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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Race To The House On The Hill

3 Sides of a Coin Defections

3 Sides of a Coin Defections

3 Sides of a Coin Defections

Power vacuum in Somali port after Islamist retreat



MOGADISHU, Sep 30 – Lawlessness is reigning in the Somali port city of Kismayu, where gunmen have killed at least three people since the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab abandoned their last bastion there, residents said Sunday.
The Islamist fighters said Saturday they had made a “tactical retreat” from Kismayu. But the Kenyan and Somali soldiers whose advance towards the city forced the Shabaab’s withdrawal have not yet arrived, leaving the city exposed to chaos.
Since the departure of the Islamists, who ruled the city with an iron fist, unidentified gunmen have killed at least three civilians, including a traditional leader, according to residents interviewed by phone from Mogadishu.
“Three civilians were killed, including a traditional elder, by unidentified gunmen, and the town has been very tense since yesterday,” said one resident Abdulahi Adan, adding Kismayo was rocked by heavy explosions overnight.
Another resident, Mohamed Issaq, said on Saturday that at least four civilians had been killed, including two clan leaders.
“There is power vacuum and armed clan militia have started regrouping,” said Dahir Moalim, another resident. “There were gunshots last night and most of the people did not sleep because of the tensions.”
Residents said there was still no sign of African Union troops in the southern city.
“People are in the streets eagerly waiting to witness the changes but so far the Kenyan troops and the Somali soldiers are in the suburbs of the town,” said Shueyb Mohamed.
The Somali military’s second in command, General Abdikarin Youssouf Dhegobadan, said the troops are working on removing security threats before moving into the city.
“Our forces will peacefully walk into the city very soon, but before that there are new plans underlined to tackle the booby traps that are likely planted by the Al-Qaeda militants,” he said.
“The city is already secure but to safeguard the protection of the civilians there should be a sober way of entering the town.”
The fall of Kismayu is the latest in a string of major losses of territory over the past year for the Shebab, which have switched to guerrilla tactics as they lost their strongholds.
The Islamists have been battling Somalia’s fragile Western-backed government since 2007.

Kenyan nurses suspend strike



Written By:KBC reporter,    Posted: Sun, Sep 30, 2012
The nurses strike was planned for this Monday
Kenyan National Union of Nurses has suspended its strike that was planned for Monday to pave way for talks with the government.
The move by the nurses follows a National Governing Council that decided to give dialogue a chance. The union officials said they will hold talks with the Government Thursday this week.
The nurses wanted to go on strike citing poor pay. The union has said it will give the government 30 days to tackle their grievances failure to which, they will call another strike.
Meanwhile, there is a ray of hope for patients who have had to  bore the brunt of the three week doctors strike.
The Kenya Medical Practioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Sunday resumed negotiations with Medical Services Minister, Prof. Anyang' Nyongo, an indicator that a solution was in sight.

KDF shells Somali town after rebels retreat



Written By:Margaret Kalekye/Reuters,    Posted: Sun, Sep 30, 2012
Oguna dismissed as propaganda claims that they had killed children
Kenyan warships shelled the southern Somali port of Kismayu overnight after al Qaeda-linked rebels said they had abandoned the city, residents said on Sunday.
Stunned by an assault by sea, air and ground forces late on Friday night, al Shabaab rebels fled the city that had been their key source of revenue, retreating to surrounding forests and towns.
The shells may have been targeting any remaining pockets of resistance or military installations in the city that was the rebels' last stronghold.
"The ships were firing deafening shells to the outskirts last night but several shells landed on houses," said Samira Ismail, a local mother of four.
Al Shabaab said two children were killed and other people injured by the shells, a statement rejected as propaganda by Kenyan military.
"The whole world knows who targets young children certainly not KDF or SNA. Such cheap propaganda against KDF & SNA will not dent the desire and resolve of the Somali people to get Al Shabaab out" said the Kenya Defense Forces on its twitter page.
KDF added that it is planning to get into south of the Port City of Kismayu
"The troops are consolidating and making plans to expand into the southern part of the city," Kenyan military spokesman Col. Cyrus Oguna told Reuters.
"A lot of caution must be exercised here. We don't want to get into a situation where we start to lose troops here and there." The southern part is the city centre and whoever wins it will effectively have control over the port and other strategic installations.
The Kenya Defence Force and the Somalia National Army, fighting under the flag of the African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM), have not suffered any casualties in the operation, Oguna said.
An al Shabaab official said that although the group had ceded control of Kismayu, its fighters were poised to engage the allied troops once they enter the city.
"We are just waiting for the AU and Somali troops to enter the town. We shall fight them in streets and alleys. We abandoned the town. Why don't they go in if they have the guts?" Sheikh Hudayfa Abdirahman, the group's head of Jubba region, told Reuters.

