GARISSA POLITICIANS FUELING INTER- ETHNIC AND INRA-TRIBAL SKIRMISHES BETWEEN ISIOLO AND GARISSA COMMUNITIES

I humbly piece-up together the following narrative regarding the above thorny subject which has escalated to monumental scale for more than two years specifically revolving between Isiolo and Garissa. These heinous acts is normally triggered by one specific Somali clan (Auliyan) from Lagdera constituency leading to Loss of human life, property, displacements of large segments of the communities and intermittent disruption of socio-economic activities and livelihoods.

The entire plot is crafted, planned, bankrolled and executed by local politicians from Garissa County. Whilst political leaders from Isiolo specifically Isiolo South MP and Council of elders employed diplomatic approaches such as inter-community dialogue, traditional conflict resolution mechanism and enhancing peace building.

On the contrary, our counterparts from Garissa are on persistent war path by sponsoring outlawed militias and vigilante gangs in the name of Kenya Police Reservist (KPR) to take law into their own hand by causing mayhem, pandemonium and turmoil between the two counties and yet they “play victims” in print, electronic and social media. The politicians should be held culpable by relevant government security organs. Be that as it may, before I delve into the crux of the matter, I wish to apprise relevant government security agencies with some fundamental background.

 

BACKGROUND

Northern Kenya is an area prone to violent conflict. These violent conflicts between different ethnic nomadic communities and sometimes between clans have negatively affected socio-economic and political development of the region. Most Government security operations and peace initiatives have not succeeded in quelling conflict in the region. Northern Kenya had a long history of ethnic conflict, violence and marginalization, but new conflict drivers and dynamics related to devolution, terrorism and resource extraction are now exacerbating these local tensions and raising challenges for traditional peace building structures.

Violent conflicts involving pastoralists have become widespread and increasingly severe in the North Eastern regions of Kenya. This petition identifies and examines the factors contributing to such conflicts, and discusses issues and priorities for conflict prevention and peace building.

The pastoralists in the Northern Kenya are largely nomadic. They live primarily in arid or semi-arid areas and depend on livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and camels) for their livelihood. They rely on access to pasture and water, for the survival of their livestock. Such resources are scarce and under increasing pressure. They must be shared amongst the pastoralist’s communities.

Conflicts involving pastoralists associated with resource competition, cattle rustling and wide availability of small arms are widespread and of increasing concern. The patterns of conflict in North Eastern regions are complex. There are many factors contributing to the risk of violent conflict involving pastoralists, and these have tended to become mutually reinforcing.

Traditionally, major causes of conflict among the pastoralist include but not limited to intensified cattle rustling, proliferation of illicit arms, inadequate policing and state security arrangements, diminishing role of traditional governance systems, competition over control and access to natural resources such as pasture and water, land issues, political incitements and ethnocentrism.

CURRENT STATUS QUO AT PLAY

Current political Face book posts (Garissa County page) and pronouncement by local politicians (Hon. Mohamed Hire and Governor Ali Korane) and some errand bloggers (Rashid Amin and Ahmed Rageah)from Garissa are fuelling inter-and intra-tribal and clan tensions. In Garissa County, for example, political competition over the control of local government is exacerbating existing conflicts over boundary disputes and natural resources. These localized conflicts could lead to ethnic clashes, violence, and the emergence of local militias, recruitment and infiltration by Al-Shabaab terror group.

PRESENT SITUATION CRISIS

√ For the past one year Isiolo South has borne the brunt of persistent skirmishes deliberately orchestrated by our neighbours from Garissa County;
√ Seven people died as clashes between warring communities in Garbatula Township, Isiolo County. Nine people were also injured. Somali herders from Lagdera, in Garissa sparked a fierce gun battle.
√ Several towns and settlements have been deserted due to intermittent attacks from invaders drawn from Garissa County.
√ In another incident more than 10 people were killed and another 13 injured in the conflicts in less than two months as the herders search for pasture and water due to biting drought. This has been exacerbated by forceful entry of herders from Lagdera in Garissa into Isiolo South Constituency.
√ Erection and building of illegal structures beyond their boundaries by the Somali expansionist population and consequently displacing Isiolo South people from Gafarsa, Belgesha, Modogashe , Eldera and Garbatula.
√ Many livestock have been lost due to deliberate incursion by Somali insurgency from Garissa County, Particularly Lagdera Constituency.
√ Several schools in Isiolo South Constituency have been closed or learning interrupted due persistent attacks from the Somali herders.
√ Settlements along Isiolo – Modogashe road by Somali herders serve as illegal armoury for firearms and other sophisticated ammunitions. √ This Boundary regions illegally occupied by Somali herders squarely belongs to the people of Isiolo South Constituency. Much worse, security organs have failed miserably in mitigating this menace.

