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Kenyaleaks – Contact your MP today

In the last few months I’ve been given sensitive information worthy of wikileaks headlines – how to kill your MP in 60 days – by adding a pinch of a certain ground flower into his/her sukumawiki … I’m told it’s 100%  effective and untraceable…

I might be pissed off with my MP, and at times I do wish they would “disappear” but I’m  not a cold blooded killer

Here’s a better idea, you could write to your MP and complain complement him or her for all the achievements of  2010. i’ll warn you though, your MP might not want to hear how angry you were when they stood up for PEV suspects, defended criminalizing being gay, voted for Kenya to get out of the Rome Statute, misused CDF Funds, and bought one of Henry Koskey’s illegal cars… not to mention many other misdeeds.

I know of one MP who hides out in his home village pretending to be ill. He avoids parliament, questions and never shows up for public functions.

Well, the time of impunity is over, they can run but they can no longer hide” quoted my anonymous but very reliable source who got this list of your MP’s contact information on this website bidiiafrica.com

Make it your new years resolution to stop them from getting away with all that crap year after year.


Abdirahman, H.Ali – Wajir South – KANU – 0721-724746 / 0722-144999 ahassan@tradeandindustry.go.ke
Chiaba, Mohamed Abu – Lamu East – PNU – 0722-410177
Bahari, Abdul Ali – Isiolo South – KANU – 0733-289501
Balala, Mohammed Najib – Mvita – ODM – 0733 333500 /0724 – 650000 najib@mombasa.co.ke
Bifwoli, Wakoli Sylvester – Bumula – PNU – 0733-865323 Wakolib@yahoo.com
Chepkitony, Lucas Kipkosgei – Keiyo North – ODM – 0733-635894 / 0722816064
Ethuro, David – Turkana Central – PNU- 0722-526370 dethuro@yahoo.com
Gesami, James Ondicho – West Mugirango – ODM- 0733 826090
Gisuka, Machage Wilfred – Kuria – DP – 0733-451806/0725834575
Kajembe, Ramathan Seif – Changamwe – ODM – 0721 609777 Langoni@swiftmombasa.com
Kajwang’, Gerald Otieno – Mbita – ODM – 0722-882787
Kamama, Asman Abongotum – Baringo East – PNU – 0731-583303
Karua, Martha Wangari Gichugu – PNU – 0721 623 342 / 0733-747551
Kenneth, Peter Gatanga – PNU – 0722 512996 andykenneth@hotmail.com
Kenyatta, Uhuru – Gatundu South – KANU – 0722 463 891
Keter, Charles Cheruiyot – Belgut – ODM – 0722 530555
Khalwale Boni – Ikolomani – NEW FORD-K – 0721 318722
Khaniri, George Munyasa – Hamisi – ODM – 0722-859341
Kilonzo, Julias Kiema Mutito – ODM-K – 0722-513605 kilonzo@wananchi.com
Kilonzo, Charles Mutavi – Yatta – ODM-K – 0734-621593 ckilonzo@crystalvaluers.com
Kimunya Amos Muhinga Kipipiri PNU – 0722518801 / 520936 kipipiri@wananchi.com
Kinyanjui, Lee Maiyani – Nakuru Town – PNU – 0722 842653
Kiunjuri, Festus Mwangi – Laikipia East – PNU – 0721 600 305
Kuti Mohammed Abdi – Isiolo North – NARC-K – 0733 235914
Lesirma, Simeon Saimanga – Samburu West – ODM – 0722-719946 simeonlesrima@yahoo.com
Magara – James Omingo – South Mugirango – ODM – 0722 911274 jomingo45@yahoo.com
Katoo, Ole Metito J – Kajiado South – 0721-640175
Midiwo, Washington Jakoyo – Gem – ODM – 0721 504 040 / 0733 421277/ 0722 935761
Mohamed, A.H.M – Mandera West – ODM – 0722-779942
Mohammed, Haji Yusuf – Ijara – KANU – 0722-709395
Mugo, Beth Wambui – Dagoretti – PNU – 0722-205753 bmugo@kenyaweb.com
Mungatana, Danson Buya – Garsen – NARC-K – 0722-411971 mungatana@wanainchi.com
Munyes, John Kiyonga – Turkana North – PNU – 0721-339094 johnmunyes@yahoo.com
Murungi, Kiraitu – South Imenti – PNU – 0721-240863 waziri@kenyaweb.com
Musila, David – Mwingi South – ODM-K – 0722 571117 davidmusila@yahoo.com
Musyoka, Stephen Kalonzo – Mwingi North – ODM-K – 0722 523 872 / 0735 161 588
Mwangi, Onesmus Kigumo – PNU – 0722-778581 kiharamwangimp@yahoo.com
Mwatela, Andrew Calist – Mwatate – ODM 0733 719 871
Mwiria, Valerian Kilemi – Tigania West – PNU – 0733-657562 kilemimwiria@africanonline.co.ke
Ndambuki, Gideon Musyoka – Kaiti – ODM-K – 0720-384553/0734-758567 gndambuki@wananchi.com
Githae, Robinson Njeru – Ndia – PNU – 722514837
Nkaisserry, Joseph Kasaine – Kajiado Central – ODM – 0721-356786 nkaisserry@wananchi.com
Nyong’o, Peter Anyang’ – Kisumu Rural – ODM – 0733 454 133 pan@africaonline.co.ke
Odinga, Raila Amolo – Langata – ODM – 0733 620 736 railaaodinga@yahoo.com
Oginga, Oburu Bondo – ODM – 0733 818517/ 0724-105493 oburu_oginga@yahoo.com
Odeke, Sospeter Ojaamongson Amagoro – ODM – 0733 967345 / 0722 813819
Ojode, Joshua Orwa Ndhiwa – ODM – 0722- 514830 Ojode7@hotmail.com
Okemo, Chrysanthus Nambale – ODM – 0733-608895 Chrisokemo@yahoo.com
Olweny, Patrick Ayiecho – Muhoroni – ODM – 0722-734187/0733-784633
Onyancha, Charles – Bonchari – ODM – 0722-248190 jonyancha2002@yahoo.com
Oparanya, Wycliffe Ambetsa – Butere – ODM – 0722 521856
Osebe, Walter Enock Nyambati – Kitutu Masaba – N LP – 0722 724 556
Poghisio, Samuel Losuron Kacheliba – ODM-K – 0722-520663 / 0734-200836 poghisio@wananchi.com
Ruto, Samoei William K. – Eldoret North – ODM – 0722 517 997 info@williamrutto.com
Shaban Naomi Namsi Taveta KANU 0722 814 412
Shitanda, Peter Soita – Malava – NEW FORD-K – 0721-341241 soita-shitanda@yahoo.com
Sugow Ahmed Aden Fafi KANU 0721-596726
Twaha, Yasin Fahim – Lamu West – NARC-K – 0722-925108
Wekesa, Noah Muhlanganga – Kwanza – PNU – 0722-774374 noahwekesa@hotmail.com
Were, David Aoko Matungu – ODM – 0722 707548/0733 569180 scorpionwere@yahoo.com
Wetangula – Moses Makisa Sirisia – PNU – 0722 517 302 / 806 363 mwetangula@hotmail.com
Amos Wako 0722 772 453

