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Sunday, April 1st, 2018

 

Already dire food security situation continues to deteriorate in South Sudan

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Overall food security situation continues to deteriorate, with 6.33 million individuals estimated to be food insecure in absence of humanitarian assistance

  • Early onset of seasonal rains encouraged early planting in southern bi-modal rainfall areas

  • Improved security situation in parts of Greater Equatoria region may result in an increase in planted area

  • Cereal production in 2017 estimated at record low level due to widespread insecurity and massive displacements in southern key-growing areas

  • Food prices continue at exceptionally high levels

Already dire food security situation continues to deteriorate

Food availability and access continue to be severely constrained by the widespread and protracted conflict, large‑scale displacements, high food prices, market disruptions, macro‑economic collapse and exhaustion of households’ coping mechanisms. An earlier‑than‑normal start of the lean season, due to the reduced 2017 crop production, resulted in an increase of the food insecure caseload (IPC Phases 3, 4 and 5), from 4.8 million people at the end of 2017 to 6.33 million in the February‑April 2018 period. The current caseload is estimated in absence of humanitarian assistance and it represents about 57 percent of the total population, almost 30 percent more than in the corresponding period of the previous year. Great concern exists for the 50 000 people estimated to face IPC Phase 5: “Catastrophe” food insecurity conditions in Ayod, Nyirol and Urol counties in the former Jonglei State and in Leer, Mayendit and Panyijiar counties in the former Unity State. At the peak of the lean season, from May to July 2018, a further deterioration in the food security situation is anticipated, reaching the record level of 7.1 million severely food insecure people.

Since the start of the conflict in mid‑December 2013, about 4.3 million people were forced to flee their homes due to widespread insecurity and violence, including about 1.9 million IDPs and 2.4 million that sought refuge in neighbouring countries (Uganda, the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Kenya).

Early onset of seasonal rains encouraging early planting in southern areas

Seasonal rains had an early onset in the third dekad of February. Rains continued in March with adequate amounts in the southern bi‑modal rainfall areas of the Greater Equatoria Region, where farmers engaged in early planting of maize and garden crops. Currently, the security situation in some areas of the Greater Equatoria Region is improving and this may result in better access to land for farmers with an increase in planted area. However, Fall Armyworm (FAW) outbreaks are reported to be attacking germinating maize crops with likely negative effects on yields.

According to the latest Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum weather forecast, March‑May rains are likely to be generally favourable, with above‑average levels over the southern bi‑modal rainfall areas of the Greater Equatoria region and in the southern parts of the former Lakes and Jonglei States, and average precipitations over the rest of the country.

Crop production plunging in 2017 due to conflict and large-scale displacements

Harvesting of the 2017 main season crops was completed in January. According to the results of the 2017 FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission, the 2017 aggregate cereal production (including first season crops harvested last July/August) is estimated at about 764 000 tonnes, 7 percent down from 2016, 14 percent below the average of the previous five years and the smallest recorded output since the start of the conflict in 2013. Despite overall favourable weather conditions, the dismal performance of the 2017 cropping season is mainly due to the impact of the conflict on plantings and agricultural operations, especially in the key‑growing areas of the Greater Equatoria region and in the former Western Bahr el Ghazal State. Compared to 2016, production almost halved in the former Central Equatoria State, where the widespread insecurity resulted in an exodus of about 550 000 people in 2017, with an ensuing sharp reduction of the number of households actively engaged in farming activities. In addition to the endemic presence of common pests, Fall Armyworm (FAW) outbreaks, detected in the country for the first time in 2017, caused some damage on maize and sorghum crops in more than 20 counties.

Cereal domestic availability is also constrained by reduced imports, due to insecurity disrupting trade flows along the main routes, notably the Juba‑Nimule road, which connects with Ugandan markets. Maize flour imports in mid-2017 were roughly 75 percent below compared to 2016, while sorghum imports in the fourth quarter of 2017 were almost 30 percent below the volumes imported during the fourth quarter of 2016 and 15 percent below the average of the fourth quarters of the previous four years.

