Kenyan Diaspora Alliance Calls for Open Advertising of Positions of Chief Justice, Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions

Press Statement

The Diaspora Alliance, its corporate members listed below representing over 80% of all Kenyan Diaspora belonging to organized global organizations, calls for the retraction of the nominees for the positions of Chief Justice, Attorney-General and Deputy Public Prosecutor, and immediate setting into motion a transparent, credible way for recruitment that entails public advertisement and short-listing by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), before submitting the names to the President and Prime Minister for selection, and ultimately parliament for vetting before final appointment.

The Alliance is VERY disappointed that in the nomination of candidates for these positions the President who swore to defend the constitution has, essentially broken the very supreme law. It is quite clear that either the Prime Minister, the President (or both) are lying about the consultative process – or lack thereof – that preceded these nominations.

It is notable that the body charged with overseeing the implementation of the new constitution, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the body whose main function is to recommend eligible people to the President and Prime Minister for appointment as judges, as well as the High Court itself have declared the nominations illegal and against both the letter and the spirit of the law.

The Diaspora Alliance recognizes the vitality and sanctity of the judiciary, contending that while we can live with under-performing executive and legislature, no society can survive with a discredited judiciary like we have.

Public Action of Leadership must be for the common good

It is important for the leadership to note that powers of the Executive (also Judiciary and Legislature) are OF THE PEOPLE, only delegated to them! As per the Preamble of the new Constitution: the very first Article (1) states “all sovereign power belong to the people of Kenya …”. Thus any appointment by the President must be ‘on behalf of the people’. So, when the designated institutions along with the general public through the mass-media themselves are saying “do this transparently and fairly through the JSC” [and the voice of God is the voice of the people], the leadership needs to listen.

Various recent actions by the country’s leadership do not appear to have the welfare of the ordinary people of Kenya at heart, disregarding the supremacy of the people and the expectation for public officers to act in a manner that:-
i) demonstrates respect for the people,
ii) brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office,
iii) promotes confidence in the integrity of the office, and
iv) iv) vests the responsibility to serve the people rather than the power to rule over them (as in Article 73 of the new constitution).

In selective interpretation of the law, some commentators on this outrageous action have reduced this issue to competition between the two principles, forgetting that the Transitional Provisions are largely to help us wade through the murky ‘Coalition Government’ days – and also complete the stages for katiba implementation.

Article 24(2) of Schedule 6 often quoted was simply to ensure that in so appointing the Chief Justice, it is recognized that the ‘Presidency’ in this interim period includes also the Premiership. But it must be read with Article 166 (1) of the Constitution which states inter alia: “The President shall appoint the CJ and Deputy CJ in accordance with the recommendation of the JSC, and with the approval of the National Assembly.” The transitional provision oft selectively quoted doesn’t whatsoever negate the requirement for the JSC to be involved. Otherwise, the functions of the JSC would have been watered down; as a matter of fact the 1st and main function of the JSC [Article 172(1)(1)] is “to recommend to the President persons to appoint as judges”, and of course that includes the Chief “Judge” – the CJ!

We believe that Kenya is for all Kenyans, and that in this spirit, inclusiveness is important in all public appointments. It is therefore worrisome that the President overlooked women, youth and the Kenyan Diaspora – which contributes the largest portion of foreign exchange earnings by far, compared to any other sectors of the economy – in these appointments. Indeed, the nominee for the position of Attorney-General, Githu Muigai, is so insensitive to the rights of the Kenyan Diaspora that he opposed the registration of Kenyans abroad during the last year’s referendum on the new constitution.

Besides, as per Article 23 of Schedule 6, all judges to be reappointed must be first vetted. In effect, even if: i) the President had consulted the Prime Minister, ii) women, Diaspora, etc had been included, the action would still have been unconstitutional.

At any rate nothing in Schedule 6 itself prohibits the President and Prime Minister from inviting applications from qualified, eligible persons for these seats. As a matter of fact, had we been truly born anew, this is what good governance would entail!

Criteria for Appointments

The Next Chief Justice, Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions should be of impeccable integrity, credibility and beyond reproach. They must possess known credentials for fighting for and defending justice, democracy and the rule of law. Kenya needs and deserves judicial officers who at a minimum:-

1. Have exemplary transformative vision to overhaul the judicial system and permanently institutionalize the rule of law, service to the people, independence from the politics of the day, intolerant to tribalism, and proven abhorrence to corruption and sloth;
2. Judicial leaders whose professional and personal philosophy is discernible and preferably known to Kenyans. This can be found in speeches, articles, books, court proceedings, and other related past activities.
3. Genuine reformers who can lead by example, with this quality demonstrated by past actions – e.g. making rulings that show they can defy the executive or by assisting and being part of the struggle against past and present dictatorships and the subsequent fight for constitutional reforms from the dark days. Anyone without this hallmark must be told that they are unfit to lead Kenya through the next phase of the struggle, as such are people who will vary positions on the basis of tribe, political persuasion or brown envelopes and therefore cannot restore the sorely needed public confidence in the justice systems.
4. Change masters who can mobilize and motivate the troops. Cleaning the judiciary will require self sacrifice in the sense that many people who are used to lifestyles based on 5 or even 10 times their salaries are going to adjust to new circumstances. A lot of the judicial officers are still going to continue with the old way of ‘kitu kidogo’ while they preach water. The new Chief Justice and Attorney General must be capable of managing change, and transforming human behaviour without losing the morale and cooperation of those under their charge–for they cannot transform the judiciary by decree or through moral preaching alone. The new AG and CJ must be adept at creating a sense of purpose and a larger raision d’etre in the mission statement of Kenya’s new judicial system – one imbued with integrity, independence, transparency, ethics and professionalism.

The Process Must Free, Fair, Transparent and Participatory

Kenyans deserve transparent criteria for choosing nominees for those to be vetted by parliament. Kenyans deserve a chance to put the hard questions to those nominated– for example what their visions are, what specific plans they have in overhauling the judiciary, what has been their role in the struggle for democracy and above all, they must sign a “promissory note” committing to the people of Kenya that the buck will stop with them, that they will take personal responsibility for failure to deliver and they will honourably step aside even if there is a whiff of suspicion or if Kenyans do not see tangible improvement within one year.

This is not something just for the President and Prime Minister, or PNU and ODM for that matter to negotiate and horse-trade about. The truth is that today, the majority of Kenyans belong to neither of these groups; these positions are even more for the sake of future generations who know no parties than today’s.

Reclaiming the Space from the Political Elite

Part of the problem with our country is the manner in which a few individuals believe that the country belongs to them only. On the other hand there is a misplaced obsession with highlighting the fights among “political titans” as opposed to ordinary Kenyans’ fight for a “Just Society of Men” (as engraved in Parliament’s Chambers)!

We ask a few questions:-

a) Why do we have a great constitution yet allow people in position to defy the same that they took oath to protect. How safe is one as a Kenyan that his or her rights are protected when the President himself breaks the law with great abandon?

b) Why do we take hard options in deciding pertinent matters of state (like appointments) yet we have crystal clear guidelines, men and women of honour, resources, resolve and intellect to follow procedure as is?

c) Why should we always start by doing the opposite of what we ought to do, then turn around just to score political points or otherwise?

Moving Forward

It is disappointing and dangerous that a country with as much potential and ability as ours should be run in so inappropriate a manner.