This is the Phone numbers for the MP for Baringo North
Name: Hon William Kipkiror Cheptumo, LLB, MP, Assistant Minister for Ministry of Justice & National Cohesion
Tel numbers 0711696756; 0722716103.
Thanks have a good day

Elizabeth Ongoro (Kasarani) – 0723870741,0722897529

Mathioya’s Mp Mobile
0725 740830

Henry Kosgey – 0722 759877

Kangundo MP Johnstone muthama, His number is 0733900300

Kitui South MP. Isaac Mulatya Muoki 0722 295903.

Musalia Mudavadi -0722527614

Uhuru Kenyatta – 0722463891

MP for Nyeri Town constituency and MInister for Gender and Children Affairs – Esther Murugi Mathenge: 0722932794 esthermurugi@yahoo.com

Fred Outa’s (MP Nyando) no. is 0722818983


Godfrey Majiwa’s (Nairobi Mayor) is 0722309236

Cllr Lule (Mbotela) in Makadara constituency 0724901445

January 6, 2011 Posted by | Constitution, corruption, Crime, politics, Presidents | 7 Comments

Review of Kikulacho – the Bite Within by A24

“First they Ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” Kikulacho – the Bite Within.

I had the pleasure of attending the premier of Kikulacho at the West Gate Mall on Tuesday with a very mixed group of Kenyans and non Kenyans… big people like Jeff Koinange, Jashpal Ghai, Richard Leakey, and several Ambassadors.

While still downstairs, the film was introduced by Transparency International’s Richard Leakey and A24 Media’s Director Salim Amin who is the son of Mohammed Amin. We could hardly hear the speeches but before we they let us into the auditorium with popcorn and a free soda, they left us with a bizarre  warning

“Do not enjoy this film”.

An hour later I understood but felt they had understated things. They should have warned us that the film would assault our senses, shock us, depress us and leave us without an answer. I came out totally shell shocked. It’s a horror film, the horrors of what we have done to the place we call home, our beloved country, Kenya.

It starts like an old fashioned movie about an Indian family in Parklands in Nairobi. They are waking up and getting ready for the day, the handsome man is shaving, listens to the radio while his kids are finishing homework. The diligent wife in flowery vintage dress is pouring tea for breakfast. She asks what’s on the news – he says something forgettable about the land issue ..then kisses her goodbye and leaves for work. As he drives off in his ancient Volkswagen Bug a man steps out from the bushes and guns him down – right there, infront of you.

The haunting sound of his daughter screeching will stay with you for the rest of the film.

The shock of that first scene wakes you up with a start, and makes you sit up. Kikulacho reminds us that Pio Pinto, an Asian was Kenya’s first political assassination. The film takes  us backwards and forwards in history assassinations, land grabbing, British, Moi, Kibaki, Kenyatta, – this kind of to and fro is exactly what’s been happening to us. So much has happened, we are so confused, we are being confused, and we are repeating mistakes. No, not mistakes, we are repeating crimes.

Ever since Kenyatta, we have let our politicians pull the wool over our eyes, blaming the colonials for all the woes of Kenya. We forget that we are the employers of these politicians and that the power is in our hands to change things.

Kikulacho – the Bite Within, examines how corrupt systems and policies have impacted everyone in Kenya, including the common people. It reveals how we have been manipulated, cheated and coopted into corruption.

A24 Media says that it is also a story of hope and triumph that aims to look at how our institutions and leadership can be shaped by the people themselves to realize their dreams.

That message must have gone over my head. I felt angry, very angry, depressed and shaken by the end of the film. I filled a questionnaire afterwards, but the truth is I had not digested what the film was conveying. It is so jam packed with information, images, truths and  horrors, it’s the kind of film you have to watch in parts, digest, discuss, and repeat over and over to really appreciate the value of the work that has gone into the production. This film forces us to confront our demons, it’s harsh, really harsh.

Like Kenya, Kikulacho is not a polished production – it’s raw and in your face.  A24 Media did a superb job of using historical archives, and interviews with people from across the country. It made me proud to hear the voices of so many intelligent Kenyans, and yet very angry that despite our human potential and moral values, our leaders have used policies and constitutions to destroy the moral fiber of Kenya. To divide and ruin us as a people and a nation.

Kikulacho reveals the gigantic elephant into the room that nobody has been talking about with regards to the new proposed constitution – the question of land, how land abuse started under the British and was perpetuated under Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki. How land has been used to further political aims, and anyone suggesting that the land problem would lead to a crisis, was dealt with using bullets.

