Former Super Eagles captain Nwankwo Kanu to run Nigeria league

kanuThe changes in the Nigeria Premier League continues today (Friday) the Nigeria Football Federation releases the names of those appointed on an interim basis run the league until a new board is constituted. The NFF board was scheduled to meet on Thursday night to fine-tune the list and the draft terms of office before the names are made public on Friday.

The PUNCH learnt that a former member of the House of Representatives Mr. Nduka Irabor has been confirmed to serve as the chairman of the interim committee. Some other members of the committee include former Super Eagles captain and two-time African Footballer of the Year, Nwankwo Kanu. Former secretary general of the NPL Salisu Abubakar; former member of the NPL Shehu Dikko and Modele Sarafa-Yusuf are other members of the 10-man committee. Current acting Executive Secretary General Tunji Babalola will continue in his position.

It will be Kanu’s first foray into football administration but Irabor would be returning to the scene after overseeing the election that was meant to give Ibrahim Galadima a second term in office in 2005.

“The names have been carefully selected since the former board was confirmed sacked in Port Harcourt last week. Some names have come up and did not really fit in for the level of responsibility required and so were dropped. The NFF board will take a final look at this list which is believed to have general agreement of the members,” a senior football official in Abuja told our correspondent.

The committee is expected to run the league until the end of 2013. During this period, the members are to “reform and reposition” the league for proper growth in terms of administration, commercial viability and general reorganisation. They are also mandated to take final decision on the sponsorship of the league especially as it concerns the title sponsorship and broadcast rights. The league is running into its third season without any title sponsor after controversy and legal tussles truncated the bid carried out for the title sponsorship.

The league failed to kick off on December 1 as previously announced due to the crisis that engulfed the board. It is now billed to start in January just ahead of the club continental matches and the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. The PUNCH

Ivory Coast Yaya Toure named the 2012 African Player of the Year

Africa's finest: Yaya Toure with his award after being named 2011 African Footballer of the Year in Accra

Africa’s finest: Yaya Toure with his award after being named 2011 African Footballer of the Year in Accra

Yaya Toure has been named the 2012 African Player of the Year, picking up the award for the second year in a row.

Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Toure, 29, beat off prestigious competition from the likes of former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Barcelona’s Alex Song who ended second and third.

The award means that Toure joins Senegalese forward El-Hadji Diouf on two victories, but he has some way to go to eclipse the achievement of Samuel Eto’o who has picked up the prize on four separate occasions.

The Ivory Coast player was crowned at an awards gala in Accra, the capital of Ghana, after being voted for by the head coaches or technical directors of the national associations affiliated to the CAF.

African Nations Cup winners Zambia were named team of the year with their coach Herve Renard named coach of the year.

Nigeria: Fire causes pandemonium at Lagos airport

Confusion hit hundreds of intending passengers at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, on Thursday after a mid-day fire erupted at a section of the building.

The inferno, which caused a thick cloud of smoke to invade the terminal building, forced air travellers and airport officials to scamper to safety around the 33-year-old airport.

Investigation revealed that the fire started from a piece of electric equipment at a section of the airport under reconstruction.

When our correspondent visited the scene, pallets of foam worth millions of Naira were seen to have been consumed by the fire.

It was learnt that the fire would have burnt a major part of the main terminal building if not for the prompt response of firefighters.

However, part of the airport’s air conditioning system panel and steel pillars at the construction site were badly affected by the inferno.

Eyewitnesses said electricity was switched off during the fire incident and the six-storey terminal building evacuated.

“People ran helter-skelter because of smoke in the building,” an airline worker said.

No officials of the construction company, Iron Products Industries, were available for comments.

But the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Mr. Yakubu Dati, said the fire incident, which started at about 11.30am was caused by welders working at the site.

He said, “The fire incident did not extend beyond 15 minutes. Men of the fire service department of FAAN acted promptly and everything was brought under control. The response was unprecedented.”

