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January, 2018

 

TSC to hire 2,672 teachers to reduce shortage

By OUMA WANZALA
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The Teachers Service Commission will recruit 2,672 tutors to replace those who left the service in November and December last year.

A total of 1,681 primary school teachers and 524 for post primary institutions will be hired to replace those who left in November, while 366 primary and 101 post-primary teachers will replace those who left in December.

The TSC chief executive, Ms Nancy Macharia, said those seeking the positions must be Kenyans aged 45 and below and must be registered with the commission.

“Applicants for vacancies in primary schools must be holders of a P1 certificate and will be selected from the county merit lists compiled during the June recruitment,” Ms Macharia said.

SHORTAGE
She added that successful candidates would be sent to any part of the country and not necessarily where they are recruited.

“Applicants for vacancies in post primary institutions must be holders of a minimum of diploma in education certificate,” the TSC boss said, adding that they had until February 7 to submit their applications.

The commission is also conducting a survey on the number of schools facing teacher shortages.

The aim is to recruit more teachers as the government hopes to achieve the goal of 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATION
The government wants to hire 50,000 teachers in the coming four years to plug the shortage in secondary schools.

It has been under pressure from teachers’ unions and other education stakeholders to recruit tutors before rolling out the free day secondary education.

The TSC has asked for 12,696 teachers to be employed annually for the next four years, in addition to the 5,000 it hires every year.

It estimates that the recruitment will cost the government Sh8.3 billion annually, with the total cost coming to Sh33.2 billion over the four years.


Judge directs AG Muigai to file urgent response in Uasu case

By GALGALO BOCHA
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Attorney-General Githu Muigai has been given the last chance to respond to a case filed by the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) challenging a government directive to restrict its members from travelling out of the country.

Justice Enoch Mwita on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of the case to allow Prof Muigai to state the grounds of opposing Uasu’s case, saying he will not entertain excuses to delay the matter filed on October 30 last year.

This is after his lawyer, Christopher Marwa, applied to have the hearing adjourned and he be given 14 days to file and serve his response.

“Your lordship, I am not the one who handled the matter and need more time to prepare our response, file and serve,” he said.

HEARING
But the judge responded: “I am not going to allow that. You will not take us back because this is a 2017 matter and it is not human to delay it further.”

Lawyer Gitobu Imanyara, for Uasu, told the court that he had no objection to the adjournment.

He also applied for extension of an interim order from December 4 last year suspending the government’s restriction orders against his clients.

“We are prepared for the hearing. We have filed our submissions. We have also served the AG,” Mr Imanyara said.

TRAVEL
In his ruling, Justice Mwita directed the AG to file his response and serve the applicant together with his written submissions within 14 days.

The judge further extended the interim order suspending the implementation of a circular issued by the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua that barred university lecturers from travelling outside the country, pending the hearing and determination of the case.

“If you don’t come, send someone who will be ready to appear before court and proceed with this matter,” Justice Mwita said.

The union had sued the AG and Mr Kinyua, arguing that professors, lecturers and researchers had been arbitrarily barred from enjoying their rights through the travel ban.


900,000 with bad bills won’t be cut off – ERC

By WINNIE ATIENO
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Close to a million electricity consumers were sent erroneous bills last month, the Energy Regulation Commission has said.

Of the 6.5 million consumers, 900,000 were affected by the errors arising from a Kenya Power system upgrade done last year, ERC Director-General Pavel Oimeke said.

“If you have a contentious bill, you should not be disconnected from the power system until it is resolved,” he said.

Speaking at a consumer dialogue forum at Royal Court Hotel, Mombasa, on Wednesday, he directed the firm to resolve all the queries.

BILLING SYSTEM
Mr Oimeke also said the ERC had identified a way to address the high cost of electricity, which he attributed to “system losses” due to movement of power from one point to another. 

“Those who were overcharged during the system upgrade should report to Kenya Power for redress.

“There was a period of transitioning from the old billing system to the new billing system, resulting in a number of customers being affected.”

He said the glitch did not affect industrial consumers or those on tokens but the ones using the old type of meters.

SAVING
Mr Oimeke said the ERC directed the utility company to amend the bill of anyone complaining about tariffs and inflated bills as a result of the transition.