Food prices at exceptionally high levels

In the capital Juba, prices of maize and sorghum declined by 15‑25 percent between June 2017 and January 2018, following the 2017 harvests and the establishment by the Government of a trading company selling basic food commodities at subsidized prices. Subsequently, prices increased by 5‑15 percent between January and March. Similarly, prices of wheat flour increased by about 15 percent over the same period. Prices of cassava were stable in recent months, while prices of groundnuts increased by 15 percent in March. Overall, prices of main food staples in March 2018 were up to 75 percent higher than the high levels in March 2017, driven by a tight supply situation, a significant depreciation of the local currency and trade disruptions due to insecurity.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


New police unit to deal with highway crime, accidents

By FRED MUKINDA
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A new police unit that will deal with highway robberies and road carnage is set to be established.

Forty-nine police officers selected to join the Kenya National Highways Police Unit will begin training on their new task on April 8.

Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) of Police Edward Mbugua said the officers were picked after competitive interviews, according to a dispatch seen by the Nation.

The dispatch by Mr Paul Wanjama on behalf of the DIG to unit commanders says the officers should report to the police headquarters a day before the training starts.

HIGHWAY CODE
It comprises two senior officers of the rank of assistant superintendent and assisted by seven chief inspectors and inspectors.

The rest are sergeants, corporals and constables.

The Kenya National Highways Authority has over the years asked to have a police unit that would enforce the Highway Code, especially at weighbridges, citing massive corruption in the traffic police department.

“Inform the officers to prepare for training and inform (this office) when done,” the internal communication says.

The officers were picked from police stations and formations across the country.

NTSA
Once fully in place, the key roads to be patrolled by the new squad include Nairobi-Mombasa, Nairobi-Malaba and Nairobi-Busia.

Drivers of heavy trucks using prohibited roads will be arrested and their vehicles impounded.

Police have been taking full control of law enforcement on roads after withdrawal of other agencies that were working alongside them.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) withdrew its officers from the roads early this year following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The decision to crack the whip on the authority was informed by the high number of fatalities in road crashes.

NTSA was left with other roles including conducting research and audits on road safety, developing and implementing road safety strategies and regulating public service vehicles.


Disabled officers to give reasons for reliefs

By FRED MUKINDA
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Police officers with disabilities who were slapped with pay cuts after withdrawal of tax exemptions have been told to appear before their employer to prove they qualify to get reliefs.

National Police Service Commission has formed eight teams that will examine the affected police officers.

The officers were among thousands of law enforcers whose monthly pays was drastically reduced.

GRADUATES
Also affected by the pay cut are constables who were earning higher salary than their colleagues because they had acquired university degrees, but it was reduced after the commission noted the increments were done irregularly.

All officers with disability (uniformed and civilian) shall be expected to appear before the select team in regional venues nearest to them.

The officers will be expected to fill in an attached questionnaire.

The teams will sit at diverse dates in Nairobi, Nyeri, Embu, Nakuru, Garissa, Kakamega, Kisumu and Mombasa.

The Commission warned that officers who give false information will be prosecuted.

HONESTY
The officers will be required to append their signatures in official forms that read:

“I acknowledge that if I give any incorrect or misleading information or if I have omitted any information during the process, I may be disqualified from consideration for any purpose by the commission or, if this is subsequently discovered, I may be liable for disciplinary action.”

Those caught giving false information risk being jailed up to two years and a fine not exceeding Sh200,000.

When they appear for examination, the officers will also be required to provide “Persons with Disability Identification Card, Persons With Disability Medical Assessment Report and Kenya Revenue Authority tax exemption certificate.” 

The cuts badly affected the officers, mostly those who had taken loans and mortgages after getting enhanced salaries.

They have been left with negative balances on their payslips.

Others who had purchased properties, taken their children to better schools or even built new houses away from the staff quarters have been devastated by the directive.


CUE records increase of private varsity student numbers

By OUMA WANZALA
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Universities are still enrolling a high number of self-sponsored students despite a steep fall in secondary school graduates scoring grades that guarantee direct entry to the institutions.

A report by the Commission for University Education shows that though all students who scored grade C+ and above in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination joined university through government sponsorship, module II programmes registered increased enrolment.

The report, covering 2014 and 2016 and which will be released soon, indicates that students paid Sh147 billion as fees during the period.

Public universities received Sh99.3 billion while private ones got Sh47.8 billion.

“Fees increased by 10 per cent from Sh46.3 billion in 2014 to Sh51 billion in 2016. The fee in public and private universities increased by 11.2 and 7.7 per cent respectively,” the report adds.

BUDGET
It says universities are spending 58 per cent of their revenue on salaries as they grapple with a budget deficit of Sh6.2 billion.