He said there were no casualties and normal activities at the airport were not interrupted by the fire.

“Planes are taking off and landing without hitches.

“We remain committed to providing secure, safe and comfortable airport environment as enshrined in the aviation master plan,” he added. The Punch

Jacob Zuma’s Reelection and the Most Dangerous Job in South Africa

By Jeremiah Jacques, theTrumpet.com

South African President Jacob Zuma delivers a speech during an ANC (African National Congress) political meeting on May 15, 2011 in Soweto. South Africa heads to the polls for local elections on May 18, 2011 in a test of how long supporters of the juggernaut African National Congress are willing to wait for the promises of 1994 to be delivered. AFP PHOTO/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

South African President Jacob Zuma delivers a speech during an ANC (African National Congress) political meeting on May 15, 2011 in Soweto. South Africa heads to the polls for local elections on May 18, 2011 in a test of how long supporters of the juggernaut African National Congress are willing to wait for the promises of 1994 to be delivered. AFP PHOTO/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

Amid hearty renditions of apartheid-era songs and wails from vuvuzelas, South African President Jacob Zuma was swept to victory on Tuesday in his party’s leadership election. Since his party—the African National Congress—holds dominant influence over the black majority of South Africa’s population, the win effectively secures Africa’s most powerful office until 2019.

Zuma’s victory has sobering implications for South Africa because he has repeatedly condemned the white minority’s control of the country’s economy, and has worked toward a widespread transfer of wealth to the nation’s black population, including the redistribution of white-owned farms.

At present, only 8 percent of South African farms are owned by blacks—a number far short of the 30 percent goal by 2014 proposed by former President Nelson Mandela. Those zealous about achieving Mandela’s target have turned South Africa into a nation where it is more dangerous to be a white farmer than to be even a policeman.

This fact is especially sobering because South Africa is awash with violence and crime, making it abnormally dangerous to be among the police forces of many of its cities.

The dangers posed to South Africa’s ever dwindling number of white—mostly Afrikaner—landowners have become so serious that a group of activists and farmers marched to the capital of Pretoria in December to demand state protection of their lives and property. “Farm murders are not only a crisis,” said AfriForum deputy ceo Ernst Roets. “They are a catastrophe.”

The Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa says nearly 1,600 farm murders have been reported since 1990, but think tanks place the number closer to 3,000.

With Zuma’s office secured for six more years, the situation for South Africa’s white farmers is not likely to improve in the short term.

Ezekiel 7:23-27 describe South Africa’s present situation with startling accuracy, and make plain that in the near term, it will only get worse. Bloody and violent crimes will be committed so frequently that they will be like the links of a chain—one right after another. This passage even discusses citizens’ homes being wrested from them, and clashes between different nationalities.

The conditions in South Africa will deteriorate to such an abysmal state that the people will eventually wage a search for God. They will cry out for Him, pleading for deliverance from the turmoil. But God explains that He is purposefully sending the punishment upon the people as correction. (To prove that this passage refers to the nation of South Africa, read the book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

Yet there is breathtaking hope on the horizon for all races of the people of South Africa—a revolution that will replace socialistic and violence-spawning policies with a government and a body of laws that is literally perfect (Revelation 11:15; James 1:25). Ezekiel 7:27 says that God is sending the punishment on the people so that “they shall know that I am the Lord.” Bringing obstinate people to the understanding and acceptance of who He is requires extreme measures. But it is foundational to this imminent revolution.

Ezekiel 33:11 makes plain that God does not want any people to suffer. He loves all races and all nationalities, and He yearns for all men to be truly happy. But true, lasting happiness and peace can only result from obeying His perfect laws. God’s will is for the people of South Africa—and the whole world—to obey Him. Obedience to Him would saturate their lives with blessings of prosperity and peace.

UN approves Military intervention in Mali

The UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously approved sending an African-led intervention force to help Mali’s army reconquer much of the country from Islamist militants.

