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Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

 

Début du déguerpissement des habitants aux alentours de l’aéroport d’Abidjan

Publié le 24.01.2020 à 01h18 par APA

Aéro-Canal, un quartier de fortune, aux alentours de l’aéroport d’Abidjan était jeudi le théâtre d’une opération de déguerpissement des habitants, sommés de quitter les lieux, suite au décès d’un adolescent ivoirien, trouvé mort dans le puits d’atterrissage d’un vol reliant Abidjan-Paris, le 7 janvier 2020.Sous des décombres, des hommes et des femmes tentaient, en début d’après-midi de récupérer des restes et des objets de valeurs ensevelis après le passage de deux Caterpillars, qui ont rasé le quartier crée ex nihilo par des communautés étrangères et autochtones.

Pour empêcher des grabuges, des forces de l’ordre ont été déployées sur les voies d’accès du quartier et à Aéro-Canal à 5 h GMT (heure locale), selon des témoins. Impuissants, ces habitants, observaient leurs constructions détruites par les fourches des Caterpillars.           

Jacques Dindané, un fermier, qui conserve son vélo, son moyen de déplacement, affiche un air désabusé. Ce jeune chef de famille et père de sept enfants a vu sa maison cassée. Il s’inquiète pour ceux qui vont à l’école, mais la présence des gendarmes sur les lieux l’oblige à se déporter.

Assis au coin d’un banc, Dominique Ban (40 ans), éleveur de porcs, depuis deux ans, vêtu d’un débarder blanc et un jean bleu, réfléchit où aménager pour mettre en sûreté ses bêtes. Son investissement entamé avec 300 000 Fcfa, prend un coup dans l’aile.  

Plus de 100 porcs, dit-il, se sont évadés dans la nature. Ses bêtes et celles de certains éleveurs sont introuvables. En dépit de leur plaidoirie, un pan du mur de l’enclos a été ouvert par les engins qui depuis 7h, effectuaient le déguerpissement des bâtisses. Dominique a perdu huit porcs sur 15 bêtes. 

« On n’a plus de lieu où partir », lance Hamidou Koudougou (70 ans), un jardinier, qui avec ses deux femmes et neuf enfants, se dit surpris de ce décor parce que des négociations devraient permettre de « casser 50 mètres et dans 45 jours étendre l’opération ».

Sur ses cinq enfants qui vont à l’école, trois sont au collège. Cette nuit, il ne sait où passer la soirée avec cette nombreuse famille. Arrivée au niveau de son habitation en bois, la machine a connu une panne, un brin d’espoir qui se présente à lui, s’il devrait rester quelques heures dans ce logis.

Du côté d’Adjouffou, un autre quartier à proximité de l’aéroport Félix Houphouët-Boigny d’Abidjan, des mises en demeures ont été faites aux habitants. La présence des forces de l’ordre, dépêchées sur les lieux ce jour sonne comme un ultimatum.     

Ici, les habitants situés dans un rayon de plus de 50 mètres commencent à quitter les lieux. Serge Nguessan (24 ans), élève en classe de terminale, et des voisins déménagent leurs affaires et décoiffent leurs habitations de fortunes.

« On n’a nulle part où aller en ce moment, on est déjà sous le choc », affirme Serge qui s’interroge sur la probabilité de son succès au BAC cette année. Francis Kablan, un doyen du quartier, né vers 1960, présent sur ce sol depuis des décennies, demande aux autorités de faire un effort pour les « sauver ».

L’opération de déguerpissement des populations des alentours de l’aéroport d’Abidjan prévue mercredi 15 janvier a été reportée au lundi 20 janvier 2020, selon une note de la direction de la communication de la mairie de Port-Bouët (Sud d’Abidjan), cité abritant l’aéroport Félix Houphouët-Boigny.

Ce déguerpissement qui devrait débuter dès le lundi 20 janvier devrait s’étendre sur une « durée d’une semaine et partir de la zone Aéro-canal jusqu’à Kamboukro », ainsi que « de la clôture de l’aéroport jusqu’à 50m du côté d’Adjouffou ».

Un délai de 45 jours à partir du même lundi 20 janvier devrait être accordé aux populations pour la deuxième phase de déguerpissement. 

Le déguerpissement des populations autour de l’aéroport, a été annoncé par le ministre des Transports, intervient après la mort d’un adolescent ivoirien sur un vol d’Air France. Il a été retrouvé sans vie à l’aéroport de Roisy dans le puits du train d’atterrissage de l’appareil reliant Abidjan-Paris.