The Diaspora Alliance calls upon the governing principals to follow the constitution and the law in running the country, and to put the interests of Kenyans first. Moving forward, we demand the following :-

i) Withdrawal of the nominees for the positions of CJ, AG and DPP, and immediately setting into motion a transparent, credible way for recruitment that entails public adverts and JSC short-listing, before submitting the names to the President and Prime Minister for selection, and ultimately parliament for vetting before final appointment. What would be wrong if JSC or even the relevant parliamentary committee advertised the posts – and extended the same to Embassies so that qualified Kenyan Diaspora too applied? Instead of ‘thinking big’, we seem to fancy ‘thinking small’. Instead of leaving it to ‘only the 2 people’ (call them principals), why not open it up to the 40 million Kenyans? They can’t be more wrong!

ii) We accordingly recommend that the 3 judicial officers all be excluded from any future consideration for these offices as they have failed the first test of credibility and integrity. If they were worth their salt and to be trusted custodian’s of the rule of law in Kenya, they should have promptly declined these nominations even without prompting, given the unconstitutionalities.

iii) Kenya’s leadership has to rededicate itself to the purpose and spirit of the new constitution, lest we have a document that is not even worth the ink it was written on.

Member Organizations of the Diaspora Alliance:-

Diaspora Movement of Kenya (DMK)
Institute for African Democracy, Development & Sovereignty (IADDS)
Kenya Advocacy Group (KAG)
Kilimo Foundation for Corruption and Poverty Eradication (KCPE)
Kenyans for Change (K4C)
Kenya Global Unity (KGU)
Madaraka People’s Movement
New Vision Kenya – Mageuzi (NVK-M)
Voice Movement

About the Diaspora Alliance

The Diaspora Alliance’s vision is to see a just, free, prosperous and equitable Kenya, one in which social justice and the rule of law are entrenched in all the strata of Kenya’s society, especially in the institutions that affect public and personal life in our country.

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Kenya Coalition Principals Grossly Misguided about Kenyan Youth

By George Nyongesa

We are infuriated by the fact that President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga used Jamhuri Day celebrations to level allegations of treason against the youth of Kenya. The principals’ outburst, coming hot on the heels of Government spokesman Dr. Alfred Mutua’s similar outlandish claim that the youth are receiving foreign funding to destabilize the coalition government, cannot be ignored, especially by the leadership of youth.

In this regard, we wish to address the President and Prime Minister as follows:

First, we would like to point out that the poignant claims eloquently expose the fears and uneasiness that the political establishment has over the emerging political consciousness among the youth. The language of castigations completely reeks of the status quo’s misguided view of youth as being disorganized, confused and easily manipulated. We refuse this ill-adviced definition of the youth and warn that we are indeed actively organizing to empower ourselves in order to keep on track reforms especially as espoused in Agenda 4 of the same National Accord that brought President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga together in a coalition government.

Second, we are not fazed by allegations of receiving support from wherever in order to realize our agenda. This is not news, as the coalition leaders never ending foreign begging trips are common knowledge. In any event, the youth are part of the wider civil society that likewise survives on primarily international funding for their activities. Also, since the coalition government will not put together empowerment programs that are not designed to control us, manage us or take us hostage, reality check demands that we work with anyone who understands our problem and genuinely wants to help.

Third, we frown upon President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila’s attempt to plant seeds of strife and discord among youth by branding their leadership as foreign-aided coup plotters. Whilst the tag is meant to cow the emerging youth leadership, we want to boldly warn them that Agenda 4 issues, among these, youth unemployment, remain key reform and progress scorecard items for the youth; that if not comprehensively and urgently addressed by the two principal will precipitate the threatening revolution of the dissatisfied masses of youth against the cartel of political elite.

Fourth, we wish to inform President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila that the majority Kenyan youth are quickly realizing that unless Agenda 4 items are addressed, the youth and future generations will remain victims of bad governance that is characterized by corruption, impunity, poverty and tribalism.

We are no longer at ease with the way things are and will not hesitate to latch on constitutional rights to organize to overthrow the political establishment that preys us. We want a better Kenya that is fit for all of us to realize our God given potential. Indeed the youth leadership is going round the neighborhood inspiring fellow Kenyans that with the reality of new constitution, our numbers hold the key to the change we want to see and there is nothing criminal in pursuing constitutional promises.

Fifth, Mr. President and Prime Minister, it is true we are organizing to breed a new leadership that is up to the task of bridging the differences in our society and inspire our social diversities to work together to realize prosperity and peace for all. These are the ideals the youth of our generation dream of and in the back drop of new constitution find it civic obligation and duty. We are organizing because we are dissatisfied with the periodic tokenism such as Kazi kwa Vijana, Youth Enterprise Fund and worse still a youth ministry that has turned out to be a political circus.

Mr. President and Prime Minister, we are organizing because we have come to the realization that anything this political status comes up with has in the final analysis always become another gradualism that cannot address the urgent grave situation of unemployment among youth. We are organizing because we do not want to be used and abused as political levers by political cartels. We are organizing because we are fully aware of the problems the youth face; we are aware of the solutions to those problems and we are sure that we are the leadership we need to get us out of this deep hole.

Sixth, the youth are actively involved in post-referendum civic education on the new constitution especially on the contents of chapter 6. This is because in gearing up for 2012, before the campaign propaganda and empty promises peddled by power hungry politicians clouds their judgment, it is important to empower Kenyans to realize that most of the current crop of leaders cannot stand the leadership and integrity test set by this section of the constitution.

Indeed, the next general election forebodes an overthrow of the political establishment that grossly falls short and that continues to benefit from impunity. Mr. President and Prime Minister, you must accept that Kenyan youth organizing to shake off the yoke of oppression and exploitation through ballot democracy is not a crime and it is an internationally recognized, legitimate and legal avenue for citizenry to realize their own progress.

Seventh, we find it well within our political rights and liberties to want to and accordingly to organize to legally depose an establishment rife with corruption, impunity and tribalism, and replace with one for whom the people’s agenda is central. In doing so, the youth do not act only for ourselves, but millions of Kenyans who are victims of the current bad leadership such as the thousands of internally displaced persons sleeping cold and hungry in filthy camps, thousands of youths seeking solace from joblessness in crime, alcohol, drugs and prostitution, and the millions of Kenyans on self imposed curfews as a result high insecurity in our country.

Eighth, we sympathize with the coalition principals’ embarrassment suffered after the honest and unflattering contents of WikiLeaks, but wish to categorically protest against the Machiavellian use of youth as a political distraction shield of sorts. Casting aspersions against the youth leadership as ploy to steal the public attention from revelations of WikiLeaks is in bad taste, reactionary and totally misguided and betrays how quick the principals are to sacrifice others for their own interests. Accordingly, we dismiss with contempt and term it as a gross insult, the unsolicited paternalistic advisory that had the Premier label Kenyan youth as puppets and we demand a public apology.

In conclusion, we demand that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila either come up with practical programs to get the youth out of the extreme poverty that makes them vulnerable to political manipulation or keep off our activities of organizing to save ourselves. We reiterate that we are peaceful and patriotic Kenyans engaging in constitution guaranteed civic actions to bring about another Kenya that is fit for all of us. We believe that the youth of Kenya are already giving so much of their own limited resources and sweeping allegations of foreign funding of youth activities is a distraction that we advice our fellow youth not to pay attention to. While we are not oblivious to the fact that the status quo will not resist misuse of state power in deploying old tricks of violence to halt our non-violent and peaceful push for meaningful reforms, we remain determined to deliver the dream and shall not relent.

Mr. Nyongesa is the National Coordinator of Bunge la Mwananchi as well as Co-convenor of the National Youth Forum in Kenya.

Jipe moyo wewe Kijana! (don’t give up!) – Kenya’s government has no intention of empowering you!

KKVToday the youth in Nairobi converged on Charter Hall to celebrate International Youth Day. The purpose of this auspicious day (which will be officially celebrated tomorrow in the rest of the world) is to draw attention to social, economic, legal and political issues facing the youth.

The Nairobi Forum had as its theme “Harnessing Responsive Youth Development Initiatives for a Sustainable Kenyan Economy”, an issue which is at the heart of Agenda 4 of Kenya’s National Accord Agreement that established the current coalition government.