This film needs to be shown across the country in every bar, club, home, shop, movie theater, and on every channel. I suggested it should even be serialized on mobile phones, put on Youtube and played in open spaces. It was made just in time for the country’s referendum on whether to adopt a new constitution (August 4th 2010).  Kikulacho does not take sides on the referendum, but it will make Kenyans think carefully about their decision. I’ve heard people say “I haven’t read the proposed constitution but my MP has, I trust him” or “I’m going with what my church leader says”. I always ask why? Do you think these people are more intelligent than you? Do you really think you are that dumb? It always gets shocked stares and the response “I’m not stupid!” … but we are. When you watch Kikulacho you will realize that we all are very stupid for continuing to elect, trust and then question our corrupt leaders.  I am especially stupid, I have been so disappointed with politics in Kenya that I didn’t even bother to register.  After watching Kikulacho I absolutely want to vote.

At the end of the film TI aired a short piece of school children answering the question about corruption starting with “what is corruption?”. I thought that this short piece detracted from the main feature but many of the viewers commented that hearing the intelligence and the innocence of these children was humbling. Actually it was embarrassing – one child said ”I’m corrupt because I got my friend the prefect not to write my name down for making noise in class”.  How many Kenyans give bribes to police and government officials to get things done or to get out of trouble, but do not consider themselves to be corrupt? Kikulacho – the Bite Within is biting me all the time. I can’t stop thinking about it.

After the film US Ambassador  Michael Rannenberger was supposed to give a speach but he didn’t make it due to a delayed flight.  It didn’t matter we were all, milling about in a state of shock. Nothing he could have said would have added to the power of the film. I made a donation to the David Munyakei Fund – remember David, the famous Goldenberg whistleblower who died without dignity because of us!

Watch the film and send your comments to 0717666013 and go to their facebook http://www.facebook.com/kikulacho or join their fan page here http://www.facebook.com/Kikulacho?ref=ts&v=wall and get involve din the conversation.

You can watch the preview of Kikulacho here. The preview plays fine but website seems to be still in construction because none of the other links worked like meet thee makers.

July 15, 2010 Posted by | Constitution, corruption, Crime, Injustice, Kenya | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Kenyan constitution amendments thru time


This is how I fee, totally parlaysed. Should we vote Red or green on Kenya’s proposed new constitution?

Lest We Forget, Dr MAKODINGO has attempted a historical review. Hope it helps…

Origin of Kenya

The territory now known as Kenya came into existence on 12th December 1897 as a protectorate of the British Monarch. The people were put under the political and military patronage of the Queen of England.

In 1920, Kenya was made a British Colony, the territory becoming part of the British Empire.

Imposition of colonial order was achieved through military force, introduction of a new faith, use of English law in place of African Customary laws and the imposition of an economic order that was intended to create wealth for the colonial settlers. Existing constitutional orders of the African communities were destroyed.

An administrative system of Chiefs, Dos, DCs and PCs were created to enforce the colonial order.

This oppressive system was vehemently opposed by the African peoples. Three factors combined to accelerate and bring about the desired changes under the colonial order: Resistance by local communities, Weakening of the British Empire by the cost of World War II, and the increased climate for self-determination and respect for human rights.

Constitutional Landmarks to Independence:

1954: The Littleton Constitution.

§  Named after the then Colonial Secretary, Sir Littleton

§  This was the first Multiracial Constitution

§  Established a Council of Ministers of 12

§  6 were to be appointed by the Governor

§  6 Elected: 3 Europeans, 2 Asians and 1 African.

o   The African representatives rejected these arrangements.

1958: Lenox-Boyd Constitution

§  Increased the Council of Ministers to 16

§  Half elected, and half Appointed.

§  Europeans were still the majority.

§  Redistribution of Land, release of political prisoners and Repeal of repressive laws not addressed

§  Demand for full independence was in the air

§  Africans demanded for a Constitutional Conference to negotiate for Independence.

1960: Macleod Constitution

§  A product of Lancaster I in 1960

§  Provided for a majority of Africans in LEGCO( of 65 Members) and Council of Ministers

§  Provided for Independence

§  Alluded to self-internal government.

1961: First Multiracial Election

§  Held in February 1961

§  KANU won the polls but refused to form Government demanding the release of Kenyatta as a precondition

§  KADU, the opposition formed government

1962: Lancaster II

§  Resulted into internal self-rule

§  Queen still  had control over Legislature, defence, Internal security and Foreign Affairs

§  Majimbo present

1963: Constitution passed as an Act of British Parliament in April and became Law May 31st 1963.

§  Fully Bicameral Parliament with 131 House of Representatives and 41 Senators

§  Cabinet headed by PM

§  First internal government took office on June 1st 1963

§  Marked the first Madaraka Day

§  Later, Lancaster III was held

§  In December the Country became Independent as a Dominion but not a republic

§  The Queen was still the Head of State, and PM Kenyatta Head of Government

1964: Independent Parliament amended the Constitution to make Kenya a Republic

§  Majimbo system heavily eroded

§  Concentration of power in the presidency began

§  Created the basis of a single-party system

Between 1964 and 1991, successive amendments sought and did achieve to recreate the Colonial Order in Kenya, only this time, a Kenyan was the Monarch.

Note that even after independence;

§  Colonial repressive laws remained unchanged

§  Colonial Administrative system remained intact

§  The political system became a wealth-creating system for the elite through corruption.

