Mr. Dominique Strauss-kahn, Kenyans Do Not Want Imf Medicine. It is Time to Kick the Imf out of Kenya.

Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Kenyans do not want  IMF medicine. It is time to kick the IMF out of Kenya.

“ while corruption is a problem we all share, here in Kenya it is a crisis – a crisis that’s robbing an honest people of the opportunities they have fought for – the opportunity they deserve.” US President Barack Obama, speaking four years ago in Nairobi when he was he junior Senator for Illinois

It was the same room – the Taifa Hall – where Barack Obama spoke –  the same kind of audience – invited guests of the Chancellor of the Nairobi University and the same lamentation – bad governance and corruption are defeating development objectives in Kenya.  The guest of honour, Dominique Strauss-Kahn Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund made a keynote speech broadcast live at which he spoke to Africa – predicting economic growth.  Perhaps to be polite he made little mention of Kenyan corruption scandals, which raged in the days before and even after his speech; but Raila Odinga Kenya’s Prime Minister was not so diffident at the same podium.  He said that only the people of Africa will develop Africa. According to the Prime Minister, what has kept Africa where it is; is bad governance, corruption and dictatorships. The Prime minister was categorical that the problem in Kenya is corruption, saying that we must deal a blow to corruption in order to move forward.

In the papers the next day reportage was cheerful and optimistic but ironically the elephant in the room, which Strauss Kahn ignored, was the impunity and lack of accountability of the Kenyan Finance Ministry that the IMF works very closely with.  The Minister of Finance presented a budget, which did not factor in reform agenda spending; and bizarrely failed to fund the constitutional referendum, which was identified as key to stability in Kenya that the IMF is pinning its growth hopes on.

For 65 years, the IMF has loaned billions of dollars to Third World governments without adequate public oversight and in the absence of market discipline. In Kenya, the Government started borrowing from the IMF in 1964. The loans from the IMF to Kenya have financed dictatorships, spawned corruption, harmed the environment, wrecked our economy, and then forced the Kenyan public hostage to pay the money back. In law, these debts are known as “odious”.

Today, Kenya owes 62.7% of its external public debt to the IMF and the World Bank. Poor Kenyans will spend over 24% of its entire budget paying back debt redemption and interest. Yet, this year not a single tax shilling will go to the development budget.

Kenya has very little to show for IMF and World Bank debts. Re-payments are in effect “shark fees” paid for funds that have long since vanished and the present value of the debt is even higher. Servicing huge unproductive debts drains the funds needed for education, health care and development. Kenyans have borrowed over 11 Billions for railway projects, but not a single inch of track has been built since Independence. Most of the debts owed by Kenyans are for services and goods that Kenyans have never received. Today 80% of Kenyans live on less than two dollars a day meanwhile the IMF and World Bank continue to loan billions of dollars to Kenyan corrupt leaders with nothing to show for it.

It was shocking to see the Managing Director of the IMF, Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrive in Nairobi with some more goodies. The IMF Chief says now the IMF wants to lend African Countries with Zero interest. Which Bank in the world lends without interest? And why? Is the IMF a charitable organization? In his high-powered speech Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn was able to tell Kenyans without batting an eyelid that in most African countries, one can lose a child because of poverty, unless of course, the IMF intervenes. Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn did not tell attentive Kenyans what role the IMF has played over the last 46 years to impoverish them to the extent that a Kenyan can lose a child over poverty.

The IMF is an organisation tasked with the mission of fostering free trade and global prosperity. The IMF has grown so that today with 155 countries it has the authority of being both regulator and overseer of the global economy. This power is so extensive that countries must join the IMF to be eligible for World Bank membership.

The IMF performs three main activities:

• monitoring national, global, and regional economic and financial developments and advising member countries on their economic policies;

• lending members hard currencies to support policy programs designed to correct balance of payments problems; and

• offering technical assistance in its areas of expertise, as well as training for government and central bank officials.

In Kenya, if the IMF actually performs these three activities, and if one were to honestly grade the performance of the IMF, it would be fair to award an F grade. Why? Because when Kenya joined the IMF, it agreed as required, to subject its economic and financial policies to the scrutiny of the IMF as well as the international community. Kenya made a commitment to pursue policies that are conducive to orderly economic growth and reasonable price stability as well as providing the IMF with data on its economy. The IMF’s regular monitoring of economies and associated provision of policy advice (surveillance) was intended to identify weaknesses that are causing or could lead to trouble in Kenya.

