This is our final media briefing ahead of our Saba Saba rally scheduled for Uhuru Park on Monday, July 7, 2014. It is also a confirmation that the rally is on, and an open invitation to all Kenyans.
Monday’s rally is the culmination of one month of public consultations among the people of Kenya on what ails our Nation and what needs to be done to rectify the condition.
Although CORD has been at the forefront pushing for Saba Saba, there are thousands of organisers from all walks of life who have laboured tirelessly to make the Monday meeting possible.
We will be gathering directly as a result of the Government’s failure to convene a national dialogue process to enable Kenyans to deliberate on issues that are of critical concern to them as citizens.
Our concerns are as follows:
1. INCLUSIVITY AND NATIONAL UNITY:
One of the most consistent amalgams of themes throughout the Constitution is the issues of national unity and inclusivity.
Yet today, Kenya is a Nation apparently at war with itself, posing an existential threat to the idea of Kenya and our very survival as a Nation.
Inter-ethnic relations between our diversity of communities have deteriorated to their lowest point in our history. The Njemps and Tugen, Orma and Pokomo, Gabra and Borana, Degodia and Garre, Turkana and Pokot, the coastal and upcountry people are all seemingly in the grip of ferocious communal conflict or their relations poisoned by suspicion and mistrust.
Making an already bad situation worse, key state institutions appear to have abandoned the constitutional requirement that the appointment of state officers be conducted via processes guided by the principles of equity, competitiveness and transparency and the promotion of gender equality in the management of public affairs.
Recruitment in state organs has manifestly failed to reflect the diversity of the Kenyan people. As a result, today, entire communities feel excluded from participating in the management of national affairs on the basis of ethnicity, gender and other forms of identity.
It is our constitutional responsibility as citizens to demand full accountability.
In this regard we demand the following:
(a): A publication by the Public Service Commission of all appointments made in the public service since election, with full details listing names, regions and percentages. Here we are speaking of starting from the top with an assessment of diversity with regard to our Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Directors, directors in the Ministries, all special committees including the security committees and all others.
(b): A publication of the list of all senior public officers categorised by ethnicity, region and gender from the position of Director upward who have been sacked or transferred.
(c): A detailed activity plan of all national government development projects in every County indicating the nature of activity and the amounts of money allocated to these activities. Details must include all significant national infrastructural development project indicating the regions to benefit and amounts allocated.
(d): On a County by County basis, the budgets allocated to farmer and cooperative subsidies with a clear indication of the intended beneficiaries.
(e): A detailed enumeration, listing beneficiaries by name and region, of all direct cash transfer and social spending schemes across the country including the social empowerment funds.
2. ELECTORAL PROCESS AND THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL AND BOUNDARIES COMMISSION
Regarding the conduct of the 2013 elections, Kenyans set their standards high. They demanded an election that would be free, fair and transparent, meeting top international standards.
They backed their hopes with money, giving the IEBC billions of Kenya shillings to buy equipment and create an infrastructure that would ensure the elections met the expectations of Kenyans. These failed calamitously.
What couldn't have been anticipated was that the IEBC in setting standards for itself, were comfortable delivering what they were later to call ‘Third World Elections’.
In subsequent public submissions, the IEBC has stated that its performance ought to be measured “…in the context of a third world election: violence, voter intimidation, bribery, mass disfranchisement of voters…” The IEBC has the temerity to actually terms ours “a first world complaint.”
It is impossible to go to the next elections unless the issues surrounding IEBC’s performance are first addressed.
We are not contesting the results of the presidential elections held in 2013. We have put that behind us. However, we are talking about the future. We are expressing the overwhelming desire by Kenyans for the country to develop a political culture based on the determined hope that elections should not merely be moments of angry disagreement and attendant instability but events that see Kenyans consolidate their democratic culture at the ballot box in free and fair polls.