The institutions are also dedicating 30.4 per cent of their budgets on other expenditure, with buildings taking 8.3 per cent and maintenance four per cent.

The 31 public universities are using 59 per cent of their budgets on salaries while the figure for private universities is 53.

The report indicates that for 2014-2016 period, public and private universities used Sh168 billion to pay salaries, Sh24 billion on buildings, Sh9 billion on maintenance and Sh88 billion on other expenses.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich told the National Assembly Education Committee in mid-March that universities are in a financial crisis and proposed staff retrenchment.

STRIKE
Public universities have about 27,000 workers, with 9,000 of them being lecturers.

The dons are on strike, demanding salary increase expected to cost the taxpayer Sh38 billion for four years.

Mr Rotich attributed the crisis in funding to a new policy in which funding is based on courses pursued by a student.

According to the report seen by the Nation, the income for public universities was Sh226 billion while their expenditure totalled Sh230 billion, translating to a deficit of Sh3.6 billion.

Private universities had an income of Sh57.7 billion and an expenditure of Sh60.3 billion, translating to a Sh2.28 billion deficit.

The report says universities are spending more than what they make.

“The university industry is not able to sustain itself. If the trend is not remedied universities may not achieve their objectives,” the study says.

FUNDING
It adds that inadequate funding will eventually lead to stagnation or lack of growth as many institutions may not expand their resources like infrastructure and staffing.

It could also lead to poor services since the limited resources will not support the growing numbers.

The report points out that lack of enough funds could lead to universities focusing on programmes that attract students in order to increase cash flow and not schemes that are key to the country’s development agenda.

It also says the institutions may fail to fund research that informs policy, limiting creativity and innovation.

DEDUCTIONS
Lack of funding may lead to high staff turnover since universities will not attract and retain qualified academic staff, the report says.

According to the study, decreased cost in private universities is due to their reliance on sponsors, donors and partners which may not be consistent, while public institutions are funded by the government on continuous basis.

“However, the higher decreased cost in public universities is a result of reduced funding in development expenditure.”

Vice-chancellors committee chairman Francis Aduol recently told the National Assembly Education Committee that 16 out of 31 universities are in a financial crisis and cannot pay their workers.

He said universities are not able to pay statutory deductions to government agencies.


Sh200m Nakumatt goods ‘lost’ after raid

By STELLA CHERONO
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Property worth about Sh200 million belonging to Nakumatt Holdings cannot be accounted for after auctioneers, led by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and security officers raided the firm’s outlet at Hazina Trading Centre early Sunday morning.

The auctioneers, who had hired close to 120 youth, loaded merchandize into trucks and offloaded them at the retailer’s headquarters off Mombasa Road, Nairobi, giving looters an opportunity to cart them away.

Nakumatt Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Atul Shah said the raiders arrived at the store a few minutes to midnight, took goods from the shelves and loaded them into 12 trucks.

LOOTERS
He said the men who led the operation contracted people on the spot to remove things from the hall and take them to trucks parked outside.

“The security guards called me and told me that the people there were accompanied by Administration police officers.

“He said they were issuing contracts for people to sign outside, I called the Central Police Station but they could not act immediately since there were other police officers there,” Mr Shah said.

He added that he could not tell whether all the goods were taken to their headquarters and others diverted, and some looted outside their head office.

Looters outside the head office pounced on the electronics, foodstuff, bicycles and clothing.

They used the chain’s trolleys and carts to take away whatever they could, leaving papers strewn outside the gate.

Some of them hired taxis and motorcycles to transport the loot as they celebrated “the free Easter” goodies.

Most of them were from the Mukuru slums and neighbouring estates.

“There was no court order to evict us or prior warning. This came without our knowledge and we have decided that we will take legal action against NSSF for the destruction of property.

“This is illegal and apart from repossessing the premises we had rented, we will sue,” Mr Shah said.

ARREST
Central Police Station OCPD, however, said the police arrested the auctioneer and the NSSF head of Security, Samuel Omondi, whom, he said, led the operation.

“They are in our custody and we are trying to find out what orders they were acting upon, before we can arraign them in court on Tuesday,” Mr Thuku said.

Employees at the Supermarket said the people who raided the store removed all the merchandise and dismantled the shelves before leaving.

