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Kenya joins middle income economy status on Tuesday
September 27, 2014 | 0 Comments


Kenya is set to be classified as a middle income country, 16 years ahead of schedule, with the release of revised figures for the economy.
[caption id="attachment_12387" align="alignleft" width="600"]Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich. Kenya is set to be classified as a middle-income country, 16 years ahead of schedule, with the release of revised figures for the economy. FILE PHOTO |   NATION MEDIA GROUP. Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich. Kenya is set to be classified as a middle-income country, 16 years ahead of schedule, with the release of revised figures for the economy. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP.[/caption] At an event to be witnessed by both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund officials on Tuesday, government officials will release new economic data revising the country’s current wealth by 20 per cent and effectively lifting the nation to middle-income status ahead of 2030 target.
PRODUCTIVE SECTORS Kenya will join Nigeria in releasing revised economic growth data. The latter rebased its GDP figures in April, overtaking South Africa as the continent’s number one economy. Nigeria’s rebasing resulted in an 89 per cent expansion.
Last year, the World Bank estimated Kenya’s GDP — the market value of all goods and services that the country produces in a year — to be Sh3.9 trillion ($44 billion).
Rebasing of the economy by more than a fifth puts the country at a GDP of Sh4.7 trillion ($52.8 billion), raising the per capita income to Sh105,975 ($1,190), up from the current Sh87,936 ($988), and well above $1,036 (Sh89,821) set by the World Bank for middle-income nations.
According to Citibank head of markets Ignatius Chicha, Kenya’s new status as a middle-class economy will give the government more room for borrowing for infrastructure spending given a bigger capacity to absorb more funds.
He said increased spending in infrastructure will stimulate productive sectors of the economy and this will result in a trickle-down effect that will help improve the living status of the poor.
“If the GDP grows to say $55 billion, it will give the government room for more borrowing as the GDP-to-debt ratio will decline,” Mr Chicha said.
Some analysts, however, say the economic status of most Kenyans may not get any better even with the new status.
University of Nairobi development economist Samuel Nyandemo said that whereas the economy will improve, the life of the man on the street will not get any better.
He cited the high cost of living and income inequalities that have seen the poor sink further into poverty and the richer become even richer.
“The issue here is the unfair distribution of the national cake. Even with a bigger economy, the rich will continue being rich and the poor will continue being poor,” Dr Nyandemo told theNation.
There are also concerns that Kenya could lose access to concessional loans from international finance and development institutions when a rebasing of the country’s economy elevates it into middle-income status.
The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) said last week in a report that rebasing of Kenya’s GDP and pushing the country into middle-income status will take away access to concessional loans and grants.
Low-income countries enjoy highly concessional loans and grants to aid in their development agenda.
Concessional loans carry lower interest rates and have a longer repayment period compared with commercial advances, while grants are non-refundable funds given out by countries or organisations.
The PBO said that this would result in increased pressure on expenditure demands on locally raised revenue. *Source Daily Nation

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Electricity: East African countries seek consultant for power grid link
September 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

electricgridsKenya, Uganda and Rwanda have invited bids for a consultant to oversee a feasibility study for connecting their nations by high voltage power line, part of efforts to meet growing demand for electricity and deepen integration of their economies. The project aims to build a 400 kilovolt (kV) electricity line running from Olkaria, where Kenya is expanding geothermal power production, via Uganda to Birembo in Rwanda, a tender announcement published in Kenyan newspapers showed. The three nations, with a combined population of more than 94 million and all members of the five-nation East African Community, are battling to keep up with demand for power as their economies grow by about 5 percent a year or more. Businesses often complain of erratic and expensive supplies. The consultant will examine power needs and potential for export and imports until 2035, as well as assess designs and other details of the project. Bids are due by Oct. 17. The tender did not indicate a cost for the project. Kenya is tapping geothermal resources in the Rift Valley as part of its broader ambitions to add 5,000 megawatts (MW) to the east Africa nation’s electricity output by 2017. That will add to Kenya’s existing capacity of about 1,664 MW. Uganda and Kenya are already connected by older lines. This project will add new sections and harmonise the grid. As well as expanding generation, Kenya has plans to add 5,000 km of power lines to its existing 3,800-km network by 2017. Only a third of Kenya’s 44 million people are connected to the grid. Kenya has at least 3,000 MW of proven geothermal energy in the Rift Valley, but exploits only about 200 MW, analysts say. It is currently adding 500 MW of geothermal capacity. Though drilling wells to generate steam can be costly, it offers benefits including less reliance on thermal plants prone to fluctuations in international fuel prices and on hydro-electric power, which depends on rain-fed dams. Uganda produces about 550 MW, its energy ministry says. Rwanda has an installed capacity of 115 MW, according to state-run Rwanda Energy Water and Sanitation Limited. *Source theafricareport]]>