On power losses, Mr Oimeke explained that “There are losses, what I can call power theft in collusion with some of our employees who are not good. “…We want to ensure those billions are saved and given back to consumers in the form of reduced tariffs.”

Meanwhile, the ERC said it will ensure that all companies dealing with petroleum employ more locals than expatriates.


Spending spree now haunts governors

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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Governors went on a spending spree in the final financial year of their first term in office, dishing out contracts and local purchase orders yet there was no money to pay for them, the Controller of Budget told two Senate committees.

The reckless spending left in its wake bills of Sh100 billion with suppliers facing auctioneers as banks seize their assets to recover unpaid loans.

Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo told the committees on Finance and County Public Accounts and Investments that the amount owed to suppliers of goods and services shot up by 158 per cent.

“At the end of the year, the (National) Treasury had released all shareable revenue, in some cases in the last two days of the financial year,” Ms Odhiambo said.

“Counties should not use that as an excuse. When you have captured invoices on Ifmis and internet banking, you are ready to pay. So, when you get the money, you just click and pay.”

DEBT
She spoke at a meeting with Auditor-General Edward Ouko called by the senators, who were concerned about reports — some in the Nation last week — that counties owed suppliers billions of shillings, putting them at risk of tough actions by their lenders.

Mr Moses Kajwang, chairman of the CPAI committee, said the legislators were confused because, while the media put the amount at Sh90 billion, the last CoB report had it at Sh38 billion.

“It is a disaster; whether it is Sh30 billion or Sh90 billion,” the Homa Bay senator said, adding: “People took out loans and they haven’t paid.”

Ms Odhiambo said the amount reported late last year did not include the figure for Nairobi, which would later report that it owed Sh59.6 billion.

At the end of the first quarter of the financial year last September, the pending bills stood at Sh99.2 billion.

INCREASED SPENDING
That is equivalent to more than three times the Sh30 billion spent on the expansion of 42 kilometres of Thika Road.

It is also slightly more than the Sh98.3 billion the Treasury allotted the Department of University Education this financial year and nearly a third of the Sh306 billion that counties have been allocated in the current Budget.

Pending bills grew from Sh37.8 billion in FY 2014/15 to Sh37.3 billion in 2015/16 to peak at Sh96.5 billion last June.

Ms Odhiambo flagged the sharp increase in the last year of the first term of devolution thus:

“We need to know whether these commitments are authentic.”

PROCUREMENT
It emerged that counties had been basing their budgets on over-estimated revenue collections.

“All counties are not meeting revenue targets, yet when they prepare budgets they budget as if they will collect all that money,” Ms Odhiambo told the senators.

Procurement is also planned on the unrealistic budgets, she said, and counties are left saddled with supplies that they cannot pay for.

Governors and other officers could also have used the opportunity to make money.

Ms Odhiambo told counties to align procurement plans with their budgets and cash flow to avoid pending bills.
AUDIT
Mr Ouko said a special audit of the bills would be needed and that he had also received pleas from suppliers.

“My office is inundated with people suffering and asking whether I can do anything,” Mr Ouko said.

The top auditor described the pending bills for Nairobi as especially worrying, seeing as they are 60 per cent of the national total.

Governor Mike Sonko has asked the High Court to authorise the stopping of the payments until an audit is carried out.

The good news for the affected suppliers however is that there have been discussions among the agencies on how to end their plight.

TREASURY
Ms Odhiambo said a meeting to prepare for the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council agreed that the pending bills be audited within two months and payment for the genuine ones included in the next Budget.

Mr Ouko said the matter had been discussed with the Treasury last year and asked for an additional Sh200 million to hire an audit firm for the job as he does not have enough staff.

With the Treasury last year reducing budgets after the electioneering period was extended, revenues dipped and austerity measures became necessary; the amount was not allocated.

Mr Ouko said the audit would break down the amounts per county and separate the genuine from the irregular.

“I would like that we concentrate on the year before the elections because we suspect there were commitments made that didn’t give value or were motivated by other things,” Mr Ouko said, alluding to the suspected corruption.

CORRUPTION
Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi said of the suspicious transactions:

“We can stop being morticians and get involved before the bad things happen.”

His Makueni colleague Mutula Kilonzo Junior said pending bills were a constant worry, even in the Finance Committee in the last Senate, as they could cause the collapse of counties and, hence, failure of devolution.