The 15-member council gave the force an initial one year mandate to use “all necessary measures” to help the Mali government take back the northern half of the country from “terrorist, extremist and armed groups”.

West African nations say they have 3 300 troops ready to go to Mali to help rebuild the country’s army and support a military operation which planners say cannot be launched before September of next year.

Tuareg rebels and other separatists and al-Qaeda linked militant groups took advantage of a coup in Mali in March to seize control of a vast chunk of territory where the Islamists have since imposed a brutal form of Islamic law.

France drew up the resolution after weeks of talks with the United States, which expressed doubts the troops from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) would be ready for a desert battle against the militants.

In parallel to political efforts to draw the Tuareg rebels into a coalition against the extremist groups, European nations and the international force, to be known as the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), will first train Mali’s army.

The resolution sets down benchmarks for political progress and military preparations that will have to be met before a final onslaught against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its allies is approved.

The resolution emphasized that “military planning will need to be further refined before the commencement of the offensive operation.”

It said that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Ecowas, the African Union and other states involved will have to secure “the council’s satisfaction with the planned military offensive operation.”

- AFP

Boat carrying Somalis and Ethiopians to Yemen capsizes, killing 55

_64883939_somalia_bosasso_dec2012At least 55 people are believed to have drowned after a boat capsized off the coast of Somalia, the UN refugee agency says.

The UNHCR said the overcrowded boat ran into trouble soon after it left the port of Bosasso in north-east Somalia.

The boat – believed to be carrying Somalis and Ethiopians – had been on its way to Yemen.

The UN said it is the biggest loss of life in the Gulf of Aden since February 2011 when 57 Somali migrants drowned.

“Twenty-three bodies have been recovered. The 32 remaining passengers are presumed to have drowned,” the UNHCR said.

It added that at least five people had survived the accident, which happened on Tuesday.

“Without doubt, the Gulf of Aden is now the deadliest route for people fleeing conflict, violence and human rights abuses in the Horn of Africa,” said UNHCR Representative for Somalia, Bruno Geddo.

Tens of thousands of people from the Horn of Africa cross the Gulf every year.

The agency said that those making the perilous journey often used unseaworthy and overcrowded boats or fell prey to unscrupulous smugglers.

It said that 95 people had drowned or gone missing in the waters between Somalia and Yemen so far this year.

Borana’s Ethiopian king fails to endorse aspirants

By Ali Abdi

The Borana traditional king who reigns in Ethiopia has spoken again on the community’s politics in Marsabit County.

The Abba Gadha, Guyo Gobba met delegates representing Moyale MP Mohamud Ali and his rival Chachu Tadicha, an NGO official, in Moyale, Ethiopia on Tuesday afternoon but never endorsed any candidate for the Marsabit governor seat.

Mr Gobba was reported to have asked both sides to go out and seek votes from the electorates peacefully.

The man whose decision has never been defied in the past addressed the delegates on the sideline of a gathering meant to discuss new Ethiopian policy for residents of southern Ethiopia. During a previous meeting held last July, he endorsed Tadicha, a decision that caused an uproar among Kenyan Borana .

Elders Diba Guyo, Roba Guyo, Boru Jillo, Halake Godana, Guyo Dulacha and Hussein Arero represented Mr Ali. Tadicha was represented by former Moyale MP Mohammed Galgalo and elders Sora Ganso, Tuke Huka, Khalich Halake, Godana Sharamo, Mohammed Haji Wario and Hoche Galma.

Both sides had requested the Abba Gadha to help them make a decision on who should be the community’s flagbearer for the second time.

‘‘The Abba Gadha came to Moyale town of Ethiopia where he met government officials to discuss Ethiopian issues. The Kenyans took this opportunity to meet the leader later,’’ said a source who declined to be identified for security reasons.

He said Gobba agreed to their request, which was discussed in less than 30 minutes. The Abba Gadha came with 20 members of his assembly while the 11 Kenyan elders represented the two rivals.