KDF shells Somali town after rebels retreat



Written By:Margaret Kalekye/Reuters,    Posted: Sun, Sep 30, 2012
Oguna dismissed as propaganda claims that they had killed children
Kenyan warships shelled the southern Somali port of Kismayu overnight after al Qaeda-linked rebels said they had abandoned the city, residents said on Sunday.
Stunned by an assault by sea, air and ground forces late on Friday night, al Shabaab rebels fled the city that had been their key source of revenue, retreating to surrounding forests and towns.
The shells may have been targeting any remaining pockets of resistance or military installations in the city that was the rebels' last stronghold.
"The ships were firing deafening shells to the outskirts last night but several shells landed on houses," said Samira Ismail, a local mother of four.
Al Shabaab said two children were killed and other people injured by the shells, a statement rejected as propaganda by Kenyan military.
"The whole world knows who targets young children certainly not KDF or SNA. Such cheap propaganda against KDF & SNA will not dent the desire and resolve of the Somali people to get Al Shabaab out" said the Kenya Defense Forces on its twitter page.
KDF added that it is planning to get into south of the Port City of Kismayu
"The troops are consolidating and making plans to expand into the southern part of the city," Kenyan military spokesman Col. Cyrus Oguna told Reuters.
"A lot of caution must be exercised here. We don't want to get into a situation where we start to lose troops here and there." The southern part is the city centre and whoever wins it will effectively have control over the port and other strategic installations.
The Kenya Defence Force and the Somalia National Army, fighting under the flag of the African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM), have not suffered any casualties in the operation, Oguna said.
An al Shabaab official said that although the group had ceded control of Kismayu, its fighters were poised to engage the allied troops once they enter the city.
"We are just waiting for the AU and Somali troops to enter the town. We shall fight them in streets and alleys. We abandoned the town. Why don't they go in if they have the guts?" Sheikh Hudayfa Abdirahman, the group's head of Jubba region, told Reuters.

Kaloleni Killings

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Kenyatta condems the brutal acts of terrorism


I would like to strongly condemn the brutal acts of terrorism deliberately targeting our places of worship. My heartfelt condolences go to the family of the child who died and I pray for a quick recovery for those injured. These acts are reprehensible and I ask our intelligence forces to focus on preventing such attacks. My appeal to you is that we should not let these terrorists win by descending into sectarian violence. Let us keep calm and allow the police do their job. Mungu awabariki na awalinde.

Would Uhuru Kenyatta’s Presidency Be A Walk of Shame?



By Oduor Moses Otieno



Would Uhuru Kenyatta’s Presidency Be A Walk of Shame?


The National Alliance Party of Kenya, more popularly referred to as TNA creates an aura of re-invention and youthfulness in its organizational line-up. In enlisting the vibrancy and intellect of young professionals, Uhuru Kenyatta is trying to get Kenyans to believe that the future of Kenya lies in the formulation of ideals by talented yet inexperienced hands and minds.

Vying for leadership or running a country does not depend on oration talent and university education is not enough. Integrity, passion, zero tolerance on corruption and fight for reforms cannot be taught in schools or books; if it was so then Nelson Mandela would never have been the President of South Africa. Whether young or old, professional or amateur, educated or not, leaders must exhibit a patriotic essence and passion for human development.

Uhuru Kenyatta and all the joy riders at TNA have not proved that they have the best interests of Kenyan’s at heart. Both Uhuru and Raila have ideologically inherited their fathers’ (Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Odinga) legacies yet Raila has somewhat proved his mettle when it comes to service to the nation. We have a new constitution and coalition government as a result of Raila’s way of interpretation of human development and national progress.

Uhuru has continued to live under his father’s shadow and he has always spent his life distancing himself from past pitfalls. His time in public office has no significant indicators and it would seem that he may have only wasted Wanjiku’s taxes. His cronies (Ferdinand Waititu included) have continued to discredit and cast doubt on TNA’s ability to lead this country.

While it may not be any of his direct doing or fault, Uhuru’s fabulous wealth and lifestyle has also put him at loggerheads with the common Kenyan for two reasons. Firstly, his dealings and apparent political nurturing with under the wings of KANU’s kitchen cabinet (most notably Nicholas Biwott) have always come under scrutiny due to his tainted record. It is perceived notion that Uhuru may have absorbed all matters negative from KANU’s genes. Secondly, his father’s and to some extent KANU’s path to richness is still being questioned up to now (including pending court cases).

TNA’s campaign has been marred by allegations of vote buying and propping up of ‘project leaders’ with the aim of scuttling the ambitions of his political opponents. Judging from the complaints his departure from the G7 alliance was as unexpected as it was unfair. He is cunning and has mastered the art of pulling strings behind the scenes; a proverb from the one of the many, diverse and appreciated cultures in Kenya aptly summarizes it as thus ‘a rat bites you but it blows on the bite spot’ so you may not notice that you are being eaten up alive. Uhuru’s political inexperience has resulted in his inability to control party affiliates and members older than him. To make it worse he has delegated this authority to even younger and more inexperienced party leaders.

Uhuru’s supporters may not like this but pending cases at The Hague will always haunt him wherever he goes. Young Kenyans who have dedicated their ideals and morals to support Uhuru’s agenda have just thrown our country away. In the political or public office arena (and with every human being) , accusations of human rights abuse happens to be the most damaging of all and his political ambitions will always remain in the shadows of deceit, allegations, accusations and human rights abuse record. Kenyans MUST never for vote an individual who is accused of perpetrating heinous crimes against his own fellow country men and women. NEVER!!!

2013: IMPLICATIONS OF A TWO-HORSE RACE



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Kenya has had only two two-horse presidential races in the multiparty era, both of them highly-charged affairs – the 2002 and 2007 contests – the first one a regime-changing landslide victory for the then incoming President Kibaki and the second one a nail-biting near-photo-finish that ended in disputed results and a vortex of political violence. As Kibaki leaves office another titanic presidential two-horse race seems to be in the offing, pitting two of the most iconic political brands in this country, an Odinga against a Kenyatta. What is likely to happen next?
Prime Minister Raila Odinga has made it clear that he relishes a two-horse race for the March 4, 2013, presidential contest and that he envisages Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta as the other horse. In the PM’s explicit view, all others in the race are nothing but punda.
Raila reiterated his wish after the recent parliamentary and civic by-elections where his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) captured a constituency seat and six civic seats and Uhuru’s The National Alliance (TNA) took two constituency and five civic seats. Uhuru, until recently the preferred successor of two consecutive presidents – Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki – has now acquired yet another “preferred” category: that of “preferred opponent”, for the PM, in the presidential race.
Of thoroughbreds and pundas
By punda the PM means something whose inferiority alongside the thoroughbreds that are himself and the DPM is worse than that of a mere nag, the rest of the field are not even, in the parlance of horse-racing, also-rans, they are donkeys, total non-contenders. Think of a VW Beetle jalopy in the same flat-out race as one of the latest and sleekest Mercedes Benz, Range Rover or Jaguar high-end models and you have an idea of how the PM fancies both himself and the DPM vis a vis the rest of the field.
In other words, the Premier views the rest of the field as Mickey Mouse presidential candidatures heading nowhere fast. What’s more, they know that the electorate knows that they know. These are the pundas of the coming contest that the Prime Minister is so adamant are wasting their and Kenyans’ time. What distinguishes a punda from the thoroughbreds of first and second position in Kenya’s presidential races? And has a punda in one race lived to run another day and become a thoroughbred?
The answer to the second question is Yes, and it is one of the biggest ironies of presidential elections in this country that the PM surely knows whereof he speaks, having himself been a certifiable punda – in the 1997 contest, which was the then President Daniel arap Moi’s final race as a contender and Kibaki’s second, unsuccessful, stab at State House.
In that race, Moi of the Kenya African National Union garnered 2,500,856 votes (40.60%); Kibaki of the Democratic Party 1,911,742 (31.00%); Raila of the National Development Party 667,886 (10.80%); Kijana Wamalwa of Ford Kenya 505,704 (8.20%) and Charity Ngilu of the Social Democratic Party 488,600 (7.9%). Kibaki’s trajectory across three general elections, comprising 10 years of trying, was 1,050,617 (19.5%) in the first multiparty presidential race in 1992, where he was placed third behind Moi of Kanu and Kenneth Matiba of FORD-Asili; 1,911,742 (31.00%) in 1997; and the landslide 3,647,658 (61.3%) of 2002 that finally landed him in State House.
Raila’s presidential vote trajectory across three general elections, 1997, 2002 (which he sat out and endorsed Kibaki) and 2007 was the paltry 667,886 (10.80%) of 1997 and then the enormous 4,352,860 (44%) of just 10 years later, in 2007, the second highest number of votes ever registered in a presidential poll in the history of Kenya electioneering.
The pundas of the 2002 contest were Simeon Nyachae of the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-People at 345,161 (5.9%), James Orengo of the Social Democratic Party at 24,568 (0.4%) and one David Ng’ethe of the Chama Cha Umma, with 10,030 (0.1%). Little wonder, then, that the PM speaks of himself in such seemingly haughty terms, given a scenario in which Kibaki is not only no longer a contender, but seems to be having serious second thoughts about engineering an Uhuru preferred candidature, would appear to leave him with a commanding head start.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka led the pundas of the 2007 contest with 879,903 (9%) votes, running on an Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya ticket. The outgoing VP is in next year’s race on a Wiper Democratic Movement (WMD) ticket. It is now largely and remarkably forgotten that Matiba was actually in the 2007 race, on a Saba Saba Asili party ticket, managing only 8,046 (0.081%) of the vote and transmuting himself from the thoroughbred of Election ’92 to one of the seven pundas of ’07.