Has the IMF surveillance helped Kenya? Is grand corruption not now a terminal cancer that has become malignant spreading to institutions such as the treasury and the Ministry of Finance where the IMF sets up office? Is it not the IMF that gives budget technical & capacity building support to the same treasury that keeps writing bogus budgets? Is it not the IMF that keeps lending money to a corrupt Government that refuses to account to Parliament? Treasury and the Ministry of finance have to date refused to submit to an independent forensic audit into the National Budget for the last three years as ordered by Parliament. Treasury and the Ministry of Finance have refused to table in Parliament, the External Public debt register for Scrutiny. Is this the training being provided by the IMF, or is the IMF condoning corruption of those they purport to oversee?

Kenyan Citizens are now street smart and are very aware of the IMF bogus strategy for Kenya. The IMF should stop telling us what to do and what we should change. Instead, the IMF should start listening to Kenyan citizens when they tell the IMF what approach it should take to make the Kenya Government accountable and transparent to its citizenry. Kenyans do not want or need IMF money. IMF money will not lift poor Kenyans out of poverty. In truth the IMF is costing us dearly.

We reiterate the contents of our two letters to the IMF, managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn with an extra proviso, that its time for the IMF to leave Kenya.

Letter dated June 2nd 2009: IMF’s ODIOUS LOANS ARE IMPOVERISHING KENYA THROUGH COLLUSION WITH CORRUPT AGENT

Letter dated 30th March 2009: LOAN REQUEST BY THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA FOR ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS

Diplomacy is one thing, but economic reality is surely another. The Kenyan Treasury is in need of a big stick approach by international partners and the messaging of Mr. Strauss Kahn was totally off mark. The Kenyan Treasury’s claims that it wants to work with civil society and the private sector are platitudes meant to deceive – Treasury won’t even work with Parliament the representatives of the people.

Open Letter from the Partnership for Change to the International Monetary Fund on the Loan Request by the Republic of Kenya for One Hundred Million Dollars Dated 30th March 2009.

Download the signed PDF copy here

Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Managing Director
The International Monetary Fund
700 19th Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20431
For the attention of the Board of Directors

30th March 2009

Dear Sir,

RE: LOAN REQUEST BY THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA FOR ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS
We understand that the Kenya Government has applied for an emergency credit for US$ 100 million to cushion its currency from the International monetary Fund. We also understand that this application is due for consideration at your next Board Meeting.

The Partnership for Change is concerned that while Kenyans continue to demand accountability from the Government of Kenya on our Public Debt, the Government continues to ignore the Public and continues to borrow and indebt the poor people of Kenya.

The position of the Partnership for Change is that transparency requires that Kenyans know what they owe, to whom they owe, and for what purpose they have a debt. The Partnership for Change wants no further contracting of International Debts unless and until the Government of Kenya accounts to the people of Kenya through Parliament by tabling the complete list of all loans and Debt registers for the period 1963 to date for public scrutiny. We also want the Law amended before any further borrowing, so that it is illegal for the Government of Kenya to borrow without prior Parliamentary approval and full debate on the merits of the borrowing. We request that all future lending to Kenya be pegged to accountability and transparency. We submit that that most of the debts that Kenya is listed as owing are bogus, corrupt debts which have impoverished Kenyans who repay these debts annually to the tune of 24% of our National budget. The effect of making poor, starving Kenyans pay these unconscionable debts can easily be described as a crime against humanity.

It is in this context that we write to your organization as hereunder.

Three years ago, when he was the junior Senator for Illinois, US President Barack Obama, famously said in Nairobi that “while corruption is a problem we all share, here in Kenya it is a crisis – a crisis that’s robbing an honest people of the opportunities they have fought for – the opportunity they deserve.” If he were to visit Kenya today, he might feel that the situation is no longer a crisis but has reached the tipping point. In fact, corruption in Kenya is no longer a crisis; if one understands crisis’ to mean that point where there is some hope of recovery should the government intervene. We believe that corruption in Kenya is akin to a terminal cancer that has become malignant, and the government doctors attending the patient are administering placebo treatment, allowing the cancer to spread institution by institution. Among these institutions are the Treasury and the Ministry of Finance whose debt management leaves a lot to be desired.