INTERVENTIONS BY ISIOLO POLITICAL LEADERS

~ Isiolo South MP Hon. Koropu in conjunction with Council of Elders have initiated a campaign to reclaim our land invaded over time by expansionist Aulian neighbours from Lagdera.
~ They met former North Eastern Regional Commissioner Amb. Mohamud A. Swaleh and Eastern Regional Commissioner at Harambee House. They resolved to dispatch a team to clearly identify and put beacons on the boundary we share with Garissa County and to ensure that the expansionist will be relocated to their county.
~ The political leaders in collaboration with the area elders also organized a group of Wazees to go round the whole of Isiolo South to emphasize importance of peaceful coexistence with our neighbours.
~ The salient reason behind this occupation is due to mega projects initiated by national government.
~ The Isiolo South MP also lobbied for more Kenya Police Reservists to assist in ensuring security of these lands being reclaimed by expansionists who are grabbing it using guns and bullets.
~ It’s the area leaders and elders’ view that this uncontrolled influx of armed herders can be stemmed by pushing back the expansionist Aulian neighbours beyond the boundary thereby creating a buffer zone between the two communities.
~ Despite the efforts by the local elected leaders, there was no improvement and therefore we urge the national government to move with speed to restore normalcy in this hostile region.
Further in the North, the same problem is experienced owing attacks between Turkana and Samburu neighbours. Though the government employed excessive forces against the Turkanas.

THE AXIS OF EVIL

It is evident that, immediately after the Lagdera MP Hon. Mohammed Hire deployed his 60 militias, as stated in his Face book post on 5th July 2018, Isiolo South residents from Eldera location were cornered and their houses burnt to ashes, with scores injured on 6th July 2018. The riff raffs, dubbed “KPR Officers” were to patrol the hotspot zones and ensuring safety and security of lives and properties of Lagdera people. Strange as it may be, these atrocities occurred right in the territory of Isiolo South.

The displaced and injured residents of Eldera are currently camping at Garbatula Sub County as internally displaced persons. The Government should come up with a lasting solution to this menace, and not arming the already hostile communities superintended by the supposed Lagdera legislator Mohammed Hire. Therefore, the buck stops with the Lagdera Member of Parliament.

COPIED FROM (GARISSA COUNTY) FACEBOOK BY one RASHID AMIN

“The Emboldened Borana.
The recent political success of the Oromo people in Ethiopia has emboldened their brothers the Borana across the border in Kenya. The Election of H.E Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister of Ethiopia was successful culmination of 35 years of struggle by the Oromo people. The changes that are happening in Ethiopia is having an effect on the region including Garissa County.

It’s my believe that what’s happening at Garissa and Isiolo County borders is indirectly connected to the changes happening in Ethiopia. The Oromo speaking people including the Boranas in Kenya are somehow convinced that their time has arrived to take over the region and assert themselves politically and financially as a force to be reckoned with.

You can see this from the brazen public speeches by their elected officials and their Council of Elders. No doubt the Oromo speaking people in the Horn of Africa are the undisputed majority in the region. But the way they are going about their new found political fortunes at the ground level is cause for concern and should raise alarm bells with Governments and Administrations in the region.

The Borana in Kenya are out to settle political score with Somalis over perceived none existent historical injustices. They are also through their Council of Elders (Gadaa System) pressuring their elected officials in Isiolo County and throughout the region to evict Somalis from land they falsely claim belongs to them i.e Moyale in Marsabit County and Lagdera in Garissa County. The Boranas who for decades were mostly uneducated and somehow lagging behind Somalis both politically and financially are now flexing their muscles thanks to Devolution in Kenya and Revolution in Ethiopia. Garissa County Government and our elected officials at the National level should not take lightly what is happening at our border with Isiolo County.