Between the short period covering 1963 and 1991, the Kenya Constitution was amended several times. These include:

1.       The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act No 28 of 1964

§  Made Kenya a Republic

§  Created office of the President and made him both Head of State and Government

§  President elected by House of representatives constituted as Electoral college

§  Executive Authority  of Jimbos highly watered down

§  Modified provisions for Citizenship and local authorities

2.       The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) (No 2) Act No 38 of 1964

§  Transferred to Parliament powers to alter regional boundaries. Originally the power of the regions

§  Independent sources of revenue to regions stopped making them entirely dependent on Central Government

§  Regional Presidents designated Chairmen

§  Appointing authority of Judges given absolutely the President’s. Requirement for consultation with at least 4 Regional presidents before appointing CJ removed

§  Ex-Officio MPs lose their votes in NA

3.       The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act No 14 of 1965

§  Constitution amendment threshold reduced from 90% to 65% in Senate and 75% to 65%

§  Executive power of regions deleted completely

§  Abolished appeals to privy councils; Supreme Court replaced with High Court

§  Approval of Emergency increased from 7 to 21 days and threshold reduced to simple majority from 65%

§  Removed provisions concerning control of Agricultural land transactions from the Constitution

4.       The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act No 16 of 1966

§  Required MPs who had not attended NA for over 8 sittings or imprisoned for over 6 months to lose their seats ( Many KANU rebels were not going to NA) and some had joined KPU

§  Minister in charge of citizenship given discretion to grant Citizenship to Commonwealth citizens residing in Kenya for over 6 months

§  Increased powers to rule by decree in NEP

§  National Youth Service included in disciplined forces.

5.       The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) (No 2)Act No 17 of 1966/Turn Coat Rule

§  Required for an MP to seek re-election at the end of the session of his defection

§  Meant to deal with Odinga and Co who had left KANU for KPU without resigning their seats. Odinga and Kenyatta’s wars started in earnest.

6.       The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) (No 3) Act No 18 of 1966

§  Period of NA review of Emergency orders increased from 2 to 8 months

§  Greater and wider derogations of Fundamental right and freedoms permitted. Removed the provision calling for reasonable justification for such derogations

§  Meant to allow for detention of recently defected KPU leaders

7.       The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) (No 4) Act No 19 of 1966

§  Both houses amalgamated to form on National Assembly

§  Increased constituencies by 41 to accommodate Senate MPs

§  Quorum of NA fixed at 30

§  Speaker of NA made Chair of ECK assisted by two Presidential appointees

§  References to Senate deleted and life of NA extended to end in June 1970 instead of 1968

8.       The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act No 4 of 1967

§  Meant to clear doubt over Section 42A (Turn Coat Rule)

§  Backdated the effect of the Fifth Amendment to 1963.

§  KPU members argued that the amendment came after they had decamped


9.       The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act No 16 of 1968

§  Abolished Provincial Councils and deleted from the constitution any references to the provincial and district boundaries and alterations thereof

10.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) (No 2) Act No 16 of 1968

§  Election of President made to be by Universal Suffrage

§  Every party required to nominate a Presidential Candidate

§  Ballot paper made to pair President and MP from same party

§  Independent candidates barred from contesting

§  Qualifications for presidency introduced

§  President empowered to appoint members of PSC and nominate 12 MPs

§  Altered provisions of presidential succession and removed parliamentary approval for state of emergency declaration

11.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act No 5 of 1969

§  Consolidated all the Constitutional amendments as at February 1969 thereby resulting in a revised Constitution for Kenya in one document which was declared to be the authentic document

§  Membership of ECK altered by making all members appointed by the President

12.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 10 of 1974

§  Reduced the age of voting from 21 to 18

13.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 5 of 1974

§  Made Kiswahili one of the official languages of the National Assembly

14.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 1 of 1975

§  Repealed Constitution of Kenya(Amendment) No 2 of 1974

§  Provided that all financial resolutions and written laws be presented to the House shall be written in English, and all other issues would be debated in Kiswahili

§  Extended the Presidential prerogative to include annulling disqualifications arising out of a ruling of the Elections Court – Ngei Amendment (meant to benefit Ngei)

15.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 13 of 1977

§  Established the Court of Appeal

§  Abolished the right to directly remit compensation for acquisition of property abroad without complying with foreign exchange regulations

16.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 1 of 1979

§  Provided for use of English as an alternative Parliamentary language

§  Proficiency in Kiswahili made a prerequisite for qualification for people seeking parliamentary office

17.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 5 of 1979

§  Specified  period within which a civil servant must resign to seek office

§  6 months prior to preliminary elections

18.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 7 of 1982

§  Introduced Section 2A that changed Kenya from a de facto to de jure one party state making Kenya a one-party state by Law

§  Turn coat rule(Fifth Amendment) repealed

§  Definition of a Political Party deleted

§  Method of nominations for General Elections amended making them a preserve of KANU

19.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 6 of 1986

§  Repealed Section 89 which provided for automatic Citizenship for people born in Kenya after Dec 1963. Henceforth, either of your parents must be Kenyan

20.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 14 of 1986

§  removed Security of Tenure of AG and Auditor & Controller General

§  abolished office of Chief Secretary

§  provided for a new min 168 and max 188 Constituencies

21.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 20 of 1987

§  Made all Capital offences non-bailable

§  torture of Political prisoners entrenched in the Criminal Justice system

22.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 8 of 1988

§  Legalised detention of Capital offenders for 14 days without trial allowing for time to torture

§  Removed security of tenure of Constitutional office Holders

23.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act 1990

§  Returned the Security of tenure of Constitutional office Holders

§  Provided for a max of 210 and min of 188 Constituencies

24.   The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment)  Act No 12 of 1991

§  Repealed Section 2A of the Constitution hence ending the de jure one-party rule in Kenya

§  The Turn Coat Rule (Fifth Amendment) was reintroduced

§  The nomination procedure leading to elections of the National Assembly and Presidency were amended to accommodate multi-partism

§  A definition of a political party was adopted.

The Amendments were meant to:

  • Strengthening the Executive relative to the other arms of government
  • Emasculating other arms of government
  • Derogating fundamental human rights and civil liberties

Why the Amendments require Constitutional Review

  • They have made the President more powerful than the King
  • Led to manipulation of Legislature and Judiciary
  • The Presidency controls distribution of national resources
  • The people(Civil Society) have no say on [policy formulation and implementation
  • Sycophancy and Corruption have been institutionalised
  • Less protection of Human Rights
  • Made it difficult for democracy to thrive
  • Citizens are cowed by force of oppressive laws
  • Elections are manipulated
  • Tribalism and Ethnic animosity institutionalised i.e. through quota system


Dr MAKODINGO Washington, BPharm,MPSK
Registered Pharmacist and Constitutional Expert,
P O Box 60113 – 00200 Nairobi
“I’m not arrogant, just Smarter”

July 13, 2010 Posted by | Constitution, corruption, Donkey, Injustice, Kenya | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Is this corruption at Sheria House?