Guillaume Soro porte plainte contre le procureur Adou Richard à Paris

Publié le 24.01.2020 à 00h18 par APA

L’ex-président de l’Assemblée nationale ivoirienne Guillaume Soro contre qui la justice ivoirienne a lancé un mandat d’arrêt international pour atteinte à l’autorité de l’État, a porté plainte contre Adou Richard Christophe, le procureur de la République de Côte d’Ivoire auprès du tribunal judiciaire de Paris en France, a-t-on appris jeudi sur place dans la capitale économique ivoirienne.Selon le certificat de dépôt de cette plainte consulté par  APA, M. Soro a déposé une plainte devant le parquet du tribunal judiciaire de Paris contre MM Bazin Olivier, Perez Francis, Laacher Akim et Adou Richard sans autre précision sur la nature de l’infraction qui fait l’objet de cette plainte.

Depuis son retour avorté  à Abidjan le 23 décembre, un mandat d’arrêt international a été lancé par la justice ivoirienne contre l’ancien patron de l’institution parlementaire ivoirienne pour atteinte à l’autorité de l’État, recel de détournement de deniers publics et blanchiment de capitaux.

La Cour de cassation de la Côte d’Ivoire qui s’est déclarée compétente dans l’affaire impliquant M. Soro pour les faits de  détournement de deniers publics, va renvoyer ce dossier devant une autre juridiction pour son jugement en cas de « charges suffisantes », a dit lundi dernier, le procureur de la République Adou Richard Christophe lors d’une conférence de presse.

A cette occasion, M. Adou a assuré également que le mandat d’arrêt international lancé contre M. Soro est « en cours et nous attendons sa bonne exécution ».


Review strategies to win the war on graft

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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Aggressive campaigns in the past two years to end corruption are yet to pay dividends.

Kenya continues to rank among the most corrupt countries, posing a serious threat to its economic growth as well as social and political stability.

In the latest corruption ranking done by Transparency International, Kenya scored 28 out of 100 points in 2019 in the corruption ranking index, an improvement of one point from the previous year, but which still puts it in the lower quantile and below Africa’s average of 32 points. The global average is 43 points.

A particular point of concern is that Kenya ranks among the worst in East Africa, sharing the position with Uganda.

Rwanda, a fast-growing economy, is the least corrupt country in East Africa with 53 points, which leading position it has maintained for several years. Tanzania was second-best with a score of 37 points.

Weak regulation, political funding, administrative constrictions and legal lapses accounted for the high levels of corruption in Kenya.

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KEY REORGANISATION

Politics, for example, is a big theatre for corruption. Every election cycle, political candidates throw in colossal sums of money to win seats; they buy voters and influence outcomes.

In turn, they engage in corrupt dealings once they ascend to office as they seek to recoup their investment during the campaigns while creating a war chest for future electoral contests.

Parliament, which is the seat of lawmaking, has itself been converted into a den of corruption where MPs and senators cut deals with corrupt government officials.

County government and assemblies are equally worse off, such that, if in the past the lamentation was that corruption was a national shame, it has since been devolved to the counties with catastrophic effects.

In 2018, President Kenyatta undertook a major restructuring of the government’s investigative agencies.

SECURE CONVICTIONS

Fresh appointments — the Director of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecutions — were made to push through the war against corruption.

And, for a while, the offices intensified the war with tangle results. Several top government officials were seized and charged in court over corruption.

However, few cases have been concluded and the culprits convicted and punished.

The court system has itself floundered, among other reasons, due to high-level graft. Cases delay and, when concluded, some rulings are curiously skewed in favour of the masters of graft.

Investigative agencies are not any better, often deliberately presenting weak cases that cannot survive the test in court.

In the circumstances, the government has to take a fresh look at the strategies for fighting corruption and institute drastic measures to slay the dragon.

The cost of corruption is incredibly high and the country cannot be perennially locked in the web of the vice.


Fix city leadership crisis

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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The leadership crisis in Nairobi City County calls for decisive action.

It is a complex matter with various facets, including a graft case against Governor Mike Sonko.

Though barred from office until he is cleared of the allegations against him, Sonko, apparently, still conducts some roles. One is his appointment of the deputy governor.

This is a constitutional office that residents have been denied for no good reason, yet Sonko dilly-dallied for two years.