In December, the Hazina Trading Centre evicted Nakumatt from its premises due to rent arrears amounting to Sh73 million. The eviction would have paved the way for NSSF to continue with the construction of the building, which has fallen years behind schedule.
The national pensions body sealed its main entrance and clamped vehicles belonging to Nakumatt, blocking clients from accessing the premises.


Man wants trader probed over prime city land

By DAVID MWERE
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A petitioner wants MPs to investigate how an individual was allegedly paid billions of taxpayers’ money by the government for acquisition of pieces of land he did not own.

Mr Dominic Kitheka wants the Lands Committee of the National Assembly to investigate how Mr Francis Mburu has continued to benefit from the 96- acre land in Ruaraka, Nairobi, whose title LR No.7879/4 he allegedly used to secure a loan from Continental Credit Finance Limited but never paid.

Although he did not reveal the figure, Mr Kitheka alleges that Mr Mburu used his two companies; Afrison Export and Import Limited and Huelands Limited to acquire the loan in 1981 and that because the loan remains unpaid, he ceased to be the bona fide owner of the land.

“The committee investigates the history surrounding the title LR No. 7879/4, its original ownership, to whom it has been transferred and what became of it after it was used to secure the loan,” the petition reads.

BALANCE
Mr Mburu is allegedly the director of the two companies that are also at the centre of Sh3.3 billion in compensation from Ministry of Education for the same parcel of land LR No. 7879/4 on which now stands Ruaraka High School and Drive- In Primary School.

In the January 16, 2018 letter addressed to the Principal Secretary Ministry of Education Dr Belio Kipsang, National Land Commission (NLC) confirms that Sh1.5 billion has been paid to the commission’s bank account for onward transmission to the two companies.

This is according to a document NLC submitted in the National Assembly on March 29, 2018.

The balance of Sh1.8 billion is expected to be settled once the National Assembly approves the Supplementary Budget II, which was adopted by the Cabinet last week.

The two schools are located on the 96 acre- land. The latest acquisition is a subject of the parliamentary investigations.

LEGAL PAYMENT
NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri defended the payment when he appeared before the Lands committee last week alongside chief executive Tom Chavangi and director of Valuation and Taxation Ms Salome Munubi.

“The commission wishes to state that the payment was done in conformity with the laid procedure of land acquisition,” Dr Swazuri said.

Mr Kitheka gives details of how despite Mr Mburu’s alleged failure to clear his loan, using his two companies, “strangely and fraudulently”, sold the entire 96 acres of land to the defunct Kenya Post and Telecommunications Corporation on June 28, 1983.

“On diverse unknown dates, the two companies once again fraudulently hived off from the same parcel of land some 37.4 acres and later claimed for compensation from the government,” Mr Kitheka’s petition reads.

FRAUD
He claims that the 37.4 acres is where the current headquarters of the General Service Unit (GSU) of the National Police is located.

The petitioner further alleges that on February 12, 2012, a high court consent judgment was entered fraudulently without disclosure of material facts by all parties in favour of the two companies for Sh4.1 billion as the fair value for the 37.4 acres.

The petition claims that the government valuer was never involved in the valuation of the land.

Mr Kitheka claims that negotiations involving the Office of the President and that of the Attorney-General saw the judgement figure reduced to Sh2.4 billion.


Miguna's family accuses Nasa leaders of betrayal

By RUSHDIE OUDIA
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For the last one month, distraught family members of Dr Miguna Miguna have been waiting for the hour they would reunite with him.

The pain on their faces is palpable.

Dr Miguna’s mother Margaret had seven children, five girls and two boys. He is the last born.

His stepmother Philgona Okumu had four children.

His peasant father died in 1962 when Margaret was only three months pregnant with Dr Miguna. She died in 1987.

DISTRESS
As one approaches the homestead at Magina village in Nyando Constituency, Kisumu County, one is met with silence broken at intervals by the mows of cattle and a radio anchor’s voice.

The family wants to hear news on Dr Miguna.

Some say they have gone without food and sleep and kept their eyes and ears open for news of their son’s return.

The radio is at the centre of a group of old men and women. With their hands on their chins, they listen to the news.

The last time Dr Miguna Miguna stepped in the homestead was in January. He had been in Homa Bay County for a people’s assembly forum.

RAILA OATH
Mr Erick Ondiek Miguna recalls seeing his jovial brother, who told them that he was in the team that would “swear in” opposition chief Raila Odinga as the “people’s president” on January 30.