The County Government should also be aware of the regional changes that are taking place so that our people are not taken by surprise. The amount of propaganda being spewed by Borana bloggers on social media is also alarming.

To my surprise Borana bloggers are manning Garissa County page and other pages associated with Garissa County to get an insight on our local politics for their own consumption and to formulate strategy. We have to be cautious at this time in our history since the regional changes that are happening are big and historic.”

A piece by another warmonger by AHMED RAGEAH posted on GARISSA COUNTY PAGE FACEBOOK

“Notice is hereby given to all youths drawn from various part of Garissa county especially Lagdera constituency that inshallah tomorrow there’s a media briefing which will be conducted by youths to strongly condemn the recent attacks that was carried out by bandits from Isiolo South.. The press meeting will be held at The Clarion Hotel, opposite jeevanjee gardens exactly at 11.am. We are therefore appealing to all the youths in Nairobi and its environs to come and attend the press conference & show solidarity…..come one come all.”

In this regard, it is an open secret that the primary responsibility for developing and implementing the programmes and security measures rest with the Kenyan government, local, national and international stakeholders. International community also has a responsibility to do what it can to assist manage the problem of insecurity, conflicts and the ensuing displacements. There are many windows and entry points to reduce the pressures generating conflict and to promote sustainable prevention and enhancement of the pastoralists’ communities’ resilience. Subsequently, the government should swing into actions and arrest the Lagdera MP for masterminding ragtag militia, incitement and flaming ethnic jingoism among communities who have been harmoniously coexisting amicably.

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PASTORALISTS LAND POLEMICS BORDERS ON TRAGEDY OF COMMONS

Kenya’s Vision 2030 and all its flagship projects are envisaged to spur rapid economic growth and steer the country into a middle income economy by the year 2030. The LAPSSET Corridor Projects (LCPs) which includes a port in Lamu, resort cities, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and upgrading of the Isiolo Airport to international standards among others, is part of the programme. This paper sought to examine the effects of project on economic and socio-cultural rights of the communities living along the corridor in Isiolo County.

A mixed approach was employed with multi-stage, snowball and purposive sampling techniques to generate both quantitative and qualitative data. Life experiences and issues of concern raised by the concerned respondents were raised by communities’ expressions. The communities along the North Eastern Transport Improvement Projects had not been sensitized about the projects. They were not informed about the impacts that the project would have on their lives.

In addition, they were not adequately involved in various stages of project implementation. Although information dissemination forums were organized occasionally in Isiolo Town, majority of the residents are still speculating on the main route the corridor will be taking, who among them would be affected and how they would be compensated. This paper established that the mega projects had not enhanced any basic social services; instead, these services are further threatened through effects like noise pollution and strained access to basic services due to the influx of people.

Public participation and information dissemination in the project should be heightened to assist in addressing speculation that is straining the peaceful co-existence of people in this region. There has been no public sensitization and engagement, which explains why most members of the community are still not aware about the projects. In fact, some people learned about it through newspapers. To date, some leaders do not know the exact layout of the project in our county. They are only hearing rumours about this project

Critiques however sees non-tariff barriers and lack of political will as major impediments that could slow down the pace of project implementation, besides tedious Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements to secure funding for the projects.

Isiolo County is largely an arid and semi-arid region where the main economic activity is pastoralism. Other activities undertaken on a smaller scale include farming, fishing and hunting. This county is considered among the poorest in Kenya and is characterized by inadequate access to basic services such as water, food and social security. It is known to have experienced historical injustices by successive governments since independence. This is attributed to the colonial government policies that marginalized the Northern corridor that was perpetuated by the successive post-colonial governments. Evidence has further shown that there has been no genuine public sensitization, involvement and participation which has not only discriminated the local communities from taking part in the projects from an informed point of view, but also excluded them from their national duty and responsibility to make informed decisions on any development activity that affects their destiny.