“It’s fraud, and we must call it what it is,” Mr Kilonzo said.

“We’ll put more laws in place. If we don’t do this, we’ll have failed in our work to protect counties.”


Parliament to vet Cabinet nominees next week

By SAMWEL OWINO
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The vetting of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nine nominees to the Cabinet will take place on Thursday and Friday next week, Parliament has said.

In a notice in the Daily Nation on Wednesday, National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai also invited the public to submit their views on the nominees.

“Following the receipt of the nominations from the President on January 29, the Speaker has forwarded the names to the Committee on Appointments, which is mandated to vet and consider the suitability of the nominees for appointment and submit its report to the House for approval,” Mr Sialai said.

NASA BOYCOTT
The submissions should be in the form of sworn affidavits and should be taken to Parliament before the end of the day on Wednesday, January 7.

Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi said despite the opposition refusing to attend the vetting sessions, Jubilee members were competent enough to conduct them.

“I want to assure the public that even if Nasa members will not attend, we will do our work competently and ask the hard questions that need to be asked,” Mr Muturi said.

DISCREDITING UHURU
He added: “We respect the decision of the opposition not to participate in the vetting process. It is their democratic right.”

Majority Leader Aden Duale downplayed the absence of Nasa MPs.

“We will do our work as per the Constitution,” he said.

National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi on Wednesday maintained that Nasa will not participate in the vetting of the Cabinet nominees, saying they did not recognise President Uhuru Kenyatta’s leadership.

MOTION
Addressing journalists at his office, Mr Mbadi said he had already written a letter to the Speaker about the matter.

“I was called to attend the meeting but I declined since our position as the opposition remains that we don’t recognise President Kenyatta.”

The National Assembly last year approved a motion allowing the nominations to be forwarded to the Committee on Appointments without necessarily recalling the MPs for a special sitting.

Prof Margaret Kobia (Public Service nominee) will be first to face the vetting panel on Thursday.


Cases against Laikipia Governor, Nyeri MCAs dismissed

By MWANGI NDIRANGU
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By JOSEPH WANGUI
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The High Court in Nanyuki has dismissed a petition challenging the election of Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi.

The petitioner, Mr Sammy Ndung’u, a voter, has also been slapped with a Sh12 million bill, being the cost of the suit.

In Nyeri, the High Court also dismissed a petition lodged against the nomination of MCAs.

Governor Muriithi and his deputy John Mwaniki, who had been named second and third respondents, were each awarded Sh4 million while a similar amount will go to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

IRREGULARITIES
Delivering her one-hour judgment on Wednesday, Lady Justice Mary Kasango said Mr Ndung’u had failed to prove that the August 8 election was marred by irregularities and illegalities.

“I am satisfied that the election for the position of Laikipia governor was conducted within the written law relating to elections.

“The minor failures on Form 37A and 37B had no substantive effect on the outcome of the August 8 governorship election,” Justice Kasango said, adding that the law recognises that no poll can be 100 per cent perfect.

In his petition, Mr Ndung’u had cited several grounds for annulling the win among them being that some 5,000 people from Laikipia North Constituency did not vote, owing to crack downs to flush out illegal herders.

EVIDENCE
He also claimed that votes were inflated in favour of Mr Muriithi against his sole competitor Joshua Irungu.

Mr Muriithi, who vied as an independent candidate, got 100,356 votes against Mr Irungu’s (Jubilee Party) 98,349 votes.

In her judgment, Justice Kasango termed the allegations hearsay, pointing out that the petitioner failed to provide any evidence to support his claims.

Initially, a voter from Sosian Ward, Mr Dennis Leman, had joined Mr Ndung’u in filing the petition but withdrew before the hearing started.

An application for Mr Ndung’u to use the evidence by Mr Leman in the petition was rejected by the court.

NOMINATION
Mr Muriithi welcomed the judgment, but Mr Ndung’u said he and his lawyers would be moving to the Appeal Court next week.

In Nyeri, 12 MCAs nominated by Jubilee survived an attempt to nullify their nomination after the court threw out a petition filed against them by seven residents.

However, Ms Millicent Cherotich’s nomination was invalidated following a discovery that she did not apply for the position.

Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo directed Jubilee and the IEBC to replace her and nominate a person with special needs.