Regarding the youth, Agenda 4 has far reaching measures which are meant to include all Kenyans and indeed the youth who form over 75% of Kenya’s population into democratic processes and development.

Constitutional reforms are anticipated to include clauses that ensure equal opportunities and social inclusion for all Kenyans. Institutional reforms in the judiciary and police have been incorporated to ensure strong commitment to human rights, in a country where Kenyan youth are particularly vulnerable to such abuses, with the majority of inmates in the prison system being youth and a  police force that has also been accused of targeting the youth for extra judicial killings.

Further Agenda 4 reforms are also supposed to be implemented within the civil service, the same sector which in March this year raised the retirement age of civil servants up five years to 60! Land reforms are also a crucial Agenda 4 issue as land ownership amongst the nation’s youth is remaining a novelty.

However, these reforms cannot compare with the real poverty faced by Kenya’s youth. The youth require jobs and opportunities to fully exploit their talents. And Agenda 4 emphasises policies that ensure equity and balance  in terms of job creation and improved income distribution.

Thus, the main agenda in this afternoon’s Charter Hall forum centered on the Youth Enterprise Development Fund as well as the more recent Kazi kwa Vijana (KKV) programme.

After opening performances from Sauti Sol who can only be described as Kenya’s Boyz II Men, Hope Raisers a band from Korogocho inspired the title of this post “Jipe moyo wewe Kijana!” with their session that encouraged the audience not to give up in the face of poverty. It was ironic that above the stage were both the emblem of the Nairobi City Council which in the past has been guilty of not providing adequate social services as well as the seemingly benign face of President Kibaki, the very same principal who is meant to deliver Agenda 4 to Kenyans.

The forum was moderated by Louis Otieno of Citizen TV and began with a talk from Patrick Kasyula, the head of research at the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. In his speech, he extolled the virtues of the fund, more or less placing the blame for not reaching as many young entrepreneurs as could have been on parliament. He went on to say that the fund had to put internal structures and requirements such as funding youth groups as opposed to individuals so that the Kenya National Audit Office (KNAO) could not say they were spending money flagrantly.

Kasyula further mentioned that the fund was committed to responding to issues. As such the first question was raised by Fiona Mati of the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (Yipe.org) regarding the over Kshs. 1 billion in financial discrepancies outlined in the Partnership for Change report “A fish rots from the head down: crony capitalism at Kenya’s Youth Enterprise Development Fund” whose basis was a financial management letter addressed to the then CEO of the Youth Fund, Umuro Wario from the very same Kenya National Audit Office (KNAO) Mr. Kasyula had earlier mentioned.

In response, Mr. Kasyula termed the “report” as being false and malicious. He went onto assert that those errors emanated from the fund’s parent ministry of Youth & Sports to whom the startup monies for the youth fund was given in grants. As a result of that “report” Kasyula continued, the CEO was terminated.  Mr. Kasyula never made any response to other questions from Ms. Mati regarding single sourcing by the Fund of suppliers and contractors, and neither did he answer her question on the Youth Fund’s “partnership” with Enablis East Africa.  However, he did provide a standard response from the fund that it is the only State Corporation that presents quarterly reports to Parliament and is one of the most transparent government agencies. Yet if this is the case, why the hesitancy in answering a few straightforward questions if the Fund is as transparent as its officers profess it to be?

Mr. Kasyula was further prodded by another audience member, Emmanuel Dennis the convenor of the National Youth Convention regarding his assertion that the “report” by the Kenya National Audit Office was both “false and malicious”. Mr. Dennis asked how Kasyula a civil servant could say the Auditor General’s office could make such “false and malicious” assertions– the very same office that draws its mandate from The Constitution of Kenya!

Dennis further reminded the audience of further financial issues raised in the KNAO financial management letter including a Kshs. 50 million grant to the youth fund by the Kenya Pipeline Organisation, for which no agreement was supplied at the time of the KNAO’s audit of the fund; Kshs. 500 million put into a fixed deposit account without Treasury approval and monies paid out for events to an organization for whom no legal registration documents were made available to the KNAO.

At this point, Kasyula directed any interested questioners to find out more from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, whom the forum’s moderator Louis Otieno reminded everyone present was new in his job. But Kasyula maintained that a visit to the parent ministry would yield answers, albeit the same answers the Partnership for Change has been seeking since June 27th 2009!

At the beginning of the Forum, Louis Otieno had asked the audience how many had received money from the youth kitty and only a smattering raised their hands. Indeed there were more audience members who raised their hands when asked who had applied and been rejected.

Two of these from one youth group in Embakasi narrated their story. They said that even though the concept of a youth fund was good in the boardroom, its implementation was far from realistic on the ground. They had tried to apply twice and never received even an email rejecting their application. One of them, Njambi said that rejection communication would not quench her thirst for entrepreneurship, but could only improve the development of her group’s business proposal. Njambi added that even a short note saying that the handwriting on her group’s proposal was bad would have been preferable to no response at all.

The second entrepreneur Lydia said that on one of their applications they approached the Fund and were told there was no money and that they should return after the national budget was read as all the money had been returned until then to the Treasury! She further cited the major hurdles imposed by the fund’s application process saying that her group had a hard time even finding a youth officer. That is not surprising because the youth officer they eventually found in Embakasi was in her words a “Mzee” (an old man) who told the group that what they were requesting was not within his mandate and even called the administration police to send them back to where they came from. Kasyula responded to this by admitting that the Fund does not itself employ youth officers who commonly are “senior” civil servants seconded to such duties by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.

The question of what impact the fund has made was raised by other audience members who said the youth in the “hood(s)” of Nairobi do not know about banks and “big money” and asked the fund to make its presence known on the ground. A member of a youth performing group added that road-shows would be a good starting point so the youth can leave the ghetto and reach the leafy suburbs of Lavington.

The second issue under discussion at the forum was jobs, specifically those under the controversial Kazi kwa Vijana (KKV) programme. A representative from the KKV National Management Committee Mr. Adak said that the initiative was aimed at assisting those youth most “at risk“. In his introduction he outlined the structure of the programme and stressed that the initiative had been successful, employing 100,000 youth so far.

Expenditure is Expe! (expensive)

An audience member from Mathare later told Mr. Adak that the amount of 250 shillings per day  was too little to feed him and his family. He also asked whether the initiative was just a 2012 campaign gimmick. In response, Adak told the young man that we should “praise God” for 250 shillings! – further revealing the insensitivity of government policy makers and political elite to the plight of the nation’s youth.

That response confirmed that Kenya’s government policy is solely populist and not geared to any sustainable development as far as youth policy and mainstreaming is concerned. That the government through KKV has employed 100,000 youth and intends by the end of September 2009 (next month) to make this figure 300,000 (how they get this figure and how they intend to achieve 300% growth is anyone’s guess) shows that Agenda 4 is on the back-burner as far as Kenya’s youth are concerned. World development has shown that as the noted economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen says, development is not just about numbers but how the quality of life of a nation’s population is being improved. Obviously Kenya’s development economists and policy makers remain unaware of this.

To further show that the KKV programme is solely intended to give Kshs. 2,500 to as many youth as it can, the project is set up so that an “at risk” youth gets temporary employment for a maximum of 10 days. The means test to assess those “at risk” was questioned as well as the use of the provincial administration in implementation. Audience members testified that local chiefs were using the KKV as a means to solidify their influence in communities with no scrutiny. Negative ethnicity was also cited when a participant called Bill from Kiamaiko in Huruma told the forum that only youth from one community were being employed in his area. Another, George from Mathare said that the KKV supervisors looked 75 years old! He also told the forum that there were cases of supervisors demanding a cut of the earnings.

