Friday, February 29, 2008


I am very pleased to report that, after several long weeks of often acrimonious debate in an atmosphere of considerable tension and anxiety, peppered by some frightening outbreaks of violence, an agreement between the 2 opposing political parties in Kenya, ODM and PNU, and their leaders Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki, has now been signed and publicly announced in Nairobi - yesterday evening. Chief mediator Kofi Annan and the current president of the African Union, President Jakaya Murisho Kikwete of Tanzania , were there to tell us so. And both Raila and Kibaki gave good speeches committing themselves and their parties to uphold the agreement and to ensure that it will be implemented.

The basic agreement is that a power-sharing coalition will be formed, and that the post of an executive Prime Minister will be created, and occupied by the leader of the party with the greatest number of seats in Parliament (that is Odinga of ODM). Also 2 deputy prime ministers will be appointed, one each from each of the largest parties. The cabinet will therefore comprise the President (Kibaki) and the Vice President (Musyoka) the PM (Odinga), the 2 deputy PMs, and other Ministers. Government positions in general from top to bottom will be shared out 50/50. Parliament will be convened next Thursday 6th March.

Of course the challenge will be for the political class to truly commit to this agreement and ensure that it is followed and respected. Let us hope they will do that.

Now the next stage of the mediated talks can get started and Kofi Annan says this will kick off today. These talks will be about finding a long term solution to the underlying issues that for so many years have been ignored or glossed over and which are recognized as being the root causes of Kenya ’s difficulties. These are Poverty/Inequity, Land Tenure/Land Reform, the repair of a badly mangled Constitution, and the reform of the Judiciary, and the Electoral process. We also hope they may tackle the other evils that we have had to live with over the years – corruption and the culture of impunity and lack of accountability among many more evils in the society.

So there is a lot still to do. But we in Kenya are enormously relieved that this agreement has been reached at last. Frankly we feared (only the day before yesterday) that the talks were destined for failure and that the country would plunge back into the horrific violence and anarchy that we suffered in January before Kofi Annan arrived. Now we believe that we have turned a very important corner and see a new road lit up for us.We have finally come out of the very dark traumatizing tunnel.....and can now see the light.

Of course there is a huge mess to clean up and Cosmos Education Kenya will certainly be playing a part in the national recovery process as far as our activities are concerned. Hundreds of thousands of jobs and livelihoods were lost or severely handicapped, in this case, there are lots of children who are very unfortunate due to displacement...hence lack of schooling and or proper education. Millions of us got badly traumatized, even though there are counselling centres countrywide, they are however not able to cope up with the large number of clients.

For CE Kenya, there will be no shortage of constructive work. However, if the politicians can really provide the space, or create a condusive environment that we can work in, I am very confident that we are very well placed and up to the task of reaching a large number of students especially those who are in the IDP camps. I say this boldly since i know the kind of a team we have on the ground has all the capability and willingness to walk an extra mile for this worthy course. I know that we are all committed to peace, stability, unity, justice, and to working positively to build this society,economy and this country at large.....and more so, make sure our children get quality education.

So congratulations and very many thanks to everyone for your patience, persistence and support. Lets all March forward now.......!

For CE Kenya members......please lets all meet tomorrow in the office as earlier agreed.

Eng,W/Tec, Peter Kanja
VP CE Kenya
+254 722 961 307

Monday, February 18, 2008


On Saturday 16th of February 2008, we the Executive team of Cosmos Education Kenya was able to meet for the first time ever after the country’s elections. On our agenda for the meeting that day was among others:
· Post election violence effect on members
· The Nyota getting there...professional insights project
· Holiday Science learning camp (HSLC)
· Plan of action for term one and the rest of the year
· CE Kenya contribution towards education in the IDP camps
· Plan for a members meeting to be held on the 2nd of March 2008

Each of the executive team members gave an account of how the election fiasco had affected them in their lives. We were glad to hear that, although some of us had been forced to move and had lost property, we had not been affected physically in terms of bodily harm or loss of life of immediate family and close relatives. It was truly a happy moment to see us all well and good.

We discussed the Nyota project and how the scheduling had been affected. We had been hoping to complete the last 5 sessions within this first term of the year but due to the commotion, we were unable to carry out this plan. Lucky for us, we had done the lion’s share of the project the previous year. We have come up with a plan to tackle the disturbed schedules.