The preamble of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 acknowledges that “All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya”, inferring that the people of Isiolo are supreme, and deserve their rights, including the right to inclusion and information. The Constitution ascertains that, the state shall provide economic and social rights and avail appropriate social security to persons who are unable to support themselves and their dependents. The Land Act, 2012 states that communities have a right to own and have land registered in their name. The Lands Acquisition Act, 2013 clearly highlights the procedure of land acquisition for development investment. The procedure and management of land issues are further discussed in the Land Laws Amendment Act of 2016.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that “everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others” and that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property”. The law in this case articulately states that in no case shall people be deprived of their property. In case of spoliation, the dispossessed people shall have the right to the lawful recovery of their property as well as to an adequate compensation in case any of the steps articulated in the procedure were violated.

Core stakeholders such as county government, civil society groups and local community should embark on the following; that the county government should demand for social service provision (water, health care facilities, education institutions, employment for the locals and fair compensation alongside projects to ensure that the people of Isiolo are not de-marginalized by such mega investment projects. They should also consult the public and create awareness before they make key decisions that affect the people’s destiny like re-routing of the LAPSSET Corridor so that the public may give their opinion. On the other hand, civil society agencies, including religious movements, should be the true representatives and eye-openers of the marginalized voiceless members of the public whilst the local communities have a right to know where the corridor projects pass, who will be affected and how they would be compensated in good time to avoid situations where they would be forcefully evicted without prior arrangements on where to go.

LAPSSET CORRIDOR – ISIOLO COUNTY, LET US AVOID THE PITFALLS

There is a ravenous mad rush for land and resources in Isiolo County just like it is evidenced in other counties in which the LAPSET Corridor passes through. Isiolo county is 25,600 sq. km which is real and constant factor of production for the over 200,000 population. Strategically the LAPSSET project will take up the Isiolo central which is already crowded by other projects thanks to the duplication of other actors in project implementation.
If managed prudently and in consultation with the local people the LAPSSET project is arguably the single most important thing that has ever happened to this marginalized county since independence, thanks to the sessional paper 2 of 1965. In the absence of the above and on the flipside, it can lead to widespread escalation of poverty, social – economic disfranchisement and apathy amongst the people. This is therefore a breeding ground for conflicts and displacements.

Lapsset route

There is a long standing historical injustice by the state favouring our giant neighbor; the Meru who are farmers as opposed to Isiolo people who are pastoralist, the expansionist tendency of this farmers and their population growth rate further displaced the Isiolo populace. The geographical maps and trigonometrical measurement have been redrawn and manipulated to annex Isiolo county boundaries.

The Districts and Provinces Act of 30th October, 1970 where an amendment motion that; – was initiated by the then iconic MP for Isiolo South; Hon. Adan Wako Bonaya and vehemently supported the then MP for Isiolo North, Hon Abdikadir Mohammed.  Hon Bonaya stated that there is a political barter trade that was going on with the Meru giving their votes as it is a vote rich region and the government in Nairobi giving them Isiolo Land in exchange.
With the advent of the county government, the Meru county administration has planned projects in the disputed territory is currently establishing new settlements.
It negates international law to annex the county without the people’s participation and without the latter’s historical or contemporary attachments to it.

There is myriad of projects that are planned for in Isiolo like the international Airport, abattoir, pipeline, inland container terminal among others which will take up most of its land. We are grateful to the civil society actors like Isiolo Professional Caucus and Waso Trust Land Project for increasingly empowering the communities in natural resource governance.

The select ad-hoc committee of the first Isiolo County Assembly which tabled a report before the house to redress the problem posited the Assembly to unanimously pass it only for it to be shelved by the concerned officials of the executive wing.

The LAPPSET corridor passes through Lamu, Tana River, Garissa, ISIOLO, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana,and Baringo Counties. The former LAPSSET chairman, Amb. Francis Muthaura and his board is not a representative of the diversity of the communities who inhabit that corridor ,it is  case of blind justice and the people being displaced as the management of LAPPSET Authority do not understand the aspirations of the people which is the most important resource – human capital ?.

A conflict emerging from the projects like a case in point Isiolo International Airport goes unresolved as the people are not involved, they do not even know where it falls. It has been in Isiolo all through only to be told it is in Meru because it is now more resourceful. The employment and contracts policy is skewed to favor other politically correct people. The sum total of all these is that the people of these counties remain the losers and there is a high possibility that these pitfalls that are left open by the concerned authorities will escalate into the “next LAMU”

It is my humble submission that the government through the KENYA VISION 2030 secretariat, LAPSSET Corridor Authority, President’s Delivery Unit and Delivery Board organizes a conference of all the concerned counties and stakeholders to deliberate on the benefits of LAPPSET projects. Most importantly to the pastoralist communities occupying the LAPPSET corridor to shun the perennial conflicts and persistent cattle rustling and pick up education and entrepreneurship to fully benefit from this opportunity.