Payment was also an issue. Under the programme, the youth are paid two weeks AFTER the job and several cases were raised in the forum regarding delayed payment even after that time period. However, Adak of the KKV said that some youth had been involved in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the exercise to avert such incidents and even narrated an instance of M&E youth entering government offices questioning why they were unmanned. Though this sounds like empowering youth, the tale evoked memories of the dreaded Kanu youth wingers of the Moi regime who in their red-shirts terrorized everyone including civil servants.

As for the KKVs national steering committee and its offshoots, queries were raised by youth group members in the audience as to who actually appoints these committee members? A youth leader echoed the campaign gimmick question asking why the programme was under the Prime Minister’s office and not the Ministry of Youth Affairs? He reiterated that the initiative was being used as a cash cow for the provincial administration where bribes to be employed on the programme went as high as Kshs. 2,000 – leave alone that the total take home amount should be Kshs. 2,500!  The potential for corruption in this Kshs. 15 billion project was cited as being too high particularly where no checks and balances have been instituted. Adak, the KKV representative could only respond that the committees were manned by civil servants from roads, forestry, solid waste collection and other labour intensive government departments.

Siku njema ina kuja (A better day is coming)

But the ray of hope came from the recommendations of an earlier morning session where the forum was informed that a report will be presented to the government regarding the youth fund with the following demands:

  • An acknowledgment that the youth enterprise development fund is not structured in such a way as to eradicate poverty. The beneficiary criteria has not been well thought out and enables those who can access loans elsewhere to benefit to the exclusion of those that really need it.
  • The fund should not be so stringent in its loan disbursement: small quick turnaround loans should be included.
  • Devolvement of disbursement from commercial banks should be immediate and grassroot structures that are more accessible to Kenya’s youth should be promoted.

As for the Kazi Kwa Vijana, this policy was only slated to last until September 2009. However, the youth are growing more restless by the day. The only solution to avert a youth revolution is a full and committed implementation of Agenda 4.

Wakati Mpya wa Matumaini – Hotuba ya Rais Barack Obama, Accra, Ghana, Julai 11, 2009

Obama in AccraHabari za asubuhi. Ni heshima kubwa kwangu kuwa Accra, na kuzungumza na wawakilishi wa raia wa Ghana. Ninashukuru sana kwa makaribisho niliyopewa, pamoja na Michelle, Malia na Sasha Obama vile vile. Historia ya Ghana ni kubwa, uhusiano baina ya nchi zetu mbili ni imara, na ninaona fahari kwamba hii ni ziara yangu ya kwanza Afrika chini ya jangwa la Sahara nikiwa rais wa Marekani.

Ninazungumza nanyi baada ya ziara ndefu.  Nilianzia Urusi, kwenye mkutano wa kilele kati ya mataifa mawili makubwa.  Nikasafiri Italia, kuhudhuria mkutano wa viongozi wa nchi zinazoongoza dunia kiuchumi. Na nimekuja hapa Ghana kwa sababu moja rahisi: karne ya 21 itaathiriwa na yale yanayotokea  siyo tu mijini Rome au Moscow au Washington, lakini na yale yanayotokea Accra vilevile.

Huu ni ukweli mtupu wa wakati ambapo mipaka baina ya watu imezidiwa nguvu na uhusiano wetu.  Ustawi wenu utapanua ustawi wa Marekani. Afya yenu na usalama wenu utachangia ule wa dunia.  Na uimara wa demokrasia yenu utasaidia kuendeleza haki za binadamu kwa watu kila mahali.

Kwa hivyo sizioni nchi na watu wa Afrika kama ulimwengu uliojitenga;  Ninaiona Afrika kama sehemu ya kimsingi ya ulimwengu wetu uliounganishwa–kama washirika wa Marekani kwa niaba ya mustakabali tunaowatakia watoto wetu wote.  Ushirika huo lazima msingi wake uwe uwajibikaji kwa pande zote, na hili ndilo ninalotaka kuwazungumzia leo.

Ni lazima tuanze na kanuni ya kimsingi kwamba mustakabali wa Afrika uko juu ya Waafrika.

Ninasema haya nikijua vyema kabisa hali ya zamani ya  msiba ambayo mara nyingine imedhikisha eneo hili la dunia. Nina damu ya Afrika ndani yangu, na hadithi ya familia yangu inazingira maafa na vilevile ushindi wa hadithi kuu ya Afrika.

Babu yangu alikuwa mpishi wa Waingereza nchini Kenya, na ingawa alikuwa mzee aliyeheshimiwa katika kijiji chake, waajiri wake walimwita “mvulana” kwa muda mrefu wa maisha yake. Alikuwa ukingoni mwa harakati za ukombozi wa Kenya, lakini bado aliwekwa jela kwa muda mfupi katika enzi za ukandamizaji. Katika maisha yake, ukoloni haukuwa tu kuweka mipaka isiyo ya asili au masharti yasiyo ya haki katika biashara—ulikuwa kitu kilichozoelewa binafsi, siku nenda siku rudi, mwaka nenda mwaka rudi.

Baba yangu alikua akichunga mbuzi katika kijiji kidogo, umbali usiopimika kutoka vyuo vikuu vya Kimarekani ambako hatimaye alikuja kupata elimu. Alikomaa wakati wa enzi ya matumaini ya ajabu katika Afrika.  Mapambano ya kizazi cha baba yake yalikuwa yanazalisha mataifa mapya, kuanzia hapa hapa Ghana. Waafrika walikuwa wanajielimisha na kuchukua misimamo kwa njia mpya kabisa.  Historia ilikuwa inasonga mbele.

Lakini licha ya maendeleo ambayo yamefanyika—na kumekuwepo na maendeleo mengi katika sehemu kadhaa za Afrika— vile vile tunajua kwamba sehemu kubwa ya ahadi hiyo haijatimizwa bado.  Nchi kama vile Kenya, ambayo ilikuwa na uchumi mkubwa kwa mtu mmoja mmoja kuliko Korea Kusini wakati nilipozaliwa, imepitwa vibaya. Magonjwa na migogoro imevuruga baadhi ya maeneo ya bara la Afrika. Katika sehemu nyingi, matumaini ya kizazi cha baba yangu yamegeuka kuwa ubeuzi, hata kukata tamaa.

Ni rahisi kunyoosha vidole, na kuwabandikia  watu wengine lawama za matatizo haya. Ndiyo, ramani ya ukoloni ambayo haikuwa na maana kubwa ilizusha migogoro, na nchi za Magharibi mara nyingi zimeshughulikia bara la Afrika kama mlezi, badala ya mshirika. Lakini nchi za Magharibi haziwajibiki na kuharibiwa kwa uchumi wa Zimbabwe mnamo mwongo uliopita, au vita ambamo watoto wameandikishwa kama wapiganaji. Katika maisha ya baba yangu, ni ukabila na upendeleo katika Kenya huru ambao kwa muda mrefu uliiangusha kazi yake, na tunajua kwamba ufisadi kama huu ni ukweli wa maisha ya kila siku kwa watu wengi mno.

Bila shaka tunajua pia kwamba hiyo si hadithi nzima. Hapa Ghana, mnatuonyesha sura ya Afrika ambayo mara nyingi mno inapuuzwa na ulimwengu ambao unaona tu maafa au mahitaji ya hisani. Watu wa Ghana wamejibidisha kuiweka demokrasia katika mizizi imara, kukiwepo mabadiliko ya utawala kwa amani hata katika uchaguzi ulioshindaniwa vikali. Na kukiwa na utawala ulioboreka na jamii inayoibuka ya kiungwana, uchumi wa Ghana umeonyesha kima cha kuvutia cha ustawi.