3. DEVOLUTION AND RESTRUCTURING OF THE PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION:
We are concerned that the key rationale of Devolution, which is to ensure equitable sharing of national and local resources and put power in the hands of locals is in a state of failure. The Constitution protects the Counties from the mischief by the National Government of using historical, old audited and approved accounts in the division of revenue. The funds allocated to the Counties ought to be based on the audited accounts of the financial year immediately preceding the current financial year. That has not happened.
As a result, the County governments have lost nearly 600 billion shillings in 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 merely because the National Treasury deliberately used outdated accounts for the purposes of revenue sharing between the national government and the County governments. This must not be allowed to become a pattern and must stop. The starvation of devolved units of funds is underway amid frantic efforts to reestablish the centralised old order by merely recalibrating the provincial administration in its colonial format of an occupying force managing the ‘natives’ and protecting the government against the people.
Impunity with regard to corruption in Kenya has become the norm again. Corruption costs Kenya about 300,000 new jobs every year. Corruption has contributed to Kenya sliding steadily down the annual list of Failed States listed by Fund for Peace to 17th from the bottom globally in 2013.
An inability to stem it on the part of the population and its leadership has contributed to a sharp spike in the destruction of the country’s national heritage that it holds in trust for the rest of humanity through the poaching of elephants and rhinos in particular.
This year alone, it is estimated that over 100 elephants and 20 rhinos have been killed for their tusks and horns.
Corruption has become systemic, pervasive and the cause of a fundamental national malaise that despite the implementation of a new constitution in 2010 has continued to hollow out key governance institutions like the Judiciary, Executive, security services and Legislature considerably undermining the capacity of government to implement even simple policy initiatives.
Far more troubling, corruption has essentially collapsed the capacity of the Kenya government to prosecute one of its core mandates as a State: to protect the lives and property of Kenyans. The security failure has been worsened by threats posed by groups like al Shabaab as Kenya develops its own cadre of young religiously radicalised youth in part derived from the youth bulge (75 percent of Kenyans are below 34), economic inequality, spiraling unemployment and cost of living, and the conspicuous consumption of a tiny elite that unapologetically dominates political and economic power along tribal lines.
As public outrage has continued to mount, over the past year alone the list of giant transactions entered into by the Executive perceived to be corrupt have multiplied: from the payment of Ksh.4.1 billion to an Anglo Leasing type company; the humiliating conduct of the Kenya Defense Forces during the Westgate attack in September 2013, to the US$14 billion Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
This project, which is a key and vital development in the expansion and modernization of Kenya’s infrastructure, has raised serious credibility concerns and it would appear that costs have been escalated in order to accommodate rents and kickbacks for brokers.
In similar vein, we have the US$200 million primary school laptop project, the US$170 million the Safaricom/Vodafone opaque security contract, among a host of others.
Corruption has compromised flagship projects of Vision 2030 and new development initiatives. Major questions are being raised about the probity and accountability of several pork-barrel and ‘sweetheart’ deals in the energy, oil, mining and agricultural sectors.
Corruption serves to deepen inter-ethnic mistrust as perceptions grow that appointments are being made on an ethnic basis in parastatals, the judiciary, the executive and other positions so that fellow tribesmen can ‘eat’. We would therefore declare corruption a national disaster.
5. NATIONAL SECURITY
The deteriorating state of security in the country has served to deepen anxiety about Kenya’s future cohesion. It is important that the following happens:
(a): That matters of security are not politicised or even ethnicised. For a country whose greatest vice is tribalism, this is a recipe for disaster that can be exploited by terrorists to harm citizens.
(b):. On Mpeketoni, the president should admit having failed to act in accordance with his Office. He must take full responsibility for any ethnic tension currently prevailing in the region and should be ready to be held accountable for any crimes that may occur as a result of incitement. He must not run away from the responsibility to deal with terror attacks against the nation and assure us of our safety. This is part of his job description.
(c): Security chiefs must be faithful to their professional calling and refuse to be used to abuse their offices and divide the nation along tribal and sectarian lines. The current security lapses that can be openly witnessed at our ports of entry, the borders and in the handling of terror attacks speak for themselves.
(d): We call on our soldiers and policemen in the service to reaffirm their loyalty to this Republic and resolve to do their work professionally. They are sons and daughters of this Nation who hail from the villages of this country. We call on them to resist the temptation of being used in unconstitutional schemes of terrorising citizens and participating in activities that ethnicize war on terror or target certain communities.
6. COST OF LIVING AND IRRESPONSIBLE BORROWING
The Jubilee Government increased our public debt by Ksh.860 billion in one year from Ksh.1.8 trillion to Ksh.2.6 trillion. This is an increase of 50 percent and is the largest annual increase in our history. The Grand Coalition government increased the debt by Ksh.900 billion in the five years it was in office, an average of Ksh.190 billion. Jubilee is borrowing at almost five times the rate at which the Grand Coalition government borrowed.
What does this mean? When Jubilee came to power, every Kenyan owed Ksh.44,000. A year later, each Kenyan owes Ksh.66,000. If Jubilee continues its borrowing spree at this rate, each Kenyan will be owing Ksh.140,000 in 2017. We cannot stand by and watch the Government mortgage our future, or bankrupt the country.
Cost of living has accelerated sharply. Inflation surged to 7 percent in the year to May 2014, compared to 4 percent in the preceding 12 months i.e. April 2012/May 2013.
Food price inflation increased by 9 percent as compared to 4 percent in the previous 12 months.
The price of maize flour which had declined from 120 to 110 shillings per two kilo. packet is back to Ksh. 120. Milk has hit an unprecedented Ksh.50 per 500 ml packet up from 38 shillings a year ago.
Farmers earnings are plummeting. The tea price paid to farmers fell 19 percent last year and the outlook for this year is worse. The price paid to coffee farmers declined 15 percent. Maize farmers received 7 percent less, despite consumers paying more for unga. Overall, farm gate prices declined by 5 percent while the cost of inputs increased by 10 percent.
7. HISTORICAL INJUSTICES AND THE TJRC REPORT
Addressing long-term issues, including undertaking constitutional, legal and institutional reforms; land reform; tackling poverty and inequality as well as combating regional development imbalances; tackling unemployment, particularly among the youth; consolidating national cohesion and unity; and addressing transparency, accountability and impunity particularly over historical injustices is critical to ensuring a stable nation. It is for this reason that the country spent billions of shillings on the TJRC. The product of that effort was first doctored then sat on by the Executive.
We reaffirm Saba Saba, well aware that some national prayers have been called for Sunday.
We encourage Kenyans to turn up for the prayers, although CORD will proceed with its rallies as scheduled.
We urge the religious leaders convening the prayers to see them as an indication that there is a problem and that we will need to go beyond prayers and seek practical solutions.
We also call on the convenors to pray for the Saba Saba rally scheduled for Monday so that we are able to deliberate peacefully and soberly and find practical solutions. It our hope that the prayers will reinforce the Biblical dictum of, “come, let's reason together”.
At times like this, we will always fondly remember the great work of liberating our country that was done by leaders like the late Henry Okullu and Alexander Kipsang Muge, David Gitari and Rev Timothy Njoya, who is still with us.
But we must also remember that in the final push for a new constitution in 2010, Churches campaigned against the constitution. It is our hope that it is not the intention of the religious leadership of the country to stand in the path of Kenyans to meaningful change.
Finally, we wish to assure Kenyans that we stand for peace. All our rallies have been peaceful and we intend to continue in that mode.
We expect the government to take seriously its responsibility to ensure security for all our rallies and for all Kenyans.
Thank You All. God Bless Kenya.
RT. HON RAILA A ODINGA.
HON KALONZO MUSYOKA
SEN. MOSES WETANGULA.
JULY 3, 2014.