Both Ali and Tadicha’s representatives yesterday confirmed the meeting took place but differed on the ruling of the Abba Gadha.

As an Eritrean: My vision of Eritrean Republic

Eyob Ghebreziabhier
What will be Eritrea after dictatorship or recycled colonialism? I have a vision that hzbawi
baytotat1 ሕዝባዊ ባይቶታት (sing. ባይቶ) will rise above the ashes of their past. And the Eritrean
villages will go away from being Axumite kingdom villages by starting to stop living
without electricity. And they will revolutionize their health by inventing W.C. (water
closet) to give end to Adam and Eve defecating culture.
Form many different point of views, we, Eritreans, have strong and overwhelming reason
whey we choose the rule of law, because for us it is the only way out. As consequence of
colonialism, we were with ascari culture for many years and we are now with warsayykealo
culture, product of dictatorship or recycled colonialism, for half of a century. With
culture of ascari, we have seen while our civilization slipping from our hands. Also now
with the culture of warsay-yekealo, we are witnessing Eritrea’s out of breath. All these
suggest us to change the culture book, because we have nothing to do with the culture
that doesn’t represent us.
So, the long and horrible journey to peace will yield its fruits by giving birth to Eritrean
Republic. Eritrea will be a real democratic nation thanks to its black history of colonialism
and dictatorship or recycled colonialism. On the first day at work, the republic will never
hesitate to uproot the legacies of these two devastating systems not only to give a space
for the new system of majority rule but also to be clean and transparent. So Eritrea will
not be anything other than strong democratic nation in the Horn of Africa. It will shine
from the dark in an extraordinary way.
But the question is not whether Eritrea to be or not to be a democratic nation. Of this, I
don’t have any doubt it will be. But there is a problem in the method that takes us there.
The process that makes Eritrea on the right track is not still finished. Eritrean politics that
opposes the dictator failed to build modern culture that has the consensuses of modern
civilization.
It seems like the case of Iseyas Efewrqi and Eritrean national football team. If we give
Iseyas Efewerqi another not 21 but 210 years, he will not form Eritrean national football
team because his divide and rule policy doesn’t allow him to do so. Also it is seems true,
if we give the Eritrean politics that opposes the dictator time us much as it asks to write
Eritrean fronts unification formula, it will never give birth to national front Eritrea,
because of the nature of its political agenda. I believe that this is the main concern of
Eritrea today.
But this is when we talk about Eritrean internal factors. When we talk about the internal,
we must not forget the external factors. Internal and external factors are tweezers with
which we catch Iseya’s dictatorship.
When we speak about external factors Eritrea is very lucky. It is embracing worldwide
solidarity. The UN (targeted) sanctions on Eritrea is parallelizing the ruling machine of the
Eritrean dictator. Power of the dictator will never be the same as before sanction. Plus
Eritrean refugees, part of the generation that ends slavery in Eritrea, are studying in
Ethiopian universities to be main future of Eritrean democracy. I hope that the Europeans
follow Ethiopian example by educating the young Eritrean refugees (who are with them)
to be builders of Eritrean democracy. Yes, my Eritrea will have a lot of serious problems
produced by narrow-minded attitudes. But if more than 80 million Ethiopians learned how
to live together in peace, harmony, and honor under the rule of law, why can’t more