Maendeleo haya labda yanakosa msisimko wa harakati za ukombozi za karne ya 20, lakini zingatia: hatimaye yatakuwa muhimu zaidi. Kwa kuwa ni muhimu mkubwa kuibuka kutoka kwenye udhibiti wa taifa jingine, hata ni muhimu zaidi vile vile kujijengea taifa lenu wenyewe.

Kwa hivyo ninaamini kwamba wakati huu ni muhimu kwa Ghana—kama ilivyo kwa Afrika—kama wakati baba yangu alipokomaa na mataifa mapya yalikuwa yakizaliwa.  Huu ni wakati mpya wa ahadi.  Ila tu wakati huu, tumejifunza kwamba haitakuwa watu mashuhuri kama Nkrumah na Kenyatta watakaoamua mustakabali wa Afrika. Badala yake itakuwa ninyi—wanaume na wanawake katika bunge la Ghana na watu mnaowakilisha. Na juu ya yote itakuwa vijana—wakijawa na vipawa na nguvu na matumaini—ambao wanaweza kudai mustakabali ambao wengi sana katika kizazi cha baba yangu hawakupata kamwe.

Ili kutambua ahadi hiyo, ni lazima kwanza tutambue ukweli wa kimsingi ambao mmehui hapa Ghana: maendeleo yanategemea utawala bora.  Hicho ndicho kiambato ambacho kimekosekana katika mahali pengi mno, kwa muda mrefu mno. Hayo ndiyo mabadiliko yanayoweza kufungua uwezo wa Afrika. Na huo ni wajibu ambao unaweza kutimizwa na Waafrika tu.

Na kuhusu Marekani na nchi za Magharibi, ahadi yetu lazima ipimwe kwa kiwango zaidi ya dola tunazotumia. Nimeahidi nyongeza kubwa zaidi katika misaada yetu ya kigeni.  Lakini dalili halisi ya ufanisi lazima iwe kama sisi ni washirika katika kujenga uwezo wa mabadiliko ya mageuzi – siyo tu kama chanzo cha msaada unaosaidia watu kukwangua.

Wajibu huu wa pande zote mbili lazima uwe msingi wa ushirikiano wetu.  Na leo, nitalenga maeneo manne hasa ambayo ni muhimu kwa mustakabali wa Afrika na ulimwengu mzima unaoendelea: demokrasia, nafasi, afya; na kutanzuliwa kwa migogoro kwa njia za amani.

Kwanza, ni lazima tuziunge mkono serikali zenye demokrasia imara na zilizo endelevu.

Kama nilivyosema Cairo, kila taifa linaipa demokrasia uhai katika njia yake ya kipekee, na kwa kuzingatia desturi zake. Lakini historia inatoa uamuzi ulio bayana: serikali ambazo zinaheshimu utashi wa watu wao wenyewe zina ustawi zaidi, ziko imara zaidi, na zinafanikiwa zaidi ya serikali zisizofanya hivyo.

Hii ni zaidi ya kuwa na uchaguzi tu—pia ni juu ya kile kinachotokea kati yao. Kuna aina nyingi za ukandamizaji, na mataifa mengi sana yamekabiliwa na matatizo ambayo yanapelekea raia wake kuwa maskini. Hakuna nchi itakayoumba utajiri ikiwa viongozi wake wanatumia uchumi kujitajirisha wenyewe, au polisi wanaweza kununuliwa na walanguzi wa madawa ya kulevya.  Hakuna biashara yoyote inayotaka kuwekeza mahali ambapo serikali inajichukulia asilimia 20 vivi hivi au mkuu wa Mamlaka ya Forodha ni mla rushwa. Hakuna mtu yeyote anayetaka kuishi katika jumuiya ambako utawala wa kisheria unageuzwa kuwa utawala wa ukatili na hongo. Hii si demokrasia, huo ni udhalimu, na sasa ni wakati wake kukoma.

Katika karne ya 21, taasisi zenye uwezo, zinazotegemewa, na zilizo wazi ndizo ufunguo wa mafanikio — mabunge yaliyo imara na majeshi ya polisi yaliyo maaminifu; mahakimu na waandishi wa habari walio huru; sekta ya kibinafsi iliyochangamka na jumuiya ya kiraia. Hivi ni vitu vinavyoipa demokrasia uhai, kwa sababu ndivyo vitu vyenye maana katika maisha ya watu.

Mara kwa mara Waghana wamechagua utawala wa kikatiba badala ya utawala wa nguvu.   Kuonyesha roho ya kidemokrasia inayowezesha nguvu ya watu wenu kufanikiwa.  Tunaona hivyo katika viongozi wanaokubali kushindwa kwa hisani, na washindi wanaozuia miito ya kutumia nguvu dhidi ya upinzani.  Tunaona roho hiyo katika waandishi  wa habari jasiri kama vile Anas Aremeyaw Anas, ambaye alihatarisha maisha yake kuripoti ukweli. Tunaiona katika polisi kama vile Patience Quaye, ambaye alimshtaki mwuzaji wa kwanza wa binadamu nchini Ghana. Tunaiona katika vijana ambao wanalalamikia udhalili na upendeleo, na kushiriki katika mchakato wa kisiasa.

Kote barani Afrika, tumeona mifano isiyohesabika ya watu wanaoshika hatamu ya kudura yao, na kufanya mabadiliko kuanzia chini hadi juu. Tumeona nchini Kenya, ambako jamii ya kiraia na wafanyibiashara walishirikiana kusaidia kusimamisha ghasia zilizotokea baada ya uchaguzi. Tuliiona Afrika Kusini ambapo zaidi ya theluthi tatu za raia nchini humo walipiga kura katika uchaguzi wa hivi karibuni – uchaguzi wa nne tangu mwisho wa ubaguzi wa rangi.  Tuliiona Zimbabwe ambako shirika la Election Support Network lilikabiliana na ukandamizaji wa kikatili na kusimamia kanuni kwamba kura ya mtu ni haki yake isiyopingika.

Zingatia: historia iko upande wa Waafrika hawa hodari, na sio wale wanaotumia mapinduzi au kubadilisha Katiba ili wakae madarakani. Afrika haihitaji wababe, inahitaji taasisi imara.

Marekani haitajaribu kubandika mfumo wowote wa serikali kwenye taifa jingine lolote – ukweli muhimu wa demokrasia ni kwamba kila taifa linajiukilia kudura yake.  Tutakachofanya ni kuongeza msaada kwa watu wanaowajibika na hali kadhalika taasisi zinazowajibika, kukiwa na lengo la kusaidia utawala bora —katika mabunge, yanayodhibiti matumizi mabaya ya madaraka na kuhakikisha kwamba sauti za upinzani zinasikika; utawala wa kisheria, unaohakikisha utawala sawa wa haki; kushiriki kwa raia, ili vijana wahusike; na ufumbuzi wa ubunifu katika rushwa kama vile uwajibikaji kwa umma, huduma zinazotolewa na mashini, kuimarisha simu za kuripoti ubadhirifu, na kuwalinda wale wanaotoa habari za mambo ya kisirisiri ili kuendeleza uwazi na uwajibikaji.

Na tunapotoa msaada huu, nimeiagiza serikali yangu kuorodhesha rushwa kama suala katika ripoti yetu ya kila mwaka kuhusu Haki za Binadamu. Watu kila mahali wanapaswa kuwa na haki ya kuanzisha biashara au kupata elimu bila kutoa hongo. Tuna wajibu wa kuwasaidia wale wanaofanya mambo yao kwa kuwajibika na kuwatenga wale wanaotenda kinyume, na  hivyo ndivyo Marekani itakavyofanya.

Na hili linaelekea moja kwa moja kwenye eneo la pili la ushirikiano — kusaidia maendeleo yanayowatolea watu wengi zaidi nafasi.