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A year after Westgate: what has Kenya learned?
September 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Jeremy Lind and Patrick Mutahi*   [caption id="attachment_12238" align="alignleft" width="300"]Video footage of one of the 4  Westgate terrorists during the attack in Sept 2013. Video footage of one of the 4 Westgate terrorists during the attack in Sept 2013.[/caption] A year has passed since Al-Shabaab militants laid siege of the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi. The attack, believed to have been carried out by four gunmen, left 67 dead and laid waste to the luxury complex. President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to form an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the attack and the actions by the police, armed forces and other responders. It briefly seemed that the Westgate tragedy would precipitate a sober, hard-headed review of security threats and appropriate responses to these. Yet, twelve months on, and with many more attacks having transpired, insecurity has become the fodder of Kenya’s insipid politics rather than a catalyst for a serious debate. Meanwhile, as violence roils the country’s periphery and the prospect of further Al-Shabaab attacks looms, Nairobi has no coherent strategy to strengthen security. How did it go so wrong? Externalising the threat While the reasons for Kenya’s deteriorating security are complex, the central underlying logic of its security responses has been to externalise the threat. Al Shabaab is seen as an external threat to peace and stability in Kenya, which must be protected against conflict spill-overs from Somalia. This logic underpinned Operation Linda Nchi, a military incursion by Kenya launched in 2011, ostensibly to create a buffer zone between it and areas of Somalia’s south stricken by warfare. Yet, insecurity has worsened measurably since then, with Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit reporting 133 attacks in Kenya since the operation was launched. At least 264 people have been killed and 923 injured, with most attacks taking place in Kenya’s north-eastern and coastal regions. The logic of externalising the threat is also apparent in Operation Usalama Watch, a ham-handed security operation that began in April and largely centred in Nairobi’s Somali neighbourhoods of Eastleigh and South C. More than 3,000 people were arrested and incarcerated in the city’s Kasarani stadium on various immigration and refugee infringements. As of the middle of July, six refugees registered with the UNHCR were re-fouled to Somalia, including one mentally challenged individual and two children. The message was clear: Somalis do not belong in Kenya and they spread violence and insecurity in the country. Images circulating on social media of Somalis incarcerated in what appeared to be large cages affirmed the worst claims that Kenya’s police and security agencies are discriminatory toward and inhumane in their treatment of Somalis, many of whom hold Kenyan citizenship. The Independent Policing Oversight Authority in July said that the police failed to uphold the requirements of Article 244 of the Constitution to strive for professionalism and discipline and to promote and practice transparency and accountability during the operation. The debate that wasn’t Kenya’s security responses have widened a gulf between its security and intelligence agencies and Somalis while doing little to improve security for most Kenyans. Meanwhile, Al Shabaab has shown itself adept at stoking deep-lying grievances amongst Kenya’s Somalis, Muslims and other Coastal communities, in effect localising its jihad in Kenya. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the June massacre in Mpeketoni in Lamu County that left 60 dead. Kenyatta, who attributed the attacks instead to ‘local political networks,’ unwittingly, perhaps, moved security framings from a focus on external threats to internal divisions. Yet, he did so in a way that was ultimately divisive and damaging to building the broad political support needed to rethink security responses. In the immediate aftermath of Mpeketoni, Interior Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku blamed the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga for inciting the public and stoking ethnic tension around the country leading to the violence. The arrest in July of Lamu Governor Issa Timamy, who police alleged was complicit in the Mpeketoni attacks, furthered the impression of partisanship and retributive politics at the heart of the government’s handling of worsening violence. A high court judge threw out the case earlier this month. The recriminations and threats that flew following the attacks in Lamu County show that far more is at play than Al Shabaab infiltrators. Yet, Nairobi has learned little in the year since the Westgate attacks. While there was seeming public support in Kenya for Operation Usalama Watch, this should not be interpreted as backing for operations that target particular communities. Rather, a genuine sense of fear and uncertainty has taken hold. Understandably, in this climate, Kenya’s wananchi are looking for responses that are robust but also effective. The government would be wise to end its finger-pointing and instead seek to encourage a political debate on how to strengthen security. Kenyatta’s promised Commission of Inquiry never materialised but could have provided insights into policing and intelligence failures, strengthening inter-agency coordination between the National Intelligence Service, regular police and Administration Police, and instilling greater discipline and professionalism in the military. Further, there is need for strong commitment and engagement from the top on conducting comprehensive police reforms that goes to the heart of the service. The recent police recruitment exercise showed the country still has far to go to rid the force of corruption and favouritism. Police rank and file are in desperate need of training on community policing, another tool the government has brandished to improve security. However, its approach too often suggests a one-way relationship whereby the community is used for intelligence gathering rather than as a way to address the security concerns of communities themselves and, thus, building trust and confidence in policing institutions. A strategic response to insecurity must consider many other major internal challenges ranging from land reform, to the structure of the overall economy and accumulation of wealth that excludes most, to the citizenship and rights of minorities and young people. A more nuanced understanding of the problem of worsening security, particularly one that asks the right questions, might lead to more appropriate responses. * Source African Arguments.Dr. Jeremy Lind is a Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex &Patrick Mutahi is Research Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies based in Nairobi]]>

