Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Overthrow Kibaki: A Letter From Kenya

I have always loved Kenya since the golden era of the national hero of the Independence of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta (1889-1978)and I still love Kenya.
But, since President Mwai Kibaki came to power, I have been receiving letters of protest from notable Kenyan political and human rights activists. And I have not published any of the letters until now that I decided to publish this one distributed by Mapambano

They are asking for the removal of their President Mwai Kibaki. And they must have included me on their mailing list, because they believe I am also a revolutionary activist who will support their democratic agenda. Since, I am well known on as a champion of the Orange Revolution. But, I will not endorse any violent revolution in Kenya.

Dear, friend!

"Since the President has lost the support of Kenyans he had when he took overpower, the decisive question is whether the masses can be mobilized to rebelagainst his regime regardless of the outcome of the referendum."

When we proposed last week that the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) shouldprepare the masses psychologically for Kibaki's exit from power, it was not because of any personal hatred of the President. The truth is that the electionof Mwai Kibaki as President of Kenya was an accident because Kenyans wanted to remove former dictator Daniel Arap Moi from power regardless of who took over from Moi. The view was that there could be no progress in the democratic struggle with Moi at the helm because of harsh conditions the former President had imposed on Kenyans.Current events in Kenya clearly indicate that Kibaki has served his purpose and his continued stay in power is now more of a political liability because he is driving the Nation backwards. Our perspective that Kibaki should be overthrownthrough democratic means available is based on the premise that he will lose tothe Orange movement on November 21st and if he doesn't quit after this defeat,there will be a serious political crisis in Kenya that could plunge the nationinto total chaos.The Narc government is split and in the event of an Orange victory, the regime will not function, political tensions will rise while Kibaki and his hench men will simply be struggling to hang on to power against a rising mass movement against the government. While we welcome the call by members of the Orange Movement for a snap general election regardless of the outcome of the referendum, we wish to strengthen the case for Kibaki's quick exit because Kenya needs a new leadership after the Narc disaster. We wish to outline some of Kibaki's major mistakes which dictates that he should go.

1. CONSTITUTION: After failing to deliver a Constitution 100 days after comingto power, Kibaki hijacked a "people's driven Constitution" drafted at Bomas which he proceeded to mutilate through his lackeys in Parliament. Kenyans arenow being asked to vote for a Constitution that will extend dictatorship and authoritarianism in the country indefinitely. This is unacceptable after Kenyans witnessed the making of a dictator during Moi's 24 years in power.

2. MEMORANDUM: Kibaki's official nickname since his days as Moi's Vice Presidentis "General Kiguoya" which means "General coward". The President's conmanship and open deception saw him dump the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed upon by his political allies before elections, a move responsible for thecurrent split in the Narc government. The MoU fiasco is evidence that Kenya hasa President who cannot be trusted.

3. TRIBALISM: Although Kenyans thought that they had elected a new President,the person who seized power was a "photocopy of Moi". Just like his former boss,Kibaki has filled the government with members of his Kikuyu ethnic group, a movethat, in essence, promotes a vice hated the most by millions of Kenyans -tribalism. With Kibaki in power, the fight against tribalism has been ditched until he departs. Kibaki is a tribalist and advising him to stop tribalism is like advising a vampire to stop sucking blood. It will never happen!

4. CORRUPTION: Institutionalized corruption was one major reason why Moi lostpower. After seizing the State machine, cases of corruption scandals in the media have been chocking Kenyans like fish bones stuck in the esophagus. Thelatest is a case of corrupt Generals sending Army helicopters to South Africafor repairs. An old merchant ship was recently purchased and converted into anaval ship in another corrupt deal that exploded in the media. After spending billions of Tax payer's money on the Goldenberg commission, Kibaki has failed tobring to book thieves in the Goldenberg scandal while during his leadership,Kenyans witnessed the explosion of the Anglo leasing scandal that forcefullybrought the issue of rot and corruption in Kibaki's government to the national arena. The President has refused to prosecute a single thief who has stolenfrom the tax payer. Even his former anti-corruption boss, John Githongo, quit because he was convinced that Kibaki had lost the will to fight corruption. Anestimated Ksh 40 billion has been stolen by Kibaki's friends since the septuagenarianassumed office. Why should Kibaki continue to remain in power?

5. WRONG PRIORITIES: While over 2 million Kenyans are facing starvation, Kibakiis planning to build for himself a palace worth Ksh 100 million at Tax payer'sexpense. The issue is so real that it was brought before Parliament. Kibaki's speeches that he is fighting for the interest of Kenyans is therefore sheer propaganda. A leader who plans to build a palace worth millions of money whenhis people are starving has lost the moral authority to rule. Kibaki must go!

6. ARREST OF JOURNALISTS: After Narc came to power, the illegal arrest ofjournalists and attempts to muzzle the media were considered bygones of the Moiera. During the Kibaki Presidency, Kenyans have witnessed with "shock and awe"the return of intimidation, harassment and arrest of journalists doing their job in Kenya. With Kibaki as President, there is no reason to indicate that the situation will change in the future. This is why Kibaki has become a spent force who should be disposed of. A golden opportunity to do this by way of referendum has presented itself and Kenyans must not let this chance slip away. Let thereferendum be a vote of no confidence in the government and subsequently a reason for snap elections so that Kibaki can go.

