Kenya To Launch Publicity Campaign In The US [] and Denies Reports it is Arming Southern Sudan [VOA]

Kenya To Launch Publicity Campaign In The US |

VP Kalonzo Musyoka and Speaker Marende to New America Foundation and to visit IRI and NDI in Washington.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan Government denies reports it is helping to arm Southern Sudan, including reports that the tanks brought to Mombasa on the M/V Faina in 2008, after being held by pirates, are now in Southern Sudan.

Not a festive season within ODM or Grand Coalition Cabinet

Here is a tough challenge to Ruto in the Nairobi Star . Note that the author has identified himself as “Raila’s adviser for coalition affairs and joint secretary to the Permanent Committee on the Management of Grand Coalition Affairs” while describing Ruto’s background as an anti-reformer in KANU Youth 92, saying he became wealthy without explantion of the sources, questioning the basis for his objection to trying post-election violence suspects pursuant to the Waki report and questioning what he has actually done to uphold the rights of youth who may have been unfairly targeted in the post-election arrests.

In the meantime, Ruto continues as Minister for Agriculture, a portfolio that ought to matter a great deal right now as far as the welfare of the public and the overall effectiveness of the Coalition Government.

It seems to me that the internal tension within the Government will only continue to escalate for some time going forward. Absent a decision by the ICC to stand down it is hard to see the split between Odinga and Ruto being papered over–while at the same time two of the leading figures on the Kibaki/PNU side of the coalition, Uhuru and Kalonzo, are floating alliances with Ruto.

And today the Standard reports that Speaker Marende has stated in Western Province his intention to run for President himself in the coming election.

The one constant seems that all of the key figures in government have their eyes on issues much beyond doing their immediate jobs.

Kenyan Speaker on Law Enforcement and Impunity

Speaker of Parliament Marende has called for the enforcement of existing laws as the way to end impunity, in particular calling for MP and former Justice Minister Martha Karua to record a statement with the police to specify her charges that large bribes change hands to influence votes in Parliament.  At pains of being prosecuted for making a false statement if she doesn’t in fact back it up.

I agree with the Speaker that enforcement of existing laws is really the key to changing the environment of impunity for politicians.  New laws will not help if the law is ignored anyway.  Certainly there have been plenty of rumors and more specific stories in circulation about bribery in Parliament.  Almost two years in to this Parliament it certainly seems past time to face this head on.

A way to proceed is to have specific statements from those with knowledge and certainly MPs such as Ms. Karua should follow up.  But likewise the media should follow up.  Corruption issues are continually raised or hinted at in the Kenya media, or even covered in depth initially, but then nothing more.  For the Kenyan media to effectively fulfill any type of watchdog role, they will have to learn to start and finish these stories, and to do a lot more actual reporting rather than simply relaying to readers what the various politicians and officials have to say.

Likewise, there is no reason for law enforcement to wait for insiders to hand them the evidence.  We see in some areas that the various Kenyan law enforcement agencies can conduct investigations–why do they have to wait for insider whistleblowers?

I must say that I don’t agree with prosecuting a Member for what we in the US would call “speech and debate” in the legislature, but nonetheless, those with knowledge of bribery in Parliament do have an obligation to come forward–and should be protected in doing so.