Alternatively, Jubilee was asked to gazette her nomination in accordance with the law.

Jubilee had stated she was representing an ethnic minority, a category that is non-existent in the County Governments Act.


Why Kalonzo, Musalia and Wetang’ula were bound to skip event

By WACHIRA MAINA
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What happened on the 30th of January, 2018? Did Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang’ula, and Musalia Mudavadi bail out of the National Super Alliance swearing in ceremony after a fall-out with Raila Odinga?

The three missing-in-action (MIA) principals artfully described their own disappearance as ‘incomprehensible’, a curious word with which to describe an action that one has voluntarily taken.

This Houdini act won’t kill Nasa but it exposes what careful choreography has so far hidden.

There are serious cracks between the three MIAs and Mr Odinga, Nasa’s uncontested leader.

CHARACTERISTICS
That there are such cracks is not a surprise but that it has taken this long for them to appear shows how disciplined Nasa has been.

What is the source of these rifts, though?

Two issues I suggest: One, the different personalities of the principals; and two, goal incompatibility between the future ambitions of the three MIAs and the current political interests of Mr Odinga.

Mr Odinga has been toughened by protest politics; long periods in fetid dungeons and stretches of life in exile.

He is a curious blend of cold pragmatism and almost naïve idealism, so that he is able to move from hard-nosed, almost cynical deal-making to unyielding brinkmanship.

NON-VIOLENCE

His political mistakes arise because he sometimes trusts too much those he shouldn’t and trusts too little those he should, a trait he shares with his main adversary Mr Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Musalia Mudavadi are alike in many ways.

They have been vice-presidents and they assert more ambition than they seem able to exert.

They are affable, seemingly non-threatening and give the impression of seeking the path of least resistance to the presidency.

Both know that they need the block-vote that Mr Odinga brings if either is to be a front-runner in 2022.

But given the tenuous hold that each has on his political base back home, each knows that he has no room for the high-stake gambles that Mr Odinga so joyously embraces.

Mr Odinga has something akin to a social contract with his base. Mr Mudavadi and Mr Musyoka live on a daily plebiscite.

Mr Moses Wetang’ula never gives the impression that he can forge the sort of alliances that a would-be president needs to be a viable candidate.

He seems able to persuade people but not to inspire them.

He is able to reach out to them but not to cultivate their loyalty.

The sort of politician that a reasonably large number of people might say they admire but very few will say they trust.

His now-on and now-off relationship with Mr Mudavadi often makes him look gratuitously abrasive.

The sort, as the old saying goes, that would blow off Musalia’s candle even if it did not make his own shine brighter.

These pen portraits suggest, then, that the only person with the stomach for hardball was always Mr Odinga.

The other three may have had the stomach for the talk but they certainly did not have feet for the walk, literally.

The massive outpouring on social media after the ‘swearing-in’ shows that many Nasa supporters see things this way too.

ELECTIONS
Yet behind the personality differences, there are also diverging interests and fears.

Mr Odinga has run for president four times now: 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017.

Though he lost in all four, the scale and nature of the illegalities in 2007 and 2013 were massive.

Mr Odinga was entirely right to say these were rigged against him.

The last one in 2017 was nullified, principally for illegalities that mirrored those in 2007 and 2013.

INJUSTICES

Mr Odinga must feel that it probably is the case that his chance at the presidency is now gone and he must do all he can to correct an injustice that he fears will recur, again and again.

He does not want to have lost these elections in vain.

The impunity of his adversaries and the vagaries of age have spurred him to take risks he otherwise would not.

The other three principals are worried about being viable candidates in 2022, not legacy.

Though they crave Mr Odinga’s mass appeal, they fear that the risks that he wants them to take will destroy them in their home base and give wing to their opponents.

They will have noticed that Mr Odinga is the only non-elected politician whose career has thrived since the new constitution came into force.

Mr Kalonzo knows that his political career has survived, in part, on the satellite effect, of his nearness to Mr Odinga in 2013 and again in 2017.

After the misery of the 2013 electoral failure in western Kenya, Mr Mudavadi must owe some of his new political shine to cultural rehabilitation by Luhya elders who controversially anointed him spokesman for the community over the elected leaders who thought themselves better qualified.

There is another factor in play: Devolution.