Deputy Prime Minister Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi of the United Democratic Forum (UDF) and Eldoret North MP William Ruto of the United Republican Party (URP) are declared presidential candidates on their maiden runs. The PM reserves the greatest contempt for their rebellion inside ODM and what he views as their straying into political dead-ends as far as the coming contest is concerned.
Gichugu MP Martha Karua of Narc and Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth of the Kenya National Congress (KNC) are also making their very first presidential bids, as is Raphael Tuju of the Party of Action (PoA). Barring the most unforeseen catastrophic circumstances, for instance the sky falling in and crushing all other contenders, these three are setting themselves up for a fall and will in all likelihood bring up the far distant punda rear and then spend the following five years finding something else to do.
Every presidential race has contenders like these, even in America, only in other political systems they know when to drop out of the race, which is precisely why one Mickey Mouse candidate, the Reverend Mutava Musyimi, did precisely that, diving headlong into TNA and leaving the Democratic Party, President Kibaki’s one-time vehicle, looking like the rudderless structure it really is.
As for Uhuru himself, he has seen it all, with the exception, of course, of the pending Odinga versus Kenyatta scenario in the 50th year of Independence. Uhuru has been in a two-horse race before, when he played the role of the most unpopular presidential candidate yet, despite his almost-2 million vote tally (as Moi’s preferred candidate) in the blistering race with Kibaki of 2002.
To this day, millions of Kenyans are convinced that in the 2002 race they beat Moi, not his merely candidate. They were voting against Moi and his 24-year-long incumbency, which had overstayed its welcome long before its first dozen years. But even in this awkward position Uhuru still garnered 1,836,055 (30.2%) a figure in the neighbourhood of what Kibaki had scored five years earlier in Moi’s final election as a presidential contender in a field without Matiba, who sat out that year’s contest. It is the third highest presidential contest loser tally in the history of the multiparty era after Kibaki’s 1997 figure and Raila’s 2007 figure.
 An Uhuru with Mt Kenya behind him
No one has yet seen an Uhuru in a presidential contest with the Central Kenya vote bloc at his disposal at precisely the point Kibaki has to let go of that bloc, having commanded it for at least 15 years and three consecutive elections, not even Raila. Could he possibly outdo Raila’s phenomenal 10-year leap of 1997 to 2007? Could he produce a number so staggering – comprising the Central Kenya vote bloc and its allies – that it stops the ultimate proponent of a two-horse race in 2013, the PM himself, in his tracks?
Uhuru will have two things going for him in an Odinga versus Kenyatta contest – this time he is a genuinely, even phenomenally, popular candidate in the Mt Kenya region. He has the necessary jet propulsion from his political backyard that has never been his yet. If he campaigns smart and finds like-minded vote blocs around the country that Kibaki barely tapped into in 2007, Uhuru and his TNA could end up – win or lose – with a vote in the five-million region, given a very good turn-out.
TNA’s sterling performance in the November 17 by-elections signaled Uhuru’s unassailable standing in Central and very considerable gravitas in a number of far-flung areas. For a party that is barely five months old to take two out of three parliamentary seats and 38.99% of the votes cast – to well-established ODM’s 33.70% – in the last electoral event before the 11th General Election was no mean feat.
Raila’s near-obsession with a presidential transition poll that is a two-horse race is based on the outgoing PM’s game-plan of giving the voters a very clear choice indeed in the presidential component of Kenya’s biggest and most pivotal General Election ever – and choices don’t come clearer in our political process than an Odinga versus Kenyatta contest.
Some of Uhuru’s handlers, although extremely excited at having finally arrived at the point in time when the Central Kenya vote bloc is no longer Mwai Kibaki’s, are approaching the question of a stark Black-and-White, no-grey-areas-in-between choice, between an Odinga presidency or another Kenyatta presidency, with great caution. Uhuru’s troubles at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, where he has confirmed crimes-against-humanity charges arising from the post-election violence of 2007-08, remain his greatest impediment.
The case begins in earnest barely a month after the General Election. Ruto also has a date at The Hague, also beginning in April. In a two-horse race the Odinga campaign would go out of its way to portray the Kenyatta campaign as damaged goods heading straight for a rendezvous with The Hague. But Uhuru’s grassroots supporters do not appear to pay much heed to this unfolding scenario.
Nonetheless, Uhuru’s handlers kept a wary eye on Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s recent official tour of the United States, where he was introduced at a series of high-level speaking engagements as the certifier of the next presidential contest in Kenya. Speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., on September 7, Mutunga addressed the ICC issue in the following highly significant terms:
“We do not view the development of jurisprudence as a Kenya-centric undertaking. It is not even Afro-centric. Whereas some jurisdictions have elected not to be part of the international legal system in one way or another, the Constitution commits Kenya to international law and emerging principles of practice. International law and legal norms form part of Kenya’s stock of statute. That is why the Judiciary is keen to create jurisprudence that can be used at home, just as easily as it can be exported abroad because Kenya is but a staging post for the rule of law.
There will be need to engage in discourses on the place of international law, considering the emerging contests it has tended to provoke. There is need to view the International Criminal Court in this broad context and acknowledge it as a complex question”. Given the extraordinary integrity and suitability cases against all five top contenders for the presidency – Raila, Kalonzo, Uhuru, Mudavadi and Ruto – Uhuru could face another hurdle (alongside Ruto), that of being barred from contestation by the Mutunga Supreme Court.
However, if the Court decides to allow all five to run then all eyes will be on how the PM intends to make a contest against Uhuru as stark a choice as possible, given that The Hague is unstoppable. Raila’s strategy for what will most likely be Kenya’s biggest-ever presidential election turn-out is being studied 24/7 throughout the political spectrum, including by the punda factor.
So far, there are many more questions than answers. What does Raila have in mind? Will he make it another PNU versus ODM scenario; reform versus anti-reform; for constitutional implementation versus anti-constitutional implementation? And can he distil it all as the ultimate showdown – Odinga versus Kenyatta? What dynamics will he unleash? Will he go for a 2002 situation (the first real two-horse race in Presidential polls in Kenya) where it was Kanu versus Narc, or the 2007 race, where it was PNU versus ODM?
 Raila thrives under crises and mutiny
With so many prospective pundas having left Raila’s side (Mudavadi, Ruto, Najib Balala, Rachel Shebesh, and counting) and other potential political constellations now in the making, for instance the so-called ANC, who is hurting more, Odinga or Kenyatta? Those who say Kenyatta point to his ICC albatross. Those who say Raila claim he has haemorrhaged too much support in losing the likes of Mudavadi and Ruto.
Raila’s remarks at the late Prof George Saitoti’s funeral, to the effect that he had a secret working relationship with him, were particularly telling. Maybe they had a two-horse scheme going, to be unveiled with strategic timing and maximum element-of-surprise impacts. Talk of the G7 Alliance coming together as the Alliance National Coalition (ANC) has done the rounds on the political grapevine in recent weeks. This seems to be an arrangement outside TNA’s and Uhuru’s orbit. The emergence of the ANC, supported as it is by such Saitoti orphans as former Presidential election strategist Peter Kagwanja, could be a continuation of Odinga strategies that have yet to clarify.
After all, Raila thrives best under conditions of crises and mutiny. He knows how to pick up the apparently disenfranchised and the rebels right in the heartlands of his greatest rivals and to galvanise them into unprecedented collaborations, in other words, how to convene power (ask Moi and his handlers at the point at which Kanu imploded in 2002, or the outgoing Kibaki and his 2007 team).
Had Saitoti lived and felt that the outgoing power elite had behaved as badly towards him as Moi’s, he would have been easy pickings for Raila, the Convener of Power away from the centres of establishment power. The PM will almost certainly swoop down on the ANC and Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) if they are not accommodated by TNA.
Inside the Kenyatta camp, the most gnawing fear is that the two-horse race scenario could potentially build Raila, already a larger-than-life figure, into an unassailable position and cause serious negotiating problems for Uhuru and his allies long before Election Day. Uhuru should be negotiating like mad with Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Ruto and Balala, all of whom walked away from the PM who has clearly embarked on a strategy meant to demean and diminish them. What is giving him pause?

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Restless Namwamba finally lands in Cabinet


By Oscar Obonyo
The tale of Youth and Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba conjures the memory of Simon Makonde – the notable character in yesteryears’ primary school textbook who achieved so much within a short span.
According to the famed fiction, Makonde was born on a Monday, baptised on Tuesday, married on Wednesday, wedded on Thursday, fell ill on Friday, died on Saturday, and buried on a Sunday. Similarly, Namwamba was confirmed as elected MP on a Monday, sworn-in on Tuesday, steered Constitution breakthrough deal on a Wednesday at the peak of his parliamentary term, appointed Cabinet minister on Thursday, and sworn-in last Friday.
For a first term MP, there is no denying the Budalang’i MP has indeed outdone himself. His critics have described him as a tragic hero, or better still regarded him as young and restless. Does his latest appointment to the Cabinet attest to these claims or does it shame his haters?
In his first exclusive interview with The Standard On Sundaysince his elevation to the Cabinet, Namwamba denies ever lobbying for the position. Observers and opponents in rival parties also say the MP was rewarded for being a sycophant of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a claim the minister refutes.
He says Cabinet positions are handed out at the discretion of the Grand Coalition principals and even if one was to lobby, the process can never be within one’s hands since President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have to consult and agree.
“I am a well educated and competent Kenyan with the conviction to better my country.  I trust the two gentlemen appointed me to serve in Government because of their faith in me and my capacity to do the job,” he says.
Together with fellow first term colleagues, Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Eugene Wamalwa and Nairobi Metropolitan minister Jamleck Kamau, Namwamba has been privileged to experience the best of both sides of Kenya’s historic Grand Coalition arrangement, on the backbench and frontbench.
Verbal attack
The minister, whose election as the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya officially confirmed Budalang’i MP on December 31, 2007, thrust himself onto the political scene dramatically during the MPs’ swearing-in ceremony on January 15, 2008. During the charged exercise following the disputed presidential poll in which Kibaki was controversially declared winner, Namwamba swore allegiance instead to “Rais wa Jamhuri (President of the Republic) Amolo Raila Odinga, instead of “Rais wa Jamhuri Mwai Kibaki”.
With that bold and odd proclamation beamed live on television to millions in Kenya and across the world, Namwamba announced his presence on the political scene in style. He sent out a clear message to the more experienced politicians that here was a new rookie to watch.
The MP has since clarified that he did not swear allegiance to Raila the man, but to Raila the symbol of democracy and the true victor of the 2007 poll. But President Kibaki is not the sole political heavyweight to be humiliated and targeted by Namwamba.
Before he made a comeback in late 2009, the minister trained venomous verbal attack on his own party leader, Raila. Then, he was momentarily allied to Eldoret North MP William Ruto, who was already leading a breakaway from the ODM party.
Since making up with Raila, high profile victims of the minister’s tongue lashing have included Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, and Deputy Prime Ministers, Uhuru Kenyatta, and Musalia Mudavadi. But it is the latter who has lately been on the receiving end.
Namwamba summarily dismisses Mudavadi’s presidential bid as a “project of the lords of impunity only out to maintain the status quo”.
And this has made him a political foe to Mudavadi campaign, particularly in Western region. During the DPM’s recent tour of Busia County, to popularise United Democratic Forum, he made whistle-stop campaigns in Funyula, Butula, Nambale, and Amagoro constituencies but finally settled in Budalang’i where he spent most of the day, addressing rallies.
During the tour as well as the final rally in Busia town, Namwamba came under heavy attack for being disrespectful to Mudavadi and for undermining Luhya unity. Isn’t the minister concerned that the affront by his senior kinsman and seasoned politician, Mudavadi, may end his political career?
Constitution review
“On the contrary, the attacks make me happy. That Mudavadi can ignore other constituencies in Busia County and opt to camp in Budalang’i – the tiniest of them all – means that he views Namwamba as the man to watch, in his political game plan,” says the minister.
The MP confesses to being driven in life by ingenuity and courage: “Never be afraid to test the untested. And do not be afraid to stretch the rubber to the limits of its elasticity simply because you are scared it will snap.”
In confronting weighty adversaries and navigating through challenges in life, Namwamba draws his strength from respected American essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote: “Do not go where the path leads, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”.
Ideally, the vocal legislator believes in trail blazing and leaving a mark in whatever undertaking he engages.
And going by his role and that of parliamentary colleague Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohammed in the Constitution review process, there is no doubt they registered history.
Namwamba, 36, is particularly inspired by the words of his former law lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Prof Githu Muigai, who advised that “to succeed as an attorney, one must have fire in the belly – a serious drive to act.” He followed through the advice and today student and teacher are colleagues in Cabinet.