I would like to recognize lobby group like Isiolo Professional Caucus (IPC) and urge other civil societies to follow suit and play their civic role in this counties to ensure it is a people – centered activity.

There is a clear contradiction in how vision 2030 projects are conceptualized, pundits argue that it is a desktop consultant document  as opposed to an empirical document that originates from the ground.

How it is possible to cut off Ewaso Nyiro River downstream to the wildlife and livelihoods to build a dam and expect to have a flourishing tourism industry.

To land speculators of the gold rush to  Isiolo which otherwise is  known within the  circles people of Isiolo as the “New Found land” of Meru that it is not a wise thing to do, while investments are encouraged, let it to go through the establishment due process for us to be able to co-exist peacefully.

Ten important points Abiy Ahmed made in his speech

The internal struggle for power within the ruling party culminated with the coming to power of Abiy Ahmed, from Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) which is one of the coalition members in the ruling party, as the next prime minister of Ethiopia.

 

When Hailemariam Desalegne announced his resignation on February 15 in the interest of “peaceful transition of power and to be part of the solution for the current political problem in the country,” the struggle for the prime minister position between the four ethnic-based parties that constitute the ruling coalition became clear.

One of the actions that OPDO took in the ensuing weeks, as a reaction to Hailemaram’s resignation, was to call for an emergency meeting, apparently to map out the road for the struggle for power, what was then a vacant Federal position.

While Lemma Megersa could stand a chance for the prime minister position within the ruling coalition by virtue of being chairman of OPDO, there appeared to be a constitutional hurdle he couldn’t jump; he was not a member of the parliament.

Abiy Ahmed, then deputy of OPDO, was a member of the parliament but lacked the status of the chairmanship of the organization which is one of the criteria to qualify for the prime minister position. The organization overcame the challenge in a way to make Abiy Ahmed run for prime minister. Lemma Megersa was relegated to a vice-chairman of OPDO without losing his role as president of Oromo region of Ethiopia while Abiy was promoted to chairmanship position. Consequently, Abiy was qualified to run for prime ministerial position.

For Abiy Ahmed to win the prime minister position, however, the support of the majority of members in EPRDF council, a 180 members body drawn from four ethnic based parties, is needed. In that regard, OPDO has strengthened relationships with other ethnic-based parties within the coalition particularly Amhara National Democratic Front (ANDM). This alliance proved to be crucially important at a critical time.

Chairman of ANDM,and deputy prime minister, Demeke Mekonen,by extension ANDM, decided not to run for the contest and opted for remaining deputy prime minister. The idea, according to insiders, was to focus on the election of what the regional communication head, Nigussu Tilahun, described as “competent person” capable of rescuing Ethiopia from the current political entanglement. The role of ANDM was crucially important throughout the entire process.

In the election within the EPRDF council, Abiy Ahmed, 42 years old, emerged winner with 108 votes of the total 180 votes. Shiferaw Shigute, head of EPRDF office and new chairman of SEPDM (Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement) got 59 votes and Debretison Gebremichael who is chairman of TPLF got only 2 votes. Analysts seem to suggest the defeat of both Shiferaw and Debretsion fundamentally represent the defeat of TPLF.

The meaning of Abiy’s election

One thing that has to be clear is that the ruling coalition, one way or another, is a champion of the “revolutionary democracy” ideals of the late Meles Zenawi.It is also clear that the coalition is still under the firm control of Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated politics and the economy for nearly 27 years, although it is politically weak and lacks moral legitimacy; key institutions in the country like the security apparatus and the military are still under TPLF. The parliament itself is entirely occupied by the ruling coalition.

It is in that light that it has to be clear that the election of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister has little to do with the wishes of Ethiopian people and that explains much of the skepticism from politicized Ethiopians.