Aggravating the situation, The President Mwai Kibaki and The Prime Minister Raila Odinga are in denial as evidenced by their public statements, that the corruption problem in the Grand Coalition is not serious. The consequences of their denial is that the fight against corruption is not a Government priority and Kenyans continue to suffer as impunity for gross economic crimes becomes entrenched to the same extent as during the Daniel Arap Moi regime. Arap Moi’s greatest scandal, Goldenberg, remains unresolved and beneficiaries named in a Judicial Commission of Inquiry remain in Cabinet and public prominence. This despite promises by Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga.

Nothing characterizes such impunity as the Treasury or the Ministry of Finance. It is this department of the Kenyan Government which is responsible for the unresolved scandal of the Sovereign debt in the form of Irrevocable Promissory Notes worth close to USD 750 million dollars that were illegally issued, without legal consideration, to several phantom credit companies in the Anglo Leasing credit contracts. To date these have not been cancelled and the Government that is asking you for emergency credit is actually negotiating payments of these bogus debts with the so–called financiers in Europe, in the full knowledge that no credit was delivered to Kenya and that the poor taxpayers are the ones who will eventually pay for these bogus debts.

To add insult to injury the Government is refusing to seek mutual legal assistance from international authorities who are willing to unravel the Anglo Leasing scandal with respect to their nationals. It is public record that among such authorities whose inquiries are being frustrated by the Kenyan authorities, and the Attorney General in particular, are the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office. The Kenyan authorities have also yet to make a serious request for assistance of the United States Department of Justice which has in its custody a US national who was involved in Anglo Leasing called Bradley Birkenfeld. The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission has no interest in international asset recovery.

Beyond the failure of investigative and prosecutorial bodies in Kenya, corruption is systemic because the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury are not accountable to Parliament and can keep the contracting of such bogus loans, shielded from legislative scrutiny in breach of the External Loans and Credits Act which requires Parliament to be informed of such debt by the Minister of Finance. To date, for example, the detailed separate audits of the 18 security related contracts known as Anglo Leasing worth Ksh 56.33 billion, have never been tabled in Parliament.

But it is not just Parliament that has been kept in the dark. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has been side-stepped by the Treasury for decades as it borrows recklessly especially since the mid 1980s.

Section 31 of the Central Bank of Kenya Act states that the Central Bank shall administer any payment agreements entered into by Kenya, and shall be consulted by the Government in negotiating any payments agreement. However in contravention of this law, the Central Bank has been kept out of the loop. Although in 2004, the Central Bank was lobbying for amendments to the External Loans and Credit Act to compel the Government to consult it in all external loans borrowing, these amendments have never been enacted.
So, the situation in 2009 remains as it was in 2004. Although the Permanent Secretary for Finance, Mr. Joseph Kinyua, said that he issued a circular abolishing the use of promissory notes and to stop commercial credit agreements of the Anglo Leasing type, the Government does not have to consult with the Central Bank before it borrows money abroad. In fact the Government is not obliged to give full disclosure of external payment agreements it requires the CBK to administer. As regards external commercial public debt, the Central Bank is legally bound to pay without protest so long as the instructions given to the Bank by the Government are proper and there are sufficient funds to honour the transaction without querying the underlying transactions.

This is what happened during the entire Anglo Leasing series of payments of commitment fees, principal repayments and interest servicing from 1997 to date. Unfortunately for the Kenyan people whose taxes are the guarantee for sovereign debt, these Anglo Leasing debts are secured by irrevocable promissory notes and legal opinions by Kenya’s Attorney General, Amos Wako, which validated them giving consideration for sham contracts drawn by Treasury whose sole purpose was to facilitate embezzlement of taxpayers’ funds. An investigation by the Controller and Auditor General, Evan Mwai, found that not a shilling in credit was ever provided by Anglo Leasing financiers to justify the issuance of promissory notes. Sadly provisions have been made in the current budget to pay some of these debts for money not received and which is certainly not owed. The budget is prepared by the Treasury which has approached you for emergency credit.