oppressed, degraded and less than 8 million Eritreans learn how to live together in
peace, harmony, and honor under the rule of law?
Without doubt Eritrea will be a democratic state. Religion will be set aside. As we know
citizens of the Eritrean Republic can be followers of different religions but Eritrea remains
democratic country. Owing to this, right, new and balanced Eritrean sentiment and
patriotism will emerge. Being EPLF or PFDJ will end. As consequence all the poisonous
military culture that has devastated Eritrea will be substituted by Eritrean Republic
culture. In other words enemies of our Eritrean values, history, culture, hopes, dreams,
visions, civilization, unity, etc. will be subtracted at the speed of our steps. Peace, justice,
security and solidarity will be strengthened according to our education.
I believe that Eritrean Republic will shine more of two things namely good governance
and good friendly relation. I would like to call this period ‘Eritrean Republic at its best’. At
its best, as result of good governance, there will be good Eritrean relations in general,
with world community and in particular, with Eritrean neighbors. At that time, thanks to
Eritrea good geographical location, Red Sea will be piazza del commercio (marketplace)
and Eritrean ports will retain their commercial titles. But before that Eritreans will learn
how to swim and how to catch, cook and eat a fish or Sea sheep in the Red Sea.
For me healthy relation with neighbor countries and Eritrea’s good geographical location
are two inseparable items that have economical value. And they have the ability to be
strong pillars for Eritrean Republic. They are advantages that they can’t be lost but they
can be spoiled like what we are testifying now.
At the time of Eritrean republic at its best, all will be equal before the law. To make
things compatible to the republican system, everybody will be accountable to his actions.
Doing the right thing will be praised and awarded. Step by step Eritrea will see the
process of its reconciliation. The real Eritrea’s care takers will be its different institutions.
For an example the dictatorship has destroyed Eritrean family nucleus, cancelled popular
baito, common law, changed historical names of districts, provinces, etc. All these testify
our origin. They are our history and our identities. They are wells of our moral and
culture. The dictatorship has buried them in order to teach us more that it doesn’t adhere
to our values. But the republican institutions will be recommended to act the opposite.
As the result, the Eritrean provinces, Denkel, Ekkeleguzai, Gash-Barka, Hamasien, Sahl,
Sehnhit, Semhar, and Seraie will prevail. They will be provinces of Eritrean Republic like
States of USA or provinces of Canada. In other words Denkel will have provincial right
like California State of USA or Quebec province of Canada.
Today there are many things that kill Eritrean visions. But the main Eritrean vision killer
is Isyas’ politics. His dictatorship doesn’t only hinder us from dreaming but also kills if in
case we have already one. As consequence of this condition, Eritrea became a land where
dreams and hopes don’t grow. We became the owners of rust and sterile mind. What we
have in our minds is an amulet/ktab (ክታብ) of the Eritrean dictator discordant (ስግንጥር)
‘doctoring’. With this he has lured as to kill our people with him. As result it is very hard
to find an Eritrean without a sense of guilt. This advises for those who oppose the rule of
one man in Eritrea not to raise a hand and point the finger at someone because we are
all sinners though there is a difference.
Eyob Ghebreziabhier Gizie-lewti.com 11.12. 2012 Swiss
NOTE
bayto1: is a place where a village discusses and decides democratically its political,
social, economical, religious, cultural … affairs