Kukiwa na utawala bora, sina shaka kwamba Afrika inashika ahadi ya msingi mpana zaidi wa ustawi.  Bara lina utajiri wa mali asili. Na kuanzia wajasiriamali wa simu za mkononi hadi wakulima, Waafrika wameonyesha uwezo na kupania kuunda fursa zao wenyewe. Lakini tabia za kale pia lazima zivunjwe.

Kutegemea bidhaa—au zao moja linalouzwa nje ya nchi– kunarundika utajiri mikononi mwa wachache, na kuwaacha watu kuwa rahisi kuathirika na mididimio. Nchini Ghana kwa mfano, mafuta yanaleta fursa kubwa na mmewajibika katika kujitayarisha kwa mapato. Lakini Waghana wengi mno wanajua mafuta hayawezi kuwa kakao mpya. Kutoka Korea Kusini hadi Singapore, historia inaonyesha kwamba nchi hustawi zinapowekeza katika watu wao na miundombinu; wanapoendeleza viwanda mbalimbali vya uuzaji wa bidhaa nje ya nchi, kuunda kundi la wafanyikazi wenye ujuzi, na kuumba nafasi kwa biashara ndogo ndogo na za kati, na zinazobuni kazi.

Na Waafrika wanapofikia ahadi hii, Marekani itawajibika zaidi katika kunyoosha  mkono wetu.  Kwa kupunguza gharama zinazowaendea washauri na utawala wa Magharibi, tunaweza kuweka rasilmali mikononi mwa wale wanaoihitaji, wakati tukiwafundisha kujitegemea zaidi. Hii ndiyo sababu ari yetu ya dola $3.5 bilioni za mpango wa usalama wa chakula zinalenga njia na teknolojia mpya kwa wakulima—siyo tu kuwapeleka wazalishaji wa Kimarekani au bidhaa barani Afrika.  Na msaada peke yake si ufumbuzi.  Madhumuni ya misaada ya kigeni lazima yawe kuunda hali ambayo misaada hiyo haihitajika tena.

Marekani inaweza kuongeza juhudi kuendeleza biashara na uwekezaji. Mataifa tajiri lazima yafungue milango yetu kwa bidhaa kutoka Afrika kwa njia ya maana. Na pale ambapo kuna utawala bora, tunaweza kupanua ustawi kupitia ushirikiano wa umma na makundi ya kibinafsi ambao unawekeza katika barabara bora na umeme.  Ujenzi wa uwezo unaowafundisha watu kukuza biashara, huduma za kifedha zinazofikia sehemu maskini na zile za mashambani.  Hili ni kwa ajili ya maslahi yetu — kwa kuwa watu wanaponyanyuliwa kutoka kwenye ufukara na utajiri kuundwa Afrika, masoko mapya yatafunguka kwa bidhaa zetu.

Eneo moja ambalo linaonekana kuwa la hatari zisizokanika na matumaini yasiyo na kifani ni nishati. Afrika hutoa kiasi kidogo zaidi cha hewa chafu kuliko sehemu nyingine yoyote duniani, lakini ni bara linalotishwa zaidi na mabadiliko ya hali ya hewa.  Sayari inayozidi kuongezeka joto itasambaza maradhi, kupunguza fungu la maji na kutokomeza mimea, huku ikiunda hali inayosababisha baa la njaa na migogoro zaidi.  Sisi sote – hasa ulimwengu ulioendelea — tuna wajibu wa kupunguza kasi ya mielekeo hii—kupitia hatua za kuzuia na kubadilisha jinsi tunavyotumia nishati. Lakini tunaweza pia kushirikiana na Waafrika kugeuza mgogoro huu kuwa fursa ya manufaa.

Pamoja, tunaweza kushirikiana kwa niaba ya sayari na ustawi wetu, na kuzisaidia nchi kupata nguvu zaidi, huku zikiepuka awamu chafu zaidi ya maendeleo.  Kote barani Afrika, kuna nishati nyingi sana ya upepo na jua; nishati ya joto la ardhi na nishati inayotokana na viumbe. Kuanzia Bonde la Ufa hadi majangwa ya Afrika Kaskazini; kuanzia pwani ya Magharibi hadi mimea ya Afrika kusini—zawadi za asili za Afrika zisizo na kikomo zinaweza kuzalisha nishati yake zenyewe, huku kukisafirishwa nje nishati safi na yenye faida.

Hatua hizi zina umuhimu kupita takwimu za ustawi zilizopo kwenye mizania.  Zinahusiana na kama kijana mwenye elimu anaweza kupata kazi ya kipato kinachomwezesha kuisaidia familia yake; mkulima anaweza kuhamishia bidhaa zake sokoni; mjasiriamali mwenye wazo jema anaweza kuanzisha biashara.  Ni kuhusu heshima ya kazi.  Ni kuhusu nafasi ambayo lazima iwepo kwa Waafrika mnamo karne ya 21.

Kama vile utawala ni muhimu kwa nafasi, pia ni muhimu kwa eneo la tatu nitakalozungumzia—kuimarisha afya ya umma.

Mnamo miaka ya hivi karibuni, maendeleo makubwa yamefanyika katika sehemu kadhaa za Afrika. Watu wengi zaidi wanaishi kwa uzalishaji wakiwa na VVU/UKIMWI, na kupata dawa zinazohitajika. Lakini wengi mno bado wanakufa kutokana na magonjwa ambayo hayapaswi kuwaua. Watoto wanapouawa kwa sababu ya kuumwa na mbu, na akina mama wanakufa wakati wa kujifungua, ndipo tunatambua kwamba lazima maendeleo yafanyike.

Lakini kwa sababu ya vichocheo – ambavyo mara nyingi vinatolewa na mataifa ya wafadhili  — madaktari na manesi wengi wa Afrika inaeleweka huenda nchi za ng’ambo, au hufanyia kazi programu zinazopambana na ugonjwa mmoja tu. Hii inaunda pengo katika matunzo na hatua za kimsingi za kuzuia magonjwa. Wakati huo huo, Waafrika binafsi lazima wafanye maamuzi ya kuwajibika yanayozuia kuenea kwa magonjwa, huku wakiendeleza huduma za afya katika jumuiya na nchi zao.

Kote barani Afrika tunaona mifano ya watu wakitatua matatizo haya. Nchini Nigeria, juhudi zinazoshirikisha imani mbalimbali baina ya Wakristo na Waislamu zimeweka mfano wa ushirikiano katika kupambana na malaria. Hapa nchini Ghana na kote barani Afrika, tunaona mawazo ya ubunifu yakijaza pengo katika huduma za matunzo—kwa mfano, kupitia mipango kama ari za E-Health zinazowawezesha madaktari katika miji mikubwa kuwasaidia wale wanaofanya kazi katika miji midogo.

Marekani itaunga mkono juhudi hizi kupitia mkakati kamili wa afya ya kimataifa. Kwa sababu katika karne ya 21, tunahimizwa kuchukua hatua na dhamiri yetu na maslahi yetu ya pamoja. Mtoto anapofariki mjini Accra, kutokana na ugonjwa unaozuilika, hiyo inatupunguza sote kila mahali. Na magonjwa yanapoenea bila kudhibitiwa katika pembe yoyote ya dunia, tunajua kwamba yanaweza kusambaa kuvuka bahari na mabara.

Hii ndiyo sababu Utawala wangu umeahidi dola $63 bilioni kukabiliana na changamoto hizi. Tukiendeleza juhudi nzuri zilizoanzishwa na Rais Bush, tutaendeleza mapambano dhidi ya VVU/UKIMWI. Tutaendelea kulisaka lengo la kukomesha vifo kutokana na malaria na kifua kikuu, na kutokomeza polio.  Tutapambana na maradhi ya tropiki yaliyopuuzwa.  Na hatutakabiliana na  maradhi haya kwa kujitenga — tutawekeza katika mifumo ya afya ya umma inayohimiza uzima, na kulenga afya ya akina mama na watoto.