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Kenyatta summoned to ICC over claims of 'non-cooperation'
September 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

images (1)THE International Criminal Court said Friday it had summoned Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to appear before the tribunal over charges his government has withheld documents requested by prosecutors preparing his crimes against humanity trial. Kenyatta, who faces five counts at the ICC over his alleged role in masterminding election-related violence in 2007-2008, was ordered to appear on October 8, the Hague-based court said in a statement. It would be the first time Kenyatta has appeared in court, as he has repeatedly argued he needs to remain in Kenya to fight militants from the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab group, and manage state affairs. The ICC said discussion with Kenyatta, and another hearing a day earlier with a Nairobi representative, would focus on “the status of cooperation between the prosecution and the Kenyan government and issues raised in the prosecution’s notice of 5 September 2014”. “A representative of the Kenyan government is invited to attend the first status conference and Mr Kenyatta is required to be present at the second status conference,” it said. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked judges to postpone the trial indefinitely, blaming Kenyan authorities for blocking access to key evidence that could show Kenyatta had bankrolled the post-election ethnic violence in which 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 others were displaced. Without those documents, she said, there was insufficient grounds to prosecute the powerful East African leader, prompting his lawyers again to call for the case to be dropped. Nairobi has rejected claims it has stonewalled the ICC in refusing to hand over the documents, including company records, bank statements, records of land transfers, tax returns, phone records and foreign exchange records. The ICC also formally postponed the latest opening date — October 7 — for Kenyatta’s repeatedly delayed trial. The trial of rival-turned-partner, Kenyan Vice President William Ruto, who faces similar charges — opened in the Hague in September 2013. Lawyers for victims of the 2007-2008 violence have lambasted Nairobi authorities for a “deliberate policy of obstruction”, while Amnesty International has highlighted the desperation of victims who were wounded and lost property during the unrest. The events shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of stability for the region in late 2007 when then-opposition chief Raila Odinga accused then President Mwai Kibaki of rigging his way to re-election. What began as political riots quickly turned into ethnic killings of Kenyatta’s Kikuyu tribe, who in return launched reprisal attacks, plunging Kenya into its worst wave of unrest since independence in 1963. *Source newvision]]>

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Video of the week: A grand old man of Tsavo is saved
September 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

* Screenshot-2014-09-19-11.04.01On 15th September an iconic bull elephant in Tsavo was saved thanks to the combined efforts of theDavid Sheldrick Wildlife Trust(DSWT)  and the Kenya Wildlife Service(KWS). This was the second call out of the day for these extraordinary people who, funded by DWST, fly into the bush at a moments notice to save the lives of wild elephants. Under pregnant skies the DSWT funded mobile veterinary team moved in for the second veterinary treatment of the day on the 15th of September.  A magnificent bull, one of Africa’s monuments, together with a group of bull friends (Askari’s), wandered the plains of Tsavo with a wound clearly visible to the DSWT pilot (Neville Sheldrick) who identified him being in trouble from the air. With storm clouds moving across the plains, KWS Veterinary Officer Dr. Poghon took off in the DSWT helicopter with pilot Humphrey Carter, with anesthetising darts at the ready.  On the ground the vehicle and veterinary ground team positioned themselves for rapid response.  At 1.00pm the bull was darted and conveniently fell onto his left side giving easy access to his injury.  His Askari companions had to be driven away from the bull’s side by the helicopter in order to allow the team to treat the patient uninterrupted. By this time the rain was pouring, which was the first rain of the season; much needed, but difficult conditions to work in.   Dr. Poghon had a lot of cutting to do in order to remove the dead tissue which was forcing its way out of the wound; obviously caused by a poisoned arrow.   Once the wound was clear and clean, and long acting antibiotics were administered, the bull was given the revival drug.  All this took just 30 minutes and the bull was back on his feet unassisted despite the slippery mud, whilst the ground team observed from a distance. [caption id="attachment_12177" align="alignright" width="289"]Photograph courtesy of DSWT Photograph courtesy of DSWT[/caption] By now Dr. Poghon was in the front of the helicopter dripping wet, covered in mud and watching from the air as this magnificent animal rose from the ground and re-joined his friends who were waiting some distance away. Thanks to the aerial surveillance provided by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s aircraft,  this irreplaceable treasure was found in time, and the KWS and DSWT teams were able to effectively and efficiently save his life. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Tsavo teams together with the Kenya Wildlife Service have been able to save 11 elephants in this area from poisoned arrow wounds in the past two weeks alone. *Source  ]]>

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Kenya: John Mututho, a teetotaler on a mission
September 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