Nigeria: Can anything good come out of President Jonathan?

By Paul Omoruyi
There is always the proclivity to criticize and see all the wrong things going on around us in Nigeria. This is not unique to Nigeria and Nigerians. It is the human factor. As developed and advanced as the United States socio-political systems, some Americans (at least Republicans) will tell you one million and one thing wrong with the Obama’s government and policies.

There is a place for criticism. I think it is good for the overall health of any society. Human beings tend to become tyrannically corrupt if there is no one to keep them in check. Nowadays, even pastors are not exempted! The old maxim captures it beautifully “because power corrupts; society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”

Let me be clear, I am a critic of Jonathan’s government. I think he has not demonstrated the political prowess and will to prosecute those who have evidently stolen and wasted our collective wealth. He pussyfoots in his war against corruption. He tergiversates when dealing with insecurity in the country. He prevaricates when it is time to act on an investigative report recommendations that will be beneficial to the country. He appears overly cautious not to offend the Nigerian “godfathers” that unfortunately have capacity to bring down the Nigerian State at their whims, anytime, any day.

Criticism they say “should not be querulous and wasting, all knife and root-puller, but guiding, instructive, inspiring, a south wind, not an east wind”. Any well-meaning social crusader will not only criticize but also instruct, inspire and guide those in public office.

Most Nigerians voted for President Jonathan (GEJ) thinking he is learned enough to change the status quo. I have been asking myself lately if there is anything for now that Nigerians can be proud of about Jonathan. Some seemingly good pointers came to mind that I think GEJ should deserve a little encomium for now until we see where he ends:

Before Jonathan, previous governments (shame on all past Nigeria “Cell Wait US”- Senators and “RepresentaThieves” – Representatives) did not dare to raise the issue of fuel subsidy scam and malfeasance in the Nigerian public domain. It leaves me to wonder why former presidents from Banbagida to Obasanjo did not fight against this injustice on the Nigerian people during their presidency.

Apparently, the previous presidents were privy to the same data and intelligence as Jonathan. Did they willingly collude with the cabals; had a piece of the pie and shut their mouth? Nigerians need to ask them to testify under oath and prosecute them accordingly. Doesn’t Jonathan deserve some praise for raising the issue to an unprecedented level in Nigeria that even the market women now understand how fuel subsidy works? Your guess is as good as mine.

Another pointer that I think GEJ deserves to be commended for is in the area of money-laundering. With all its flaws, huff and puff, EFCC during GEJ’s administration has done a laudable job in capturing “live cash” smugglers in Nigeria airports. Have you thought about all the ungodly sum of live cash that have been smuggled out of Nigeria in the past with the connivance of Nigerian elite before now? Your guess is as good as mine.

Lastly, Jonathan’s administration has awoken the sleeping Nigerian populace. For the first time in my life, I see Nigerians talking and engaged in the daily issues and public policy debates that affect their lives. In the past, many policies were imposed on them even by foreign governments without their input. I was enthralled and a cold chill ran down my spine when I heard a fellow young Nigerian say “I am ready to die for a change in Nigeria” during the occupy Nigeria fuel subsidy removal protest.

Whether it is the 5000 naira notes or the capricious and senseless renaming of Lagos State University, Nigerians were able to rise up, speak up and have their voice heard on the matter.

Now that I see some modicum of good in GEJ, I have pieces of advice for him. Going forward, GEJ has to make a conscious decision (yes, it is a leadership and conscious decision!) to decisively wage war against corruption without giving “a damn” (remember he does not give a damn?) about whose head the axe will fall on. Nigeria masses have given him the mandate and political capital. He should not waste it but spend it judiciously by fighting for the same Nigerian masses.

GEJ should immediately take control of keeping Nigeria safe. The fact that he is holed up in the safety of Aso Rock security does not mean that he will remain unaffected by the pains that average Nigerians feel everyday from Boko Haram and kidnapping bedlam. Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be able to explain better to him!

As January 1st, 2013 approaches, Nigerians are looking forward to what GEJ will do whimsically as his manner has been. However, whatever GEJ does in 2013 will determine his legacy and place in Nigeria history. In 2013, he should achieve as much as he can focusing on specific projects that all Nigerians can see and use as his legacy reference point. The question is, do Nigerians think anything good can come out of President Jonathan? Your guess is as good as mine.

Blog: www.diasporascope.com

Email: eng.p.omoruyi@gmail.com

Electoral politics and transition in Kenya

Antony Otieno Ong’ayo

The 2013 general elections as a tipping point

INTRODUCTION

The political violence and near eruption of a civil war in the aftermath of the botched 2007 general election in Kenya is still fresh in the memory of Kenyans and the world at large. It took the efforts of Kofi Annan and the Panel of Eminent African Personalities to extinguish the flames of self-destruction that had engulfed the country, by cobbling a power sharing arrangement that prevented Kenya from state-collapse. The country once touted as an oasis of peace in Africa almost burnt because of a political culture in which impunity, politicised ethnicity and access to the state largesse through ethnic prism has been the hallmarks of its governance system since independence.

