Maina Kiai's Column

Maina Kiai's Column

The Longer IEBC Bosses Stick in Office, the Higher the Chances of Chaos in 2017

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The IEBC announcement of the registration of new voters for a month from February to March next year, signals the start of the election period. As ever in Kenya, temperatures will rise steadily in the coming weeks as each political player and party seeks to maximise the registration of as many sympathetic voters as possible. Surely, this time, unlike the last time, there will be greater scrutiny of the registration to ensure that some regions are not favoured over others. There should be monitoring to see if the IEBC has an equitable numbers of staff to register voters across Kenya;…
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War on Corruption Should Begin with Public Declaration of Leaders' Wealth

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With the public declaration of his wealth, Bob Collymore read my mind, as my thoughts have been the need for leaders to publicly declare their wealth. This was a gutsy and noble thing to do, especially for someone who is not a public official and who has no reason to declare his wealth. And it is a lesson that Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta should learn, if he is to be taken seriously with this war on corruption. Corruption has reduced us and it has shrunk us: As Eric Wainaina sings so brilliantly, “Nchi ya kitu kidogo, ni nchi ya watu wadogo.”…
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To Actually Fight Corruption Schemes, Uhuru Must First Identify the Patrons

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If President Uhuru Kenyatta is to make any gains in the war against corruption, he will need to go beyond task forces. He needs to understand the architecture of grand corruption — which is the massive corruption conspiracies designed to rip off tax payers. Yes, petty corruption — which is the bribes that the police, the immigration, the customs and others take — is important to eradicate, but that can only happen if we deal seriously with grand corruption. So here is my two cents for Mr Kenyatta. In a nutshell, grand corruption generally involves at least four players. The…
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To Fight Corruption, Uhuru Has to Deal with Tribalism in Government

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Few things bring out the worst of our tribal feelings as debates around grand corruption. It is predictable: We line up in our tribal gear to either lambast or defend the high level person who stands accused of losing funds on their watch or who can’t account for vast sums of taxpayer funds. The debates around Anne Waiguru are Exhibit 1. Some of the arguments, especially by the middle class who want to appear above tribal sentiments are incredible. We come out with lines like the person is a “pillar” of the regime, and therefore indispensable, as we saw with…
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Propaganda and Misinformation Will Not Make Country Any Better

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Last weekend, a screenshot of a purported series of e-mails was unleashed on social media, purporting to be correspondence between some human rights activists, including me, about the ongoing Assembly of State Parties (of the ICC) meeting at The Hague. The objective was to try and convince gullible Kenyans that there is a conspiracy against Mr William Ruto that civil society has engineered. But the e-mails are fake and contrived. In fact, they are criminal as they impersonate several people, which the police should now be looking into. For instance, the address that they purport to use for me does…
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Why Security Agents Need an Urgent Refresher Course on the Constitution

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After eight months, Muhuri and Haki Africa have finally been vindicated after being illegally placed on a list of so-called “supporters of terrorism.” On Thursday, Justice Emukule ordered the unfreezing of the organisations’ accounts, and nullified the Gazette Notice that started this whole mess. The regime knew from the beginning that the charges were false, but that did not matter. For their goal was to silence the two organisations, and intimidate critical voices in the country. To some extent, it succeeded for in the last eight months, the once vocal organisations have been so inundated and consumed with basic survival…
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