Parselelo Kantai in Nairobi* [caption id="attachment_12079" align="alignleft" width="480"]John Mututho, wondering what to do with confiscated bottles. Photo©Billy Mutai for Nation Media Group John Mututho, wondering what to do with confiscated bottles. Photo©Billy Mutai for Nation Media Group[/caption] The activities of Kenya’s chief prohibitionist have cast a pall over drinking culture in Kenya, driving the middle classes to underground and devious means of enjoying a friendly beer. Five years ago, a fairly innocuous- sounding bill aimed at regulating the production and distribution of alcohol arrived in parliament to the sonorous sounds of members drunk on their own self-regard. Just a bill to save the sinners, the moral majority agreed. It was certainly not something for nice middle-class people to worry about. This, as it turned out, was a grave mistake. The alcohol Drinks Control act marked the dawn of what many Kenyans have come to regard as the ‘age of Prohibition.’ Its architect was a teetotaler by the name of John Mututho. Few knew his origins. He won a seat for Naivasha in parliament in 2007. He was soon in trouble on an old corruption charge, perhaps a backlash against his views. The case is ongoing. When Mututho got going, the drinking landscape would never be the same again. The ‘Mututho Laws,’ as the act and subsequent laws are known, limited sales of alcohol, bar and nightclub hours and how and where alcohol could be consumed. In a country where so much is honoured in the breach, it is a testament to the dedication of this crusader that the Mututho Laws are perhaps the most effectively implemented ones in the land. It was something of a national drinkers’ day of celebratory rage when news emerged in March 2013 that Mututho had been walloped at the polls. The joy was short lived because President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed him to the helm of the National authority for the Campaign against alcohol and Drug abuse (NACADA). Mututho has not appreciably turned the nation’s palette against drink, but drinking is now mostly underground. This was affirmed most recently when a bad batch of chang’aa – a drink whose name means ‘kill me quick’ – killed more than 60 people in May. What he has done at NACADA, however, is further crusade against the middle-class penchant to drink and drive their bright new cars. These days, in Nairobi, Mombasa and other cities, the bogeyman of the late-night drink-driver is a thing called Alcoblow, a machine operated by a battery of multi-agency law enforcers. The unwary tippler will be surrounded by men in luminous jackets leaning into his open car window and politely interrogating the quality of his breath. Satisfied that he has ‘taken something,’ they then oblige him to blow into the Alcoblow. If he is lucky, there will be no TV cameras to display his embarrassment before the nation. He will be bundled into a cell – urine-scented and resounding with emergency phone calls to friends, themselves in the bar from whence he came. Then there is a fine. Depending on the mood of the magistrate, it ranges from $250 to $700. Nairobi’s social life has moved into private homes. There is talk of the return of fascism. People shake their heads in anticipation of East African Breweries’ next annual report. Mututho had not banked on the middle classes, their deep sense of entitlement and a strongly held culture of bar-room impunity. Soon after Alcoblow came into being a Twitter collective emerged warning drivers where the checkpoints were. For the less tech-inclined, taxi-drivers will take you past the checkpoint then hand you back your car, taking a bodaboda back to the bar. A story appeared recently that Mututho was abusing his expense accounts. It made front page news. The nation awaits with a sharp intake of (beery) breath. *Source theafricareport]]>

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Kenya Takes Lead in Booming African Mobile Money Market
September 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Michael Malakata *

Technological and cultural trends have put Kenya at the forefront of the mobile money boom in Africa.

mpesa_22A recent report by the Central Bank of Kenya shows that mobile money transfer service providers moved close to 2 trillion Kenyan shillings (about $23 billion) via 733 million transactions last year alone. That was up from 579 million transactions worth 1.5 trillion shillings in 2012.

The Communications Commission of Kenya, the country’s telecom sector regulator said recently that there are over 25 million mobile financial service subscribers in Kenya. Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator and an early entrant in the mobile money market in Africa, has about 20 million of the country’s mobile money users.

Kenya is the third largest telecom market in Africa after Nigeria and South Africa by investment and subscription.

But the report confirms that the East African country has become the largest mobile money market in the region.

Through mobile money services, Kenya is meeting a long-standing challenge for many African countries: providing financial services to the large population that does not have traditional bank accounts, the “unbanked.”

The report attributes the boom in mobile money transfer platforms to the growth of a “digital transaction culture” together with a creative renaissance in Kenyan software development.

“Improved telecom infrastructure after liberalization, social dynamics and enabling regulatory environment also explains this rapid growth,” the report said.

Most Africans do not have bank accounts and many have to travel long distances to access retail bank outlets. But increasingly, Africans are using mobile financial services to buy goods, pay utility bills and send and receive money. Mobile operators and banks in the region are competing aggressively to provide mobile money services as the growth curve in the voice market has began to flatten. In Zambia, mobile money accounts have already overtaken traditional bank accounts. Zambia’s Central Bank, which gathers statistics about mobile money accounts, also said that the number of users of mobile money services is expected to increase significantly over the next three years. By December last year, statistics from Zambia’s Central Bank showed that the country’s mobile money accounts had reached 3.4 million compared to 2 million bank accounts. “Plans are under way to partner with all the three mobile phone operators in the country to enhance financial inclusion through mobile money,” said Central Bank Deputy Governor Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula . And just last month, Zimbabwe joined the group of countries where more people use mobile money than have bank accounts. As of the end of last year, only 14 percent of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people, or approximately 1.8 million, have bank accounts, according to a study conducted by First Bank Corp. Securities of Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, mobile money accounts held by the country’s two largest mobile phone operators have reached around 5 million. The rise in the use of mobile money in the region has also been fuelled by the increasing availability and use of mobile phones, both in urban and rural areas, as operators try to capture customers in rural areas to increase their customer base and improve on their balance sheet. *Source mwakilishi]]>

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In Shelving Kenyatta Trial, ICC Confronts Limited Options in Africa
September 11, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Michael D. Rettig*


Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta waves to the crowd as Kenya celebrates 50 years of independence in Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 12, 2013 (AP photo by Sayyid Azim).

Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta waves to the crowd as Kenya celebrates 50 years of independence in Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 12, 2013 (AP photo by Sayyid Azim).

On Sept. 5, the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it was “indefinitely” halting its prosecution of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is on trial for allegedly directing the ethnic violence that followed the country’s 2007 elections. The presiding ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, claimed that amid many delays since the start of the trial, the evidence required to bring a case against Kenyatta had still not materialized. But other factors may be at play: The lapsed prosecution, in fact, appears to reflect the limited authority of the ICC as well as unease over global governance jurisdiction in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Key witnesses have withdrawn testimony since Bensouda first charged Kenyatta with crimes against humanity in 2011, two years before Kenyatta’s election as president. The case was also held back by the refusal of the Kenyan government to provide requested phone and bank records. Bensouda and the ICC have alleged that Kenyan officialsintimidated witnesses. But that should have been expected, especially after Kenyatta assumed the presidency in 2013. The ICC can hardly expect to gather evidence in a sovereign country in order to prosecute and potentially remove its sitting president without interference.