Kenyans government officials are reputed to be amongst the most corrupt creatures on earth, but I have heard them challenge that allegation and argue about the definition of corruption. There are times when even I wonder whether it’s corruption … a police officer asking for payment to not issue a ticket – that’s obvious, but what about this case?

Is it corruption when a government officer will not give you a receipt for a service provided?

This happened at Sheria House recently. As all Kenyans know, anyone trying to get married in Nairobi must go through Sheria House to register. It’s supposed to be a quick formality, and getting married is supposed to be one of the best things you can do in your life right?

So, like all aspiring couples you have to go to Sheria House to get information because there is nothing on any website. There are no notice boards, no bulletins, no document you can get anywhere else.  You have to to the go down to Sheria House in the middle of the city of Nairobi. In the first office, there you get some of the information necessary and it’s taped onto a desk. All it tells you is what to do if you are a Kenyan marrying a Kenyan and and costs associated with getting married. If you are not Kenyan, most of what you need to know is only available by talking to the officers in charge. This lack of transparency hiding of information should have raised our suspicions…. but we were in love and just looking forward to getting married… read on..

Different strokes for different folks – foreigners pay more!
Amazingly, there are three different types of marriages depending on who you are and who you are marrying – no I’m not talking about Christian Islam issues, I’m talking about if you are a foreigner, or if you are marrying a foreigner.

  1. A Kenyan marrying a Kenyan has only to produce identification and proof of age.
  2. A foreigner marrying a foreigner has to produce identification, proof they aren’t already married, and more money than Kenyans marrying.
  3. A foreigner marrying a Kenyan is as above.
  4. But a Kenyan marrying a foreigner must produce an Affidavit, the wedding invitation!, birth certificate, and passport . There is no information about what this Affidavit must contain. This must be done at least 21 days before the wedding date.
  5. So, you go to the lawyers and they ask you what to put in the affidavit, you don’t know, the lawyers call Sheria House and they can’t answer questions, they simply hang up on you, .. it seems they don’t know what you are to put into the document. Or perhaps it simply doesn’t’ matter. The documents person at Sheria House simply needs to have a document that says “Affidavit”.

So, Ksh 1,500 later, Affidavit in hand, return to Sheria House to submit documents. Write your name on a list in the office, then enter a very long line in a very ugly and noisy corridor and wait.
A few hours later your name may be called, but if you just wait in the office you will see that the queue and the list are sometimes.. jumped. That’s your first sign of corruption in this government office.

Ok, you see the lady who is supposed to interview you – expecting questions? Forget it, she checks the papers and documents and informs you that it will cost 10,500 to get married at Sheria House. But who in their right mind wants to get married at Sheria House? It’s an ugly, noisy and stuffy place filled to the brim with pregnant brides, beach boys and their mamas, … the wedding office with red carpet and fake flower arrangements is just not the memory you want of your BIG DAY.

We wanted a proper out door wedding with friends and flowers … you know the thing? Well, in that case we must pay an additional fee of Ksh 30,000 (USD 400) if we want a Sheria House person to come do the actual legal stuff.

A friends’s wedding was almost ruined when the Sheria House person called on the big day saying that she was tied up and couldn’t make it, could they postpone! Of course they couldn’t, and off course she wasn’t tied up when more funds and a taxi were promised. We were not going to have that kind of crap stressing us out on our wedding day.

So, we decided that even though we are aethiests, we could get a priest to marry us. The lady informs us that we need to give her the name, details and address of the priest who is marrying us. Information that we don’t have at hand.

And wait a minute,, it’s not that simple. The groom is not Kenyan, only certain priests can marry you under Cap 500. That’s the law!  So .. go away and get the name.

What about the 21 days we worry? No problem, she says,  even if you come a week before it will be ok. We know you now.

Nice lady, we think, and sigh with relief (which it turns out later was totally misplaced). Why didn’t we smell a rat? Naive, eager, gullible?

We spend the next few days inquiring about priests – all of the ones we talk to are confused about the process we’ve been told to follow, and advise us to return to Sheria House to talk to someone and get things explained properly. A man called John at Sheria House generously offers to help and takes our documents. He says he can do the wedding himself and asks us to come back the next day.

The next day he says “The Madam has your papers, you have to go see her to get them back”

We stand in the very long queue for 3 more hours to see “The Madam”

Nothiong could have prepared us for her Fury when our turn came round. She is enraged, and shouts at us for going to see her junior officer! How dare you, we she says! We are totally confused. What the Fuck? We tell her we are confused, she says our papers are not signed – that we were to go to room 106 and get them signed and nobody can help us until that is done. And, we should stop going behind her back!

We go to room 106, a guy doesn’t even look at the papers, signs them and we go back to “The Madam” (what the hell is this guys purpose in the big scheme of thing?)

We queue to see “The Madam” again and she asks us what help we need – we tell her we can’t find a priest, time is running out and we’ve decided on a Sheria House person coming to our wedding. We need to finalize.

I’m busy on your date she says. But John is available we suggest. Oh she’s says, John (not his real name) can help you? Then go and see John! But she will not enter the date in her calendar until we have Johns confirmation. Come back and see me after you’ve confirmed with him.

Back down the corridor, but John tells us he cannot help us. Now, you see, he is going on leave and will not be available on our wedding date. But you said you could last time we met! Things have changed, my leave application has been approved. You have to go see “The Madam” for help.
Back up the corridor and the queue, “The Madam” smirks at us, so John cant help you? What do you want me to do? We need someone to marry us. But I’m busy and I don’t have any other staff on that day.