As if that were not enough, the Permanent Secretary for Finance and other senior Treasury officials have told civil society representatives that there are false entries in the country’s national external debt register. These were apparently inserted between 2001 and 2004 and cover the Anglo Leasing type 18 security related contracts. It would appear that despite having cleaned the external public debt register in 2001, after hiring Lazard Brothers the Government of Kenya in just a few years loaded the external public debt register with close to 1 billion dollars worth of fictitious credit and debts.

Treasury’s pathetic stewardship of our public resources threatens to cost Kenya billions of shillings. If the debt register contains false entries, Kenyans have no way of knowing how much they owe to external creditors and on what terms. In effect the Permanent Secretary, Joseph Kinyua has disclosed that there is a multi billion shilling hole in our books comprising what are obviously unconscionable debts.

Kenyans are aware that the largest component of our Public Debt is to the World Bank and the IMF. We want the World Bank and the IMF to lend responsibly and not to continue impoverishing Kenyans. What Kenyans would like to see from the World Bank and the IMF is comprehensive debt relief, with immediate cancellation of our debts to your Organizations. Millions of Kenyans are wallowing in abject poverty and indeed are starving, unemployed and destitute. Without transparency in this matter of national debts, there will be little point in continuing to maintain the fiction, now being put about by your institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, that the government of Kenya has the capacity or will to unravel this shameful system failure and corruption scandals. Kenyans must stop the abuse of borrowing powers by Treasury. We do not want to borrow $100,000,000 from the IMF. The Government of Kenya should be reminded that they have provided for a similar amount $100,000,000 to repay bogus Anglo Leasing and Ken Ren fertilizer factory debts in the current budget 2008/2009. Ken Ren fertilizer factory is a phantom project for which annual payments are being made by the Treasury to a bank in Austria and a bank in Belgium. They should use those funds to “cushion the currency”. The IMF and the World Bank should not assist the Government of Kenya in scamming Kenyans.

We therefore respectfully urge you:

1. Not to approve the request by the Government of Kenya in its present form.

2. To insist that the following conditionalities apply before the request is considered:

• The Government of Kenya immediately demonstrates austerity measures, including the reduction of the number of ministries to a reasonable number such as 13 (the size of Cabinet at Independence). Kenyans cannot afford to maintain a bloated Cabinet of 93 Ministers and Assistant Ministers. There are currently 43 Ministries in the Grand Coalition Government, many of which have no developmental added value and are mere sinecure positions for The President and Prime Minister to fill.

• An Audit of the External Public Debt Register be made and issued to the Public through the National Assembly

• A Report on pending legislation and threatened proceedings against the Government of Kenya on the basis of Sovereign debt be made and issued to the Public through the National Assembly

• Immediate retirement in the Public Interest of the Permanent Secretary, Treasury and the Head of Debt Management and immediate replacement of the two persons with Kenyans with appropriate credentials who can easily be found from within the Kenya Public Service.

• All wasteful expenditure is removed from the National Budget estimates to be presented to Parliament in June 2009 and that the Estimates to reflect 60% in Development expenditure and 40% in recurrent Expenditure.

• Provision by the Government of Kenya of evidence that it has requested mutual legal assistance for international asset recovery and has taken action to seize proceeds of corruption in Kenya.

3. To consider comprehensive debt relief for Kenya, by canceling our current debts to your institutions in order to alleviate the suffering of millions of poor Kenyans and to enable Kenya to meet crucial Millennium Development Goals.

4. Peg all future support to the Government of Kenya to accountability and transparency in the borrowing and implementation of the funds advanced.

We trust the International Monetary Fund Board of Directors will consider the opinion of those who will inevitably be taxed to repay whatever loan the Government of Kenya obtains regardless of whether or not they obtained any developmental benefit from it.

Yours Faithfully,

Mwalimu Mati

For the Partnership for Change
www.marsgroupkenya.org/partnershipforchange

The Partnership for Change is an open initiative of Mars Group Kenya and other like-minded organizations, Civil Society Agencies, NGO’s, Youth groups, Faith Based Organizations, Social Movements and grass roots organization and Networks from all of the eight provinces of Kenya. The mission of the Partnership for Change is to advance the strategic use of non-violent action in calling upon the Kenyan Citizen to demand the End of Impunity, the restoration of democratic accountability and the end of dictatorship in Kenya.

c.c.