“The only thing he talks about is politics,” Mr Ondiek says. The Miguna family reads betrayal on the part of opposition politicians.

“My brother foresaw the treatment he would be subjected to upon landing in Kenya,” Mr Ondiek says.

Next to him is his wife, Dr Miguna’s sister-in-law, Angela Aoko.

Also present is Dr Miguna’s former classmate Barack Onyango Muga and cousin Nick Abuor.

They say the genesis of Dr Miguna’s tribulations was the mock swearing-in of Mr Odinga.

POLICE BRUTALITY
They feel he is a victim of circumstances and wonder why he is the only one being punished.

“There were thousands of people at Uhuru Park. Why only my brother? Why can’t they arrest Raila?,” Mr Ondiek asks.

“I felt sad seeing GSU officers mishandling my brother like a thief, a criminal, like a murderer. Miguna has never committed any crime.”

The family wants to know why those who were at Uhuru Park with Dr Miguna have abandoned him.

Mr Ondiek says if the handshake between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta really meant good for the country, the State would not mistreating his brother.

PEACE DEAL
He adds that he pegged his faith on Mr Odinga’s assurance when he spoke in Ahero, Kondele and Bondo where he indicated that he would talk to the President to have Dr Miguna freed.

He questions the sincerity of the reconciliation between the two leaders, “because details of their agreement have yet to be made public”.

“Did the President mean what he said? Does he really mean good?” he asks.

“Everybody, except my brother, was happy because he knew nothing good could come out of the handshake.

“The silence by key opposition leaders has made Miguna and the entire family feel betrayed,” he says.

METTLE
And he says he wonders why Dr Miguna is being referred to as a foreigner when he was born in Nyando on December 31, 1962, attended Apondo Primary School, Onjiko Secondary School and Njiris High School.

Mr Ondiek challenges the President to come clean on the Dr Miguna’s tribulations.

“If he has done anything wrong he should be taken to court,” he says.

The family attributes the strength, firmness, toughness and courage Dr Miguna displays, to what he underwent over the years.

They say as a young man, Miguna was quiet and kept to himself most of the time.


ODM maintains Raila is still Nasa leader

By JUSTUS OCHIENG’
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The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has insisted that Raila Odinga still remains the leader of the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa).

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna dismissed claims by Amani National Congress (ANC) that Mr Odinga is no longer the leader of the coalition.

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi’s aide Kibisu Kabatesi had asked Mr Odinga to leave Nasa, arguing that his usefulness in the coalition ended with the famous handshake between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 9.

Mr Kabatesi asked the media to stop referring to Mr Odinga as the “Nasa leader”, saying that the coalition does not have such a title other than the honorary “Nasa principal” or “Nasa co-principal” shared by the leaders of ODM, Wiper, Ford Kenya and ANC.

“ODM must take the bold step to officially vacate its membership in Nasa since by promoting the Jubilee agenda at the expense of Nasa’s stated objective to constitute a democratic government and not dictatorship, it is in continued violation of the Political Parties Act,” Mr Kabatesi said.

PEACE
But on Sunday, Mr Sifuna said Mr Odinga had not joined Jubilee but held talks with President Kenyatta as an individual.

He described ANC’s claims that Mr Odinga was no longer the Nasa leader as “petty”.

“ANC is being petty. A rose is a rose whatever name you call it. Raila is the Nasa leader and peoples president. Period,” Mr Sifuna declared.

When Mr Odinga spoke after the handshake, which was a culmination of a meeting with President Kenyatta, he said that it was important for the country to come together after the 2017 divisive elections.

WETANG’ULA
Mr Odinga successfully petitioned the August 8 election of President Kenyatta at the Supreme Court.

Nasa’s unity has been in question Mr Moses Wetang’ula was ousted as the Senate minority leader.

The ouster of the Bungoma senator saw him and Mr Mudavadi crisscross Vihiga and Bungoma counties where they addressed their supporters.

The two leaders from western Kenyan accused Mr Odinga of betrayal while ODM accused the two of betraying its leader.

The ODM leaders questioned the whereabouts of the two principals when Mr Odinga was being “sworn in” as the “people’s president” on January 30.


How lawyer Miguna bluffed his way to infamy

By PATRICK LANG’AT
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By RUSHDIE OUDIA
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On Saturday, March 10, just a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga shook hands on the steps of Harambee House, Nairobi, and vowed to bury the hatchet, deported lawyer Miguna Miguna, who commissioned Mr Odinga’s ‘oath’ as the ‘people’s president’ on January 30, flew to Dallas, Texas, USA, to deliver a talk about his resistance movement’s ideals.

The trip was part of his global tour to publicise his beloved National Resistance Movement, a proscribed organisation that was the cause of his arrest, detention and eventual deportation to Canada in early February.

Inside a brightly-lit hotel conference room, Mr Miguna was in his element: Livid, angry and wounded — particularly at, and by, Mr Odinga, whom he felt had betrayed the opposition’s cause and, by extension, him.

UHURU OUSTER
To Dr Miguna, Mr Odinga’s handshake with President Kenyatta was akin to “a man who is happily married leaving his wife” for a call girl.

And with Mr Odinga now worming his way into the Jubilee inner circles, Dr Miguna promised to take over the leadership of the resistance movement and oust Mr Kenyatta through massive demonstrations.

While he had previously talked of his plans to push Mr Kenyatta out of power, it was at the Dallas meeting that the lawyer — who by last evening was holed up in Dubai after being deported again on Wednesday last week — detailed the plot and its choreography.

At the centre of it was the massive support that the NRM enjoyed at the time, and which, he said, could not be drowned by the Harambee House handshake.

To top it all, whether he was bluffing or not, he said he only needed one week to execute his plan.

“They have 350,000 armed men in the military, police, the General Service Unit, and the Prisons,” he said of the Armed Forces.

“So the formula is easy; I will bring five million men and women to the streets of Nairobi. You can’t shoot that. That’s why they didn’t shoot in The Philippines, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso. That’s how revolutions happen.”

REVOLUTION
The audience was attentive, Dr Miguna excitable. The meeting was beamed live on Facebook and later uploaded on YouTube.

Knowing he had the room on tenterhooks, he descended into that dark, mystical alley inside his tummy where his lyrical, frosty self resides.

“And what does Miguna need?” he asked. The question was rhetorical, for he answered it in the next sentence.

“His mouth, and his head. And then you give me a platform, and I rally my boys, whether you like it or not.”

After marshalling five million Kenyans into the streets of Nairobi, he said, all he needed to do was maintain the pressure for one week, and everything else would fall into place.

“You do that and Uhuru takes a flight to Congo,” he promised.

DETENTION
Could he do it? Did he have the mettle to pull such a stunt?

Many believe he was just bluffing, carried away by his own sense of self-importance.

Still, this is one of the discussions Dr Miguna held abroad that aided in the cooking of his goose at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi last week, which led to the decision to deport him after 48 hours of absolute madness at the region’s biggest and busiest airport.

He had always been a marked man though: He belongs to a proscribed organisation, had hammered the government thrice in the courts by getting orders for his release, and was quickly evolving from a raging lawyer to a firebrand, if not careless politician.

On Sunday, Ms Julie Soweto, one of the lawyers representing Dr Miguna, told the Nation that the confrontation at JKIA had gone “beyond incompetence”, and that the government had gone personal on the lawyer.

“It is politics at play, and it now almost seems personal,” Ms Soweto said.

“There is so much vindictiveness behind it that one cannot even put one’s finger on it. Somebody seems to be very afraid of Dr Miguna.

“Why? How is it that the whole weight of government machinery is being used on one person, and we seem to be thinking that our law can’t handle that?”

The official government position, so far, is that Dr Miguna had gone against the international and Kenyan laws governing airports, but Dr Miguna’s abrasiveness and signs of not willing to play ball, even with Mr Odinga himself — he stuck to his resistance call when Mr Odinga visited him at JKIA, against the ODM leader’s call for a truce — are said to have played a crucial role in his second deportation.

“It would have been a major breach of security had he been allowed in without stamping the passport he used to depart from Canada,” Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told Citizen TV on Thursday.

“It is criminal to use a different document. You cannot switch it regardless of your status.”

COURT ORDERS
In Kisumu on Sunday, Senate Minority Leader James Orengo called on President Kenyatta to intervene in the case.

“The buck stops with Uhuru Kenyatta. Violations of court orders must be redeemed by the President.

“It is such disobedience of the rule of law that made US President Donald Trump brand Africa with words that I cannot mention here,” Mr Orengo said at Nyando.

Mr Orengo, who together with veteran lawyer John Khaminwa are leading Dr Miguna’s legal team, also asked some of the opposition leaders from Nyanza to stop bashing the activist.