Ok, then we will do a Sheria House wedding before hand. She looks at her calendar. I have no dates available. You see you left things until too late.  You will have to delay your wedding. Please, we beg, can’t you just add one more wedding on any of the next few days? “I can’t overwork my staff with an “extra wedding” she shouts. Just have the wedding ceremony as planned, and then come back afterwards to finalise the legalities she offers. No we can’t do that.

Then delay your wedding she resolves.  No, we can’t, people are flying in from overseas, the venue is already booked and paid for. Well I can’t help you. I’m busy. You see there are many more people  in the queue waiting to see me.

Ok we are now thinking out of the box. What about marrying us before the wedding date. No, I’m too busy on the next two weekends. We’ll come to wherever you are, we plead. No, I’m too busy. What about John we suggest? Ok, yes, John can marry you before he goes on leave. You go and agree with John then come back to me.

Shuttling back down the corridor, we find John hurriedly leaving for lunch, promises to be back ty 2 pm. We wait in the stuffy corridor. He gets back at 3.30 pm. She said that? He says, then insists he can’t do anything until he talks to “ the Madam”.
A few minutes later he returns, I can’t work when I’m on leave. You see, I’ll be officially off duty. When do you go on leave – Monday (It’s Wednesday), Ok, what about today, tomorrow, Saturday? No we can’t do it on weekdays. I cant do it on Saturday because I hand over on Friday. You have to go back and see “The Madam” for help. There’s no point pleading with him. We go back up the corridor.
Now I’m almost in tears. I realise why nobody in Sheria House is smiling, the happiest day of most couples lives are being ruined by stupid bureaucrats.
It’s 5 pm and people want to go home. We beg and beseech “the Madam” who seems to be enjoying the drama unfolding, she calls John on her cell and laughing says “Paula is crying now, can you help them” …we’re sent back to Johns office, he has finally agreed to do the formalities of the wedding this Saturday (3 days away). The actual wedding is still 2 weeks away.
He is smiling. You see they are going to help us after all! We are relieved… then he says… but you know there’s an extra fee, I’ll be working on my day off, …..
How much is the fee we ask?
How much can you pay? He responds

How much do you normally charge?

15k! gulp, ok,
But you know I can’t issue a receipt…

Silence ….

Cash is transferred behind closed doors, forms are filled and he is smiling.

On Saturday he turns up exactly on time and does the necessary, d rinks a Soda, wishes us a good life and disappears on leave. We were legally married but really quite annoyed. Everything about the Sheria House experience was ugly.
Was this corruption – sanctioned from the top of Sheria House? Why can’t they issue receipts?
The difference in price for a Sheria House wedding vs an out of Sheria House wedding is Ksh5,500 which probably is the fee given to the officer who takes his weekend off to do it. Why do they charge this additional variable amount?

May 24, 2010 Posted by | corruption | 9 Comments

No matter what, don’t bribe the police in Kenya

Not all experiences with the Kenyan police are bad, but we all know that most of them are.  I’m one of those people whose heart starts to race at every road block, and I avoid eye contact with our boys in blue unless absolutely necessary.

You’d think I’m a mass murder, but the truth is I am not guilty of any crime. I pride myself in never breaking the law, I always carry my license, make sure insurance is up to date, and keep the car in good nick, I don’t go off road, throw litter, or speed… well, that’s on most days anyway.

But then of course the one day that I do press the accelerator a little too hard, I get caught.  It’s sods law and it has happened to all of us, that crushing feeling that you are on the wrong side of the law and you deserve punishment … and you know that the cops are salivating at the opportunity to make a quick buck.

We were driving to Laikipia from Nairobi on the Nakuru Highway and I was at the wheel driving well within the speed limit. We made  made a short stop but I had to catch up with the other car in our convoy –  I know that I was just over the 100kph speed limit. Guilty as charged. Just my luck that the police caught me at that exact moment. I was waved over by a swaggering young police man with a friendly face and big “gotcha” attitude. This was going to be an easy kill for him.

“Madam you were speeding, let me see your license” he says. I turn on my “F*** You attitude” and say “ no I was not speeding sir, I’ve been monitoring the speedometer and I was within 100 kph”

Policeman – “Madam, my friend has captured you on the radar, you were speeding. You were going 107 kpm”.

Damn! I know I was over the limit so it’s not worth pushing this line of argument so I switch to “grovel mode”

“Sir, I’m very sorry, perhaps my eyes strayed momentarily, I will drive more carefully”,

Policeman – “no I have to give you a ticket….” he looks me in the eye knowingly – I play total ignorace.  I know he’s playing with me…

I sigh audibly and hand him my drivers license “I will issue you an instant fine, it is 3000 shillings…” he says in Kiswahili

Peter my melanin deficient fiancé in the passenger seat oblivious of what we are saying

“I don’t have three thousand shillings” I respond in Swahili

The Cop continues “…and you have to go to court on Monday”.

He checks over the car and starts scribbling something in a little blank black exercise book-

I say “you don’t have a receipt book?” and he responds “no but my friend has one,…. I need you to give me 3,000 shillings and can you go to court on Monday ” (I know that its either an instant fine or court but not both – but I’m on the defensive now and making like a drowning duck)

Me-  “please officer, you know I was only just over the speed limit, please forgive me, I don’t have the money and I can’t go to court on Monday”

Him “ok, just give me 3,000 cash and I’ll let you go”

Peter asks “what’s he saying?” and the cop asks angrily “what’s he saying”

Me “he’s asking about the fine, we don’t have the money”

Cop “ok, give me 2,000 cash and you can go”

“I don’t have 2,000″ I wail

“Ok, just give me 1,000 cash and I’ll forgive you” He puts his note book in his pocket

By now I’m pissed off. This is clearly soliciting for a  bribe.