Although the words of Abiy resonated well with Ethiopians, the power based of Abiy Ahmed is ethnic politics and hence has to deal with ethno-nationalism if he is to remain relevant to the rest of Ethiopians. On the one hand, radical ethno-nationalism with an alleged support from historical enemies of Ethiopia has a significant ideological influence on in the region where Abiy’s ethnic party exercises power. On the other hand, he will be consistently challenged by TPLF as the latter strives to regain dominance over Ethiopia; this is the potential source of uncertainty in the weeks and months. Some Ethiopians go to the extent of foreseeing a possible coup in the near future.

Although they might offend radical ethno-nationalists, some of Abiy Ahmed’s points from his speech are seen in a positive light by Ethiopians who are not the supporters of the ruling coalition.

Ten points Abiy Ahmed’s speech

1) Reflected on Ethiopian history in a positive light which is unusual for products of TPLF politics. He described Ethiopia as a fertile mother with sons and daughter with unrivaled commitment to defend her and protect her. He noted there are numerous challenges in the country and they need to be addressed sooner rather than later. The focus should be, he said, building a better country.

2) Emphasized on the unity of Ethiopia. He highlighted the sacrifices paid by patriotic Ethiopians in the struggle to maintain Ethiopian unity and sovereignty. No challenge is stronger that unity.

3) Underscored the importance of democracy and freedom as a matter of survival, and that Ethiopians deserve them. Yet, he noted that freedom is not a government charity for the people rather a natural right that emanates from the dignity of man.

4) Noted that freedom of expression, the right to assembly and the right to organize need to be recognized and observed as per the constitution of the country.

5) People have the right to criticize the government and participate in governance; government is a servant of the people. Vowed his government will work on building a democratic society.

6) Democracy will suffer when the government is not tolerant; in that regard, he emphasized the importance of the rule of law

7) The basis of peace is justice and peace is not the absence of conflict

8) He noted the developments in the Horn of Africa as a scene of competing for foreign powers interests and expressed willingness to end a conflict with Eritrea and called on the Eritrean government to demonstrate readiness.

9) Vowed to fight corruption; underscored the need to work to end a situation where Ethiopia is a country where one works hard while the other robs.

10) In terms of social policy, the noted on the importance of improving the quality of education, investing in the youth and women. Economically, he highlighted the challenge in negative trade balance and other challenges in a range of sectors and vowed to improve that. He also called on Ethiopians who live abroad and seem to be ready to working together with them.

SUPREME COURT DATE WITH THE gods!

Supreme Court of Kenya

Four things that belong to a Judge:

To hear courteously; to answer wisely;
To Consider soberly; and to decide impartially. (Socrates 399-469 BC)

NASA Chief-Principal; Raila Odinga

NASA Chief-Princpal has chosen to go to Supreme Court. Supreme Court has two alternatives only: re-affirm or invalidate the election of Uhuru Kenyatta. In arriving at this decision, the Supreme Court has two paths.
On one path, it can follow the footsteps of the Supreme Court under Dr. Willy Mutunga and be guided by the jurisprudence of Nigeria and Ugandan Courts, and like a witch make its decision in thPrincpal

I don’t know which self-respecting lawyer will use Nigerian and Ugandan decisions as stare decisis on Presidential Elections! The results for Presidential Elections in Uganda and Nigeria are known well in advance by the President, the Electoral Commission and the Deep State! There, Elections are a choreographed dance to launder money! Or it can take the high road, and follow the Supreme Court of United States. In the US, the Supreme Court proudly makes its decision when the sun is up! We all know the US Supreme Court during the reigns of the great Chief Justices John Marshall and Earl Warren. Under Marshall, the Court decided Marbury vs Madison that forever laid the independence and exclusive jurisdiction of the Judiciary. Under Warren, the Court decided Brown vs Board of Education that forever officially ended racial segregation.

Our Supreme Court under CJ David Maraga can choose to be night-runners and give us a decision we will never use anywhere; or stand in the public square when the sun is up and give us a decision that binds our Nation-States of Kenya forever. Lightning doesn’t strike twice the same spot. ~By Lawyer Donald Kipkorir

RULES AND PROCEDURE OF FILING OF THE PRESIDENTIAL PETITION 

FILING OF THE PETITION:

Article 140 (1) of the Constitution stipulates that all petitioners who intend to file petitions challenging the presidential elections have seven days from the date of declaration of the results by the commission within which to file such petitions.

