Maina Kiai's Column

Maina Kiai's Column

Rot in Police is the Hallmark of Jubilee’s Grand Return to Worst Times of Moi Era

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Last weekend, a friend was involved in an accident in Nairobi. I went to help out, and though the cars were badly damaged, no one was seriously injured. And thank heavens for Steve, Alex and his friend, who were the proverbial Good Samaritans, for protecting my friend from possible mob violence and theft. Kenya still has some good people! But as the police towed the cars to the police station, quite a few onlookers emphatically warned us to ensure that we took all moveable items from the car, including the battery, spare wheel, floor mats, and radio once it arrived…
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Time Running out for Parliament and Jubilee to Salvage their Legacy

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ODM’s chest-thumping over their victory in the Kajiado Central by-election is naïve and short-sighted. Naïve because ODM retained “their” seat, but is newly elected MP, Elijah Memusi, really ODM damu? Mr Memusi joined the party after being denied the JAP nomination and his victory owes much to his personal popularity. Short-sighted because even if Mr Memusi was diehard ODM, would that make a difference given how our parliamentarians behave? The last time we saw such a pitiful group of MPs was after 1988 with the mlolongo selections: It was all about who could parrot the Nyayo tune the loudest. It…
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Kenyan Leaders Should Learn from Chaos in Burkina Faso and Burundi

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I am writing this from Dakar, Senegal, where I am attending a meeting with African pro-democracy activists, learning best practices from one another. It is always an uplifting and humbling experience to listen to people whose hope, focus and determination has no bounds. The lessons from Burkina Faso have been especially engaging. Last year, the Burkinabe arose together, to stand up against the efforts of the then President Blaise Compaore to extend his stay in power. After 27 years, Mr Compaore had gotten used to manipulating his people and he thought that he could do it one more time. But…
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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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