In addition to the ICC’s limited prosecution toolkit, in Kenyatta’s case it was surely keen to avoid another long-running embarrassment in which an active head of state operated in disregard of the court. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was indicted in 2009, had his first ICC arrest warrant issued that same year and his second arrest warrant issued in 2010—and yet he still leads Sudan to this day. The ICC’s inability to enforce its ruling on a sitting head of state in a sovereign country is understandable. But Bashir’s visits to China, the Middle East and much of Africa without consequence places the court in the awkward position of being repeatedly reminded of its limited authority.  

It seems likely that the ICC was hesitant to continue its prosecution of Kenyatta because he has been considered a successful and relatively inclusive president since being elected—in stark contrast to the ICC charges of ethnically divisive electoral violence. At his inauguration, Kenyatta put forth strong plans to boost the status of women and youth. Kenyan media has praised him as the country’s “most accessible” president, well above his own cabinet members. And just last month, Kenyatta was ranked third among African leaders in a Gallup survey, with an approval rating of 78 percent. While this information is relevant and reasonable to consider in understanding Kenya’s domestic politics, it should not affect a legally driven international prosecution. If it did, that only further undermines the authority and legitimacy of the ICC.

The shelving of Kenyatta’s trial is another reminder that global governance institutions like the ICC remain unable to impose their authority beyond the often poorly defined boundaries of their jurisdiction. The court can ask member states to enforce its dictates, but not all nations have signed on to the ICC, nor can sovereign member-states be compelled to cooperate. Indeed, after Cote d’Ivoire’s 2011 political crisis, the country agreed to hand deposed leader Laurent Gbagbo to the ICC but refused to extradite his wife, although both were charged. Neighboring Ghana also refused to extradite a top ally of Gbagbo, citing the ICC’s “political motivations.” Each of these refusals to comply with the ICC damaged the court’s credibility.

The ICC has also been criticized for focusing disproportionately on Africa, a continent justifiably sensitive to foreign powers exercising authority over it. In fact, the tension between Africa’s sovereign domestic judicial systems and the ICC has been brewing since at least 2009, when the African Union first openly asked its 53 members not to cooperatewith the ICC’s indictment of Bashir. More recently, the African Union has again asked members to avoid ICC compliance and specifically objected to the Kenyatta investigation. 

Opponents and advocates of the ICC both use Africa’s judicial systems in their arguments. Those against ICC intervention claim African legal systems need time and experience to develop on their own. But those who support the ICC’s prosecutions for crimes against humanity say the court is needed especially on the African continent, precisely because of its weak judicial systems. The concerns of human rights advocates are rightly focused on bringing to justice those who commit atrocities, but they occasionally are made without thought for developing the domestic systems in which those criminals acted. 

Instead, the ICC should not just indict from afar but help to strengthen domestic African courts—by providing investigative support, assisting judicial bureaucracies and using its international profile to guide and empower national public opinion. The ICC should also help build responsible relationships between a nation’s people and its courts, rather than stepping in as a distant, ad hoc arbiter.

Sadly, the result is that African countries are left with the option to heed or defy the ICC as needed for their own ends. The ICC can be used when it is helpful, as Cote d’Ivoire found when extraditing Gbagbo, and it can be ignored when troublesome, as Sudan and Kenya have done. Whether one is for or against the shelving of the ICC’s case against Kenyatta, it nevertheless represents another narrow move by the court that raises questions about its authority and ability to fulfill its 12-year-old mission “to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.” 

In the short run, the court has avoided an unsightly standoff with a popular Kenyan president and will not have to face another embarrassment like the ongoing one with Bashir. In the long run, however, whether one blames limited enforcement capabilities or politicking, this is one more action that highlights how arbitrary the ICC has become.

*Source worldpoliticsreview .Michael D. Rettig works for the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution. Read more of his work at

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Kenya's beauty queen: Building a business empire
September 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Michael Kaloki*

“When we were starting out, if you were a woman and you went to the bank for a loan, they wanted to know who you were married to and whether you had permission to be in business,” says Terry Mungai.

[caption id="attachment_11892" align="alignleft" width="300"]Terry says she wants to help other women become entrepreneurs and create jobs Terry says she wants to help other women become entrepreneurs and create jobs[/caption] Terry, the founder and chief executive of Ashleys Kenya, a beauty company with more than 240 employees, adds: “But now all that has changed. You are considered an entrepreneur.” Twenty years ago when her then-employer, Diners International, quit Nairobi she did what she had always wanted to do, and opened a hair salon. Today, walking around one of her 12 hair salons in the upmarket Lavington area of Nairobi, she greets her clients with a broad smile as she moves along the row of hairdryers. Towards one corner of the room, three hairdressers hover over a customer as they twist and turn her hair braids. In a partially enclosed area, another woman enjoys a manicure and pedicure while sipping orange juice. The pampering is part of the company’s mission statement – to be the most professionally run chain of salons in Kenya. And it is not just the customers who are getting a makeover – so are Terry’s recruits. Training the future As her business grew she realised there was a need for a larger skilled workforce. “We realised that we could not sustain the business without training,” she explains. Terry now runs three training centres under the Ashleys brand that offer her students internationally respected beauty qualifications. The training centres also offer services to members of the public as a way of providing real-life experience to the students. There is a hushed tone in one classroom as students undertake a mock examination in hairdressing, a teacher is watching keenly as the students work. [caption id="attachment_11893" align="alignright" width="300"]Terry realised if she wanted to grow her business she needed more staff and has set up her own training academies Terry realised if she wanted to grow her business she needed more staff and has set up her own training academies[/caption] Within two weeks the students in this class will undertake their final examinations before graduating. Some of the students who graduate from the training centres are taken on by Terry while others are hired by other companies. Beauty queen Ashleys is also the current holder of the local franchise of the Miss World beauty pageant – known as Miss World Kenya.

