Maina Kiai's Column

Maina Kiai's Column

By Seeing Beyond his Tribe, JM was Simply Trying to be a True Kenyan

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Forty years ago, on March 2, 1975, the charismatic MP for Nyandarua North, Josiah Mwangi Kariuki, or JM, was brutally murdered. His murder has never been solved, even after a parliamentary committee recommended leads that could have enabled accountability. That investigation found that powerful people in the Jomo Kenyatta regime knew more than they were saying. We may never know the full truth of what happened to JM, as a lot of those close to power then are long dead. But there are a few still alive and one hopes that they will bequeath us with the truth of this…
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'Rubbergate' Scandal brings to the Fore Endemic Corruption in Kenya

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The issue of impunity in Kenya has once again been highlighted by the “rubbergate” scandal where a US company has been fined for bribing key officials to get contracts. It follows on the heels of the “chickengate” scandal where key officials of the election management and examination bodies allegedly took bribes to channel contracts to a British company. In both instances, foreign courts unravelled the endemic corruption that exists in Kenya and this only because it involved their companies. But for these foreign efforts we would never have known about this. We can only imagine how much we have lost…
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Corruption in Mau Eviction Process a Damning Indictment of Government

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It seems that almost every week there is an anecdotal story that reflects some of the overwhelming benefits of devolution. Yes, there are problems with corruption, waste and infighting, but the devolved structures are more responsive to the communities they serve than the centralised, more powerful and more resourced structures that report to Nairobi. On Monday and Tuesday this week, evictees from Mau Forest from 2009 decided to march, peacefully, to Bomet town to present a petition to the County Commissioner demanding to be resettled. There were originally 2,000 families camped at Kusumek and Chebugen camps in 2009 after they…
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Kazakhstan: Tightly Controlled But With Plenty Of Lessons For Kenya

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I recently spent some time in Kazakhstan, and left very impressed, most of all by the warmth and generosity of the people. Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world and the biggest landlocked country. Independent only since 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, it has made tremendous strides. Kazakhstan’s weather is unbelievable. While I was in Astana, the capital, the average temperature was -36 degrees every day! It was impossible to spend more than a minute outside, no matter the layers of clothing worn! Amazingly, even in this impossible temperature, construction works on buildings continued! I…
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In Proposed Court, African Leaders Are Now Free To Entrench Impunity

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I agree completely with Mr Uhuru Kenyatta that Africa should take the lead in solving our problems. But, alas, the African Court of Human and People’s Rights that he proposes as an African way of solving problems is decidedly un-African! There are good provisions in the proposed Court, but the one entrenching impunity on African leaders and “senior officials,” is taken straight out of the colonial playbook! The impunity for colonial officials — and settlers — was instrumental in facilitating the massive killings; rape, torture and repression during colonialism. And sadly, our founding fathers continued this approach at independence, which…
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Focus On Masterminds Of The 2007 Violence, Not Human Rights Activists

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Last week The Star newspaper put out a headline that Hassan Omar and I had “saved Raila from the ICC” attributing the statement to Mr Uhuru Kenyatta’s British lawyers. The article that followed was careful not to directly mention Hassan or me, stating instead that we worked at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights at the time, which the lawyers had adversely mentioned. I have read the submissions responding to the ICC’s publication of the redacted evidence that the Prosecution has on Mr Kenyatta. Nowhere do those submissions mention Hassan Omar or me. This is not acceptable, and in…
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