However, it should worry all that the MCAs have now okayed the vetting of the suspended governor’s nominee, with Speaker Beatrice Elachi ruling that her name be sent to the Appointments Committee. This may be procedural but a cloud still hangs over the move.

As the county in charge of the national capital, Nairobi is too important to be left in this quagmire.

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DISSOLVE COUNTY

We strongly feel that reason must take precedence over everything else. The ruling Jubilee Party cannot wash its hands off this one. It must get involved in a process that would resolve the standoff.

Another option, as some leaders have suggested, is to have President Kenyatta start the process of dissolving the county.

Some former city leaders have called upon the President to expedite the formation of a commission of inquiry, as provided for in the Constitution under Article 192 and Section 124 of the County Government Act, to solve the problem.

This group comprises people knowledgeable enough about the city and concerned about the need to put things right.

Nairobi is bigger than any individual, be it the governor or any other official. It must be put back on track.


Netanyahu et Gantz à Washington la semaine prochaine pour discuter du projet de paix

Publié le 23.01.2020 à 22h50 par AFP

Le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu et son rival politique Benny Gantz se rendront la semaine prochaine à Washington afin de discuter du futur projet de paix américain pour le Proche-Orient, déjà jugé mort-né par les Palestiniens.

« Le président (américain Donald) Trump m’a demandé d’inviter le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu à la Maison Blanche la semaine prochaine pour discuter des enjeux régionaux et de la perspective d’une paix en Terre sainte », a déclaré jeudi le vice-président américain Mike Pence, de passage à Jérusalem pour les commémorations de la libération du camp nazi d’Auschwitz il y a 75 ans.

Après s’être rendu au Mur des Lamentations avec M. Netanyahu, Mike Pence s’est exprimé lors d’un point de presse avec le Premier ministre israélien à l’ambassade américaine de Jérusalem –ville contestée que les Etats-Unis considèrent désormais comme la capitale d’Israël.

Après de nombreux reports, le plan de paix voulu par Donald Trump pour mettre fin au conflit israélo-palestinien était attendu à l’automne 2019, après les élections israéliennes de septembre.

Mais ce scrutin, qui a opposé Benjamin Netanyahu à l’ancien chef de l’armée Benny Gantz, n’a pas débouché, comme lors des élections précédentes d’avril, sur la formation d’un gouvernement, d’où la tenue de nouvelles législatives le 2 mars.

Les Etats-Unis n’ont pas attendu ce nouveau duel entre MM. Netanyahu et Gantz pour inviter les deux leaders politiques.

« Les Etats-Unis sont impatients d’accueillir le Premier ministre Netanyahu et le leader du parti Bleu-Blanc Benny Gantz à la Maison Blanche la semaine prochaine », a tweeté le président américain, précisant que les allégations sur les détails de son plan de paix étaient à ce stade purement « spéculatives ».

« Nous n’avons pas de meilleur ami que le président Trump », a réagi M. Netanyahu. « Avec tant d’amis à la Maison Blanche, nous devrions arriver à un consensus le plus large possible, afin d’assurer la sécurité et la paix d’Israël », a-t-il ajouté.

La Maison Blanche a affirmé que Benjamin Netanyahu se rendrait à Washington mardi, jour où, par ailleurs, les députés israéliens doivent commencer à discuter de la demande d’immunité du chef du gouvernement, inculpé pour « corruption » dans trois affaires, soulignait jeudi soir la presse israélienne.

Benny Gantz « a également accepté l’invitation du président », selon la Maison Blanche qui n’a pas précisé si sa visite interviendrait le même jour.

– Rejet palestinien –

L’Autorité palestinienne a réitéré jeudi son rejet du projet de paix de Donald Trump, mettant en avant le fait que l’actuel locataire de la Maison Blanche a reconnu Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël.

Les Palestiniens veulent faire de Jérusalem-Est la capitale de l’Etat auquel ils aspirent, mais Israël considère Jérusalem comme sa capitale « unifiée et indivisible ».

L’Autorité palestinienne a dénoncé l’expansion des colonies israéliennes dans les Territoires palestiniens et leur occupation par l’armée israélienne.

La colonisation par Israël de la Cisjordanie occupée et de Jérusalem-Est annexée s’est poursuivie sous tous les gouvernements israéliens depuis 1967, mais elle s’est accélérée ces dernières années sous l’impulsion du Premier ministre Netanyahu et de son allié à Washington, Donald Trump.

