For over 10 years, the Northern Rangelands Trust, a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been acquiring land in the arid north of the country. Today, it controls almost 10% of Kenya’s land mass. Environmental journalist John Mbaria investigates. (Courtesy of the New African Magazine)
In its dying days, the Obama Administration pumped massive amounts of money into supporting a powerful NGO accused of using below-the-radar tactics to control a huge amount of Kenyan land, thereby using conservation as a subtle tool for dispossessing tens of thousands of pastoralists, who have unwittingly participated in their own dispossession.
Much of the land, whose control is enforced by local well-armed militias, has recently been granted UN-protected status. And with financial backing from powerful Western donors, the Northern Rangelands Trust’s (NRT) activities are largely insulated from public scrutiny.
Unless the new Trump administration discontinues the US government’s support to wildlife conservation in Africa, the NRT is set to continue having a say over vast, mineral-rich lands in the north and coastal areas of Kenya.
Most of these lands have been identified, in official documents, as areas of immense potential capable of becoming the very basis of the country’s future economic progress. These areas are also crucial to the maintenance of the extensive livestock husbandry practised by millions of pastoralists in northern Kenya.
Today, the NRT effectively controls 44,000 km2 (or 10.8m acres) of land – that’s roughly eight per cent of Kenya’s 581,309 km2 landmass. Interestingly, the organisation appears to have acquired a decisive say over these lands by co-opting the local leadership. Consequently, NRT’s control of the lands in Kenya’s Upper Rift, North and Coastal areas is facilitated by local political and community leaders, some of whom are co-opted as members of the organisation’s Board.
This has been done through community wildlife conservation, a model in which landowners assert the right to manage and profit from wildlife on their lands.
Conservancies have proliferated across pastoralist, wildlife-rich areas in northern and southern Kenya. They are also an extremely attractive funding prospect for Western donors in the conservation sector.
All the cash is handed over, not directly to the landowners, who have constituted themselves into 33 community conservancies, but to the NRT, which acts like a middleman and which has taken up not just conservation, but other roles (including security arrangements) that are ordinarily performed by national governments.
Among the biggest financial supporters of NRT, the former Obama administration consistently extended tens of millions of dollars to the organisation through the United States Agency for International Development (USAid). As if to underscore how important the NRT’s work was to the Obama Administration, the organisation’s Chief Programs Officer, Tom Lalampaa, and its founder, Ian Craig, were among the people given the privilege of making short presentations about their work when the former US president visited Kenya last July.
America’s latest support to the organisation was announced in a press statement released by the US Embassy in Nairobi in late November 2016. In the communiqué, the US Ambassador to Kenya, Robert F. Godec, said
the US’s new 5-year, $20m support was meant “to help expand” the NRT’s operations in Coastal
He hailed NRT’s partnership with the communities, terming it “a shared vision of protecting ecosystems and promoting peace for a better future”. He added that the cash would be used to support the work of community rangers, to conserve wildlife and fisheries, improve livelihoods, and advance women’s enterprises.
For its part, NRT, through Craig (who signed off as the organisation’s Director of Conservation), said the cash would be used to fund the opening up of new conservancies and create a conservation trust fund.
The former Obama administration consistently extended tens of millions of dollars to the NRT through USAid.
Though the US government believes that the NRT shares “the visions of protecting ecosystems” with the communities in Upper Rift, the North and on the Coast, recent developments in Kenya have proved otherwise. Indeed, the US support comes at a time when some well-armed herders, from some of the same communities the NRT has helped to form community conservancies, have invaded sprawling private ranches in Laikipia and elsewhere, leading to human fatalities, the killing of wild animals and forcing the deployment of specialised security units from the Kenya police.
The work of NRT and the West’s support to conservation in some of Kenya’s arid-and-semi-arid lands has altered the human/ wildlife dynamics in some areas. This has also invited curious concern from conservation experts, who believe that the US and other countries in the West have been supporting a controversial organisation that has been usurping the role of Kenya’s human and wildlife security organs, as well as destroying the age-old ability of tens of thousands of herders to live off their land.
As New African found out in extensive visits and interviews with different people in the affected areas, the NRT-inspired community-conservation model is simple and can be quite attractive for anyone ignorant of its implications, especially for the lives and livelihoods of local people.
After co-opting the local leadership, the NRT appears to have crafted MOUs with the communities owning the vast tracts of land. In most cases, the communities’ land-ownership claims are based on the most rudimentary rights – an ancestral claim to the land.
Community members are also reputed to retain significant respect for, and allow themselves to be guided by, local leadership which, in most cases, uses its standing in communities to advance, and persuade “lesser” members of communities to conform with the wishes of the NRT.
This is not so difficult as the organisation has come up with quite an attractive package for the communities, including securing for them investors interested in developing lodges and other tourism facilities, once they agree to set aside some of their lands for exclusive use by wildlife and the investors.
NRT also promises bursaries for school children, employment for community members, a ready market for the livestock and the setting up of a grazing plan to prevent livestock deaths through drought in the drylands of Kenya.
“NRT’s approach is quite attractive to communities who have been neglected by successive governments in Kenya since the country attained independence from the British,” says Daniel Letoiye, a Samburu County resident who previously worked as a programme officer with NRT.
However, hidden in the fine print are consequences that are considered grave for the pastoralist groups in Northern Kenya. “Even when droughts occur, many of the pastoralist groups [who have signed up to the agreements] cannot access part of their lands that are now set aside for wildlife conservation and which constitute community conservancies,” says Michael Lalampaa, an official with the Higher Education Loans Board who hails from Samburu County.
Lalampaa complains that the NRT compels communities to set aside the best portions of their lands for the exclusive use of wildlife and the tourist investors. Lalampaa says that the organisation usually identifies leaders and elites within relevant communities who aid in persuading the pastoralists to set aside big parcels of land for conservation purposes. “Once the agreements are put in place, it becomes impossible for the herders to access some areas with pastures in the conservancies … they are confronted by armed scouts who evict them.” He adds that it is “sad that at times, livestock ends up dying simply because the owners cannot graze the animals in what used to be their own lands.”
This has proven problematic especially since vast sections of the relevant rangelands have been depleted year-in, year-out by overgrazing and are inhabited by people who have become increasingly vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change.
As a result, hundreds of thousands of livestock end up competing over the remaining patches of grasslands and dwindling water sources such as the Ewaso Nyiro River.
This happens, as copious reports show, in an area largely ignored by the Kenya government, inhabited by
morans, have taken up cattle- rustling as a traditional pastime.
Claims have also been made that NRT’s activities have far-reaching implications on the entire country and therefore need to be handled with more than casual attention by Kenya’s allies across the world, the government as well as the people of Kenya.
“The sheer geographical, financial, cultural, and political scale of this intervention calls for a lot more thought than has been given to it thus far,” said Dr Mordecai Ogada, a conservation consultant based in Laikipia County.
Dr Ogada believes that the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has “abdicated” from its responsibility to inspire the formation and sound management of conservation activities outside Kenya’s protected areas. But top officials at KWS – which has lately been experiencing financial difficulties – deny this, saying that they see no problem with the operations of the NRT.
However, KWS appears critical of recent moves by foreign governments to fund the NRT. “Conservation NGOs like NRT have recently benefited from funding from development partners, following the paradigm shift where development partners and other governments prefer to fund communities through NGOs rather than governments directly,” said Paul Gathitu, KWS spokesperson and head of corporate communications.
Attempts by New African to elicit comments from NRT met with no success. Nevertheless, on its website, the organisation – which calls itself a “movement” – announces that it has been raising funds to aid the formation and running of conservancies.
NRT also says that it supports the training of relevant communities and helps to “broker agreements between conservancies and investors”. It claims that it provides donors with “a degree of oversight” by participating directly in how community conservancies and incomes accrued are managed. This was evident as New African toured eight conservancies in Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu and Laikipia, where NRT has appointed its own managers who are in charge of the day-to-day running of the conservancies.
Besides the managers, there are the members of the Board and grazing committees who are, on paper, supposed to be making decisions that suit the needs of the true owners of the land.
However, there is evidence that main decisions are made by NRT and that the organisation has maintained little or no engagement with the owners of the land and local public institutions.
Besides the US, NRT’s activities are funded by a host of other private companies and bodies in the West. Some of the principal donors to NRT include the Danish Development Agency (DANIDA); the Nature Conservancy (a US-based international NGO); and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) of France. NRT is also bankrolled by other donors who fund its long-term programmes – including Fauna & Flora International, Zoos South Australia, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ of Germany), US Fish and Wildlife Service, San Diego Zoo, International Elephant Foundation, Saint Louis Zoo, Running Wild and others. These latter donors have boosted what NRT terms a pooled conservation fund that has a lifespan of more than five years.
The Tullow Oil Company, that has been involved in oil prospecting in Turkana County, has funded NRT to the tune of $11.5m in a five-year project meant to aid the latter in establishing and operating new conservancies in Turkana and West Pokot counties.
Seventy per cent of the money was meant to go directly to community conservancies’ bank accounts for meeting operational costs (i.e. staff salaries, the purchase and running of vehicles, the acquisition of computers and other equipment), while 30% was to enable the formation and management of the conservancies.
The NRT has maintained little or no engagement with the owners of the land and local public institutions
But this did not go down well with the Turkana County government, which declared the relevant conservancies illegal, with the County Executive for Energy, Environment & Natural Resources ordering NRT to stop its operations there.
Later, the County Governor, Josphat Nanok, termed NRT’s move to establish conservancies in Turkana as “ill-advised with a hidden agenda”.
Dr Ogada believes that the millions of dollars in grants given by the US and other countries in the West have made NRT a “launch pad” for what he terms “a new conservation paradigm” in East Africa.
“NRT has championed this model of conservation very actively for the last decade [resulting] in a situation where challenges or mistakes aren’t spoken about by donors or implementers because of the sheer scale of professional and financial investment in an institution [which like all others] does have inherent weaknesses,” he added.
The NRT’s security function is considered one of the most controversial aspects of the community conservancy movement in Kenya. Usually, maintenance of security within countries is a preserve of governments. But on its website, the organisation says that it inspires community conservancies to “tackle insecurity holistically”.
This includes conducting anti-poaching operations, wildlife monitoring and providing what it terms “invaluable [support] to the Kenya Police in helping to tackle cattle rustling and road banditry”.
The organisation says that by 2014, it had facilitated the training of 645 rangers who operate in the conservancies while Dickson ole Kaelo, the chief executive of the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, reported that over 2,300 community rangers have been trained so far.
Normally, the organisation selects community members and takes them for training by the KWS’s personnel at the wildlife agency’s Manyani Training School, close to Kenya’s biggest national park, Tsavo.
Here, the rangers are taught “bush craft skills, as well as how to effectively gather and share intelligence, monitor wildlife and manage combat situations”. The involvement of KWS in the training of the community rangers was confirmed, but downplayed, by Michael Kipkeu, KWS’s Senior Assistant Director in charge of the Community Wildlife Service. “The KWS law enforcement academy provides tailor-made community scouts’ training.”
After being trained by KWS, the rangers are given more advanced training than what is posted on the NRT’s website. For instance, according to the Save the Rhino NGO, the rangers are given Kenya Police Reserve accreditation and “sufficient weapons handling training”.
Such advanced training involves tactical movement with weapons, ambush and anti-ambush drills, handling and effective usage of night-vision and thermal-imaging equipment, and ground-to-air communications and coordination.
There are also suspicions that the bigger scheme is to ensure that Kenya unwittingly “forfeits” some of the lands under the NRT by getting them declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
The scheme to have UNESCO declare some of the biggest private game ranches and wildlife conservancies in Laikipia, Samburu, and islands in the Coast as World Heritage Sites is now being pursued in earnest.
“Legally, the move may not amount to much but knowing how lobbying is done, if the government were to [seek to] change ownership, listings would be put up to demonstrate how special these ranches are and why they should remain with the present landowners,” said Njenga Kahiro, a former Programme Officer with Laikipia Wildlife Forum. The aim, Kahiro avers, is “to create a super-big protected area … all of it [covered by] the World Heritage Convention.”
Isiolo Senator, Mohammed Kuti, has picked a former UK-based Doctor as his running mate in the race for the Isiolo gubernatorial seat. Dr Kuti officially declared that Dr. Abdi Ibrahim Issa alias Abdi Kishotowill be his running mate in his bid to clinch the county top seat in the August election.
Strange as it may be, after digging into the background check of one Dr. Abdi Ibrahim Issa alias Abdi Greek Issa’s activities in UK, some shocking revelations according to The SUN Tabloid have emerged that the expose’ might end his prospective political ambition. This has emerged in the wake of new constitutional requirements on integrity for all aspirants participating in the August polls.
The SUN tabloid of 3rd October ran a sensational headline; “LICENCE TO ILL- Investigation reveals dodgy GPs (General Practioners) getting cash to help minicab and Uber drivers fake medical test over fitness to drive”
In United Kingdom, General Practioners (GPs) are required to sign a medical statement that prospective PHV drivers are fit and healthy. But, an undercover investigation found three doctors who allegedly approved minicab medical forms for money.
The Transport for London (TfL) PHV driver licence application asks GPs to check prospective cabbies for details of cardiovascular disease, seizures and problems with eyesight or injuries.
And it states: “This form should be taken to a registered medical practitioner who has access to your full medical history, typically your GP, for completion.
“If it is not completed by someone who has access to your full medical history this could lead to delays in the processing of your medical.”
However, an investigation by The Sun newspaper journalist posing as a PHV driver found that Dr Ashraful Haque Mirza, a GP in Morden, South London, allegedly accepted a cash bribe to fake the results of eyesight and blood pressure tests.
The journalist was passed as medically fit despite telling Dr Mirza that his vision, “gets a bit blurry”. To which the doctor allegedly replied: “Right, OK, fine, they won’t give you any problems with that”.
A PHV driver applying for a renewal of his TfL minicab licence was also filmed leaving Dr Mirza’s surgery and said: “I live in Hounslow, my GP said the health checks would cost £150 and take eight days. Here it takes five minutes and £50.”
Another doctor in Barking, East London, also agreed to sign off the TfL forms presented by the undercover reporter and falsely declare he had seen his full medical history.
And it was further alleged that a minicab company had contracted a doctor in Hounslow, Dr Abdi Greek, to fast track the medical forms of drivers without asking to see the medical records of the PHV licence applicants.
A spokesman for Uber said:
‘There should be tough action against any GP who has falsified medical certificates and any test centres found to cheat the system should be closed down.’
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, also praised The Sun for lifting the lid.
Labour MP and Transport Committee member of House of Commons Graham Stringer said: “This is a serious scandal which is putting the public at risk.”
TfL chief operating officer for surface transport Garrett Emmerson said: “We take all allegations of fraud very seriously and will investigate.”
Chief executive of the General Medical Council Niall Ferguson said the organisation would be investigating the claims, “as a matter of urgency”.
In the wake of such startling revelations the fate of one Dr. Abdi hitherto lies with Multi-Agency Team dealing with matters of those individuals pursuing political office in Kenya.
Dr. Abdi Issa Greek who is a British national according to Public Register had the following registered companies. The first one was dissolved, the second he is active Director till today and the last one he resigned as Director.
That politicians with ongoing criminal cases, including those battling corruption and hate speech charges, now risk being locked out of the August General Election in an elaborate bid by vetting agencies to comply with Constitutional requirements on integrity. Those with suspicious degrees running for governor and president, as well as their running mates, will not be safe from the hammer.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), and the Registrar of Political Parties, and Office of the Attorney-General said that they will not leave anything to chance in a bid to clean up Kenyan leadership.
The institutions will enforce compliance with the leadership and integrity requirements by aspirants in the forthcoming General Election.
Aspirants for political office are asked to declare if they have ever been convicted of any offence and sentenced to serve for at least six months, misused public resources, removed from register of members of professional organisations, dismissed from employment due to integrity, or whether they had been subject of criminal or disciplinary proceedings as public officers.
In this unfortunate scenario, Dr. Abdi Ibrahim alias Abdi Greek alias Abdi Kishoto should brace for hard times ahead with the electoral vetting agencies owing to the fact that he grossly violated basic tenets of Leadership and Integrity Act by engaging in wrongful conduct whilst in the furtherance of personal benefit and much worse falsifying official record.
I hope the vetting agencies will swing into action and deal with this matter expeditiously.
It is my hope and prayer that this finds you all, in good health!
JUBILEE PARTY PRIMARIES NIGHTMARE
Now that Jubilee primaries is around the corner, it’s giving us yet another time to rate our current leadership in order to make an informed decision. Let’s begin by analysing the current regime so that it aid us all in making decision.
As you are all aware, in 2013, the sitting Isiolo County Boss rode solely on Borana support across the clan divide and clinched the gubernatorial seat. He was voted in to champion the development of Isiolo County and raise the living standards of its residents. Today, let’s delve into assessment of his regime, regime that has killed the hopes of the poor! The regime that has been on looting spree since its inception, the regime in which Isiolo County went to its lowest ebb! The only county government that has nothing in its name ever since it came into being!
We will start by highlighting a few of his sins as we can’t fit them all into one post, because it will take us forever to pen every misdeed of the incumbent.
Immediately Doyo occupied the governor’s office, he threw in the dustbin his elections pledges and embarked on a journey that proved disastrous to our county.
Sad as it is, it has come to our attention that for the last few days, to be precise, ever since Kuti declared his candidature, County mandarins are trying to hoodwink Isiolo residents that they should vote for Doyo under the guise of Borantiti, we Must pen truth about doyo’s lack of an iota of borantiti! Truth are always put into perspective because it is truth, it neither has something to do with killing doyo’ s chance of re-election nor being about supporting election of his opponents! It is about truth and speaking truth is an act of ibada, Islamically.
When Doyo selected his cabinet, in Borana community he chose people from only three clans: Warjidda, Sakuye and Karayu. He in essence thought that the rest of the Borana clans are either not Borana enough to hold bigger positions or are inconsequential in that they don’t have the numbers to worry him in 2017 elections.
To make the matters worse, his appointments were based on cronyism rather than merit, in most cases. Within his cabinet, he made sure that the appointed Borana sons would not hold otherwise crucial dockets like finance, Health etc. This negates County Government Act
To add insult to the injury, Doyo blocked employment of competent Borana sons and daughters which was done by Isiolo County Public Service Board.
1. Abdinassir Ali -Chief Finance Officer
2. Salad Kikuyu-Head of Supply Chain
3. Halima Ibrahim- Head of Revenue
4.Roba Qanchora- Head of Treasury
5.Hussein Wako Gedho- Director Land, Survey and planning
We were all hopeful that the new team would put in place efficient system that would be accountable to the people of Isiolo . There were hopes that they would put in place a system that would guarantee collection of local revenue and introduce tougher curbs to stop insider dealing that has brought down our county. However, the hope did not last! Doyo and other county Mandarins wouldn’t allow ‘Outsiders‘ to come in and bring to an end the culture of looting that has become norm.
One of the silent crucial positions that has come with Devolved Governance is position of Directors! In county like Marsabit, the sitting governor appointed his kinsmen to this position because it’s one of ‘big’ positions that its terms are permanent and pensionable while clueless governor Doyo is yet to fill Borana people into the position. The few appointed to the position do not have appointment letters, hence, their term shall end in April, in less than two weeks time as their boss becomes former Governor.
E.C.D.E TEACHERS AND NURSES
After reality downed on him that he got nothing to showcase plus fear of the ECDE teachers and ‘health docket workers’ wrath Doyo for the last few weeks has been jumping up and down, He met the ECDE TEACHERS and still looking for very many nurses he denied opportunity with the promise of giving them permanent jobs!
One would wonder, whether that ECDE teacher would want his/her salary which has not been paid for several months or would believe in (what in Borana dialect is called ‘rarag‘) verbal improvement of work terms to permanent and pensionable.
Mind you, we have not talked about the very many Borana youths employed as Nutritionist, Health workers etc by the same county Government that believes that white color jobs are not meant for Borana, who were later sacked citing allegations that employment process were done illegally, some workers lacked certificate etc. Mark you, some were never paid for the few months they worked.
MANAGEMENT OF COUNTY FUNDS
Doyo embarked on embezzlement of county funds immediately he assumed office. He bought Storeys abound of properties in Isiolo, Nakuru and Nairobi amongst other places, through proxies. Of course with funds meant for providing basic amenities and services to the people of Isiolo. The perennial Modo Gashe and Basa water problems, the poor state of Health sector, the poor state of our roads to name but a few are testaments to the diversion of funds meant for these services to his and his few cronies pockets.
With the billions of funds at his disposal, there is no single health facility, no single ECD classroom, no anything, in the name of current regime, the few millions of CDF managed by Bahari and Kuti have done wonders if the Doyo regime is anything compare with!As such, Today, as we head to nominations, people should wisely choose between Hon. Bahari and Senator Kuti.
AWARDING OF TENDERS
This is probably Doyo’s greatest undoing. His only beneficiaries are group of shrewd and notoriously corrupt business men who partner with corrupt leaders to award themselves tenders, grab land and anything valuable that is meant for the public which are in control of the corrupt leaders. Doyo went neck deep into this sinful and despicable partnership that robbed the residents of Isiolo off the right to these resources meant for their development.
He sidelined Borana people in awarding of tenders. With many of this team being people from Mandera. The unholy partnership culminated into him declaring that he is a member of Birkaya clan of Garri Tribe from Mandera. He in so doing, denounced his Warjidda kinship and Borana kinship at large.
People like former Isiolo South Legislature Hon Abdul Bahari Alihave made at least one or two Borana millionaires in every centres, while with the billions, Doyo has not made even a single Uso Harito Millionaire, no wonder Uso Harito have dumped him for The ever absentee Kuti.
Zizama Duba (photo-above) writes on Social & Political issues. You can reach him via (email@example.com)
When I was piecing up this script I was reminded of a saying “If you think you are leading and turn around to see no one following, then you are just taking a walk.” This is the exact scenario one a Mr. Kuti is currently experiencing.
The 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln once asserted; “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
WHO IS KUTI?
Sen Kuti is not a new person in the political arena. He has served for 15 unglamorous years during which the status of the larger Isiolo community disintegrated. If or when the Senator decides to unveil his campaign, he’ll be confronted with real questions of his 15 yrs absentee leadership by the larger Isiolo electorate.
Sen Kuti is a deserter par excellence. He has perfected the art of disappearing for 4.5yrs only to resurface a few months to the ekection to mesmerise gullible voters with money. Thanks to devolution, his void has been filled by other capable leaders. He will have to answer where he was all this time and Isiolo people will not take his old excuse of ‘sickness’ for an answer. In politics, you can only use a trick once.
Dr. Mohamed Abdi Kuti, the out going senator of isiolo county failed to represent isiolo county and unable to protect the interest of isiolo county. He forgot his duty as a senator and now he is challenging the same system he never happened to challenge through the rule of law. Since he was elected as senator, Kuti went silent and reappeared few months to election.
The million dollar question is, If he was unable to play fundamental role of oversight, will he be able to run Isiolo County as a Governor?
The following are facts about Mohamed Abdi Kuti:
POOR REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE OF SENATE.
It has been in the public domain that Senator kuti has never stepped in the House of Senate for the last two years. He has never been present both during the plenary and the Committee services. This has been considerably informed when he was kicked out as a Chair of Health Committee for being ever absent and lazy. That motion to eject him out of the committee was moved by nominated Senator Catherine Mukite and the Committe was later reconstituted where Migori Senator Hon. Dr. Wilfred Machage became the Chair of the Departmental Committe on Health. Moreover, owing to his inaccessibility several times the electorates in Isiolo County turn to other Senators for assistance, the best example is the Petition on the lease of two Isiolo game reserves tabled by distinguished Kakamega Senator Hon. Dr. Boni Khalwale. (Source: Hansard report of 5th July, 2016)
Recently, Senate Minority Leader; Hon. Moses Masika Wetangula informed the public that he has not seen Senator Kuti in Parliament for the last two years.
The disturbing question is;
(a) Was Senator Kuti withdrawing salary and allowances from taxpayers’ exechequer which includes mileages and per diems? It is in the public domain that Senator Kuti has been withdrawing 4.2M for Isiolo county’s Senator office and yet there are no offices established.
(b) The Senator has never stepped in Isiolo since he was elected by the people of Isiolo County whilst the County has undergone numerous challenges pertaining to devolved governance. Where was the funds earmarked for establishing Senator’s office at the County headquarters.?
Chapter eight of the Constitution of Kenya (the Constitution) establishes the Legislature. Article 93 of the Constitution states that “There is established a Parliament of Kenya,” (Parliament) “which shall consist of the National Assembly and the Senate.” The two Houses of Parliament shall perform their respective functions in accordance with the Constitution as stated in Article 93 (2) of the Constitution.
Role of Parliament
Article 94 of the Constitution states the following as the roles of Parliament:
(i) The legislative authority of the Republic is derived from the people and, at the national level, is vested in and exercised by Parliament.
(ii) Parliament manifests the diversity of the nation, represents the will of the people, and exercises their sovereignty.
(iii) Parliament may consider and pass amendments to this Constitution, and alter county boundaries as provided for in this Constitution.
(iv) Parliament shall protect this Constitution and promote the democratic governance of the Republic.
(v) No person or body, other than Parliament, has the power to make provision having the force of law in Kenya except under authority conferred by this Constitution or by legislation.
An Act of Parliament, or legislation of a county, that confers on any State organ, State officer or person the authority to make provision having the force of law in Kenya, as contemplated in clause (5), shall expressly specify the purpose and objectives for which that authority is conferred, the limits of the authority, the nature and scope of the law that may be made, and the principles and standards applicable to the law made under the authority.
Pursuant to provisions of Article 96 of the Constitution states that the following shall be the roles of the Senate:-
(1) The Senate represents the counties, and serves to protect the interests of the Counties and their governments;
(2) The Senate participates in the law-making function of Parliament by considering, debating and approving Bills concerning Counties, as provided in Articles 109 to 113 of the Constitution;
(3) The Senate determines the allocation of national revenue among Counties, as provided in Article 217 of the Constitution, and exercises oversight over national revenue allocated to the county governments; and
(4) The Senate participates in the oversight of State officers by considering and determining any resolution to remove the President or Deputy President from office in accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution
In this regard, this clearly indicates that Senator has been earning salaries and allowances without performing the very cardinal duties entrusted to him by the electorates of Isiolo County.
On 27th July, 2016 The Senate Health Committee was reconstituted because its leadership was lazy and lacklustre, nominated Senator Catherine Mukite said. Senator Mukite was a member of the committee. Mukite said the team has not executed its mandate as chairman Mohammed Kuti and vice chairperson Zipporah Kittony are absentees. “They are always flying out. We have had problems in the committee and we now demand that it be reconstituted,” she told the House. Kuti and Kittony have been away for some time. It is not clear if Speaker Ekwee Ethuro sanctioned their absence from the House. Several concerns raised by Senators on the health situation in Kenya have not been addressed. Senators expressed concern that the crucial committee is a “let-down”. They asked Ethuro to convene a kamukunji to discuss the committee. (Source; Senate Hansard repory of 27th July, 2017 & The Star Newspaper of 28th July, 2016)
Senator Kuti was ranked as the worst performing Senator with an approval rating of 41% percent. The survey, that was conducted by Infotrak Research and Consulting on behalf of the “Daily Nation”, was carried between December 2014 to February and a total of 2,800 people were interviewed.Source (www.theinformerke.com)
It is my believe that Senator Kuti is contesting just because he has resources at his disposal. He is not aware of the happenings in isiolo county for solid 4.5yrs. He resurrected to lure poor voters of isiolo county.
SENATOR KUTI DENIED VISA BY UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
A travel ban was issued against Isiolo County Senator Mohamed Abdi Kuti from travelling to the United States of America for official Parliamentary business at the end of January 2014.
Senator Kuti is a leader of delegation who represents the people of Isiolo County in the House of the Senate of the Republic of Kenya pursuant to the provisions of Article 96 of the Constitution of Kenya.
We are reliably informed that the United States government declined to grant visas to three Kenyan Senators who were scheduled to travel to America on 1st February, 2014. The Senators whose request for visas were rejected include; Senator Amos Wako of Busia County, Kiraitu Murungi of Meru County and Mohammed Kuti of Isiolo County. The Senators were formerly invited to visit the US Senate in Washington DC.
However, our query is in reference to one Senator Mohamed Abdi Kuti. Understandably, the American embassy in Nairobi wrote to the three Senators explaining that their visa requests could not be granted.
It was not clear why Senator Mohammed Kuti was blacklisted although, there were reports that Isiolo County was experiencing serious ethnic violence while he was at the helm. Could that be related to fueling ethnic incitement and tribal balkanisation or drug related matter?
In the Kibaki government Kuti served as Youth Affairs minister and then as Livestock Development minister.
Our inquiry was considerably informed by provision of Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, which provides as follows:-
35 (1) Every citizen has the right to access:
(a) information held by the State; and
(b) information held by another person and required for the exercise or protection of any right or fundamental freedom.
(2) Every person has the right to the correction or deletion of untrue or misleading information that affects the person.
(3) The State shall publish and publicise any important information affecting the nation.
Article 35 on access to information is anchored by Article 10, on national values and principles of governance that include democracy and participation of the people, good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability.
In this regard, we wish to be acquainted with the following underlying issues;
(a) Why was Senator Kuti’s request for visa to travel to US was declined?
(b) Was there any tangible reasons put forth by the US Embassy as to why they declined issuance of visa to Senator Kuti.?
KUTI LOOTED KSHS 1. 2 BILLION FROM KMC TOGETHER WITH THE MANAGERS AND TURNED IT INTO HIS CASH COW.
Kuti in collusion with Senior managers at the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) were on the spot following a new Government audit team’s revelations that the multi-billion shilling facility has been seriously crippled through financial mismanagement.
The report by the Inspectorate of State Corporations was tabled at a Cabinet meeting on 6th August, 2013. The contents of the report for FY 2012/2013 revealed that KMC was operating at a huge loss and was heavily indebted.
The collapse of KMC, ten years after it was revived had far-reaching implications for the economic wellbeing of nearly 15 million people in arid and semi arid land who depend on pastoralism and livestock in arguably the country’s most marginalised regions.
Leaders from the pastoralist communities occupy strategic positions in the Jubilee Government, a fact that is expected to have a bearing on how the executive will handle the matter. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and cabinet secretaries for Agriculture, Devolution, National Treasury and Office of the Deputy President were reportedly acting on the issue that is potentially politically explosive.
The probe was ordered by former President Mwai Kibaki, the report says, the commission had made losses in excess of Sh1.2 billion, inclusive of Sh600 million the Government injected in the firm that was revived to resuscitate the economic potential of erstwhile marginalised Kenya’s arid and semi arid lands. To hoist KMC back into business from insolvency, Kibaki administration ploughed nearly Sh3 billion into the KMC plant.
The audit led by Acting Director-General of the Inspectorate of State Corporations Edward M Ngigi, the report accuses the KMC Managing Director Ibrahim Haji Isaak of serious financial impropriety and breaches of procurement of raw material. The Kenya Meat Commission and Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) were flagship projects of target the pastoralist communities in northern and northeastern Kenya.
The arid and semi arid regions account for 78 per cent of the meat consumed in the country and nearly 100 of per cent of what is exported in addition to the livestock that feeds the meat market in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries.
More significantly, President Kibaki sought to mitigate the perennial drought and acute food shortages in a region that host slight over 25% the population and about 60 per cent the landmass. The Government even created two ministries – Northern Kenya and Livestock – specifically for arid regions and appointed Dr Mohammed Kuti Livestock Minister and Dr Ibrahim Elmi Mohamed Northern Kenya Minister.
The oversight of KMC was handed to pastoralist communities, from which Dr Kuti, Dr Elmi and Dr Isaak. The report demonstrates that rather than be the fulcrum of economic development in arid regions, KMC whetted the financial appetites of those bestowed the mandate to turn around the lucrative livestock industry.
Kuti conspired together with Dr. Isaak & other senior managers at KMC and brought the plant to it’s knees. It was reported that on several instances, Dr Isaak transferred Sh15.6 million from KMC account held at Kenya Commercial Bank, Kitengela to his personal account 1125008695 held at the same bank’s Garissa branch to pay for livestock at a market in Garissa.
The Sh15.6 million was besides another Sh11.5 million he withdrew from KMC account (0999241802) at First Community Bank without a cheque, but was authorised by the bank with remarks in the bank statement which indicating ‘cheque forgotten’.
Another withdrawal of Sh3 million was allegedly made by another KMC officer who used her identity card to withdraw the money for the Dr Isaak to go and pay for livestock because he had forgotten his identification card. The report further takes a swipe at the chief executive for behaving like a hawker, which it says: “relegated him to low level of an operative, but whose sole scheme was to defraud KMC”.
KILLER GOTU BRIDGE SCANDAL
Gotu makeshift bridge, set up by the British colonial government in 1951, was designed to allow passage during the dry season when the river is nearly empty. It has a thin concrete surface on top of the rocky bed and is not visible when the volume of water rises above a metre. The local pastoralists and civil servants working there dread the ‘bridge’ especially during rainy season. All crashes occur during the two rainy seasons.
The bridge ideally will link the vast and remote Merti District with the County headquarters in Isiolo town. In the last 10 years there have been more 300 deaths resulting from incidents in which vehicles have been swept into the raging crocodile-infested river. Transporters of livestock have also suffered losses after their trucks plunged into the river, killing the cattle they were carrying.
A local contractor based in Nanyuki which was single sourced was awarded the tender without following proper procurement procedures. The cowboy firm was allocated Sh85 million by Isiolo North CDF in 2012 whose patron was the then MP for Isiolo North Constituency Mohamed Abdi Kuti to put up the bridge. The contractor decided to put three concrete pillars erected in the middle of the river and abandoned the project. The firm was paid the entire amount and issued with certificate of completion by the Ministry of Roads.
In addition to that, the same project had consumed Sh40 million given by the National Government in 2011 following former President Kibaki’s visit to Merti on 26th November, 2010. Apart from incompletion of the project, the cowboy contractor was accused by an irate villagers for failing to pay them for casual work done. The contractor committed this fraud in collusion with the then Member of Parliament for Isiolo North Constituency Hon. Mohamed Abdi Kuti.
OIL EXPLORATION SAGA IN MERTI
The drilling of Bogal-1-1 exploratory oil well in block 9 in Dadacha Bassa, Merti District in Isiolo County ushered electrified anxiety akin to a horrifying experience which happened in the Niger Delta that affected the Ogoni people. The Ogoni’s headed by world celebrated Ken Saro Wiwa began a civil rights movement dubbed; MOSOP (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People). The group argued that oil production had devastated the region’s environment, while bringing no benefit to its 500,000 people. The giant Shell Company had turned what was once an area of unspoilt natural beauty into a grubby black moonscape. Oil from dilapidated pipelines and pumping stations seeped into the soil and destroyed it. For local residents, Nigeria’s oil reserves hadn’t brought affluence but poverty and disease. The Ogoni took up the peaceful fight against Shell and the military regime of Nigeria.
In our case, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) which was contracted, started the $26 million exercise on October 28, 2009 and was expected to drill to a depth of 5.5 kilometres.
Ideally, there should be a tripartite agreement between the government of Kenya, the Chinese Company & the local community. Nonetheless the local community was snubbed in the entire deal due to persistent vested interference by the then Minister for Livestock Mohamed Abdi Kuti who was also the area MP.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, during the initial drilling between 2007 and 2010, had not been made public by both the Government and CNOOC. They have not involved the residents in the entire process because of Kuti’s selfish interest. The Government had started the process on the wrong foot, pointing out that locals had not benefited from a 10 per cent of a $ 26 Million grant meant for the drilling process by CNOOC as its corporate social responsibility. The 10% out $ 26 Million which was Kshs 0.7Billion was pocketed by the human beast in the name of Mohamed Kuti. We can authoritatively report that Kuti swindled and looted Kshs 0.7 Billion meant for the local peasants in Merti District and it’s environ.
ISIOLO DENIED MERTI CONSTITUENCY
The Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission of Kenya or IIBRC was set up by an Act of Parliament on May 12, 2009. They were charged with the mandate to review the existing constituency boundaries to reflect geographical size and population. The Commission was headed by Hon. Andrew Ligale. According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Preliminary Report on the first review relating to the delimitation of Boundaries of Constituencies and Wards released on 9th January 2012.
The following proposal was submitted to the Commission by lobby groups, stakeholders’ and members of the civil society for considerations; key notable personality who represented Isiolo South fraternity was one Molu Koropu
Public Views IIBRC Proposals
1. Proposals related to Isiolo North Constituency
It was proposed that Isiolo North should remain intact.
But should it be divided, it will separate communities who have lived in here for a long time and know no other place.
Isiolo North Constituency be divided into 2;
Isiolo North or Merti Constituency with its HQ at Merti and to encompass the Shaba Game reserve. Merti Constituency includes; Bisan Biliqo Ward, Bulesa Ward, Yamicha Ward, Malka Galla Ward, Korbesa Ward
Public Views IIBRC Proposals
1. The constituency shall comprise of Cherab Merti and Proposed Kom divisions;
Isiolo Central Constituency with its HQ in Isiolo town and to comprise of Buffallo-Springs game reserve. The constituency to comprise of Central, East, Oldonyiro divisions and the proposed Ngaremara Divison.
2. Proposals related to Isiolo South Constituency
Requested the split of Isiolo South on the basis that the Boranas have been marginalised for a long time, though the population is not large enough.
Split Isiolo south into:-
Isiolo South (Rename Isiolo South to Garbatulla) and; Kula Mawe Ward, Kinna Ward,
Sericho constituency. That will comprise of Madogashe Ward, Sericho Ward and Iresaboru Ward of Isiolo County.
Strange as it is the then Isiolo North MP and former Minister for livestock, Mohamed Kuti strongly opposed the above proposal by organizing ignorant people ferried from Merti and goons who were high on unknown stuff shouting down the fundamental proposal causing mayhem and pandemonium to the public hearing that ended in disarray. As a result of his indifference and skewed interest he denied Isiolo residents an additional Constituency hence locking out Kshs 1.2 Billion that would have spur development in the most marginalized area of Isiolo County. The buck stops with Dr. Mohamed Kuti and as such he won’t be forgiven for generations to come.
KUTI’s MISERABLE PERFORMANCE AS A MINISTER AND ISIOLO NORTH MP
Ideally the country’s economy would continue to grow if the civil servants were keen on efficiency. Report on Evaluation of the performance of Public Agencies for the Financial Year 2010/2011 (March 2012) by the Office of the Prime Minister- Performance Contracting Department.) The report was officially released to the public. In the same period Cabinet meeting was urgently convened to explain their Ministries performance and State agencies that falls within their purview. President Kibaki asserted that, “Accountability should be directly to the people of Kenya whom we serve as one Government. The Prime Minister warned that Officers who consistently perform poorly will be required to give way to other deserving Kenyans,” In the comprehensive report, Ministry of Livestock Development, headed by one Mohammed Kuti, was ranked as the worst performing 43/43, followed by Ministry of Labour, headed by John Munyes. Paul Otuoma’s Fisheries Development Ministry respectively. Apart from the names of poorly performing ministries being published in the media, a reprimand was by issued by the President and the Prime Minister.
Following that dismal performance, the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Co-operatives & Livestock summoned Dr. Kuti over the poor ranking of their dockets in the released government survey on performance contracting. The then Committee Chairman Hon. John Mututho (Naivasha, Kanu) said Dr Mohammed Kuti, the minister for Livestock Development will appear before his team and explain why he was sleeping on the job. Hon. Mututho said the Minister was duty-bound to ensure that his services were excellent in the eyes of the public. He further reiterated that the mandate of the Committee was to assess the performance of ministries in relation to set objectives (Standing Order 198(3) (d)). The said Standing Order notes that the role of a departmental committee is “to study, assess and analyse the relative success of the ministries and departments as measured by the results obtained as compared with their stated objective.” Dr Kuti’s Ministry had two parastatals under it, but while one, Kenya Dairy Board, emerged second under regulatory agencies and was 20 overall among the State Corporations, the Kenya Meat Commission performed dismally as it emerged at number 95.
The final jury of the House Committee & the Cabinet;
Livestock Minister Mohamed Abdi Kuti needs to realise that his ministry’s poor performance is the result of various issues submitted to him and his accounting officers, but he did not take any action. They include not submitting in time funds to district heads of department for, for instance, vaccination programmes.
Kuti was ranked position 209 out 210 Constituencies by National Taxpayers’’ Association in the use of CDF funds where Isiolo North Constituency was ranked second last after Khwisero Constituency. There were claims that some sitting MPs used CDF, Local Authority Transfer Fund and donor funds for development to campaign.
POOR REPRESENTATION IN PARLIAMENT
On 27th July, 2016 The Senate Health Committee should be reconstituted because its leadership is lazy and lacklustre, nominated Senator Catherine Mukite said. She is a member of the committee. Mukite said the team has not executed its mandate as chairman Mohammed Kuti and vice chairperson Zipporah Kittony are absentees. “They are always flying out. We have had problems in the committee and we now demand that it be reconstituted,” she told the House. Kuti and Kittony have been away for some time. It was not clear if the Speaker Hon. Ekwee Ethuro sanctioned their absence from the House. Several concerns raised by senators on the health situation in Kenya have not been addressed. Yesterday, senators expressed concern that the crucial committee is a “let-down”. They asked Ethuro to convene a kamukunji to discuss the committee. (Source; Senate Hansard, Star Newspaper of 28th of July, 2016). This was in breach of Constitution of Kenya Article 196
(1) The Senate represents the counties, and serves to protect the interests of the counties and their governments.
(2) The Senate participates in the law-making function of Parliament by considering, debating and approving Bills concerning counties, as provided in Articles 109 to 113.
(3) The Senate determines the allocation of national revenue among counties, as provided in Article 217, and exercises oversight over national revenue allocated to the county governments.
(4) The Senate participates in the oversight of State officers by considering and determining any resolution to remove the President or Deputy President from office in accordance with Article 145.
The Senate Health Committee was later reconstituted where Dr. Kuti was kicked out and replaced with Migori Senator Dr. Wilfred Machage as the Chair of the Committee.
Dr. Mohamed Abdi Kuti, the outgoing senator of Isiolo County failed to represent isiolo county and unable to protect the interest of isiolo county. He forgets his duty as a senator and now he is challenging the same system he never happened to challenge through the rule of law. Since he was elected as Senator Kuti went silent and reappeared few months to election.
If he is unable to oversee, will he be able to run Isiolo County as a governor? I think Kuti is contesting just because he has resources at his disposal. He is not aware of the happening in Isiolo County for solid 4.5yrs. He resurrected to lure poor voters of Isiolo County.
It’s good to relinquish powers in good faith; it’s not good to cling to power for no good reason but personal gains. He should have mentored upcoming leaders. He has nothing to deliver. (Excerpt from the black poet)
KENYA’s BEST & WORST PERFORMING SENATORS LIST OUT
Prof Krop Lonyangapuo of West Pokot has been ranked as highest performing Senator with an approval rating of 74.5 percent. The survey, that was conducted by Infotrak Research and Consulting on behalf of Daily Nation, was carried between December 2014 to February and a total of 2,800 people were interviewed.
Here is how the Senators performed, with the exception of Homabay, in the
County Trak Senator’s approval survey;
1. Prof Krop Lonyangapuo-West Pokot -Was a former PS-74.5 Percent
2. Mike Sonko Mbuvi- Nairobi County-His best known for his Sonko Rescue Team-67.3 percent
Plots in the 3,000 acre Moi Ndabi settlement scheme in Naivasha were laid out by the government in 1994 for victims of ethnic clashes. They went instead to politicians, civil servants, army officers and others favoured by the then government of President Daniel arap Moi. This was recently revealed by the Daily Nation, which unearthed documents from the Ministry of Lands. The beneficiaries include minister Livestock Minister Mohammed Abdi Kuti (Party of National Unity) is said to have received 18 acres. Source Africa Confidential ( HYPERLINK “http://www.africa-confidential.com” http://www.africa-confidential.com)
KENYA EXPORT MEAT STANDARDS ON THE SPOT
It was during the reign of Dr. Kuti at the helm of Ministry of Livestock that Kenya risked losing its key Middle East meat export market due to unscrupulous traders who forge Kenya Meat Commission stamps to export poor quality meat products that failed the test of food health standards and Islamic dietary guidelines (halal). Rogue traders have been exploiting Kenya Meat Commission abattoirs to slaughter a few animals, only to get the requisite certification and use it to camouflage meat products from uncertified sources. During that time, Dubai banned a Kenyan meat merchant who has been using a fake licence from the state-owned meat processor – the sole accredited meat processor in the country allowed to supply meat products to the United Arab Emirates which constitutes Kenya’s top beef export destination. “The country’s meat exports was at risk as some dealers fabricated Kenya Meat Commission papers yet their consignments were from slaughterhouses whose food safety standards was not verified,” said Livestock Development minister Mohammed Abdi Kuti when he addressed members of the Animal Production Society of Kenya in Nyeri. The commission was subjected to public scrutiny and carry out surveillance to flush out any bogus traders posing as KMC agents who are eroding the market confidence of Kenyan meat; globally renowned for its high quality. The European Union has already banned the importation of Kenyan beef due to food safety concerns as a result of livestock diseases. Should the Arab world follow suit, the country will lose a significant source of earnings as the livestock sector contributes 12 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. The shadowy cartels and bogus was under direct supervision of the Minister who was in charge policy making. The sub-standard quality of meat gave Kenya a bad image in both diplomatic and multilateral relations which was the sole mistake of Dr. Kuti who connived with the syndicates and racketeers to loot funds.
KUTI’s BRAZEN FRAUD IN CATTLE PURCHASE OFF-TAKE SCHEME
When Kuti was livestock Minister, the government initiated a scheme to cushion pastoralists against biting drought/famine at that time. The scheme, which was launched to support livestock farmers who were losing their animals due to the prolonged drought, ran into logistical problems after an estimated 600 cattle died at the Kenya Meeting Commission (KMC) holding ground in Athi River. The scheme was dramatically suspended indefinitely by the Ministry giving flimsy reasons. However, the government set aside Kshs 500 Million which disappeared mysteriously. The suspension of the programmes comes amid accusations from livestock owners that the scheme had been hijacked by middlemen who were exploiting them by buying their animals for as little as Sh500 while they sold the same for Sh8, 000 to KMC. The deaths were blamed on the long trek the cattle had made and the lack of food at the holding ground. The then KMC chairman Abdi Aden said the number of animals delivered after it sent out four teams to buy cattle from farmers was overwhelming. When the off take scheme was launched, the government intended to buy cattle from farmers, slaughter at least 10% of them at the point of purchase and distribute the meat as relief food to local residents.
This was despite a Kshs. 98 million grant from the government to KMC meant for equipment repairs which was swindled by the Kuti and his cronies. The commission had reported frequent slaughterhouse breakdowns. Dr Kuti said KMC had been instructed to stop transporting cattle to Athi River to prevent the disaster witnessed at that time.
But while the minister defended the purchasing system, claims abound of how officials from the ministry including Kuti were manipulating the system to fleece wananchi and the government of millions of shillings through crooked purchase schemes. According to reports from the field, the officers had empowered middlemen who buy cattle from farmers at a throwaway price before selling the same to KMC for Sh8, 000 each. Kuti is culpable of Kshs. 598 Million which was siphoned from the exchequer.
KUTI WAS AT THE EPICENTRE OF MAIZE SCANDAL
On 5th February, 2009, Ikolomani MP Dr Bonny Khalwale, who threw the first punch, alleged that Mr Ruto sacked junior employees at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) leaving out the top management who were equally culpable in a multi- million shilling scandal. The fiasco is blamed for the skyrocketing of maize prices, the staple food ingredient, at a time of famine in the country. Dr Khalwale who was powerful chairman of Public Account Committee of National Assembly tabled several documents which allegedly contained phony milling companies and their owners including some which he claimed belonged to sitting MPs. The maize scandal took a dramatic turn when it emerged 15 MPs are among those who solicited for maize allocation for themselves and their cronies at the troubled National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB). Even as this came to light, Justice Minister Martha Karua went on a bare-knuckled attack on Agriculture Minister William Ruto under whose docket the NCPB falls. Responding to allegations by Ruto that her weekend call for him to resign was linked to her efforts to lure him into a political partnership for 2012, Ms Karua said the minister should be held responsible for the maize scandal.
The defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission also swung into action by summoning some MPs and senior Government officials for questioning. Several Government officials also made similar requests between October and December that year.
Livestock Minister Mohamed Abdi Kuti wrote to the NCPB sales and marketing manager, requesting to buy 10,000 bags of maize and 10,000 bags of fertilizer on behalf of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Nomadic rehabilitations centre. Dr. Kuti also requested 500 bags of maize on behalf of Isiolo Posho Mill. It was rather absurd that there were no such rehabilitation centres in Isiolo County.
The departure from partisan politics is obligatory if this country has to steadily march towards its developmental programs. Indeed, impartiality is what we all demand for from all public servants. Unfortunately, in Kenya today, the propensity for public officers and especially cabinet ministers to engage in electioneering governance with a view to bolstering their political popularity and that of the political parties they are affiliated to ahead of the 2012 general, is, sadly very high. They mistakenly think that theirs is a calling to self perpetuate themselves rather than in impartially serving Kenyans from all walks of life.
KUTI HAS PERFECTED THE ARTS OF DIVIDE AND RULE STYLE
Isiolo Senator, Mohammed Kuti, is a desperate man. With no clear development track record, Kuti, who is eyeing the Governor’s seat, is having a hard time penetrating the enlightened voter block in Isiolo County. Kuti has been absent as an MP, Minister and Senator and he is now the laughing stock of town due to his dwindling influence, which is visible to all.
Kuti, whose financial muscle has been punctured by bad business decisions, is now surviving on loans and reliable sources claim that his house is at risk of being auctioned at anytime. Kuti has been inciting one community against another say that he is being fought by community X because he supports community Y. He has perfected this over the years but sadly the people of Isiolo are more enlightened and informed with age. It is utterly embarrassing that the Isiolo Senator has now taken over the role of village committees. Kuti, a pale shadow of his former self, is now a busy body accompanying GOK food aid to villages across the county. Kuti is purportedly claiming to donate the food himself but in reality, he is a fraudster taking pictures with food donated by the national government and several NGOs to mitigate the ongoing drought.
Those who have eyes can see a contingent of Administration Police & Chiefs’ supervising the food distribution process. The chiefs are in full uniform & the food is under their supervision. Our senator has put an alert team to inform him whenever such food distribution exercises are taking place.
Dr. Kuti has for 15 Years used the same style of politics. He has denied Isiolo people development and good governance. He has been hibernating from his own clan, Isiolo people and the National Senate for 41/2 years only resurfacing 6 Months to elections. He has been instilling fear into the hearts and minds of people, people who have not been educated enough to think for themselves. He has created enmity and divided minority tribes and majority tribes for his personal political ambitions. He finally comes back with Kshs 200 notes a few months to elections very much aware that the impoverished, insecure and divided Isiolo people will flock behind him.
Funny enough in 2017 Kuti’s political chess has backfired and there is no hope in his candidature.
I urge the people to shun elders and elites who want to abuse the concept of negotiated democracy in a blatant attempt to capture power and resources disguised under the architecture of devolution.
Devolution is about the development of counties and not self-centred elders and elites.
The advent of devolution four years ago gave the residents of northern Kenya immense hope of development. The good news is that progress has begun to be felt and smelt in the expansive region through the construction of roads and improved access to health care. However, the misapplication of the concept of negotiated democracy now stands out as one of the biggest threats to the region’s future.
Local elites, who have apparently found highly dubious means of wealth creation in the devolved system, are increasingly misusing elders to make biased governance decisions. Once they secretly notify the councils of elders about who should vie for what seat and who should step down, the elders begin to market the decisions on their behalf during meetings with members of the clans they represent. The aim here is to manipulate clan members to believe the decision embodies the cultural and religious concept of
maslah (common good). It is worth noting that maslah is not limited to politics. Elders also rely on the noble concept of the common good to solve disputes and cases such as rape. But eyebrows have been raised about how maslah judgments are arrived at nowadays, given that the remedies are seen to increase the problems, rather than reducing them. Another marketing strategy for mobilisation is to create a “siege mentality” that if Clan X doesn’t vote for the leaders endorsed by their elders, then they ominously risk being oppressed by others upon their ascension to leadership positions. Sometimes even feuds between clans are incited or reignited to prove animosity.
Sadly, the fact that a whopping 60 per cent of the population in the region is illiterate provides fodder for blind loyalty to the elders and elites. Those who are educated are either complicit in the bastardisation of negotiated democracy or largely choose to avoid taking a stand because of maxaigagaley (it-doesn’t-concern-me) mentality. They do not realise that it is politics that influences even the basic things such as the price of unga or the tax they pay.
These powerful elders are always handsomely rewarded for their shepherding prowess. They draw monthly stipends and salaries. Some receive “nomination” fees as a senior leader revealed in a past discussion of the subject on NTV’s breakfast show, Am Live , they get cars, beautiful houses and if one is lucky to have educated children or other close relatives, then employment will not be an issue. That leadership would be a cash cow for some is not in the spirit of the political concept of negotiated democracy. This system was designed to create inclusiveness in polities where there are huge disparities and imbalances in demographics in terms of tribe, clans, race or religion in order to avert resentments and subsequent conflicts over power and resources.
It is that motive for equity and justice that I believe made former National Cohesion and Integration Commission chairperson Mzalendo Kibunja to endorse the concept in the run-up to the last General Election in 2013.
Anyone who understands where we are coming from as a region will agree with me that we cannot afford to kill the blessings of devolution through political engagements that are petty, parochial and self-centred.
Prior to devolution, the region lagged behind in virtually all the sectors due to marginalisation by the successive regimes, including the colonial one that resulted in resentment and underdevelopment. When you compare, for example, the monies the three counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera have received in the last four years with what they collectively got under the centralised governments in the last 50 years, you will understand the impact of marginalisation.
Summarising the situation of the region in the past, American writer and adventurer James Farson once said: “There is one half of Kenya about which the other half knows nothing and seems to care even less [about]”.
I urge the people to shun elders and elites who want to abuse the concept of negotiated democracy in a blatant attempt to capture power and resources disguised under the architecture of devolution. Devolution is about the development of counties and not self-centred elders and elites.
Institutions that do oversight on ethics, governance and public finances should heighten their work in the counties to ensure that leadership positions and attendant resources are not misused or stolen by occupiers of those public offices.
Hassan Malik Mohamed is a ‘Nation’ correspondent based in Garissa.