Open Copies to

1. All Members of Parliament ( Kenya National Assembly)

2. Bi – Lateral Donors to Kenya

3. The Country Resident Director, the World Bank

4. The Resident Representative, African Development Bank

5. The Resident Representative, International Monetary Fund

6. Media

7. The Board of Directors of the World Bank

Download the signed PDF copy here

Nyc Iv: at Http://youth.marsgroupkenya.org the National Youth Convention Begins on Friday 19th September 2008 at the Bomas of Kenya. Theme: “rebuilding Our Nation … Reconciling Our Communities: the Challenges and Prospects for Young Kenyans” “vijanaa Tujipange”

NYC IV: at http://youth.marsgroupkenya.org The National Youth Convention begins on Friday 19th September 2008 at the Bomas of Kenya.

Theme: “Rebuilding Our Nation … Reconciling Our Communities: The Challenges and Prospects for Young Kenyans” “Vijanaa Tujipange”

Youth Vibe is a special newspaper edition of the Extra ordinary session of the National Youth Convention 2008 is published by the Mars Group Kenya and can be read here:

http://youth.marsgroupkenya.org/youth/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=93&Itemid=16

For more information on the National Youth Convention visit: http://youth.marsgroupkenya.org

Nyc Iv; Kenyan Youth to Set National Agenda at the Extra-ordinary Session of the National Youth Convention to Be Held at the Bomas of Kenya on 19-20 September 2008.

NYC IV; Kenyan Youth to set National Agenda at the extra-ordinary session of the National Youth Convention to be held at the Bomas of Kenya on 19-20 September 2008.

The Fourth National Youth Convention will sit on the 19-20th of September. NYC IV will bring together 1,000 Young Kenyan Leaders from all 210 constituencies of the Republic of Kenya and from different backgrounds.

The Convention offers a national platform to celebrate the achievements of young Kenyans in changing public life. It is intended to build consensus on the priorities and expectations of young people across the country, their role and duties in the post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction process; to build a nationwide network of volunteer peace-makers and reconstruction workers; and to create a unifying platform for mobilizing young people across the country in Communities of Practice.

Why NYC IV?

Kenya’s demography presents a very unique picture of the population in the country as the larger population of Kenya is basically the Youth.

The violence after the December 2007 General Election results, and subsequent attempts to resolve Kenya’s governance crisis, present an opportunity for a structured and meaningful participation of Young Kenyans in the post conflict reconstruction. The last general elections demonstrated the deep-seated divisions and challenges facing Kenya. The destruction after last year’s election focused attention on the monumental tasks remaining in the process of reconstruction. The task of reconciling, reconstructing and reforming Kenya is huge and has implications on the lives and future of young people.

The Youth largely participated in and were affected by the Post Election crisis. They therefore have a stake in all discussions and actions to reconcile and reconstruct Kenya. These tasks cannot be left to the Government and politicians alone. We the Young Kenyans must rise and respond to the onerous task ahead of bringing the country back onto the track of sustainable and inclusive development. These insights led the NYC Team in partnership with other stakeholders and players in the youth development arena, to think of the space in which young people would define the future of Kenya. We need a radical new thinking through a paradigm shift to be able to manage the inspirations of young people rising to the leadership challenges of a country in transition.

The ambition of the NYC starting with NYC IV is to transform an ever deepening understanding of the complex nationhood questions into practical ideas for policy, strategy and institutional development that better integrate local interests with the interests of the whole nation. These 2 days of the NYC IV will be an arena for formulating new daring visions, for giving voice to new dreams – unimpeded by what you have to do tomorrow. Or by what you did yesterday.

We call the results from this new thinking, communities of practice prototypes. These could be advocacy plans, business ideas, ideal convention resolutions transformed to community actions. We need to identify the policies or actions that create counter tipping points that can tip the system of youth activity towards balance with national systems – as fast as we can.