“We were sponsors for two years and when they were ready to change the franchise holder, they approached me, and asked whether we would be interested,” says Terry.

Auditions for Miss World Kenya are usually carried out in different parts of the country before a final elimination round is held and the overall winner announced. “I have a bias in trying to bring up young women to have confidence in themselves and create employment. I want women to celebrate their beauty,” she says. But it hasn’t all been easy. [caption id="attachment_11894" align="alignleft" width="300"]Terry Mungai's ambition is to run the leading chain of salons in Kenya Terry Mungai’s ambition is to run the leading chain of salons in Kenya[/caption] After the terrorist attack at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre in September 2013, in which more than 65 people were killed, the company was forced to shut down one of its branches, which was located in the complex. Terry has since opened a new branch in a different mall and the staff have been relocated. Retail opening Not content with 12 salons, three training schools and running the national beauty pageant, she is also heading into retail. The first Ashleys cosmetic shop has already opened in Nairobi. “It makes it easier for clients and other outsiders to come and get premium products from us,” she says. “Now that we have ventured into cosmetics, I would not rule out Ashleys starting our own line in the future.” *Source BBC]]>

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Moi: Professor of politics at 90 years
September 8, 2014 | 0 Comments

[caption id="attachment_11811" align="alignleft" width="595"]Mr Moi with President Museveni when he visited Uganda in the late 1990s. File photo Mr Moi with President Museveni when he visited Uganda in the late 1990s. File photo[/caption] Daniel arap Moi probably does not know the exact day, month or year of his birth — for he comes from a time and clime when Africa’s bucolic people did not put any premium on birthdays.