7. BRIBING VOTERS: A part from direct rigging of elections, former President Moiused to buy and destroy votes especially in opposition strongholds as a way ofwinning elections. Kibaki is bribing voters with land while Councilors are beingenticed with "pay hikes" to vote "Yes" in the coming referendum. The Provincial administration has been rounded up and ordered to campaign for the "Yes" side.State funds are being used in the referendum to support the "Yes" campaigns because Kiraitu Murungi has said that the "Yes" campaign is a "government project". Are there any other reasons why Kibaki should not be relieved of his duties?

8. 500,000 JOBS: There is nothing as disappointing as promising poor unemployed youth jobs which cannot be delivered. This is exactly what Kibaki did during the campaigns. 11 million unemployed Kenyans were promised 500,000 jobs per year and they believed and voted for Kibaki. Three years down the line, not a single job has been created because the government is unable to invest in construction and industry, the surest way of creating jobs. Promises of better housing for the poor in slum areas have all evaporated. Instead, Kibaki has supported a salaryincrement of MPs to more that Ksh 500,000 while the President has himself cut apay package of Ksh 2 million with a monthly "entertainment allowance" of Ksh200,000. Didn't some English men say "enough is enough"?

9. LANDLESSNESS: Land is a sensitive issue in Kenya because millions of Kenyans remain landless more than 4 decades after the Mau Mau freedom fighters took uparms to fight for land. Instead of addressing the issue of landlessness, Kibaki is using the issue of land to blackmail a section of Kenyans in the Rift Valley into voting "Yes" at the referendum. What could be more dirty? This is afterthese Kenyans were violently evicted from their land by the government which also destroyed millions worth of property. Kibaki needs to go so that pending issues like the land question can be addressed by a new leadership committed to resettling the landless in Kenya.

10. RULING BY THE MAFIA: There is nothing worse than a whole government beingleft on the hands of a small Mafia cartel that operates outside the law. The core of Kibaki's Mafia troupe is composed of Mirugi Kariuki, Chris Murungaru,Kiraitu Murungi, David Mwiraria, John Michuki, Njenga Karume among others. These Kikuyu chauvinists have and continue to behave as though they own Kenya. Ourview is that to end the rule by the Mafia, Kibaki must give room!

11. COMMISSIONS AND TASK FORCES: There is a tactic Moi used to employ to buytime whenever his government was in crisis. It was called "ruling by Commissionsand Task forces". Kibaki set up the Goldenberg commission but then what happened? Leading Commissioners were corrupted, Kibaki failed to act and now nothing tangible has come out of the Commission despite having spent billions oftax payer's money on it. The Ndungu Land Report has been ditched by Kibaki, because too many thieves in the government have been implicated in land scandals including Kibaki himself. The Ouko Commission Report has not been released because of political reasons. Instead, its Chairman Mr. Gor Sungu has been takento court for trying to get Dr. Ouko's killers to answer charges. We could go on and on. There is no end to reasons why Kibaki should continue residing in State House!

12. TEACHERS CHEATED: There are workers in Kenya living on what is called"starvation wages". This lot includes teachers who were cheated by Kibaki thattheir pay hikes awarded by Moi in 1998 would be paid after Narc came to power.Teachers voted for Narc "in toto". To date, this promise has not been honoured,exposing Kibaki as a deceiver of workers who cannot be relied upon. Any promise Kibaki now makes to Kenyans is dismissed as propaganda. How can he continue to remain President when his only listeners are his cronies and fellow ethnic cahauvists?

13. KIBAKI'S TERM: When he took power, Kibaki promised to step down once his 5year term of office is over. Still on the point of dishonesty, Kibaki hasdeclared that he will stand for President in 2007, shocking many Kenyans whothought that Kibaki was just a "transition President". If there is no pressure now for Kibaki to go, we might soon read about Kibaki wanting to become "President for Life". Honestly speaking, can Kenyans take this kind of hogwashany longer?

14. ATTACKS ON WORKERS: Kenyans witnessed with amazement when Kibaki sent riotpolice to brutalize workers who had simply gone on strike to demand for "livingwages". This is what Moi used to do to contain industrial actions. As if that was not enough, Civil servants who decided to go on strike to press for better working conditions and higher wages were sacked by the government. Within a very short period of time, strike actions have been banned and workers intimidated.Kenya, under Kibaki, is one of the most anti-worker government in Africa today.Kibaki should go to pave the way for workers to organize and play a role in the running of the government. This should be the next item on the agenda in a post Kibaki regime.

15. POLITICAL ASSASSINATION: Professor Odhiambo Mbai, who was chairing the"Devolution of power Committee" during the Conference at Bomas to draft the Constitution Kibaki has mutilated, was assassinated in cold blood. According to video evidence by suspects, members of the ruling class and other Kibaki allies were named as having been behind the assassination. Instead of moving to unearth the truth as to who was responsible, Kibaki arrested the journalist who uncovered the evidence, charged him in court before releasing him due to external pressure. The issue is that political assassinations are back in Kenya under our own Kibaki. What does this say about his future as President?

