

“Ruto was so much in the peak and caused the problem that we are in. Not a lot has been borrowed from 2018 to date despite the dire economic situation.”

“What we are grappling with is the debt that was taken between 2013 and 2017 and applied in unproductive infrastructure, expenditures like NYS, dams that don’t exist, and is now putting a lot of strain on our economy,” the Suba South MP added.

He further cited the Standard Gauge Railway – built at inflated costs - and the Last Mile Connectivity that he argued consumed a lot of resources.

“They were connecting electricity to people in grass-thatched houses yet the same households have no food, projects which were executed at the expense of the ability of the economy to pay,” Mbadi said.

The ODM chairman said Jubilee – and by extension Ruto - should not lose focus.

“It is not that we are running away from the handshake. There is no other alternative to the handshake in this country, we can’t run away from it,” Mbadi said. By Moses Odhiambo, The Star

 

Image Sunday Guardian Live

 

Recently in Kenya on a business trip, it was impressive to see digital coordination in action. We were armed with a UK PCR-negative Covid test and a completed Kenya Ministry of Health “Travellers Health Surveillance Form”, which allocates the bearer a personal QR code that facilitates and speeds up entry. On arrival in Nairobi just before entry into immigration, our QR codes were scanned and linked to the temperature screening camera. The stream of passengers arrives and their temperature is displayed on their foreheads on the screen, it would be easy to see if you were next to someone with a fever. Thus there was nothing to do at the many immigration counters than to show our visas, disembarkation to leaving in a taxi with our luggage took about 15 minutes.

In UK we are told there is no alternative to lockdown—everyone is gloomy and depressed by the ever worsening statistics and long-term lockdown outlook, but in Kenya the atmosphere is quite different. Smiling people observe social distancing and wear masks to go about their day. Kenya has a remarkably low fatality rate and high recovery rate, at the time of writing total recoveries stand at 82,729 and fatalities at 1,739, folks are not furious with their government for mismanaging the pandemic.

Returning to UK was more bureaucratic. A Covid test was performed in Nairobi 72 hours before departure, we received a negative certificate from the laboratory (LC) and a report from PanaBIOS, which is a great digital application built by African technologists and AI thinkers to provide bio-surveillance and bio-screening technology, data, and insights to enable the creation of Public Health Corridors within the broader African Union Open Corridors Initiative. Online we completed our UK government required Passenger Locator Form (PLF).

The new Kenya Airways Terminal 1A at Jomo Kenyatta is very disappointing in appearance. Opened in 2014, following the calamitous airport fire in 2013, it could have been a flagship of design but it is dingy and soulless, the chairs are uncomfortable and there is no air conditioning, but efficiency reigns. Following the usual luggage security checks, our cabin baggage was screened three times; British Airways staff checked our Covid certificates and PLFs at three separate stages.

On arrival in UK we found the automated bio-recognition gates closed, probably as travel corridors are temporarily suspended. The long queue at immigration was filled with British citizens travelling from Accra, many were unaware about the PLF and this delayed our entry; eventually we showed our negative certificates and PLFs to Border Control and were reminded to self-isolate for 10 days but our temperatures were not taken. Since then representatives from the government have twice confirmed that we are self-isolating. We have joined the Test to Release scheme, which allows us to take a PCR test after five days and with a negative result we are released from self-isolation, although this release makes no difference to our lockdown routine.

Covid-19 has lengthened and complicated the bureaucracy of international travel, but as Matt Hancock, UK Health Minister, cheerfully reminded the UK public not to book holidays abroad this year. Perhaps travel will be simpler in 2022. - Antonia Filmer, Sunday Guardian Live

Hujjat al-Islam Sheikh Ibrahim Kikomo, one of the Shiite clerics active in Burundi, passed away. Photo AhlulBayt News Agency

 

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Hujjat al-Islam Sheikh Ibrahim Kikomo, one of the Shiite clerics active in Burundi, passed away.

The late Sheikh Ibrahim Kikomo was born in 1964 in the city of Rumge in Burundi in East Africa.

He completed his primary and secondary education in his hometown, and after receiving his diploma at the Islamic Cultural School, he began to study religious sciences. After completing this course, he emigrated to Sudan and studied at higher levels.

After returning from Sudan, he became interested to the religion of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) due to his studies and became a Shiite. This happened in 1990 and changed his destiny.

He was engaged in promoting the teachings of the Qur'an and Atrat in his country and established "Isna-Ashar Shiite Institute" with the help of his friends in 1999 and became the vice president of the institute.

Sheikh Ibrahim Kikomo was elected chairman of the Isna-Ashar Shiite Ulema Assembly and the AhluBayt (a.s.) Institute in 2004.

These activities continued for many years and unfortunately he infected with hepatitis C in 2019.

Sheikh Ibrahim Kikomo passed away on January 13, 2021 at the age of 57. -  AhlulBayt (a.s.) News Agency - ABNA

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika during press conference at Deputy President William Ruto official residence in Karen, Nairobi on December 2, 2020.

What you need to know:

  • In Hustler Nation lexicology, Senator Kihika is a true blue-blood dynasty.
  • Senator Kihika herself is no hustler. Her father, the late Kihika Kimani, was one of the most powerful, richest Kikuyu-Gema kleptocrats under Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Nakuru Senator Susan Wakarura Kihika has lots of spunk. She’s an articulate, well-educated, and rambunctious woman. She can duke it out with the worst political brawlers. She reminds me of a junior Martha Karua, the Narc Kenya leader dubbed the Iron Lady.

But that’s where the similarities end. Unlike Ms Karua, Senator Kihika was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. The former has had to fight for every scrap she’s got in life, while the latter has been given everything on a silver platter.

 

In Hustler Nation lexicology, Senator Kihika is a true blue-blood dynasty. Which begs the question – what’s a princess doing with hustlers? Either she’s a class betrayer, or she’s an opportunistic hypocrite. Let’s dig deeper. 

I take my hat off to DP William Ruto and his brain trust for coming up with the iconography of “hustlers” versus “dynasties.” Hustler Nation, in particular, is a seductive and easily digestible term that common folk can grasp without exercising mind muscles.     

 

The political clash of hustlers against dynasties is a demagogue’s magic wand. Every propagandist would love to come up with such a compelling head fake. The hoi polloi – masses of simpletons – drink that sweet Kool-Aid all week long, and twice on Sundays. That’s the genius of Mr Ruto’s brand.

However, like most illusionist brands, there’s no there “there.” You will come up empty if you peek under the skirt. That’s why it’s a big tent.

Moi's political scion

I have debunked the mythology of the Hustler Nation in this column before. Today, I want to demonstrate through Senator Kihika why it’s all flapdoodle – utter jibba jabba.

The central argument by Mr Ruto and his brigand is that Kenyans have had enough of the oppression of the ruling “dynastic” families – the Kenyattas, Odingas, Mudavadis, Mois, and their ilk. Mr Ruto has called on the poor – the so-called “hustlers” – to rise up and tear off the chains of the “dynastic” families.

 

He’s asked peasants, workers, and their children to cast off their leg restraints and follow him to the proverbial Canaan. He, like biblical Moses, has promised to lead the huddled and gullible “wretched of the earth” to freedom. 

It’s a very clever turn of phrase. But political revolutions aren’t simply built on snake oil. Liberators must show a history of fighting for progressive causes. That’s not all. They must come to equity, as we say in law, with clean hands. That’s why a liberator can’t steal from the same people she, or he, is trying to free.

A liberator must show the “down payment” that they have paid to be taken seriously by the downtrodden. You will know a liberator by the company they keep. My mother used to tell me always that I couldn’t expect not to get a rash if I “slept with” a person with a rash. You are indeed your friends. 

I will show you why Senator Kihika is at home with Mr Ruto. Let’s stipulate she hasn’t betrayed her class by joining the Hustler Nation. Mr Ruto fancies himself to be a political powerhouse who rose up by his bootstraps from a miserable peasant chicken-seller. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr Ruto is the political scion of the Moi Dynasty.

Mr Moi “adopted” him at a tender age because of his cunning and quick wit. Mr Ruto amassed his wealth early under the Moi regime. He’s reputed to be one of the wealthiest Kenyans although the source of his vast riches remains unknown. Tellingly, Mr Ruto refused to disclose his wealth when pressed on BBC’s Hard Talk. 

Crocodile among crocodiles

 

Senator Kihika herself is no hustler. Her father, the late Kihika Kimani, was one of the most powerful, richest Kikuyu-Gema kleptocrats under Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. A vile Kikuyu tribal chauvinist bigot, Mr Kimani ate life with a spade, not spoon. He married many women and sired 41 children.

In 1976, he led the Change-Constitution Group that sought to block the late Daniel Arap Moi from succeeding Mzee Kenyatta. He couldn’t fathom a non-Kikuyu ascending to State House. Stories were told of how the illiterate but ruthless Kimani would stalk the halls of State House occasionally slapping Mr Moi. He was a prolific land-grabber possessed with the primitive accumulation of wealth. Senator Kihika was a beneficiary of his vast estate.

When children of the hoi polloi hit educational dead ends, Senator Kihika had the privilege of earning BA and JD (law) degrees in the United States. It didn’t take her long to assume the family mantle of leadership in Nakuru upon her return from America. She has no history of ever fighting for democracy or human rights in Kenya, or elsewhere.

Senator Kihika sees DP Ruto as her best bet for higher political office. No one should pretend she believes in the “hustler nation.” She’s in there with other unsavoury characters like the disgraced former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and the flip-flopping Senator Isaac Mwaura — a crocodile among crocodiles. 

 

Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School. He’s Chair of KHRC. @makaumutua.

Source: Sunday Nation

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