« +L’accord du siècle+ que le président Trump pourrait annoncer est déjà mort », a déclaré le porte-parole du président palestinien Mahmoud Abbas à l’issue d’une rencontre de ce dernier avec le président russe Vladimir Poutine, aussi de passage en Terre sainte pour les commémorations au mémorial de la Shoah à Jérusalem.

« Nous rejetons absolument ce que l’administration Trump a réalisé jusqu’à présent (…) Notre position est claire: Israël doit mettre fin à l’occupation des terres palestiniennes en vigueur depuis 1967 », a ajouté Nabil Abou Roudeina.

Le veille, le président Abbas avait souligné « l’importance du rôle français et européen pour sauver le processus politique » lors d’une rencontre avec le président français Emmanuel Macron qui s’est rendu à Ramallah, siège de l’Autorité palestinienne.

« Quelque processus de paix que ce soit n’est possible que si les parties en présence veulent bâtir la paix, alors la France aidera et dans le rôle qui doit être le sien et sera le sien », a affirmé M. Macron cette semaine à Jérusalem.


Let newly-appointed CASs fight for their fellow youth

By ODHIAMBO KAUMAH

Congratulations, Nadia Ahmed Abdalla and Zack Kinuthia, on your surely honourable invitation to the Achebian elders’ table.

I have no iota of doubt that you spared neither the waters of the mighty Styx nor heavenly sprinklers to wash your hands clean enough to earn the rare accentuation of the Elder-in-Chief. It was long overdue.

But now, the task lying ahead for you is more than the President described it. In his own words, you have been installed to understudy the expertise and experiences (and inexperience) of your seniors in readiness to serve in these positions in future.

I am unsure whether to christen it a high-profile government internship programme or not.

However, the youth of this nation, who have consistently raised their voices when they felt they were being sidelined in these appointments, expect more than an understudy.

When a delegation of over 300 youth gathered from the six East African Community countries met to discuss their fate in Arusha last November, the performance of the youth in ‘senior’ leadership positions was a subject of ridicule.

PROVE THEM WRONG

The YouLead Summit 2019 openly admitted that sometimes, and most of the time, such youth become the worst ambassadors of our competence.

The Kenyan delegation — featuring Kajiado Deputy Governor Moshisho, Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association CEO Buluma Samba and the vibrant Ugenya MP David Ochieng’ — admitted that, partly, we are our own enemies.

Therefore, your appointment, coupled with the emphasis the President put, summons the potential of all vociferous (and dormant) youth of this region and continent to a test.

Your performance, not ours, will remain a standard reference to any form of youth advocacy we will continue or initiate.

We have collectively suffered the ineptitude of our privileged peers before. Seasoned Ugandan journalist-turned-political analyst Andrew Mwenda was utterly unapologetic, terming us the most disorganised generation of youth.

We want less of his mockery in the 2020 summit.

TEACHING SECTOR

Both the Ministry of Education and the newly-baptised Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs are critical.

For Zack, there is the new teacher internship programme that brought on board 10,000 trained but unemployed young teachers on a one-year ‘payable’ contract.

There is already much about it but the most astounding is the Sh10,000-15,000 ‘peanut’ attached to it.

And I foresee a conflict between the 10 per cent absorbed as interns and the 90 per cent who were turned down despite expressing interest.

For Nadia, the transfer of the Department of Youth Affairs to the ICT ministry is heavenly.

Youth Affairs has been devastatingly enjoined into gender, camouflaging the potential in the youthful majority.

But now, the highly active, innovative and creative ‘meme-genarians’ (and fellow YouTubers) are looking up to you. Fight for us.


Journalists can help in stamping out ageism in national discourse

PETER MWAURABy PETER MWAURA
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Amos Ogoti has written to protest what he says are ageism practices in the Nation.

“I don’t understand why the Nation is violating the Constitution by publishing discriminatory articles against old people being appointed to government jobs,” he writes. “You should stop violating the rights of senior citizens.”

The term ageism — discriminating people unfairly on account of their age — was first used in 1969 by Robert Butler, an American psychiatrist.

He used the term during an interview with the Washington Post. He said there were long-standing prejudices and palpable class biases in American society fuelled by an animus against age.

“Ageism can be seen as a systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people because they are old, just as racism and sexism accomplish this with skin colour and gender,” he says elsewhere in his scholarly writings on the subject.

