Maina Kiai's Column

Maina Kiai's Column

Skewed Plans for Highways and Denying Tribalism Claims

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The good people of Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Kirinyaga and Murang’a will soon be using dual carriage highways. Like many development projects, they will be the first area in Kenya completely served with such highways, once the existing dual carriageway is extended from Kenol Township, with one arm passing through Murang’a Town and the other to Embu and Meru. The decision to build two arms of the highway came after the original plan to extend the existing highway was amended so that it would go through Murang’a instead of Kirinyaga. The change of the plan was precipitated by intense lobbying by…
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President and his deputy must restore our sense of nationhood

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It is always incredible when people speak against something, while doing exactly what they castigate. I wonder if this ability to deceive is a talent, or a sign of the total absence of values and ethos. Sadly a lot of our pastors and imams, from whom we would expect clarity and values, are the masters of preaching water as they drink wine. I have been thinking about this as I read Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent State of the Nation speech. The whistling antics notwithstanding, this speech had some incredulous contradictions. After many paragraphs devoted to the perceived successes of the regime,…
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Kenya vs Malaysia: A Tale of Corruption in Two Countries

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My Malaysian friends and I often engage in a “pissing” contest, comparing the enormity and incredulousness of corruption in our respective countries. Though thousands of miles apart, with different cultures, standards of living and political systems, we have major similarities. We were both colonised by the British, and bequeathed with legal, political and economic systems meant to repress the locals, encourage dictatorship, facilitate corruption and promote divide and rule tactics. While our 2010 Constitution took us some ways from this colonial heritage — despite the utter contempt of it by our rulers — Malaysia still has lots of these outdated…
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The Stark Choices Our Leaders Face Ahead of 2017 Elections

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The political temperature is starting to feel like the sweltering heat of the past weeks. And just like prolonged heat and dry weather invariably leads to drought, famine and death in Kenya, the rising political temperatures can only mean troubles ahead. But it need not be so. We now have the means to ensure that heat and drought do not lead to famine and death with proper planning and preparations, and we also have the tools to ensure that the political temperatures do not lead to chaos and crisis. But that takes real political leadership especially from those running the…
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To Fight Corruption, First Probe the Reasons for its Recent Surge

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Only a few people still contest that corruption in Kenya is at its worst in living memory. It is almost omnipresent: From the Office of the Presidency on down to the military, police, customs, KRA, hospitals, schools and more; deeply embedded in our legislature; widely spread in our Judiciary; and devolved seamlessly into our counties. We will not tame this thieving if we do not look dispassionately at the reasons for its dramatic increase. The few sycophants who can see no wrong in this regime suggest that it is the media, including social media, that has increased its attention. Their…
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IEBC Yet to Show That it Learnt Any Lessons from 2013 Elections

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It has been clear since 2013 that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is one of the most significant threats to our stability and democracy, come 2017. It has had three years to remedy the deliberate weaknesses and incompetencies, but to date, apart from hiring a new chief executive, not much has changed. In fact, its credibility and integrity has become worse with the “chicken-gate” bribery scandal that implicated some of the commissioners, including the chairman, in a British court. After lots of pressure, some of them are now being paraded at the EACC - now styled the “East…
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