We can, nevertheless, agree that last Tuesday, the former president of Kenya clocked 90 years. Why? Because, from records, from circumstantial happenstances and from many of his own statements, we can accurately calculate that Moi’s birthday coincided — give or take a handful of years — with the British government’s declaration of Kenya as a Crown Colony in 1920.
What that means is that when Kenya’s colonial and post-colonial history comes to be written comprehensively, Moi’s name will loom much larger than practically everybody else’s. He will be seen to have made the most spectacular escape from the most dangerous political game park.
Despite his many shortcomings, Moi will stand out in a cut-throat environment. Jaramogi Oginga Odinga — one of Moi’s most important later adversaries — was the first person to remark upon Moi’s “fitness” to survive in the ruthlessness of such a Darwinian terrain.
Said Jaramogi: “Moi is like a giraffe: he sees very far.” It was a powerful metaphor. The giraffe’s tall neck enables it, among other things, to see its environmental enemies from very far away.
Moi’s well-placed political “eyes” could also be likened to the antelope’s environmental alertness. It was what enabled the young man to arrive so safely at the apex of power in 1978 and rule for a quarter of a century in a political Amboseli infested with some of the world’s most dangerous predators.
However, good luck also frequently intervened. Indeed, luck was what triggered the rise to the top of this humble stripling, wielding nothing more than bucolic cunning.
In a situation where the European form of education had become all-important for career and for preferment into colonywide leadership, Moi was armed with nothing more than primary education and only a smattering of English.
Many commentators do not see that this was a blessing in disguise. His years as a herdsboy in a predatory terrain were what had put him in excellent stead. They had equipped him with the alertness which most of his later competitors had lost through too much European-style classroom and book learning.
Never looked back This was what the British government itself did not see when, reacting to the rising indigenous pressure for franchise and to the Mau Mau fillip it had received in 1952, London ordered the colonial regime in 1955 to nominate a handful of indigenes into the whites-only Legislative Council.
London assumed that their lack of academic learning would make them safe as legislators. Moi — a semi-literate lad — was among the nominees. But he arrived in Nairobi never to look back.
In 1958, the nationalists scored a constitutional mark when eight indigenes were elected by direct franchise. They included Tom Mboya, Masinde Muliro, Ronald Ngala, Jaramogi and Moi. But in 1960 colonywide nationalist parties were first legitimised.
The Kenya African National Union (Kanu) was formed with Jaramogi, Mboya, Arthur Ochwada and James Gichuru (standing in for Jomo Kenyatta, the chairman in absentia). But Ngala, Moi, Muliro and others walked out to form their own Kenya African Democratic Union (Kadu).
Their claim was that, through Kanu, the “big tribes” — the Kikuyu and the Luo — had ganged up to grab power with which to suppress the “small tribes” after Independence.
London, a master divide-and-rule tactician, rushed in to dredge this rift, openly favouring Kadu against Kenyatta’s more genuinely nationalistic Kanu. But a mere year after independence in December 1963, Kanu had so tampered with the Lancaster Constitution that majimbo — the Kadu-sponsored provincial interests which dominated it — had been scrapped.
The majimbo system had been imposed against Kanu’s preference for an all-powerful central authority with only a ministry of local government (itself controlled from Nairobi). The majimbo document was verily akin to the present 2010 Constitution, only that — as the personification of devolved power — the eight provinces have been replaced by 47 counties.
In 1964, Kadu was dissolved and its leaders decamped back to Kanu. In the meantime, within Kanu itself, the conflicting personal ambitions of the leftist vice-president Jaramogi and the right-wing Mboya had also come to a head. Jaramogi came off worse, and Moi was the chief beneficiary.
A deathly blow In 1969, after Mboya had played the most crucial role in expelling Jaramogi from the sanctum sanctorum of power, Mboya himself was dealt a deathly blow. But, although Kenyatta appointed Joseph Murumbi as the vice-president, it was Moi who replaced Jaramogi at the sensitive Home office.
In this way, Moi had embarked upon the final leg of his journey to State House. But, in the same process, he had also acquired the most redoubtable opposition in his political career.
According to pundits, it was through then Attorney-General Charles Njonjo that London prevailed on Kenyatta to appoint Moi as the next VP when Murumbi resigned.
Moi’s longevity in that position worried what came to be denigrated as “the Kiambu Mafia”. Kenyatta was getting on in years, and people had begun to discuss his succession, despite Njonjo’s ban on such talk.
It was in that climate that something called Change-the-Constitution Movement was announced by leaders of an equally new name Gema (an acronym for the consanguine Gikuyu, Embu and Meru ethnic communities), demanding an immediate change in the constitution.
Spearheaded by Jackson Angaine, Njenga Karume, Kihika Kimani, Mbiyu Koinange, Njoroge Mungai and Paul Ngei, their chief aim appeared to be to remove the constitutional section which said that, if anything happened to the president — such as death — the vice-president would act for 90 days to organise the next presidential election.
But most observers interpreted the Change-the-Constitution Movement as motivated only by fear that if given even a mere week, an acting president would ensure he remained in that position.
What both sides did not seem to appreciate was that “Kiambu” was not one vast landscape of Lassallean homogeneity. At least one centrally placed administrative giant — AG Njonjo — saw things quite differently and was determined to follow the law.
The assumption seemed to be that even if Moi became the successor, he seemed too deficient in intellectual resources to last for long in that post, and any clever king-maker could use Moi as the ladder for self-promotion. Thus Koinange had described Moi’s ascendancy as a “passing cloud”.
Personification of Moi’s tyranny But Moi, who had been keen never to show his hand in this deadly game of cards, accepted Njonjo’s help and thereafter even made him his de facto prime minister.
Njonjo went on to throw his weight about so tactlessly that he, not Moi, became the personification of the tyranny that soon characterised the regime.
For his part, Moi seemed to be deploying the practical wisdom he had acquired as a herdsboy to purposefully give Njonjo enough rope to hang himself.
It was only when he thought the time was ripe that Moi used others to raise the “traitor” issue in the early 1980s in which Njonjo was finally found guilty — rightly or wrongly — of planning to overthrow the government, among other things.
Njonjo’s misfortunes raised Moi’s image for a time. But, meanwhile, the president had turned Kanu into a personality cult machine, through which he expelled all possible challengers and, given the single-party law, silenced them.
This finally led to the anti-Moi rebellion that culminated in the Saba Saba contretemps of 1991 and a constitutional change reinstating multiparty politics.
In 2002, Moi and Kanu were swept from power by Mwai Kibaki’s Narc. But history has a way of recapturing some of its own past. That election locked out a candidate alleged to be Moi’s. But in 2013 that candidate romped squarely into State House: his name is Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta.
Moi is popularly known to Kenyans as “Nyayo”, a Swahili word for “footsteps”, as he often said he was following the footsteps of the first President Jomo Kenyatta. He has also earned the sobriquet “Professor of Politics” due to his long rule of 24 years.
Moi was born in Kurieng’wo village, Sacho division, Baringo County, and was raised by his mother Kimoi Chebii following the early death of his father.
He is of the Kalenjin people. After completing his secondary education, he attended Tambach Teachers Training College in the Keiyo District. He worked as a teacher from 1946 until 1955.
As President, he loved choirs and their patriotic or praise songs like Kanu Yajenga Nchi (Kanu is developing the nation) and Tawala Kenya, Rais Moi (Lead on the nation, President Moi) would regularly be played on radio or sung at national events.
And once he was done with his written speech during public meetings, Mr Moi, with his ceremonial fimbo ya Nyayo (sceptre) in hand, would turn to off the cuff remarks in Kiswahili — usually the most interesting part of his address. He was known for his power suits.
Mr Moi has never worn a double-breasted suit or trousers with turn-ups. He has also retained the same tailor to date.
The sharp dress code is informed by the retired president’s view that a head of state has to be a role model.
Witty, ever-intriguing and charismatic, the retired president is also known to sport a freshly cut flower on his lapel when he dons a suit. *Source monitor

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New setbacks shrink Kenyatta trial chances
September 5, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Jan Hennop* [caption id="attachment_11706" align="alignleft" width="300"]Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta attends a ceremony in Nairobi on May 11, 2014 (AFP Photo/) Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta attends a ceremony in Nairobi on May 11, 2014 (AFP Photo/)[/caption]

The Hague (AFP) – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chances of having to stand trial for alleged crimes against humanity dropped sharply Friday when the ICC prosecutor requested an indefinite delay in the case.