The ample resources that have gone to counties have positioned governors as alternative centres of power to the Nasa principals in all but Mr Odinga’s backyard.

Mr Odinga has done what no other politician has done in the post-2010 era, that is to say, worked his political base so skilfully that his leadership and authority are not questioned.

Unfortunately, none of the three — Kalonzo, Wetang’ula and Mudavadi — has any real hold on their home base.

For all his longevity in Kamba politics, Kalonzo is running out of time.

He wants a shot at the presidency in 2022 but lacks fully bankable votes.

Last year, he endured a bruising internal revolt in his Wiper party that he seemed oddly unable to contain.

SUPPORTERS

His unsteady hold on his Kamba base is threatened by new competitors: the soft-spoken, easy to underestimate Governor of Makueni, Prof Kivutha Kibwana and the snazzy, self-promoting governor of Machakos Alfred Mutua.

Kalonzo wants to seem like a strong national leader, but his feet of clay back home warn that his competitors will pounce and destroy him in a jiffy at any reckless mistakes he makes.

It is easy to see why Kalonzo might see a fence as a good place to sit.

Musalia and Wetang’ula know that the Luhya are not going to support either of them with the emotional intensity of Raila’s base.

By now the two must see that the chronic electoral divisions of Luhya sub-groups have perennially denied the community the political clout that its numbers say it should have.

Unfortunately, whenever talk of Luhya unity arises each of the politicians thinks they are the best qualified, feeding the very split they abjured in the first place.

In 2017, Musalia and Wetang’ula came together and seemed to have made the beginnings of that unity.

The vote still split and Jubilee walked away with a quarter of the region’s thirty-three parliamentary seats.

Leading a fickle constituency as the two clearly do does not encourage high-risk politics.

Meaning that even as Mr Wetang’ula and Mr Mudavadi pine for the Odinga vote, they will not take risks that might immolate their careers at home.

2022 POLITICS

And as with Kalonzo, devolution has also bred new competitors for Musalia and Wetang’ula.

By 2022, the two won’t necessarily be the western region’s frontrunners.

But if these are the sorts of games in which the Nasa principals are nested, how can the party survive?

My read is that the momentum is now with the party’s increasingly radicalised supporters.

Though Kalonzo, Musalia and Wetang’ula have shown timidity unworthy of their earlier rhetoric, in the coming days they will experience enough rebuke from their constituents to drive them back to Mr Odinga’s hardline position.

Thinking back, it is more likely that the three stayed away more from fear of being outflanked by their opponents and competitors back home than as a response to pressure from their base.

This could prove costly. The crowd that massed at Uhuru Park had come to see their leaders.

They saw only two: Mr Odinga and Mr Ali Hassan Joho.

There is some old advice that bears repeating.

In politics never promise to do anything that you lack the nerve to do.

If you do and then fail to, your supporters will never again take you seriously.


50 mil damnificados por lluvias e inundaciones en Bolivia

El viceministro de Defensa Civil, Carlos Bru, informó el miércoles que hasta la fecha aproximadamente 50.000 personas de unas 12.000 familias en siete departamentos del país se encuentran afectadas por lluvias e inundaciones.

“Tenemos aproximadamente 50.000 habitantes damnificados por diferentes tipos de eventos climáticos, lluvias, inundaciones, desbordes, granizos, tormentas de orden eléctrico, derrumbes de los caminos, entre otros”, explicó a los periodistas.

Bru manifestó que los departamentos que requieren mayor atención son Beni y Tarija en la región del Chaco donde existen brigadas del Ministerio de Defensa y las Fuerzas Armadas que atienden contingencias para salvar vidas humanas, primero, y luego bienes materiales.

“Hay un problema que es recurrente siempre en estos casos de emergencia, se resiste mucho la gente a dejar y evacuar sus bienes materiales, entonces ahí estamos trabajando en todas las zonas que se encuentran muy afectadas”, indicó.

La autoridad aseguró que el Gobierno pondrá a disposición el presupuesto que sea necesario para la atención de eventualidades climáticas y subrayó que cada gobernación y municipio tiene su propio presupuesto para atención de emergencias.

“Hay que tener claro se tienen varias etapas en el tema de estas eventualidades naturales, se tiene etapas que es atender la emergencia inmediata, luego viene la reconstrucción o reparación de perdida de cultivos, viviendas, entre otros”, complementó.