16. SHOOT TO KILL ORDERS: The order to police "to shoot suspected criminals onsight" was a past time of former President Moi. John Michuki, Kibaki's Minister for Internal security, has ordered police to give suspected criminals the same treatment of death. As a consequence, hundreds of Kenyans have been summarily executed by police in the streets. The rise in crime is not due to any "natural urge" of Kenyans to commit crime but due to lack of alternative ways of making a living because the government is bankrupted and cannot create jobs. As police conduct executions in the streets, a former Commissioner of Prisons disclosed that 20 percent of Kenyans languishing in prisons are innocent. Both the police and the army have been unable to intervene after Kenyan ships are hijacked by war lords in stateless Somalia yet the President has been quick to set his security forces to execute Kenyans in the streets for suspected crimes. Kenya needs a new and fresh leadership that can provide lasting security to citizens and steer clear from public executions conducted by State police.

17. ONE PARTY STATE: In 1982, Kibaki engineered the conversion of Kenya into aone party dictatorship on the eve of the formation of the Kenya Socialist Alliance. After coming to power on a Narc ticket, Kibaki began proposing that Narc's affiliate parties should dissolve, a proposal that was strongly opposed by Kenyans who saw it as an attempt to erect a new monolithic government in Kenya. The point is that Kibaki has been there for too long and he takes several things for granted. What the President should do is to go into retirement for when will he enjoy his retirement benefits if he is approaching 80 and still wants to cling on to power?18. PURCHASE OF JUSTICE: Under Kibaki's government, the grand son of Lord Delemare, a former colonial master, murdered a Kenyan national in cold blood.There was hope when the murderer was arrested and brought to court but that is where the hope ended. The Attorney General ordered that the murderer be released because there was insufficient evidence to try him. This was despite eye witness account of what happened. The issue here is that justice in Kibaki's Kenya isbeing dispensed selectively. The rich are able to buy justice while the poor are incarcerated. Are there any further reasons why Kibaki should not go?

19. KENYA IS SOLD: For a "developing country" like Kenya, the government needsto have a firm grip on the country's economy. Instead of increasing governmentcontrol of major economic activities in Kenya, Kibaki is either allowing multinational companies to take control of the commanding heights of the economy or selling State enterprises to these multinationals under the privatization program. We have a tea industry worth 43.5 billion and out of this, 78 percentis on the hands of foreign companies. The tourism industry is worth Ksh 42billion and 71 percent is on the hands of foreign companies. We have 43 banks inKenya and more than 38 are foreign owned. The Stock Exchange is populated with foreign companies. In simpler terms, the country has been sold to foreigninterests and Kibaki is doing nothing about this. High prices of consumer commodities precipitated by spiraling inflation has made life impossible for millions of workers, peasants and the unemployed who can hardly put a square meal on the table.It is official that 56 percent of Kenyans are living below the poverty level.With Kibaki as President, Kenyans can only expect further empty promises and further exploitation of workers as poverty increases and the rich continue toget richer.

20. KIBAKI TOO OLD: Kibaki is a pre-independence politician who has been therefor too long. In the process, he has come to assume that Kenya is a large andpersonal business empire. We refer to 15 years of misrule of first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta when Kibaki was in government before Kenyans went through another 24 years of Moi's dictatorship with Kibaki in government for 10 years asMoi's Vice President.. Even if he was a brilliant and astute politician, it is time for him to call it a day. Kibaki's advanced age and ill health could be a contributing factor to the current crisis in Kenya.

CONCLUSION:We believe that the overthrow of President Kibaki could be done in a peaceful and democratic manner. Since the President has lost the support of Kenyans he had when he took over power, the decisive question is whether the masses can be mobilized to rebel against his regime regardless of the outcome of the referendum. A sure way to get Kibaki out will be to convince a vast section of workers to down their tools while at the same time mobilizing these workers and and the 11 million strong unemployed youth into the streets with demands for better wages, better working conditions, jobs for the youth, land to thelandless and calls for Kibaki to quit. The Orange team is well crafted to fillthe power vacuum and to further open the democratic space for revolutionary politics needed to end Neo-colonialism and imperialist domination in our country.There is no number of police or army that will be able to beat a determined people. Moi failed during the struggle for political pluralism. Governments have been toppled by organized masses the world over.

President Kiabki is now a hindrance to Kenya's democratic struggle and as the defeat of his government in the November referendum appears imminent, this defeat will only advance thestruggle in Kenya if it is carried to its logical conclusion of Kibaki'soverthrow from power. From the point of view of KESDEMO, this is the best wayforward.

Martin Ngatia
Interim Chairperson
Okoth Osewe
Interim secretary
Kenya Scandinavia Democratic Movement (KESDMO)

DISTRIBUTED BY:Mapambano Kenya:
October 12th 200520

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