Asking judges to shelve the trial start, the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor cited lack of evidence and Nairobi’s refusal to cooperate.

“The prosecution respectfully submits that the appropriate course of action is to further adjourn the case until such time the government of Kenya executes the (prosecution’s) revised request in full,” Fatou Bensouda said in papers filed at the Hague-based court.

“The situation is the same as when the prosecution sought a (previous) adjournment of the trial…. The evidence is insufficient to prove Uhuru Kenyatta’s alleged criminal responsibility beyond reasonable doubt,” Bensouda said.

The trial of the Kenyan leader on five counts related to post-election violence dating back to 2007-2008 has been dogged by repeated delays.

Most recently, judges in March postponed the trial start to October 7 in order to give Nairobi a chance to look for requested financial documents, in an apparent final push by prosecutors to form a case against the powerful African leader.

Prosecutors hope the documents — among them company records, bank statements, records of land transfers, tax returns, phone records and foreign exchange records — will prove a link between Kenyatta and the deadly unrest in 2007-08 in which 1,200 died and 600,000 others were displaced.

“The prosecution notes with regret that the full and effective compliance required of the government of Kenya and anticipated by the Chamber has not materialised to date,” said Bensouda.

So far, prosecutors received only 73 pages of documentation with “some… not responsive” to the request.

[caption id="attachment_11707" align="alignright" width="300"]Fatou Bensouda, pictured in the Hague in May 2014, said prosecutors are not dropping the five counts against Uhuru Kenyatta, saying that would be "inappropriate" (AFP Photo/) Fatou Bensouda, pictured in the Hague in May 2014, said prosecutors are not dropping the five counts against Uhuru Kenyatta, saying that would be “inappropriate” (AFP Photo/)[/caption]

“Even the responsive material is a fraction of the information sought,” Bensouda added.

Kenyatta, Bensouda added “is the head of a government that has so far failed fully to comply with its obligations to the court.”

Judges could now also rule that Kenya is refusing to cooperate and refer the matter to the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties.

Bensouda stressed that prosecutors were not dropping the five counts against Kenyatta, ranging from murder and rape to deportation and persecution following the vote in his East African state, saying that would be “inappropriate”.

The trial of Kenyatta, 52, and that of his rival-turned-partner Kenyan Vice President William Ruto, who faces similar charges, have been repeatedly hampered.

These include accusations of witness intimidation and witness withdrawal, false testimony, and an international campaign by Kenya to have put the trials on hold.

African leaders frequently complain that the ICC discriminates against their continent.

Arguments include that Kenya’s leaders need to be available to tackle Al-Qaeda-linked militants who have turned neighbouring Somalia into a major jihadist hub.

Kenyatta has lobbied intensively to muster support against the tribunal and his lawyers have previously slapped down Bensouda’s allegations, saying the case has collapsed.

Both Kenyatta and Ruto maintain their innocence.

The post-election violence shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of stability in east Africa in late 2007 when then opposition chief Raila Odinga accused then President Mwai Kibaki of rigging his way to re-election.

What began as political riots quickly turned into ethnic killings of Kenyatta’s Kikuyu tribe, who in return launched reprisal attacks, plunging Kenya into its worst wave of unrest since independence in 1963.

Meanwhile in Kenya the news of yet another request for postponement was met with both frustration and celebration, depending on allegiances.

Many Kenyan victims of the violence said they had resigned themselves to simply try to forget the “dark chapter” of their past.

“For years we have waited for the elusive justice after we were attacked,” said Amos Otieno, whose younger brother was killed during the clashes in the farming town of Navaisha, 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of Nairobi.

“Our fears have been confirmed, that there is justice for the poor and justice for the rich,” Otieno said.



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Tullow announces new Kenya oil discovery
September 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

[caption id="attachment_11535" align="alignleft" width="600"]Tullow Oil Company on Thursday announced an oil discovery at the Etom 1 exploration well that it said extended the already proven South Lokichar basin “significantly northwards” FILE PHOTO |   NATION MEDIA GROUP Tullow Oil Company on Thursday announced an oil discovery at the Etom 1 exploration well that it said extended the already proven South Lokichar basin “significantly northwards” FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP[/caption] Tullow Oil Company on Thursday announced a discovery of oil at the Etom 1 exploration well that it said extended the already proven South Lokichar basin “significantly northwards”.
Tullow said in a statement that the well, drilled 6.5 kilometres north of the previous Agete-1 discovery, had an estimated 10 metres of net oil pay.
The discovery is the northernmost to date in the South Lokichar basin, Tullow said.
It said that following the success of the South Lokichar basin, the site would be extended to cover a further 247 square kilometres in this northern area.
The company said appraisal wells in the Ngamia 3 field encountered 150 metres of net oil pay in both the Auwerwer and Lokone reservoirs, while the one at Amosing 1 encountered up to 30 metres net oil pay.
“Continued success in appraisal of the Ngamia and Amosing fields reinforces our belief that the South Lokichar basin holds very considerable potential which we hope to replicate in additional basins,“ said Angus McCoss, Tullow’s exploration director.
He said opening tests in the neighbouring Kerio basin would start in September.
“The next basin-opening test will be in the neighbouring Kerio Basin, with the Kodos-1 well expected to spud in early September,” said Mr McCoss.
In the oil and gas industry, “net oil pay” is the thickness of a rock that can deliver hydrocarbons to the well bore at a profitable rate. *Source nation

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