Na  tunaposhirikiana kwa niaba ya mustakabali wa afya bora, lazima pia tukomeshe uharibifu usiotokana na maradhi, bali unatokana na binadamu–na kwa hivyo eneo la mwisho nitakalozungumzia ni migogoro.

Sasa wacha niwe wazi: Afrika si karagosi wa bara lililokumbwa na vita. Lakini kwa Waafrika wengi mno, migogoro imekuwa sehemu ya maisha, ikidumu kama vile jua.  Kuna vita ya kugombea ardhi na maliasili. Na bado ni rahisi mno kwa wale wasio na dhamiri kuchochea jumuiya nzima kupigana miongoni mwa imani na makabila.

Migogoro hii ni mzigo mzito shingoni mwa Afrika.  Sote tuna njia za kujitambulisha — za kabila, za dini au uraia.  Kujifasili kwa kumpinga mtu ambaye anatoka kabila tofauti, au anayemwabudu mtume tofauti, hakuna nafasi katika karne ya 21. Tofauti za makabila ni chanzo cha nguvu na si sababu ya mfarakano. Sisi sote ni watoto wa Mungu. Sote tuna mahitaji yanayofanana—kuishi  kwa amani na usalama; kupata elimu na kupata fursa; kupenda ndugu na jamaa zetu, jumuiya zetu, na Mungu wetu.  Huo ndio ubinadamu wetu wa kawaida.

Hii ndiyo sababu lazima sote tusimame pamoja kupinga unyama miongoni mwetu.  Kamwe si haki kulenga wasio na hatia.  Ni adhabu ya kifo kuwalazimisha watoto kuua katika vita.  Ni kilele cha uhalifu na uoga kuwalaani wanawake na kuwaweka katika vitendo vya mfumo wa kubakwa kusiko na kikomo. Ni lazima tuwe mashahidi kwa thamani ya kila mtoto katika Darfur na heshima ya kila mwanamke nchini Congo.  Hakuna imani au utamaduni unaohalalisha maovu wanayotendewa.  Sisi sote lazima tujitahidi kutafuta amani na usalama unaohitajika kwa ajili ya maendeleo.

Waafrika wanasimama kwa niaba ya mustakabali huu.  Hapa pia, Ghana inasaidia kuelekeza njia inayofaa. Waghana wanapaswa kuona fahari kwa mchango wenu katika juhudi za ulinzi wa amani kuanzia Congo hadi Liberia na Lebanon, na katika juhudi zenu za kupambana na baa la ulanguzi wa madawa ya kulevya. Tunafurahia juhudi zinazochukuliwa na mashirika kama vile Umoja wa Afrika na ECOWAS kufumbua migogoro, kulinda amani na kuwasaidia wale walio na shida. Na tunahimiza mtazamo wa mwundo wa chombo imara cha usalama kinachoweza kufanikisha harakati za jeshi la kimataifa linapohitajika.

Marekani ina wajibu wa kuendeleza mtazamo huu, si kwa maneno tu, lakini kwa msaada unaoweza kuimarisha uwezo wa Afrika. Kunapotokea mauaji ya halaiki katika Darfur au mafunzo ya magaidi katika Somalia, haya si matatizo ya Afrika peke yak — ni changamoto ya usalama wa kimataifa, na yanahitaji mwitikio wa kimataifa.   Hii ndiyo sababu tuko tayari kushirikiana kupitia diplomasia,  misaada ya kiufundi, na misaada ya upangaji na uchukuzi, na tutasimamia juhudi za kuwawajibisha wahalifu wa kivita.  Wacha niseme wazi: kamanda yetu ya Afrika hailengi kuweka kidato barani, bali inalenga  kupambana na changamoto kuendeleza usalama wa Amerika, Afrika na dunia

Nilipokuwa Moscow, nilizungumzia haja ya kuwepo kwa mfumo wa kimataifa ambako haki za binadamu duniani zinaheshimiwa, na ukiukaji wa haki hizo unapingwa. Hiyo lazima ijumuishe ahadi ya kuunga mkono wale wanaofumbua migogoro kwa amani, kuwaadhibu na kuwasimamisha wale wasiofanya hivyo, na kuwasaidia wale waliodhurika. Lakini hatimaye, ni demokrasia imara zinazoendelea kama Botswana na Ghana zitakazorudisha nyuma vyanzo vya migogoro, na kuendeleza mipaka ya amani na ustawi.

Kama nilivyosema awali, mustakabali wa Afrika uko juu ya Waafrika wenyewe.

Watu wa Afrika wako tayari kujinyakulia mustakabali huo.  Katika nchi yangu, Wamarekani wa asili ya Kiafrika – wakiwemo wahamiaji wengi mno wa hivi karibuni – wamestawi katika kila sehemu ya jamii.  Tumefanya hivyo licha ya hali ngumu ya zamani, na tumepata nguvu kutoka kwa urithi wetu wa Kiafrika.  Kukiwa na taasisi imara na utashi imara, ninajua Waafrika wanaweza kutimiza ndoto zao mijini Nairobi na Lagos; Cape Town na Kinshasa;  Harare na hapa hapa Accra.

Miaka hamsini na mbili iliyopita, macho ya ulimwengu yalikazia Ghana. Na mhubiri mmoja kijana aliyeitwa Martin Luther King, alisafiri kuja hapa Accra, kushuhudia bendera ya Uingereza ikiteremka na bendera ya Ghana ikipanda juu ya Bunge. Hii ilikuwa kabla ya maandamano mjini Washington au mafanikio ya harakati za kupigania haki za kiraia katika nchi yangu. Dakta King aliulizwa mjini Accra jinsi alivyojisikia kushuhudia kuzaliwa kwa taifa. Na akasema “Inafufua imani yangu katika ushindi wa mwisho wa haki.”

Sasa, ushindi huo lazima upatikane tena na lazima ushindi upatikane nanyi. Na hasa ninawazungumzia vijana. Katika maeneo kama Ghana, vijana ni karibu nusu ya idadi ya watu. Hiki ndicho mnachopaswa kujua: ulimwengu ni kile mnachotaka kiwe.

Mnao uwezo wa kuwawajibisha viongozi wenu, na kujenga asasi zinazowahudumia watu. Mnaweza kuhudumia katika jumuiya zenu, na kutumia nguvu na elimu yenu kuunda utajiri mpya, na kujenga uhusiano mpya na dunia. Mnaweza kuyashinda maradhi, kumaliza migogoro, na kufanya mabadiliko kuanzia chini kwenda juu. Mnaweza kufanya hivyo. Ndiyo mnaweza. Kwa sababu katika wakati huu, historia inasonga mbele.

Lakini vitu hivi vinaweza kufanyika tu kama mtachukua wajibu wa mustakabali wenu.  Kutakuwa na gharama.  Lakini ninaweza kuwaahidi hivi: Marekani itakuwa nanyi.   Kama mshirika wenu.  Kama rafiki.   Nafasi haitatokea mahali pengine popote—lazima itokane na maamuzi mnayoyafanya, vitu mnavyofanya na matumaini mnayoshikilia mioyoni mwenu.

Uhuru ni urithi wenu. Sasa, ni wajibu wenu kujenga juu ya msingi wa uhuru. Na mkifanya hivyo, tutatazama nyuma miaka ya baadaye kutoka leo, kwenye mahali kama Accra, na kusema huu ni wakati ambapo ahadi ilitimia—huu ni wakati ambapo ustawi ulibuniwa; uchungu ulishindwa; na enzi ya maendeleo ilianza. Huu unaweza kuwa wakati ambapo tunashuhudia tena ushindi wa haki.  Asanteni sana.