The important thing is that everyone takes time to dare to think radically differently, with unbounded imagination – starting from the problem and not from existing arrangements. Community of Practice prototype is not what you think: it’s how you think.

Expected outcomes of NYC IV:

  • Role and responsibilities of young people in rising to the leadership challenge of this country.

  • Clear action plans on the youth participation in the National Agenda including; Enactment of the National Youth Policy, The National Accord, Completion of the Constitution Review Process and Strategic participation in the Public Commissions.

  • Emphasis on the change of Young people’s attitudes and personal responsibilities in relation to their identity as a country.

  • A partnership and dialogue Platform – Youth-government-public-private sector and development partners in the process of reconciling, reconstructing and reforming the Kenya.

  • A Youth Advocacy plan with Key Government, Public and Private Stakeholders on the resolutions.

What you and I will be doing by participating in the fourth National Youth Convention?

Kenya’s leadership needs new and fresh ideas. A lot of them. Much of the way the country works needs re working and cannot shift these tasks of change to the older generation alone. They belong to everyone and the Youth have a major stake in the process as they will live in this country for longer. We want to foster a new generation of leadership ideas that take on problems directly, unencumbered by convention. Ideas that get the needed things done.

New ideas do not often grow on trees. They can come about from chance connection or solitary reflection, co-creative dialogues or brainstorming sessions. This year’s convention has been designed to help new ideas come from you.

The NYC IV features Hosted Conversations or Break away sessions. These are for those of you who want to dig into a well defined challenge with other eagerly engaged people. Each of these sessions is designed to come up with clear consensus and positions. Each session has been researched on and background material provided at http://youth.marsgroupkenya.org and www.youthagenda.org

Also featured during the Convention is re-thinking the role of young people in the leadership of this country. For those of you seeking new insights or inspiration for ideas already at work in your mind, we have a broad range of plenary sessions as entry points to action oriented results.

Two days is not a long time to change Kenya. But two days with more than 1000 dedicated and creative minds should result in good sound ideas for action. This is our personal and collective opportunity this year: to come to the final plenary with ideas, workable or unworkable, in a country as it is today. Share your ‘what fits’, your ‘why nots’, your ‘yes ands’. Shock us, wow us, turn us upside down. By the end of the convention these daring visions may well be ready for some nuts and bolts that anchor them in the country.

The Constitution of Kenya talks about the Kenyan Citizen. There is no reference of tribe in the Constitution. The NYC IV starts at this point. MY TRIBE IS KENYAN. We trust that all Young Kenyans will participate in the National Youth Convention. You can participate by watching the Convention through the mainstream media, who have also pledged to support the young people of this country who make up the population, and by participating in the debate wherever you are in the Country.

Let’s put down our weapons! Let’s talk about us – as Kenyans.

Related links

Enquires to nyc@youthagenda.org

http://youth.marsgroupkenya.org

www.youthagenda.org

Sponsored by

The NYC IV is being sponsored by:

  1. A donor basket Fund under the National Response Initiative NRI under URAIA
  2. MARS Group Kenya
  3. Fredrick Ebert Foundation (FES)

With support from

The Following Organizations are part of the Team supporting NYC IV

  1. Youth Agenda
  2. YES Kenya
  3. Slum Code Group
  4. MARS Group Kenya
  5. Peacenet
  6. YPEER Network
  7. Young Women Leadership Institute
  8. Voluntary Youth Philanthropists (VYP)
  9. Young Women Christian Association
  10. NCEC
  11. Vijanaa for Peace

A Special Kenya Crisis Website with Complete Multimedia News Footage Uploaded- Contains 1,905 Multi-media News Clips

Mars Group Kenya opens a new sub-domain for public use

http://crisis.marsgroupkenya.org

Snap shot of the crisis page

The post-election crisis was the gravest threat to the survival of Kenya since
Independence in 1963. To contribute to current efforts to address the root causes
of the crisis, and to facilitate ending the impunity of perpetrators, Mars Group
Kenya is opening its databases to free public access via a special website supported
by the Open Society Institute East Africa Initiative.

Since May 1st 2008, Mars Group Kenya has been implementing a monitoring and documentation
project for the purposes of providing regular web-based research updates on the
implementation of the peace accord in Kenya. The Crisis sub-domain developed under
this grant is now open to public access.