He popularised the term so much that, in 1969, it appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary. Just as it was the media that popularised the term, it’s in the media that ageism can be defeated.

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HOW TO DO IT

The media can help put an end to ageism by changing people’s perceptions about older persons.

It can do this by adopting a policy on hate speech, prohibiting singling out individuals on the basis of their age.

Media has the potential to reinforce the positive aspects of ageing. For example, they can publish positive images and stories of senior citizens who lead active lives and contribute to society.

A good example is the life story of Charles Njonjo, who celebrated 100 years of age yesterday. The media can also call out against those who practise ageism.

A good example of this is the commentary, published on December 10, 2019, in the Daily Nation by Dorothy Kweyu, a retired Nation journalist and now a consultant revise editor.

In the article titled “Ageism gaining root in the guise of tackling lack of jobs for youth”, Ms Kweyu relates how, as she watched on television Parliament vet the Controller of Budget-designate Margaret Nyang’ate Nyakang’o, she “felt saddened and angry at the extent to which we have become an ageist society.

I felt saddened that MPs should be harping on Dr Nyakang’o’s age as they vetted her suitability for the post and treat the high professional and academic credentials she brings to the office as a ‘by the way’. As they dwelt on how she will be above the retirement age of 60 by the end of an eight-year tenure, it didn’t matter that Dr Nyakang’o holds a doctorate in business administration.”

NMG POLICY

Ageism violates constitutional rights. In Article 57, the Constitution says the rights requires the State to take measures to ensure the rights of older persons.

The rights include the right “to fully participate in the affairs of society”, “to pursue their personal development”, and “to live in dignity and respect and be free from abuse”.

The NMG editorial policy does not specifically prohibit ageism but, in effect, it does if we read its anti-discrimination clause constructively.

The clause says: “In general, the media should avoid prejudicial or pejorative references to a person’s race, tribe, clan, religion, sex or sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness, handicap or political orientation.”

It’s with that construction in mind that I’ve viewed the complaint by Mr Ogoti. However, he is, in fact, blaming the Nation as the messenger, the bearer of bad news.

Blaming the messenger may be justified when the messenger comments on the news he bears. That seems to be the case in the Saturday Nation editorial of January 18, 2020.

SOUR COMMENTS

Titled “Merit, equity should underline public jobs”, it celebrates a court decision that nullified the appointment of former Othaya MP Mary Wambui as the chairperson of the National Employment Authority on the ground that she is not qualified for the job.

It says that “given her age, she was not suitably placed to understand and empathise with the challenges of the unemployed youth, whom she was supposed to serve”, and that “having served as an MP and being 69, it was unfair to give her a job and leave out young, deserving people”.

Those comments are ageistic, even though the editorial, taken as a whole, is arguing for “meritocracy as a principle in public service appointments” as well as “equity and fairness”.

It’s clear that the Nation cannot afford to be seen as if it’s promoting ageism.


Go preventive rather than defensive

ONDARA ZABLON KERIMABy ONDARA ZABLON KERIMA
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Last November, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations warned on the possibility of a desert locust invasion of Kenya from Ethiopia — ostensibly to trigger preventive measures by the authorities.

But nothing happened until swarms of locusts entered through the northeastern region. The counties initially affected were Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Garissa, Isiolo, Samburu, Laikipia and Meru, with the risk of economic losses as they spread.

The government has resorted to aerial spraying of chemical insecticides in the affected areas.

The use of pesticides has been in the mainstay to combat pests of agricultural and health importance for centuries due to factors such as low cost, application simplicity, easy availability and stability.

But this is immensely associated with negative impacts as pesticides have adverse off-target effects on human health and the environment.

Some pesticides persist in the soil for a long time with their physical and chemical properties intact. The poisonous “residual chemicals” may spread to other land areas and water sources, adversely affecting non-target organisms such as humans and plants that they get in contact with.

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INSECTICIDE RESISTANCE

One of the most documented aspects with respect to pesticide usage is the ability of pests to evolve resistance to almost all classes of chemicals being used to control them.

Prior to exposure to a chemical, pests already harbour genes that naturally predispose them to develop resistance under favourable conditions.

It could be disastrous to the control efforts if a small population of the swarm already has the ability to develop insensitivity to chemicals.

With increased frequency of pesticide applications, these genes are continuously selected and passed on to later generations within the locust population, increasing insecticide resistance and, hence, seriously hampering the mitigation efforts.

Unusual changes in weather patterns in the affected region may have provided a favourable breeding ground for the locusts.

With proper monitoring and forecasting, however, these changes would have been noticed and the invasion handled effectively in a preventive and strategic, rather than defensive, manner.

BIOLOGICAL METHOD

Reversion in the weather conditions to normal, but alien to the pests, would play a critical role in ensuring the reduction in the number of the swarms to levels that can then be adequately managed using biological control and chemical pesticides.

One of the most effective means to prevent the spread of locusts — or any other agricultural pest for that matter — is to employ biological-control strategies.

This constitutes the use of living organisms such as predators, parasitoids, nematodes and microbial agents, collectively known as “natural enemies”, to suppress pest populations.

Unlike chemical control, the biological method is highly advantageous. First, it is harmless to human beings and other beneficial organisms, environmental friendly, pest-specific – where only a pest is targeted – and has minimal chances of resistance development. In addition, it is comparatively cheaper to establish.

Top on the list of the suitable control methods would have been, as informed by forecasting, to deploy a large number of insecticide-resistant parasitoids at an early stage, preventing outbreaks.

EMASCULATE PESTS

Parasitoids are insects whose immature stages develop in or on insect pests.

Parasitoids are distinguished by their ability to attack pests at their immature life stages, before they can hatch into destructive stages that devour green vegetation.

They may kill, and thereby eliminate the developing pests. Or they could suppress their normal physiological functions, especially the reproductive and immune systems, leaving them paralysed and inefficient.

Since parasitoids are host-specific, accurate identification of the insect pest and parasitoid species is vital in their use for biological control.

This would then require the parasitoids to be mass-reared in a laboratory on artificial diet to produce large quantities, timing their field release with the migration of the pests.

PEST MANAGEMENT

However, the efficiency of parasitoids could be compromised by the application of insecticides, which remains the most important pest control agent.

Encouragingly, recent advances in pest control studies have developed strains of parasitoids that can withstand pesticide pressure.

This enables them to be used along with pesticides and other suitable control measures to contain pests, in what is referred to as Integrated Pest Management (IPM).


Sober up; the locusts we should fight are those eating our nation

MUTUMA MATHIUBy MUTUMA MATHIU
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Forgive me but I’m going to tell a long story to make a small point.

There is no risk in doing the right thing, I’ve been saying of late. But sometimes I wonder whether I’m not just shooting off my mouth.

What I mean is that if you do the right thing, there may be temporary consequences but, in the fullness of time, you are vindicated.

My paternal grandfather was an odd man, to put it mildly. He was so old that his stories transported me to such ancient world that no other person that I knew had ever seen.

Everything he did was the opposite of what thinking members of the society would do. He was monogamous when it was respectable to be polygamous.

He was satisfied with one son when sons were wealth. He used to cook when it was illegal by tribal law for a man to step inside a kitchen.

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He was a rude, antisocial loner when the community respected good manners. He bled his cattle and feasted on the blood like a vampire, and he drank his milk raw.

WAY OF LIFE

He was so huge, a shoe his size couldn’t be found. And, growing up, he is the only person I ever met who hadn’t the foggiest idea what Christianity was all about.

My maternal grandfather was the opposite: small, light-skinned, a big farmer, pillar of the Catholic church, a widely respected man who was in great demand to resolve disputes and unite warring people.

I worshipped the ground on which my paternal grandfather walked; I hardly knew the respectable Christian guy.

Let me get to the point of doing the right thing.

A story is told that one day, my grandfather — who in typical fashion was snaking circumcision and was a huge, over-age boy — was sleeping in the hut of his father’s youngest wife.

My people were semi-pastoral; they had permanent villages where they cultivated gardens and lived a settled life.

But they also had herds of cattle with which the men roamed our lands from modern-day Laikipia and into Samburu and Isiolo counties.

A man could keep his youngest wife in his kraal, where his herd was.

CAST ASIDE

She slept with her favourite, fattest goats and sheep — and the boys serving apprenticeship on the herd, learning to care for animals and survive in the bush.

So one day, the story goes, they (my grandfather, my great grandmother and probably the goats) were woken up by a growling lion on the roof of the hut.

It was clawing off the thatch, trying to get in and eat the fat goats inside, and possibly an over-age boy and well-taken-care-of wife.

Without thinking, my grandfather sprang up, grabbed a spear, shot out of the hut and drove the weapon, full length, into the beast, killing it on the spot.

When the news spread, there was uproar throughout the land. The tribe’s braves cast aside their clothes and brought out the war paint.

How could a mere boy kill a lion? That was a man’s job. If a lion attacked a boy, he should call for help or submit to the animal’s appetite.

POOR LEADERS

It took the slaughter of many bulls and the giving away of many goats to mollify the warriors and save the boy’s life.

When the blood lust had subsided and much feasting and drinking restored the pride of outraged men, and while my grandfather, being a boy, was a caste lower than a mongrel, unworthy of notice or respect and quite incapable of any feats of bravery, it was very grudgingly acknowledged that he may have saved a worthless lame goat.

Even in circumstances when doing the right thing is dangerous and will bring no glory or respect, at the end of the day, to do anything else is even more dangerous.

The madness that has settled on our country must come to an end soon. The locusts we have to fear are not those swarming across the border from Yemen, Djibouti and Somalia; it is the swarms of greedy people who have eaten the country to the brink of bankruptcy.

Sometimes, Kenyans run their country and its institutions as if it is not ours but instead belongs to our worst enemies.

We decide and take decisions for the sake of our stomachs even when we have already eaten our fill, and without a second thought for our own welfare or that of the next person.

RESPONSIBILITY

Like those warriors, I think there are things we must strongly believe are our responsibility, each and everyone of us, and, therefore, not delegable.

One of those things is securing the survival of our country by ensuring that money intended for crucial public services goes to those services and that everybody does their duty, no matter how humble.

At the very least, we must have a shared, fanatical, national stance that any person who has ever been associated with the theft of public resources is never elected to any position, from the smallest to the biggest, and that we shall resist as strongly as we can the appointment of any such person to positions of responsibility.

Putting thieves in charge of your money is, even for us, dumb beyond comprehension. And if we don’t sober up quickly, we shall all be eaten by these locusts.


Lobby presses for convictions to fuel anti-graft war

DAVID MWEREBy DAVID MWERE
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A lobby group has urged the Judiciary to deliver convictions in cases involving mega looters of the economy to boost the war on graft.

Dr Wilfred Kiboro, the founder member of Multisectoral Initiative Against Corruption, alleged that many petty offenders were wasting away in jail while mega criminals are roaming the streets.

There must be a disconnect between the Judiciary, Director of Public Prosecutions, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in the fight against graft, he added.

“We want to know who is fooling who? Petty offenders are convicted but when it comes to mega crimes, we are told that they can’t convict because there is no evidence. The President has done his bit and it’s important that the other agencies do their part,” Dr Kiboro spoke at a city hotel on Thursday.

FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE

He was flanked by the forum’s chairman Lee Karuri and former Association of Professional Societies in East Africa chairperson Irene Wanyoike.

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Dr Kiboro wondered whether there are two sets of laws in the country — one for the ‘Haves’, and the other for the ‘Have Nots’.

He said the forum will organise the second anti-corruption conference in June to take stock of commitments made during the January 2019 conference at the Bomas of Kenya.

“We should make stealing of public funds a very costly affair, and the Judiciary should stop spending a lot of time hearing petty cases,” said Dr Kiboro.

CONVICTIONS

His comments come just days after President Uhuru Kenyatta challenged the Judiciary to deliver convictions in graft cases to prove that the country is headed in the right direction in the war against the vice.

“As we soldier on in this fight, I seek the indulgence of the Judiciary to give us convictions as an indication that we are winning in this war,” President Kenyatta said last week even as he proclaimed his “continued respect” for the principle of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary.

Although some powerful individuals in the government, among them Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, governors and MPs have been charged in court over corruption, none has ever been convicted as the cases drag on.

LIFESTYLE AUDIT

Dr Kiboro also challenged Parliament to expedite the enactment of laws on conflict of interest and lifestyle audit.

“We have seen governors become so rich within five years of power but still the Judiciary says it needs hard evidence to convict individuals. Yet there is everything for people to see in terms of illegal accumulation of wealth. I have worked for over 50 years but I do not have such wealth. We need to stop this hypocrisy,” he said.

Dr Kiboro warned politicians against hijacking the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process for their own interests ahead of the 2022 General Election.

Mr Karuri said the capital should be managed by the national government. “We have presented our views to the BBI to have Nairobi City managed as a metropolis by the national government,” Mr Karuri said.