In the history of Kenya, electioneering periods have always witnessed intense competition for political power and political violence of different magnitudes. Examples include the ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley Province prior to the 1992 election, and similar clashes in the Rift Valley and Coast Provinces prior to the 1997 election. However, the more open conflict that engulfed the entire country as in 2008 was incomprehensible. The major underlying factor is politicised ethnicity, a practice that has been part of the electoral and representative politics in Kenya since its independence in 1963. It is an area where Kenya has refused to grow as a nation, where different sub-nationalities co-existing in one polity.

On 4 March 2013, Kenya will be going into another general election, which is critical for its stability and future. The forthcoming election is a bridge between stagnation and forward leap towards a middle-income country as outlined its vision 2030. It is also a historical moment in Kenya’s nation building and democratic transition because the full implementation of its progressive constitution hinges on the outcome of the forthcoming general election. The leadership that will emerge from this electoral process will be vital for the entrenchment of the new constitutional dispensation in the everyday governance practice in Kenya. The significance of the forthcoming elections is not only about structural changes, but also about one that will recalibrate the mind-sets of Kenyans in terms of accepting the plural and multicultural nature of the Kenyan polity. It could present a second opportunity for a person from a non-entitled community to take the national leadership. Breaking such a historical glass ceiling in Kenya will dispel the myths that have kept various sub-nationalities in Kenya in a political container of systematic marginalisation

A MULTICULTURAL POLITY

The forthcoming general election has the potentials for state restructuring and the establishment of the necessary institutional, policy and legislative frameworks that would safeguard the interests of the multicultural polity that Kenya is today. Kenya is a melting pot of nations, sub-nations, and transnational citizens. In Kenya, we have Africans of very different backgrounds; Asians of Indian, Arab, and Persian backgrounds; Europeans of American and continental Europe backgrounds, besides hundreds of thousands of African migrants who have found a home in Kenya either as refugees or as labour immigrants. The place of Kenya in Africa is indisputable due to its geo-political and economic position, and as a regional hub and host for internationals institutions, which adds to its rich multicultural heritage.

The unfortunate reality is that the there is still no political will to create and entrench a system of governance that balances the plural nature and interest of the diverse groups in Kenya. As a result, Kenyans remain deeply polarized along ethnic lines especially during electioneering periods. This is because acquisition and retention of political power in Kenya holds key to state resources for co-ethnics and the elite from the ruling communities who will always try to reclaim or retain power by any means necessary including manipulation of the electoral process. The notion of pluralism as used in politics denote a theoretical standpoint on state and power, which to varying degrees, suggest an adequate model of how power is distributed in societies. In this regard, groups compete in a fair manner to access state power. Depressingly enough, the political competition in Kenya as witnessed in the on-going campaigns shows the struggles between the dominant forces behind the status quo and representation of impunity and those that have waged decade-long struggles to safeguard the interests of the majority of the citizenry. What we observe is the emergence ethnic-oriented and purposely formed for retaining political power and state resources in the communities that feel entitled to the Kenyan leaderships for reasons that are myopic and draconian.

STEPS AFTER 2008 CRISIS

Following the 2008 crisis, the National Accord and Reconciliation Act negotiated by Koffi Annan recommended fundamental changes regarding the political system and grievances around historical injustices that contributed to the post-election violence. Moreover, with the election date drawing closer, apprehension and anxiety is beginning to grip the citizenry. The traumatic experiences from the post-election violence in 2007 and failure of the government to address the underlying factors as observed in Agenda Four of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Accord, have made majority of Kenyans to realize that the old order is not going to disappear through regular multiparty elections. It is an entrenched system whose beneficiaries trample on the Kenyan economic and political landscape like an out of space colossal monster. A system that only benefits a few local capitalists and the political elites whose interests are served by the status-quo of weak state institutions, unaccountable leadership, political corruption, and impunity. It is this group whether in the public domain or in the background that has placed huge bottlenecks in Kenyans transition especially after the posy election violence. The change that Kenyans desire to have is not in their best interest and as a result, the group has attempted to scuttle the constitutional dispensation using every trick from the dirty books of post-colonial Kenyan leadership. The mentality of our turn to eat has and feelings of entitlement and arrogance has blocked this group mainly composed of ethnic chauvinists from seeing the long-term interest of their co-ethnics and possible grand children in a Kenya that belongs to all who belong in it.