SERVICE OF THE PETITION:

The Rules provides for two modes of service. Under Rule 10 (1) the petitioner is required within two days of filing of the petition, to serve the same upon the respondent directly or by advertisement in a newspaper with national circulation. Rule 10 (2) further requires the petitioner to electronically serve the respondent within six hours of filing of the petition.

RESPONSE TO PETITION:

Similarly, Rule 11 gives the petitioner who wishes to oppose the petition four days within which to respond to the petition.

CLOSE OF PLEADINGS AND INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATIONS:

The pleadings shall close upon filing of a response or notice of intention not to oppose. Interlocutory applications shall be made one day after the close of proceedings and shall be determined before the hearing commences.

PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE:

Rule 15 provides for the pre-trial conference. This shall be done on the eighth day after the filing of the petition.

HEARING OF THE PETITION:

Immediately after the pre-trial conference the court shall commence the hearing of the petition under Rule 18 of the Presidential Election Petition Rules.

FINAL DETERMINATION:

By the fourteenth day the court will be expected to deliver its verdict. In this regard, the court may give its decision and reserve the reasons for the decision to a later date. This has been provided for under Rule 23 of the Presidential Election Petition Rules.

DECISION 2017: Blatant rigging schemes in a poll that never was

I agree with the NASA coalition leadership that the 2017 general election was a sham.

In the run-up to the 2017 elections, a friend advised me against contesting as the governor of Isiolo County. I was surprised at his suggestion. When I asked him why, he replied, “Are you able to buy the returning officer and the agents of your opponents?” I was kind of taken aback. In this time and age, elections should reflect the will of the people.

Of course, I disregarded my friend’s advice and proceeded with my quest. I was fully aware of the demands from our electorate, including being paid to attend campaign meetings and other exorbitant but sometimes unavoidable costs that run into millions of shillings.

On the campaign trail I did what every ordinary politician does; go and see people, talk to them about my plans, manifesto and how I planned to improve their lives.

MONEY

Most often these messages were received positively. Later I realised the  average Kenyan voter does not really listen to the messages leaders bring them. The most attractive thing to a voter in a campaign meeting is the money that people receive. In fact, during the campaign period, there are people who shut down their business only to wait for politicians. Lots of money is spent just for people to come out to listen to a politician.

The reality of my friend’s advice hit me when I saw a presiding officer at a polling station assisting an elderly and unlettered voter.

The agents were all staring away as the presiding officer kept on assisting the unlettered voters.

To my utter shock, I realised more than 70 per cent of the voters in the rural areas are assisted voters, meaning they don’t possess even the most basic form of education. Most elderly voters voted for a candidate they did not even know.

Uneducated voters don’t have enough information on how to vote. Presiding officers have lots of power to influence elections once they are compromised. The concept of using agents is not really working.
The agents themselves easily get compromised. The presiding officer I saw in fact was marking the wrong candidates for the voters.

This aspect really shocked me and confirmed the fears that our electoral process is a sham.The saddest part though is the counting of ballot papers. My impromptu visit to a number of polling stations confirmed my fears.

As the former Russian dictator Joseph Stalin once said, “It is not enough that the people know there was an election.

The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” The methods I saw in several polling stations suggested an agent cannot really confirm with certainty that the process is fair and transparent.

POOR LIGHTING

Some of the polling stations do not have proper lighting system so agents sometimes cannot verify the results. The whole process looks very unfair. The presidential tally was the most inaccurate.

The NASA coalition has been lamenting about votes being stolen. Scores of people have so far been killed by the security forces.

The worst part in my observation is the buying of voters on the polling queue. Without blinking, candidates were openly giving money to voters in the presence of the police officers.

The electoral process as it is now cannot reflect the wishes of the people.

The best solution would be to use mobile phone applications for people to vote. Since most adults in Kenya today can vote, IEBC should invest in an APP that can be used to elect the leaders we want.

If an illiterate voter needs to be assisted, then it is better if assisted by relatives they trust rather than a stranger.

The elections of 2017, despite the orderly and peaceful manner in which they were conducted, did not qualify for the “free and fair” description.