Sub-domain description:

1. Multimedia Content & Resources:

A special crisis website has been created at the URL address http://crisis.marsgroupkenya.org
The crisis website contains 1,905 selected multi-media news clips from Kenyan
and international media on the events in Kenya relevant to the implementation
of the National Accord of February 28th 2008. The multi-media clips cover all
major events starting December 27th 2007 through the end of June 2008 including:

  • Kenya’s Election Day, Counting, Tallying
  • the violent aftermath of the Announcement of Kibaki’s re-election.
  • Domestic and International Mediation and Negotiation Efforts
  • Civil Society and other responses including international community
  • Gang, Militia and State sponsored violence
  • The National Accord and formation of the Grand Coalition
  • Media and civil liberties suppression

All clips have been converted into Flash format and are searchable by subject
title, date, name of individuals or organisations. Play lists can be created and
copies downloaded by users. The site uses XML and has been optimised for Google’s
search engine.

Multimedia Requests: Mars Group supplies access to its multimedia databases on
request. For crisis information, Mars Group has been approached by inter alia
the Commissions created under the National Accord. The challenge Mars Group faces
as regards enabling unrestricted public access to all the clips is bandwidth and
server costs. The next phase will involve acquiring more server space to enable
faster, free public access.

Month

No. of multimedia clips

December 2007

186

January 2008

614

February 2008

189

March 2008

428

April 2008

306

May 2008

64

June 2008

118

2. Monthly interactive web reports: crisis documentation

January 2008: 30 documents including the media tally of the Presidential election
result, the officially announced Electoral Commission of Kenya tally, specialist
analyses of the role played by security forces in the Tally Announcement; statements
by Kenyan civil society including the Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice’s
verdict on the Presidential election process and media analyses; statements by
the EU Observer Mission; the European Parliament; Human Rights Watch; Parliamentary
debates; the Kenya Medical Association; the Law Society of Kenya and the World
Bank.

February 2008: 49 Documents including rare documentation of the position of the
African Union, the United States, the World Bank, the European Union during the
months of January and February 2008. Also includes reports and statements by Kenyan
NGOs (including the KHRC and IMLU) on violence and testimony before international
forums (including foreign legislatures).

March 2008: 15 Documents including the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill, the
signed agreements between the principals to the National Accord (Kibaki and Odinga),
specialist commentaries on the agreements, research reports and memoranda from
inter alia Human Rights Watch, Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice and the
United Nations.

April 2008: 11 Documents including specialist commentaries on article 16 of the
Constitution of Kenya given that the Grand Coalition government was sworn in on
14/04/08.

Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation process 2008: 28 Documents
including
the full text of all agreements reached, and statements issued, during the negotiation
and mediation process which resulted in the National Accord between the PNU/ Government
and the ODM on 28/02/08.

Information Requests: The crisis website constitutes the most comprehensive record
of the political crisis in Kenya – no other organisation was able to document
the crisis using technology available to Mars Group Kenya exclusively. As a result
there is some demand for the information in the Mars Group databases, even prior
to the uploading of the website itself. Requests for information and multimedia
resources have been received from public and civil society entities including
the Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice; the [Kriegler] Commission on Post
Election Violence; the [Waki] Commission on the Election Process; local and international
media and Political Parties including the PNU and ODM.

3. Screenshot of the Crisis Websitehttp://crisis.marsgroupkenya.org

Snap shot of the crisis page

The crisis website incorporates the following features:

  • A crisis calendar interface which allows the user to browse by date for multimedia
  • clips – linked to 17 other sub domains
  • A search engine allowing users to browse by subject matter
  • Flash player for faster viewing
  • Quick downlinks (multiple servers)
  • Written using XML allowing user updates e.g. RSS feed
  • Linked directly to Mars Group Kenya’s Website and all sub domains
  • Optimized for Google
  • Registration for updates

For more information contact:

info@marsgroupkenya.org

Mwalimu Mati, CEO, Mars Group Kenya

A New Gem in Parliament? Hon. Mwakulegwa Condemns Government Waste and Bogus External Debt Payments Including Ken Ren Fertiliser

The following is an excerpt from the Hansard of Parliament of 24th June 2008. Hon. Mwakulegwa is a new member of Parliament for Voi Constituency. We upload his contribution to the budget debate and applaud his effort to discuss real issues in the budget as presented by the Minister for Finance.