Fuente: ABI


Police arrest MP Tom Kajwang’ in oath crack down

By PATRICK LANG’AT
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By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang was on Wednesday dramatically arrested as the government began a crack down on those who plotted and aided the “swearing-in” of opposition leader Raila Odinga as the “people’s president”.

Mr Kajwang — who was to be the oath administrator, although Mr Odinga ended up reading it directly from a paper — was arrested by plainclothes police officers at the Milimani Law Courts and driven to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters moments after he joked about his new title — “Chief Justice” Kajwang’ — which he said he earned during the ceremony.

Earlier, there were conflicting reports on the whereabouts of Mr Odinga with some aides suggesting he had travelled to Tanzania.

ARREST
Mr Kajwang had appeared before High Court judge George Odunga for a ruling in a case in which the Parliamentary Service Commission has sued the Salaries and Remuneration Commission over the MPs’ pay cut.

The judge had just finished delivering the ruling when Mr Kajwang’ stood up to thank him.

“My Lord, you can as well refer to me as CJ Kajwang’ following yesterday’s swearing-in ceremony of the people’s president,” Mr Kajwang said.

Little did he know that plainclothes officers were waiting for him outside the courts where they would pounce on him and drive away with him.

INVESTIGATION

He would later confirm through a text message that he had been arrested by eight Flying Squad officers.

“If my arrest and prosecution will be the ultimate price I must pay for my role in the swearing of the people’s president, so be it.

“That will be a small price to pay compared to what Raila Amolo Odinga has paid all his life for political justice in this country,” he said.

On Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i warned that the government will continue with the crack down.

“The government has commenced full investigations around the purported swearing-in of Raila Odinga.

“The investigations will extend to co-conspirators and facilitators. Upon completion, appropriate action will be taken according to the laws of Kenya,” Dr Matiang’i said on the steps of Harambee House.

ODINGA WHEREABOUTS
Aides who spoke to the Nation said Mr Odinga went to Tanzania for a ‘brief holiday’ as he ponders the future of the coalition left scarred by Tuesday’s events.

While Nation could not independently verify reports of his leaving the country, the dial tone on Mr Odinga’s phone sounded like that of one outside Kenya.

Later in the evening, his phones went through and some of his aides insisted he had not gone anywhere.

“Raila had not left the country and will not,” his spokesman Dennis Onyango said in a terse message.

This was happening even as it merged that the other principals skipped the much hyped event for fear of arrest.

MUDAVADI ABSENCE
On Wednesday, it emerged that neither Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress, Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper Democratic Movement and Moses Wetang’ula of Ford-Kenya were committed to the oath-taking, even though they had publicly supported the idea.

The Nation pieced together the events leading to the moment at which Mr Odinga took to the podium alone and using a poor public address system, quickly took the 90-word oath and made a brief speech — all in exactly six minutes.

Senators George Khaniri (Vihiga), Cleophas Malala (Kakamega) and ODM treasurer Ogla Karani on Wednesday recounted their attempts to get Mr Mudavadi — the most enthusiastic of the three about the oath and whose betrayal Mr Odinga is said to have taken very personally — to change his mind and attend the ceremony.

“These people (government) are planning to arrest us and my body is not made for jail,” Ms Karani quotes Mr Mudavadi telling her on the phone as Mr Odinga waited for his co-principals at the Intercontinental Hotel.

FEAR OF ARREST
Ms Karani, who would later make a prayer at the podium asking God to “let their people abandon those that abandoned us”, tried to no avail to convince Mr Mudavadi that even if he were to be arrested, the coalition had good lawyers that could secure his release.

At 8am, Mr Khaniri had also called Mr Mudavadi, his party boss, and even after saying he was just about to leave, made a curious comment that put the Vihiga senator off.

He was worried that things were not looking up.

“What do you mean?” Mr Khaniri inquired.

“Call at 10, I will tell you,” Mr Mudavadi replied.

UHURU PARK
He called back at 10am, and this time, the senator said, Mr Mudavadi was categorical that he was scared of leaving the house, because the State planned to arrest them.

“The decision to recall security personnel from Uhuru Park is a trap to arrest us,” Mr Mudavadi told the senator, who told him of the huge crowd massed at Uhuru Park though he didn’t budge.