“I feel hurt when some MPs talk ill of Miguna,” he said.

“He has called me names many times before, but we are not enemies. When he is in trouble, I won’t abandon him.”

BETRAYAL
In his continuous updates from Dubai, Dr Miguna has been calling on Kenyans to “demonstrate, make noise and demand that my birthright, constitutional and legal rights be respected and upheld”.

And he, for the first time, on Saturday accused Mr Odinga of abandoning him.

In various interviews and events, Mr Miguna has insisted that the government fears his NRM because it is “uncompromising” and youth are “excited and radical”.

He has worn this “radical” tag like a medal of honour, always urging youth, like all revolutionaries do, to rise against his pet subject — the “despotic” regime of President Kenyatta.

While the government insists that his deportation, the second in two months, was due to his refusal to hand over his Canadian passport for stamping, Dr Miguna believes that he is being persecuted for staying the course. In between these two positions, the truth lies.


Thoughts abound in Easter celebration of Jesus’ victory over death

By Fr LAWRENCE NJOROGE
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The main proclamation by Jesus’ disciples after his death was: He is risen!

This breaking news was greeted with joy by some while others were sceptical.

Jewish authorities were hostile to any suggestion of a resurrection.

Early proclaimers were persistent in the face of persecution and even death.

The most detailed passages in the gospel narrative focus on the death, resurrection and expected return of Christ.

All speeches by Peter and Paul in the Acts of the Apostles have their climax in this belief.

And Paul dedicates one of his longest chapters, I Corinthians 15, on defending the resurrection.

RESURRECTION
It is clear from the Hebrew Bible that the idea of the resurrection evolved over hundreds of years.

The writer of Psalm 88 pleads with God to keep him alive a little longer because should he go to utter silence in the underworld, there will be one person less to praise God!

The books written latest in the Old Testament such as Daniel have explicit profession of the resurrection.

Easter, as the celebration of the victory of life over death in Jesus, is the product of a long process that draws from various traditions.

According to David Burrell, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, in the Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Easter borrows basically from two cultural contexts.

NEW LIFE
The first source is a nomadic way of life in which a lamb was slaughtered as a sacrificial offering to signify the Pasch or Passover.

The second tributary comprises an agrarian lifestyle that offered first fruits in springtime to the gods in order to thank and atone them.

In the northern hemisphere, many species of flora sprout, springing into leaf, and later into flower and fruit after a period of dormancy.

The spring season begins with the vernal equinox around March 21 when the sun crosses the equator. Spring is a time of new life.

No sooner did the Christians of the first century joyfully proclaim the resurrection of Jesus than they faced new challenges.

They had to contend with opposition both from outside and arising within their own circle.

EASTER
One faction insisted that Easter must be celebrated on 14th of the Jewish month of Nisan because this was the original Passover.

This feast could fall on any day of the week.

Their rivals countered that Jesus actually rose from the dead on the first day of the week, Sunday morning (Mk. 16:9).

Therefore, the festival should not be celebrated any other day. Eventually, this latter group carried the day.

There are ancient accounts describing Easter liturgies in Jerusalem, which spread to other cities.

In the 2nd century, Christians developed an elaborate Easter ceremony on Holy Saturday night which St Augustine of Hippo later called “the mother of all vigils” (Sermon 129).

SCIENTISTS
Another source narrating early Easter ceremonies in Jerusalem is a manuscript called Travel Diary by Egeria.

This 5th century document written in Latin recounts in detail the liturgical activities of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, with special attention to the Easter Vigil.

The diarist was an erudite lady of means and culture who had travelled from Europe.

In our age of science and technology, thinkers have responded in different ways to the idea of the resurrection.

Many modern scientists including Marie Curie, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics and Chemistry, Steven Weinberg, another Nobel Prize recipient in Physics, and the late astrophysicist Stephen Hawking find no redeeming value in religion and the resurrection.

MESSIAH
Others, such as Russell Stannard, the particle physicist, believe that readers should be offered facts and theories and be left to make up their mind.

The Kenyan philosopher John Mbiti remarks that it is difficult for people to accept the idea of the resurrection when their focus is on the past, not the future.

In this regard, Charles Nyamiti, the theologian from Tanzania, proposes that Jesus should be re-interpreted in the African context, not just as the Messiah, but as Our Ancestor who inspires us to fulfil our potential.

A very blessed Easter Season!