Me “Sir, I have lived all my 42 years in Kenya and I have never given a bribe in Kenya and I’m not giving a bribe today. Please don’t ruin my record for me”

Him “Oh, you are older than me, ok just give me the 1000 shillings for lunch and then you can go”

“No, I’m not responsible for your lunch, …..” then i go out on a limb “you know corruption is what is ruining Kenya”

Peter is fidgeting uneasily at the conversation and rummaging around in his backpack

Cop “You are right, corruption is destroying our country” … he ponders “ok madam, just give me 100 shillings and you can go”.

I’m on the verge of bursting into laughter, I hold it in.

“no” I say and I recline my seat ready for a long stay on the road side.

The cop stares at me in disbelief, then he walks away momentarily his attention diverted by all the other cars that are watching us and passing him by, then he comes back and says

“Madam I am going to forgive you this time, please drive carefully”

I pull out and press the acceleartor carefully watching the cop through my rear view mirror as I tell Peter what transpired.We are both angry yet relieved.

I ask Peter what he was doing “looking for my BBC press badge, if all else fails with Kenyan cops just flash a press card and they step away “.

I realized too late that I didn’t get that damn cops name or badge number, next time I’ll be sure to send it along with a narrative to the Anti corruption officials. Quick calculation – if these cops at Gilgil are getting 1000 from every few cars that they stop they must be earning a good 30,000 each per day just be terrorizing us drivers. I just hope that they don’t sleep at night and all that ill gotten wealth makes them very very sick in mind, heart and body.

In most countries there is a 10% allowance – ie if the speed limit is 100kph you can get away with 110 but with a warning at most.

So here’s your ticket out of coersion into giving a bribe

1. Play ignorant – when they ask for chai or tea tell them you forgot your flask at home. If they say they are thirsty and ask for soda or water just tell them that you passed a kiosk and they can walk down.

2. If they find you guilty of anything just sit tight and ignore all the threats. If they insist on writing a ticket let them do it – its not in their interest to tie up the court with petty issues. I know of a kid who departed with Ksh 30,000 because he was afraid of going to jail for smoking  a cigarette in his car. Don’t assume you have to give a bribe.

3. Study the policemans/womans face, get their name and badge number – when you are in a particularly tight corner pretend you are totally ignorant, new to Kenya, and make a fake call to your lawyer make it obvious that you are writing it all down, and loudly tell the person what is happening – where it is and who the cop is say things like “oh, are you on your way?” Some cops get pissed off by this so play it by ear.

4. If they ask for a ride tell them its’ not your car and the owner is your boss and he/she does not allow it.

5. Tell them you have never given a bribe before. Hide your money and tell them you have none.

6. Don’t break the law, don’t use your phone in the car, overload, speed or drive with no lights at night.

7. Play ignorant, apologise, be friendly, praise them for doing such a good job..

No matter what, never bribe the police in Kenya.

May 6, 2010 Posted by | corruption, police | 8 Comments

Bridges Academy: reinventing education in Kenya – a response to Friedman

Josh Friedman correctly notes that Kenya needs new ideas for education in Kenya in his  PopTech blog article titled Reinventing Education in Kenya, he writes

“A new venture called Bridge International Academies is reinventing the model for education in Kenya by taking a page from franchise-based corporations”.

As a Kenyan I read this article thinking it would be a mind shift, something innovative, different, exciting. But all I felt was my temperature rising. What the Bridge Academy is doing is not really new, but sounds actually like more of the same – hundreds of NGO’s, companies, churches, mosques and other groups are already in the business of low cost schooling for poor Kenyans.

Friedman touts the Bridges System as new and innovative, and the answer to the crisis facing Kenya’s education system.

To avert corruption payments are made through M-Pesa or to a bank – nothing new there I can tell you. Visiting Lamu last weekend, every mosque school had such a system in place. Many schools around the country do.

The school is affordable for  parents – yes but so are all cheap schools in christian missions, churches, mosques, companies.

The school system comes in a box – well that’s only about administration, the curriculum is the national curriculum – nothing new about education there.

It’s not free therefore it’ll give a better education – what?

First, the idea of free primary school education is not a bad idea.  Friedman suggests it has led to “doubtful education results”. I’m sorry but I don’t agree. For the first time in history, every Kenyan child was in school. If results were so doubtful then why are Kenyan parents up in arms about the fraud by the Ministry and withdrawal of donor funding? Because their kids will lose out on education. A massive burden was lifted from parents and while it wasn’t always perfect, every single child had a place, even a 96 year old Mzee Kimani enrolled in class 1. Free education in Kenya gave many of us  me hope. Read this blog post called “Age is nothing but a number” by By Elijah Dianga, Student,  Kisumu Day High School In Kenya and you will undestand why.

Mzee Kimani was able to go to school because it was free.  He said “I have waited more than 80 years to go to school. Then, last year, Kenya introduced free primary education and I knew it was my only chance. At first, the school refused. But once I decided to come, no one was going to stop me.”

The Bridges Academy will not replace free schools. It will however compete with other cheap schools which are also a great idea for Kenyan familes, but it won’t help those that need free education. There are millions of Kenyans who will not afford even the low prices at the Bridges Academies, especially where the average family comprises 4 – 6 children, often plus orphaned relatives.

What gets me about Friedmans article is that he suggests that the fraud in the Kenyan education system is the reason why we need to reinvent education in Kenya by creating cheap schools. I disagree. First it was not the concept of free education that was a bad idea, it was the way that the funding was handled that was a bad idea. And the international donors (UK, USA, Sweden and others) only paid for 5% of the total free education budget.

That  the funding for free education has been abused is hardly surprising.  This is Kenya after all, the land of impunity. I hate it to the core and I would never put money into a corrupt institution. Only an idiot would because it’s  like pouring water into a bucket full of holes. So, what on earth were the donors thinking when they poured money into an already corrupt school system? Why did they do this instead of reforming the education sector? If you ask me, they actually sabotaged their own work, and they must have known this from the get go. With due respect for Michael Rannenberger, he has not always stood up for doing things the right way and American money for the education program was not improving education but building classrooms probably because they look good and you can plant a whopping huge sign outside to remind everyone that USA built this. Go to Manda Island in Lamu where you’d have to be blind to miss the sign about he US funded rehabilitation of Manda Island school as you leave the airport…it’s got less to do with need, and everything to do with trying to look good in a place where the presence of an American Marine base is not all that welcome …(no such thing as a free lunch).