A Fish Rots From Its Head – Crony Capitalism Exposed At The Kenya Youth Enterprise Development Fund

“A fish rots from the head … down”
Crony Capitalism at the Kenya Youth Enterprise Development Fund

A Mars Group Kenya / Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (Yipe.org)

Report for

The Partnership for Change
From Dictatorial Impunity to Democratic Accountability in Kenya

June 27th 2009.

On June 23rd 2009, the East African Standard published an article by Kenneth Kwama outlining a
litany of accusations of financial mismanagement and impropriety at the Youth Fund. The Fund in
turn through its Chairperson, Ms. Hellen Tombo accused the Standard of being used in political
machinations, and looking for corruption where none exists.
The basis of the East African Standard story was a management letter by the Kenya National
Audit Office (KNAO) dated 28th November 2008 to the Chief Executive Officer of the Youth
Enterprise Development Fund. It is not known what was the response if any there has been to
this letter but the letter contains detailed audit queries which indicate significant managerial
problems at this important national fund. This matter is one of urgent national importance bearing
in mind Agenda 4 of the National Accord.
Though the MOYA confirmed it received an investigation report from the Inspectorate of State
Corporations they denied having lost any money. Minister Hellen Sambili said the Inspectorate’s
report makes several recommendations to strengthen the governance structures of the Youth
Enterprise Fund but makes no mention of “anything about the disappearance of money”.
On June 26th 2009, the MOYA published a paid advertisement in the Daily Nation reiterating the
same. Since the Youth Fund’s press briefing, no other media mentions have emerged regarding
their response on the discrepancies outlined in the Kenya National Audit Office management
letter to the Youth Fund.

On June 23rd 2009, the East African Standard published an article by Kenneth Kwama outlining a litany of accusations of financial mismanagement and impropriety at the Youth Fund. The Fund in turn through its Chairperson, Ms. Hellen Tombo accused the Standard of being used in political machinations, and looking for corruption where none exists.

The basis of the East African Standard story was a management letter by the Kenya National Audit Office (KNAO) dated 28th November 2008 to the Chief Executive Officer of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. It is not known what was the response if any there has been to this letter but the letter contains detailed audit queries which indicate significant managerial problems at this important national fund. This matter is one of urgent national importance bearing in mind Agenda 4 of the National Accord.

Though the MOYA confirmed it received an investigation report from the Inspectorate of State Corporations they denied having lost any money. Minister Hellen Sambili said the Inspectorate’s report makes several recommendations to strengthen the governance structures of the Youth Enterprise Fund but makes no mention of “anything about the disappearance of money”.

On June 26th 2009, the MOYA published a paid advertisement in the Daily Nation reiterating the same. Since the Youth Fund’s press briefing, no other media mentions have emerged regarding their response on the discrepancies outlined in the Kenya National Audit Office management letter to the Youth Fund.

Why this issue is important

When the Youth Fund management was confronted with questions regarding the financial letter from the Kenya National Audit Office, instead of answering the queries they only politicised the issue. Further to that the public statement carried in the Daily Nation of Friday 26th 2009, do not in anyway answer the auditors question regarding its financial management.

The Youth Fund in this year’s Budget is set to receive a substantial amount of money from the Exchequer. Therefore, before they receive the Funds, it is imperative that they satisfy the Kenyan public and in particular its youth who form the majority of Kenya’s citizenry that it has rectified these discrepancies, and addressed all the management issues raised in the letter by the KNAO.

Principles of accountability and transparency demand that it is the role of the Government of Kenya and its public officers to answer questions posed by the citizenry they serve. To politicize issues is an act of the impunity that has allowed scandals of loss of billions of Kenya shillings to occur. Kenyan’s will remember cases such as scandals of financial impropriety that cost the Exchequer huge losses, for instance the country’s National Social Security Fund. Though the figures listed below may well be small as opposed to other scandals such as Anglo-leasing and Goldenberg, which almost crippled Kenya’s economic security, the Partnership for Change contends that it is impropriety regarding trusteeship of small sums of money that ultimately end up exploding into scandals in the range of billions.

Furthermore, when the media raises issues in the public interest, duty bearers in public office are best advised to RESPOND to the issues being raised; not just to dismiss every question on accountability to mere politics. This is the era of accountability and the Partnership for Change will demand nothing short of answers when such queries are raised by the media and citizenry.

To avert this, the Partnership for Change on behalf of its membership, through Mars Group Kenya and the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (Yipe.org) is thus posing 10 questions with the ultimate objective of not having to witness another scandal later on, if it emerges that the Youth Fund was indeed losing much needed money.

The Partnership for Change is grateful to the media when it acts in the public interest by playing its role as a public watchdog.

Read Full Report: “A fish rots from the head … down”: Crony Capitalism at the Kenya Youth Enterprise Development Fund

Related Documents:
Youth Fund Status Report as at 31st March 2009
YOUTH ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT FUND ORDER 2007
Financial Statement Audit Of The Youth Enterprise Development Fund Board June 30th 2008

Update: Youth Fund wrangle – August 15th 2009


Kenya’s youth are an endangered species

“The Government finds it inconceivable that someone who has been in the country for less than ten days can purport to have conducted comprehensive and accurate research on such a serious matter, as to arrive at the recommendations he made.” – Dr. Alfred Mutua, Kenya Government Spokesman, 25th Feb 2009

police-brutality1Yesterday, Prof. Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extra judicial killings and summary executions held a press briefing where he outlined a preliminary overview of his findings and recommendations from his visit.

His eight page press release was explosive in describing the ruthlessness of our security forces on Kenyans. His vivid description of what occurred in Mt. Elgon and other flashpoints of post-election violence shows that justice and the rule of law was literally thrown out the window in genocidal acts of torture, rape and murder.

The response of the government spokesman, Dr. Alfred Mutua was that how could Prof. Alston, a pre-eminent human rights authority and investigator, whose experience spans Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, amongst other post-conflict countries, who spent less than a fortnight in Kenya have the gall to claim to be knowledgeable about these acts.

Today, it is such attitudes and reckless utterances such as Dr. Mutua’s which have meant that the youth are unable to peacefully assemble (even in café’s) to discuss as well as demand for their rights. In the space of two weeks, young activists have been mishandled and arrested, their basic crime being that they are concerned citizens. These arrests have been met with stolid silence from the political elite, from the top echelons right down to the ward councilors.

Prof. Alston depicted President Kibaki’s silence on the issue of extra judicial killings as conspicuous and problematic. That is why the police force led by Maj. Gen (Rtd.) Hussein Ali (whom Alston recommended immediate dismissal) continue to met out unrelenting beatings and tear gas on our youth.

So what are the youth to do if they cannot make their voices heard without being on the receiving end of police brute force?

Now is the time to form alliances with the Kenyan working and entrepreneurial class. Similar to the “December days” where Greek youth roused up the support of the working class, Kenya’s December days require that all adult Kenyans say “Enough is Enough!”.

Let Brig (Rtd.) Ali’s force try to inflict damage on the very same population group who are the main source of government revenue in the form of taxes.

The call is being made now to the entrepreneurial class to wield their business activist muscle. At the very least, we should stand up and be counted for the sake of all Kenyan children who are still in school, as well as those yet to be born. After all, who knows what the system will do to them once they are grown and become civic minded.

Now is the time to say NO MORE COMMISSIONS. Implement Kriegler, Waki, Ndungu, Goldenberg and the forthcoming Alston report NOW!

Postscript: If you want to make a difference to Kenya today, check out the Partnership for Change here

Read Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s statement on the murder of Oscar Foundation Executive Director Mr Kamau King’ara and the Foundation’s Programmes Co-coordinator Mr Paul Oulu.

Read about Oscar Kamau Kingara and The Last Words of OULU GPO