MISSTEPS DURING THE COALITION GOVERNMENT

Despite some significant achievements by the Kibaki led-government especially in terms of improved infrastructure, economic growth, increased access to basic education, and expanded political freedoms, Kibaki’s regime has also brought back the issue of ethnicity in the public sphere to levels that seem to suppers his predecessors. Kibaki’s government has been embroiled in a number of flagrant official economic and political corruptions, which is contrary to his inaugural promise to end the pervasive corruption that was the hallmark of both Kenyatta and Moi regimes. Looting of public coffers has increased threefold, in terms of the volumes that are involved through official contracts, government procurement, inflation of public project costs or omission of substantial digits in the national budget on the pretext of technical computer errors. Large segments of the Kenyan masses are still in poverty, experience cyclical droughts, and floods, lack basics such as water, health care, education, and housing. Moreover, the imbalances in regional development in terms of infrastructure development and decades of economic and political marginalization especially in the northern, coastal, and western regions and challenges of insecurity because of youth unemployment are some of the factors that will still inform the choices of voters in the coming elections. However, this will only depend on how loud the ethnic drums will beat, and what kind of new tunes will emerge for the purpose of political expediency and retention of power where it belongs regardless of the costs. With such realities, any desired change in Kenya will only take place when the citizenry consciously refuses to give up their “agency” to the Kenyan political class and the “middle class” that derives their opulent lifestyle from the status quo in Nairobi.

A FUTURE ON A CLIFF

The 2013 general elections will therefore offer an interesting political litmus test for the new constitutional dispensation and path to democratization in Kenya. Despite the periodic setbacks largely occasioned by the lack of political will to engage in a serious national building process, Kenya has always emerged as a country that can rebound back even in the face of near state-collapse. The forthcoming elections will once again test Kenya’s resilience. Ethnicity in Kenya is here to stay, but Kenyans must find better ways of dealing with it, making use of its positive sides by accepting that sub-nations can live and work together in one polity. The forthcoming elections present Kenyans with an opportunity for societal transformation and a moment to lay a good foundation for social cohesion and nation state building. However, confronting both the voters and politicians alike is the question of the implications of a scenario in which politicians that have been indicted at the International Criminal Court due to crimes against humanity following the 2008 post-election violence may assume the national leadership? What would the implications for Kenya becoming a pariah state from economic and geo-political and economic perspectives? What signals will such a scenario send to the segments of the Kenyan population that is still yearning for justice in the aftermath of the post-election violence in Kenya and redress of the historical injustices that the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Agenda Item 4 pointed out as the fundamental underpinning of the post-election violence? Last, where does such a scenario leave the Kenyan stride towards a democratic transition? With such a scenario, will Kenya manage to come off the yoke of corruption and culture of impunity? These issues rest with Kenyans as well as the international community whose interests are embedded in the socio-economic and political dynamics in Kenya.

Antony Otieno Ong’ayo is a PhD Researcher at the International Development Studies, Human Geography Department, and Faculty of Geosciences in Utrecht University. He is also a Research Fellow at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), Maastricht/Brussels, and the African Migration and Development Policy Centre (AMADPOC) in Nairobi, and a member of the Advisory Board, Research Group Globalisation, Aging, and Health Care in the Netherlands, Tilburg University, and Marga Klompe Foundation. He can be reached at A.O.Ongayo@uu.nl