Child killed, eight injured in Nairobi's church attack



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St Polycarp's ACK Sunday school section that was ripped during the grenade attack on September 30, 2012. Photo/WILLIAM OERI
St Polycarp's ACK Sunday school section that was ripped during the grenade attack on September 30, 2012. Photo/WILLIAM OERI  NATION MEDIA GROUP
By ZADOCK ANGIRA
Posted  Sunday, September 30  2012 at  11:04
IN SUMMARY
  • Several children injured in grenade attack
  • Suspected terrorist target the Sunday school section
A boy was killed and several others injured on Sunday after suspected terrorists hurled a grenade at St Polycarp's ACK church along Chai road in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
The injured, mostly children attending a Sunday school service were rushed to Guru Nanak hospital. However, one child has already been discharged while seven children are still admitted.
"So far, we can confirm that one child has succumbed to injuries," Nairobi police boss Mr Moses Ombati told Nation.
"Other victims were injured in a stampede after the incident," he added.
According to a church goer, Mr Jackson Mwangi, the attacker threw a grenade at around 10.30am on the Sunday school section.
Police at the scene cordoned off the area to stop any secondary attacks.
Bomb experts, fire brigade and ambulances arrived at the scene shortly thereafter. However, most people interviewed at the scene said they did not see any attacker but only heard the blast.
Three people arrested at the scene taking photos of the church told police that they were working for the Hon Cable TV of Somalia.
Tension gripped the area as enraged youth started attacking the nearby Alamin mosque. However, police managed to restore calm and dispersed them.
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Mutai wins Berlin marathon



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Kenya’s 2010 Boston and 2011 New York Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai. Photo/PAT BUTCHER
Kenya’s 2010 Boston and 2011 New York Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai. Photo/PAT BUTCHER  NATION MEDIA GROUP
By AFP
Posted  Sunday, September 30  2012 at  12:36
Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai won Sunday's Berlin marathon in a time of two hours four minutes and 15 seconds, missing out on his attempt to lower the world record of 2:03:38 set here by Patrick Makau last year.
The 30-year-old Mutai was followed across the line one second back by his compatriot, Dennis Kimetto, who was making his marathon debut, with another Kenyan, Geoffrey Kipsang, in third at 2:16:12.
Mutai, winner of the New York marathon in 2011, was going one better in Berlin after filling second behind Makau in 2010.

Troubled Mich. lottery winner found dead


Michigan $1 Million Lotto Winner Who Was Charged With Welfare Fraud Found Dead

A woman who admitted to receiving food stamps after winning $1 million on a Michigan state lotto game show was found dead today.
The circumstances surrounding Amanda Clayton's death were not immediately released by police, but ABC News' Detroit affiliate WXYZ-TV reported that sources within the police department said they suspect the woman died of an overdose.
An autopsy is pending on Clayton's body, which was found at a home in Ecorse, Mich., police said.
Clayton, who became a millionaire after her big win last September, caused outrage earlier this year when it was revealed she was continuing to get $200 in monthly food aid from the state.
According to the attorney general's office, Clayton failed to report her winnings and employment while receiving $5,475 in food and medical assistance.
"It's simply common sense that million dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement. "We will continue to work with local, state and federal authorities to uphold state laws intended to ensure wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars."
Michigan public assistance programs require participants to report income and employment.
She pleaded no contest to welfare fraud and was sentenced to probation in July.
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