Mr. Mwakulegwa: “Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I rise to support the

. Minister’s Budget. Despite the hardships in Kenya, it was a well thought-out Budget.

Kama vile wenzangu wanapendekeza tutozwe kodi, nakubaliana nao. Tukitozwa kodi, wananchi wengi watafurahi sana. Wabunge 222 wakitozwa kodi, hiyani Kshs800 milioni. Ningependa Waziri wa Fedha aangalie mahali ambapo tungeweza kupunguza matumizi yetu, ili wananchi wa Kenya wapate nafuu kifedha. Mambo hayo ni mengi sana.

Nitaanza na Recurrent Expenditure. In last year’s expenditure, under hospitality, the Government used Kshs 2.16 billion which is about Kshs 5.7 million per day. Now, if the Government could reduce that expenditure, there could be a lot of saving.

The Temporary Deputy Speaker (Ms. Noor): Order! Please, you are required to use one language; either English or Kiswahili. Do not mix!

Mr. Mwakulegwa: Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy speaker: I will restrict myself to English. As I was saying; I am going to focus on areas where we could save money as a country. As I said, I am looking at Recurrent Expenditure. Last year, the Government spent Kshs2.16 billion on hospitality. That translates to about Kshs 5.7 million per day. If we could reduce that amount of money, we would have huge savings. Even if Members of Parliament are not taxed; we could save a lot of money from that.

For example, the Minister for Finance said that he was going to increase his hospitality budget from Kshs 500,000 to Kshs 728,000 per day. This expenditure is uncalled for.

If you look at the other recurrent expenditure utilities, we spent Kshs 2 billion to pay for water, electricity and other things. If you look at the expenditure by State House, you will realise that it spends more than the 30 Ministries in terms of paying for these utilities. It is important for the Government to make sure that though it is not under a microscope, these expenses could be huge savings for this Government and Kenyans.

When it comes to paying rent, you will be surprised that we spend Kshs3.9 billion, while the Government only collected Kshs239 million out of which, Kshs210 million was collected from the KlCC. Therefore, if we could utilize the Government buildings like Nyayo House and others, the Government could save a lot of money from that.

‘With regard’ to printing, the Government Printer is supposed to be the only printing press used by the Government. However, the Ministries go out to out-source printing services. For example, last year, we spend Kshs2.2 billion on out-sourced printing services for the Government, whereas we have a fully-fledged Government Printing Press. Had we used it much more efficiently, we could have saved this money. Secondly, there is a lot of trash and paper all over in the Government buildings. Maybe it will be a good idea if we set up a paper recycling plant for the Government so that they can utilize these, paper and reprint using the same.

Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, another area where we spend a lot of money is foreign trips. Even during the crisis, we saw Government delegations touring overseas. Last year we spent Kshs 2 billion. This amounts to about Kshs 6.7 million per day. If we could cut down on these foreign trips of huge delegations which are not necessary, we could also save a lot of money.

There is also an Item where State House is getting new cars worth Kshs 73 million.

Now, last year’s Budget had a similar amount of money which was used to buy new cars for State House. It is important to note that currently, State House has 149 cars. If every year we have the same allocation for buying new cars, what will happen to the old cars?

Does it mean that these cars are obsolete? So, it is an area we could look at and save a lot.

Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I know that we are not supposed to discuss internal security matters, however, it is surprising that Kshs 47 billion is proposed to be used by the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS), Armed Forces and the Kenya Anti- Corruption Commission (KACC). Though we are not supposed to discuss about national security issues, when it comes to KACC, I thought this is a transparent body whereby we should have been told how much- will be spend and how much money is allocated to this body. That way, it would be very transparent when it Comes, to handling their own budget.

Another area of concern is that there was Kshs4 billion which was to be paid to KENREN Fertilizer Company. This company does not exist. The fertilizer plant ought to have been approved by Parliament in 1970 and it was to be located somewhere in Mombasa, but it was never built. This Item is, however, in the Budget. It is important for the Minister to really tell this House where that money will be going to.