“They have opened the road for us to go in then the police will swoop in and arrest us. I am not ready for that,” Mr Mudavadi is said to have stated.

Mr Malala said: “We were shocked when they started calling Mr Odinga at 1.30pm asking for a consultative meeting at 2.30pm when the crowd was already waiting at Uhuru Park.”

Mr Mudavadi was at Mr Musyoka’s home, putting on a brave face on the state of the coalition but at pains to explain their absence at the event.

“We are an integral part of Nasa and we are firmly working together and the challenges that face the country remain the focus of our objective.

“Let people not try to create divisions amongst us. This is not child’s play. Let them stop being simplistic,” Mr Mudavadi said at Mr Musyoka’s home on Wednesday, where he had gone following reports of a night grenade attack.

Mr Wetang’ula had earlier visited the home and dismissed as “neither here nor there” allegations that they had abandoned Mr Odinga, saying the latter was aware of their circumstances.

NASA UNITY
Mr Mudavadi said that the Nasa co-principals will hold a key meeting “either today or tomorrow” to explain what happened.

Meanwhile, the trio were yesterday roundly condemned by ODM lawmakers who accused them of cowardice.

“There is no cure for a coward. A coward is just a coward and those who were brave enough made it to Uhuru Park on Tuesday,” National Assembly Minority leader and ODM chairman, John Mbadi said at his office on Wednesday.

“I don’t know what happened to the other principals whether they were afraid or not,” he added.

At the same time, Nyando MP Jared Okelo and his Saboti counterpart Caleb Amisi, said they will push for a re-negotiation of the House leadership positions, hinting that they will take away the Senate Minority leadership position from Mr Wetang’ula.

“ODM donated some house leadership positions to the affiliate parties and it’s now time we take back everything,” Mr Okelo said.

Additional reporting by Maureen Kakah Samwel Owino, Collins Omulo and David Mwere


TV stations switch off a throwback to dark days

By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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While Kenya has one of the freest media spaces on the African continent, it has intermittently faced repression from the government.

In the 90s, the government had an atrocious reputation as a muzzler of the press.

The Free Press Commission in 1994 criticised the government for what it called blatant harassment and persecution of journalists through the relentless abuse of the legal machinery and use of police.

Opposition MPs also condemned a police raid on Colourprint Press in 1995, saying it was uncivilised and unforgivable.

MACHARIA ARRESTED
On April 2001, Citizen TV and radio were driven off the air after a morning raid by CID officers.

Royal Media Services chairman Samuel Kamau Macharia and company security chief John Chege were arrested.

The statutory broadcast regulator, the Communication Commission of Kenya, later claimed Citizen – owned by Royal Media Services — had illegally re-sited its transmission base by moving it from Limuru, without the commission’s permission.

STANDARD RAID
In 2006, armed and hooded police raided the Standard newspaper and KTN offices in Nairobi.

The raids followed a running dispute between the media house and the government over a story in the Saturday Standard alleging that then President Mwai Kibaki had held a secret meeting with one of his fiercest critics, former Cabinet minister Kalonzo Musyoka.

Thousands of copies of the newspaper were burnt by the men and the government later confirmed it had ordered police to raid the media group’s offices.

The then unapologetic Internal Security minister John Michuki said: “If you rattle a snake, you must be prepared to be bitten by it.”

DIGITAL MIGRATION
In 2015, the government also denied the public right to receive information after switching off analogue television transmission to implement a self-imposed deadline for digital television switch.

The availability and affordability of the set-top boxes was a core part of the media owners’ request for more time to migrate — a request the CA and Information ministry vehemently opposed.

Just before last year’s August General Election, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru threatened to shutdown media houses that would announce election results before the electoral agency.

“Hata nyinyi (even you) media you are not IEBC. The Constitution gives IEBC the responsibility to announce results.

“Nobody else. If the media tries to announce results hata hiyo tutafunga (we will shut you down),” Mr Mucheru said during an event he had attended in Nyeri in July.

President of the Law Society of Kenya Isaac Okero said Tuesday’s shutdown of Citizen TV, NTV and KTN television stations, which was extended on Wednesday, is a violation of the Constitution.

He said according to the law, the CA is supposed to be independent to exercise its functions.