According to Friedman, one of the innovations of the Bridges Schools is that they are low cost, and yet they are still “for profit”.

Ok, lets look at the math. It costs 295 Kenyan shillings a month to send a child to a Bridge school. Thats around $4. Sounds like nothing! The school in the article has an enrollment of 119 students.  That’s Ksh 35,000 (US$500) per month to run the school. That’s a budget of less than Ksh 5,000 (US $ 80) per class per month  (there are 8 classes in primary school).  Children don’t wear uniforms and that the learning materials are simple, classrooms are stark, students sit on benches not desks. Ok it’s clearly low cost, but how on earth can$80 a month pay a good trained teacher, and keep him or her motivated, plus pay for materials, training, power, water etc. Maybe my math is up the spout,  I would love to see how a school can be run at these price, turn a profit, AND provide quality education.

Finally, I’m a bit tired of foreign imports to replace rather than fix existing infrastructure. The Bridge school system, private schools in a box, nice idea, but it’s another import that still depends on donor funding. There are hundreds if not thousands of good private schools, religious schools and donor funded schools in Kenya. They all cost something and perhaps there is a need for more low cost schools. But make no mistake, the Bridges Academy is not for free, therefore it cannot replace the free government system which caters for many millions of Kenyan.

In my view what we need is not another new foreign import, but support to conduct a total overhaul of the government system, to root out the corruption and provide the quality education that Kenyan children deserve. Parents want it, children want it…why don’t the donors want it?

Like all African countries, Kenya is inundated with well wishers trying to save the people from a greedy, murdering, inept and outright illegal government. We keep bypassing the government systems, when in fact, what we probably need to do is to work on fixing these structures and make them work properly. Otherwise we keep going around and around chasing our own tails. I’m not saying I have a solution  in hand, but there have been some much more exciting proposals made that are far more innovative than the Bridges School Academy in a metal box. Why not create internet based school systems that allow children (and adults) to learn the curriculum at their own pace and time and still work if they have to? Those Kenyan born ideas however, are unlikely to attract the mega funding of donors like the Omidyar Foundation. Like many of Americas biggest private donors, you’d need to be American to get that support.

Instead of funding a completely new set of  schools that may or may not work, perhaps donors like the Omidyars should consider paying for children in impoverished areas to go to already established and proven schools in the country.

Having said that, I genuinely  wish the Bridges Academy well, I hope that they can sustain these schools but I take issue with Friedman suggesting that these schools are reinventing education in Kenya. Kenyans need to reinvent education in this country, fix the curriculum, root out corruption, pay teachers appropriately, and get quality education to every single child. Only then will the changes stick.

What do you think?

January 31, 2010 Posted by | corruption, Crime, education | , , | 10 Comments

Not just in Kenya. Corruption = Power + Hypocrisy

If you are wondering how Tony Blair sleeps at night after admitting that he lied and lied again about Iraq and still insists he did the right thing, wonder no more, the answer is Hypocrisy.

In a current article in the Economist (Jan 23 2010) titled “The Psychology of Power: Absolutely” we learn that power corrupts but only those who think they deserve it.

A series of rather clever experiments asked university students to imagine a time when they were in a position of high or low power, and to then make decisions about morality. They rated on a morality scale of 1 – 9 how immoral it was to over report travel expenses at work. The findings are a revelation. Those who imagined they had high power, thought it was not all that immoral, while those in the low power group found it morally objectionable to over report travel expenses.

Another group played a dice power game and had to volunteer their score, a value between 1 and 100. Those High Power volunteeres claimed to have rolled 70 on average, clearly lying – the statistical average is of course 50! The low power group reported an average of 59 …they too cheated but just a bit in comparison. The study goes on to explore how power corrupts those who feel they deserve power. These results are very relevant to people we know quite well, Tony Blair, George Bush, Robert Mugabe, Daniel, Gideon and other Mois, Emilio, Jimmy, Lucy and other Kibaki’s, Uhuru, Muhoho and other Kenyattas as well as the likes of Raila and other Odingas. People who believe they were born privelaged.

The scientsists from Tilburg University in Holland report that the culture of entitlement is the basis for much of the corruption we see in the world today. The students in the experiment who reported that they were entitled to power, were complete and total hypocrits and were very likely to abuse power and forgive those who also abuse power. Sound a little like Tony Blair and the Iraq affair, Kibaki and the election crisis, Moi and the Mau, Mugage and his cronies land grabbing?

And what’s interesting is that those students who felt they were not entiteld to power were much more likely to adhere to the law and judged those who failed to do so harshly. But when transgressions were made, they judged themselves more harshly than others. They are labelled hypercrits – they judge themselves even more harshely than others.

The article suggests that these people are in general quite submissive. Perhaps this is why the whistle blowers of Kenya always disappear into thin air. I mean what ever happened to John Githongo, Maina Kiai, Wangari Maathai, Gladwell Otieno, and others?

It may also reveal why we can’t elect good honest people to parliament, they simply aren’t ‘macho’ enough. Is this why we always support crops of thieving murdering pathological liars to our leadership? I mean how does the sewer rat Cyrus Jirongo keep popping up? I personally wonder if corrupt behaviour innate or is learned – I mean did Jimmy learn from Emilio? Did Gideon get his talents from Daddy?, and Uhuru – is he a chip off the old shoulder, like George Bush Jnr?  I suspect that the scientists are right and if so we’re so totally screwed because democracy cannot then work. What we need is dictatorship by honest wimps.

January 30, 2010 Posted by | corruption, Crime, Injustice, Kenya | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment