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Though I’m Kikuyu, I Won’t Vote To Give Ruto 20 Years In Power

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By Koigi Wamwere

Some people say every Kikuyu man and woman will spontaneously elect Ruto as the next president come year 2022.

But this is an open falsehood. Though I am a Kikuyu, I will not automatically vote for William Ruto or anyone else to be Kenya’s next president when next elections come.

But while Ruto wants every Kikuyu to vote for him because he or she is Kikuyu, just as he wants every Kalenjin to vote for him because he is Kalenjin, I will not deny William Ruto a vote because he is Kalenjin and not Kikuyu like me. Nor will I vote for anybody merely because they are Kikuyu. I will only deny Ruto a vote because he is not fit to be president of Kenya for the following ten reasons.

First, the next president Kenya must be a president who is totally committed to the elimination of corruption and negative ethnicity. But from his history, William Ruto is not a leader of integrity and cannot be relied upon to develop Kenya by eradicating corruption.

Second, from my knowledge, Ruto is not a patriot or a nationalist capable of sacrificing his personal interests to save the country from any danger or tragedy like dictatorship. For me, the only reason Ruto pursues leadership is wealth and power. As a youth, Ruto therefore never did anything to save Kenya from one-party dictatorship.

Three, despite public pronouncement, Ruto never fought for democracy and will not protect democracy as a president because, philosophically, he does not believe in democracy. Instead he believes in dictatorship and therefore fights to protect dictatorship as he did when he was in the YK 92. How can I who has been a victim of dictatorship vote for Ruto who believes in tyranny?

Four, Ruto wants me to vote for him, not because he qualifies to be president who will protect my freedom and improve my life, but only because I am a Kikuyu and he is a Kalenjin and the two communities are in a political coalition, not for the good of the two communities but aggrandizement of their leaders and economic elites. This to me is no reason to vote for Ruto.

Five, Ruto would also want me to vote for him, not because he qualifies to be president, but because he voted for Uhuru as president and every Kikuyu therefore owes him a debt of gratitude for which he or she must pay or be shown the door out of Rift Valley.

Six, though Kikuyu, I don’t owe Ruto a debt. I could only have a debt of Ruto, if Ruto had ever voted for me or ever gave me anything and cannot be forced to vote for Ruto. Nor can I be forced to vote for Ruto because I live in Rift Valley which is an integral part of Kenya. As it is, Ruto and Uhuru have never voted for me. And nor have they done anything for me. Instead of Kikuyus owing Ruto a debt, it is Ruto who owes Kikuyus a debt.

Seven, had UhuRuto government transformed Kenya economically in the last 5 years Uhuru and Ruto have been in power, I could have an excuse to vote for Ruto. Right now when I look around, I see no transformation for which I can vote for Ruto. The only transformation I see is Ruto’s personal transformation and enrichment. We have had so many strikes starting from Doctors to lecturers but he only think of how he will own everything in the country. He has never raised an issue to benefit an ordinary Kenyan as he move around the country to meet his own heart desires. Should I therefore vote for Ruto’s further personal transformation instead of trying someone who can transform Kenya?

Eight, for Kenyans to give William Ruto not just 10 years of vice-presidency but another 10 years of presidency, he and Uhuru need to have done so wonderfully that Kenya would have achieved half of Singapore’s development which we can expect him to complete if we give him 10 years of presidency. As it is, it would be suicidal and crazy if Kenyans were to give Ruto 20 years of power, almost same time Moi lasted in power.

Nine, not even Ruto’s background as a hustler should persuade the so-called hustler nation or poor people to vote for him. Ruto is no longer a hustler or poor person. If anything he is already a trillionaire or double trillionaire who like other rich people thrives on exploiting poor people.

Ten, even Ruto’s early campaign for presidency using government projects should not persuade any Kenyan to vote for him. And he is especially disqualified for presidency because he is blamed for rigging so many people in the last election to create a political network that will ensure he is voted for presidency come 2022.

Kenya Elections 2022

The People’s Manifesto Must Be Inclusive Of Economic And Political Institutions

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By Auscar Odhiambo Wambiya

As the race towards August 2022 elections hots up in Kenya, debate rages on economic and development models that Kenya should adopt in the post elections dispensation.

In the recent weeks, we have seen political parties hold public rallies, listening tours and national delegates conferences to either unveil presidential candidates or adopt economic or development models that they seek to champion if or when they form government after the elections.

As ultimate presidential candidates spruce up their manifestos,  ahead of their launch towards August 2022, it is essential that the people’s manifesto wins.

What does a people’s manifesto portend? Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson in their book, “Why Nations Fail; The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty,” answer with the argument that economic and political institutions are the greatest people centered engines of prosperity among and within nations. Further, that inclusive economic and political institutions are those that allow and encourage participation by the great mass of people in economic and political activities, that make the best use of their talents and skills and that enable individuals to make the choices they wish. To be inclusive, the people’s manifesto must feature ideas on how to secure private property, an unbiased system of law and a provision of public services that provides a level playing field in which people can exchange and contract. It must also permit the entry of new businesses and allow people to choose their careers.

As manifestos get unveiled,  Kenyans need to scrutinize them on whether they answer the people’s needs, while building on Kenya’s Vision 2030. Kenya aspires to be a middle income economy, with the political pillars envisioning a democratic political system that is issue based, people centered, result oriented and accountable to the public.

Empirically, it is impossible to achieve inclusive economic prosperity without inclusive political institutions. That is why we must fix the politics and the economics simultaneously.

In the education sector, for example, Kenyan’s must embrace manifestos that promote entrepreneurial initiative, creativity and adequately prepare pupils and students for skilled work. Most professionals in the education sector agree that the recently launched Competency Based Curriculum is conscious of skills for future work. One need to find out if their candidate speaks to the competency based curriculum. If not, much of the education our children will receive in future, could end up being propaganda meant to shore up the legitimacy of the regime in power with fewer and limited books to read, let alone computers.

Does the future education espoused in your candidates manifesto embrace technology and innovation?

Evidence now exist to show that inclusive economic and political institutions foster economic activity, productivity growth, and economic prosperity. Secure private property rights are central, since only those with such rights will be willing to invest and increase productivity. A businessman who expects his output to be stolen through corrupt institutions, expropriated, or entirely taxed away will have little incentive to work, let alone any incentive to undertake investments and innovations. But such rights must exist for the majority of people in society according to Doran and Robinson in “Why Nations Fail.” The people’s manifesto must therefore speak very candidly to the investment atmosphere anticipated by the next government and whether it will promote a market economy, built on private property where successful entrepreneurs, both local and foreign, enjoy the fruits of their investments and efforts.

These will have ripple economic effects on the ordinary citizens at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

Inclusive economic and political institutions create inclusive markets, which not only give people freedom to pursue the vocations in life that best suit their talents, but also, provide a level playing field that gives them the opportunity to do so.

Those who have good ideas will find it easy to start businesses, workers will tend to go to activities where their productivity is greater and less efficient firms can be replaced by more efficient ones.

Setting up inclusive economic and political institutions is therefore much more than sloganeering and giving handouts to woo voters, it includes long term structural and systems thinking. Can you say this about your candidate’s manifesto?

If people’s manifesto that embrace inclusive institutions lead to prosperity, why are they shunned? Joseph Schumpeter, former Finance Minister of Germany-Austria, suggests that political leaders oppose such manifestos for fear of what he calls creative destruction.

This is because inclusive institutions replace the old system with the new, new sectors that embrace technology and guarantee higher returns to the people attract resources away from the old sectors where looting has been easier. This, as an example explains the low uptake of technology driven revenue collection at the national level and in the counties because the porous manual revenue collection systems are avenues for pilferage. The process of economic growth and the inclusive institutions upon which it is based create losers as well as winners in the political arena and in the economic marketplace.

What does the manifesto of your candidate say on embracing new structural systems that will empower the people in the long term?

On the opposite end of this manifesto debate is the extractive economic and political institutions which should be looked out for and shunned ahead of August 2022. Poor economic performances are attributable to manifestos that fail to create incentives for parents to educate their children and by political institutions that fail to induce the government to build, finance and support schools and the wishes of parents and children.

The price that nations whose institutions are extractive pay for lack of inclusive markets is high. They fail to mobilize their nascent talent.

If we fail to scrutinize these manifestos, we could end up with ruining many people with potential like Bill Gates and perhaps one or two Thomas Edison or Albert Einsteins who will work as poor, uneducated farmers. People being coerced to do what they do not wish to do, like pushing a wheelbarrow around, because they never had the opportunity to realize their vocation in life.

Keep vigil. Most importantly, ask yourself what the candidate’s history and record is with regard to respect for and execution of inclusive economic and political institutions.

The Writer is a Masters in Development Studies Graduate of The Catholic University of Eastern African. He is based in Siaya County.

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Opinion

Liech Community Living In Kenya Congratulates H.E President Salva Kiir For Signing Peace Pact With SPLM-IO (Kitwang Faction)

I take this honour to assure his Excellency the President that he has the full backing of our Association. We shall play our part in disseminating messages of peace and reconciliation within and among our people in South Sudan and the region at large. 

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Leaders of South Sudan During the signing of peace deal with President Salva Kiir.

The Liech community Association in Kenya is in receipt of the Peace Agreement signed between the government of South Sudan and the three leaders of the SPLM-IO (Kitgwang faction) led by General Simon Gatwech Dual on 16th January, 2022 in Khartoum, Sudan. 

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On behalf of this Association and the entire people of Unity State, I congratulate you on your success in restoring peace in our country. 

On 7th August, 2021, we wrote a petition letter asking the office of the Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and Sudan, to mediate between the two SPLM-IO factions to avoid bloodshed. However, when this did not happen as we expected, many precious lives and valuable properties were lost as a result of violent clashes between these two factions mainly in Upper Nile State. 

We did not know that His Excellency the President would be willing or voluntarily accept to initiate a talk with Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, because he declined to work with him when he was appointed as Presidential Advisor on 20th June 2021.  As such we equally express gratitude to the SPLM-IO Kitgwang Leader for the positive change of heart, and for seeing into it that the country and peace are better than anything else.  

I take this honour to assure his Excellency the President that he has the full backing of our Association. We shall play our part in disseminating messages of peace and reconciliation within and among our people in South Sudan and the region at large. 

Dak Buoth Riek-Gaak,
Chairperson, Liech community Association in Kenya

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Opinion

South Sudan Needs A New Rebel Strategy

At the moment, the present South Sudan has more armed groups than political parties.

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By Dak Buoth
The frail and fragile country of South Sudan was gained through a protracted armed rebellion that first broke out in 1955, one year prior to Sudan’s independence in 1956.

When the colonial government was packing and about to leave to pave way for Sudan’s independence in the aforementioned year, the South(ern) Sudanese leaders had wanted their own country.

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It is evident that when colonialists did not heed their legitimate demand, for reasons best known to them, the south(ern) Sudanese leaders rebelled and left for the bush, to fight for their right to seek self-determination which we obtained a decade ago.

Comprehensive Peace Agreement

If you remember, it was this reason that in 2005 at Nyayo Stadium, during the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), late Dr. John Garang in his speech said that, South Sudanese were not part of 1956 independence, and that with CPA, we would begin achieving real independence.

Despite the independence of South Sudan, armed insurgencies and rebellions did not die a natural death.

Many armed groups that were not part and parcel of the SPLM/SPLA before independence opted to remain in the bush, for they believed the independence struggle was hijacked, and that it was in the wrong hands. Thus, they insisted on fighting the regime of SPLM/SPLA, believing that real independence would be ushered in when the present regime is replaced.

Nasir Declaration

Late Lieutenant General, Gordon Koang Chuol Kulang, one of the three leaders of the 1991 Nasir Declaration and former leader of Anyanya 1 and 2, who died on 6th January 2022, was a typical example of those who did not believe that South Sudan was independent because, from 2011, the latter never step foot in South Sudan.

I think it was due to his vendetta and enmity for the present regime that President Kiir or government did not write and send condolences except his erstwhile comrades, Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin who eulogized General Gordon as a patriot who contributed immensely for South Sudan.

At the moment, present South Sudan has more armed groups than political parties.

In fact, I am unaware of any known and effective political party which did not come through the bush. In other words, all political entities in the country were one-time guerilla movements. As of now, you will find that every political party in the country including the ruling party, SPLM has an army wing.

Government officials are still active military officers.

The current national army, SSPDF was initially called Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) which was a former army wing of the ruling SPLM. It was around 2016 that it was renamed as South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).

Most government officials are still active military officers.

Before and after the salient rebellion of December 2013 led by Dr. Riek Machar, there were many rebel groups that were in existence fighting against the government of South Sudan.

My region of Liech or Unity State alone has about six existing rebel groups namely SPLM-IO of Dr. Riek Machar, defunct SPLM-IO splinter group of General Taban Deng, SSPM of General Stephen Buay Rolnyang, NPAM by General Robert Ruai Kuol, SSUM by late General Peter Gatdet Yakah plus the rebel movement of General Bapiny Manytuil.

These are conventional armed rebels, and we cannot talk about rebellion without naming them.

In response, the government has been trying to convince and contain these armed groups by offering general amnesty and key government positions but in vain.

On January 16, the government delegations were seen in Khartoum signing peace with SPLM-IO Kitgwang faction led by General Simon Gatwech Dual, General Olony Thabo Dak, and General Thomas Mabor Dhoal. This rebel faction broke away from Dr. Riek Machar’s mainstream SPLM-IO in August last year.

Although the content of their agreement is not yet out for wider perusal, chances are that these rebel leaders will be awarded and offered senior lucrative positions both in the executive arm of government and military.

The question is, are these appeasing rebel strategies working? The answer is no. South Sudan government had been applying these rebel strategies prior to independence, but it has only done the country bad than good because the number of rebel groups is only increasing yearly.

There is a common narrative that when one rebels or commit an offense like corruption, he will be exalted to a higher position in government due to such poor strategies.

The government cannot continue applying the same tactics and styles consistently and expect different results.

Unless the government is out to encourage more rebellions it can continue with these rebel strategies. These two strategies are outdated and they need to be changed sooner or later.

At times, we ask whether these rebellions are the projects of the government in South Sudan? And if not then they require a new strategy to curb rebellion in the country.

A quasi-judicial institution called rebel court

One of the things I have in mind which is worth testing and trying by the government if it’s acting in good faith is to establish a quasi-judicial institution called rebel court which will exclusively deal with matters of rebellion.

I think we need to constitute this rebel tribunal to be approved by parliament. This body can be obligated to receives and hear all the concerns and complaints raised by rebel groups that entered into an agreement with the government then later write a report to be acted upon promptly.

The government would have done this via an appropriate channel provided for in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCISS), but it often appears afraid or apprehensive when dealing with R-ARCISS. Therefore, it needs to initiate its own institution to quickly handle these recurrent challenges bedeviling the country.

I fondly recall some of the key demands echoed and decried by most rebel factions are Rule of law and democracy.

Unfortunately, the government is doing non or little to achieve these fundamental ideals in the country. And so, we are yet off the hook as a country.

The Writer is the Chairman of Liech Community Association in Kenya, the views expressed here are his own, and he can be reached for comments via eligodakb@yahoo.com

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