IEBC needs to initiate a new set of reforms to inspire confidence and ensure a candidate feels comfortable with the process.

As things stand now, it looks like elections in Kenya are determined way in advance and there is no need in taking part in an election in the first place.

By Mohamed Gulleid- Courtesy of The Standard newspaper

THE ASSUMPTION OF THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR BILL 2016

 

The Assumption of The Office of The Governor Bill 2016 was a brainchild of Kiambu Senator Paul Kimani Wamatangi. The Bill provides the procedure and ceremony for the assumption of the office of the Governor by a Governor-elect. With necessary modifications, it will also apply to the assumption of the Office of the Governor by a Deputy Governor or the Speaker of the County Assembly.
Kimani Wamatangi- Kiambu Senator
The memorandum of the bill says there is presently no legal framework governing the assumption of the office of the Governor.
The defunct Transition Authority supervised the assumption into office by the current governors.
Key Aspects of the Assumption of The Office of The Governor Bill 2016
Establishment of Assumption of the Office of Governor Committee.
This shall be an ad hoc (special) committee. It shall consist of—
  • the County Secretary who shall be the chairperson;
  • the County Attorney;
  • the Chief Officer in the department responsible for matters relating to the county public service;
  • Chief Officer in the department responsible for matters relating to information and communication;
  • the Chief Officer in the department responsible for matters relating to finance;
  • Chief Officer in the department responsible for matters relating to public works, roads and transport;
  • the County Commissioner;
  • the head of the National Police Service in the county.
  • the head of the National Intelligence Service in the county;
  • the Clerk of the county assembly;
  • two persons nominated by the Governor-elect;
Functions of the Assumption of the Office of Governor Committee.
The functions of the committee shall be to—
  • facilitate the handing over process by the outgoing Governor to the Governor-elect; organize for the security of the Governor-elect;
  • organize for the necessary facilities and personnel for the Governor-elect;
  • co-ordinate the briefings of the Governor-elect by relevant county public officers; facilitate communication between the outgoing Governor and the Governor-elect; prepare the programme and organize for the swearing-in ceremony; carry out any other activity necessary for the performance of its functions under the Assumption of The Office of The Governor Bill 2016; and perform any other function assigned to it under any other written law. Arrangements for Assumption of Office by the Governor-Elect
The Assumption of The Office of The Governor Bill 2016 stipulates that the committee shall ensure the Governor-elect and Deputy Governor-elect are accorded adequate security. This is after IEBC declares the final results for the election of the office of the governor. The committee shall assist the Governor-elect to make the necessary preparations for purposes of assuming office.
In carrying out the above preparations, the Governor-elect may request, in writing, for any information they deem necessary from a county public officer. The county public officer should provide the information within reasonable time.
A county public officer who fails to comply with this request commits an offence. They are liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding 300,000 shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.
Swearing-in Ceremony for the Governor-elect
The swearing-in of the Governor-elect shall occur in a public ceremony before the resident High Court Judge. In the absence of the resident High Court Judge, the resident Chief Magistrate may officiate the ceremony.
The Governor-elect shall be sworn-in on the first Tuesday following the twenty-first day after the declaration of the result of the election of county governor. That is, the first Tuesday after 21 days since the IEBC declared the governor as having won the elections.
The Governor-elect shall, during the swearing-in ceremony, take and subscribe to the oath or affirmation of office. The oath or affirmation shall take place not earlier than 10.00 am and not later than 2.00 pm.
Upon taking or subscribing to the oath or affirmation, the Governor shall sign a certificate of inauguration in the presence of the resident High Court Judge. Alternatively, in the absence of the resident High Court Judge, in the presence of the resident Chief Magistrate.
The Governor shall give an inauguration speech to the county once the Deputy Governor is sworn in.
Amendments to the County Governments Act
The Assumption of The Office of The Governor Bill 2016 repeals the following provisions of the County
Governments Act —
  • section 30 (1);
  • section 32 (1); and
  • the oath of office for the governor/ deputy governor as contained in the First Schedule.
Section 30 (1) deals with the powers of the County Governor and Section 32 (1) on the oath of the deputy governor. The Schedule of the Assumption of The Office of The Governor Bill 2016 provides for the oath of the Deputy Governor.