We took to discuss scheduling of the HSL camp to be held in April. Since this has not affected by the current state of the country, we are very positive that we will hold the camp as scheduled. We are looking into venues and logistics as we speak.

Next we discussed CE Kenya’s contribution towards education in the Internally Displaced Person’s (IDP) camps. Since the camps host families who have lost their homes, we decided the children in these camps need not loose out on their education too. We discussed about having a similar program as the Holiday science learning camp within the IDP camps. We have organized meetings with various other organizations which are dealing with education within the camps and we are hoping to get positive responses. We are looking at logistics at the moment and we will inform you on our progress so watch this space.

We discussed on having a meeting for all the CE Kenya members to, among other discussions, find out how they are doing post elections. We have set the meeting to be on the 2nd of March 2008. The agenda for the meeting will be: post election violence effect on members; Plan of action within the first term and the rest of the year; CE Kenya contribution towards education in the IDP camps; Plan for a members’ activity; Any other Business.

Under any other business, we planned to visit MCEDO school within the course of this term. The school is located within the Mathare area which was adversely affected by the post election violence. We are hoping to find the school standing strong despite the catastrophe and that the students have not been affected dearly.

We were proud to find out that, Isaac Musyoka – CE Kenya’s Treasure, had acquired a 6 month internship with the United Nations. He works at the DCPI office and has been there for about two weeks. He will inform us more on his participation at the UN offices.

Some more good news is that, Isaac Musyoka and Bridgit Syombua – CE-Kenya’s President, have been invited to attend the 4th World Youth Congress to be held in Quebec, Canada from the 10th -21st August of this year. For more information about this, please watch this space.

We discussed many other issues pertaining to the running of CE Kenya offices and set out goals for the term and year. As we left each other that day, we couldn’t help but feel closer and comfortable with our achievements so far.
It was truly a fruitful day!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

On the threshold of a breakthrough

Folks, checkout today's headline from one of the leading Dailies in Kenya, The Standard

By Standard Team
It will be a unique political solution for Kenya that will be unveiled this week if both sides at the Kofi Annan-led talks agree to final details of a deal already on the table.
Both sides on Sunday gave hints of a power-sharing arrangement tailored to bring both teams into Government, in a settlement delicately balanced to end the post-election crisis, start the healing and build on future stability.
This follows last week’s announcement by Annan of an impending political solution, but details of how it would look like remained sketchy.
Four leading political analysts were of the view that given the delicate background behind which the Annan talks are taking place, the expected power-sharing formula may not have to stick to internationally established models but would be one made uniquely for the Kenyan crisis.
The analysts were agreed that the most expected outcome of the talks by Kenyans and politicians is a Government that leaves Mr Mwai Kibaki as the President while creating another top respectable executive position — like the Prime Minister — for Mr Raila Odinga.
They said for a fair deal to be seen to be struck, several ODM members would have to be absorbed into the Cabinet, some as assistant ministers, while Kibaki would have to cede some executive authority to Raila.

Amend constitution
Some of the agreements that may emerge in the talks would call for constitutional amendments to accommodate positions that may be created.
Both Kibaki and Raila are understood to have heeded international pressure and acceded to a demand to share power, the details of which will this morning occupy the resumed sessions of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation team.
But top politicians, including Raila, declined to speculate on the final deal, though they were agreed that the final steps of a political solution were in sight.
Raila, who spoke Sunday afternoon after attending a church service at the All Saints Cathedral, said: "The mediation team agreed on a political settlement and we support it. Details on the kind of settlement will be out soon".
But asked who the beneficiaries of the joint government would be, Raila remained tactically evasive: "We will give our proposals at the negotiation table. We are not going to negotiate through the media. At this point, I don’t know who is going into the Government or who is going out, we have not reached that stage yet".
He said the two sides were still discussing who would lead the government and what roles each party would play, and urged the media to wait for official communication from the mediation team sometime this week.
Finance minister Amos Kimunya, a close ally of President Kibaki, indicated that the Government side was flexible to the proposal to share power, even if it meant amending the constitution.
"We are willing to give this effort all our co-operation. When we agree, the rest can be handled constitutionally," said Kimunya.
He added: "The Wako draft has the position of a Prime Minister with certain responsibilities. It has worked in other countries, including the neighbouring Tanzania, why can it not work here?"
Prof Peter Wanyande, the dean of political science at the University of Nairobi (UoN), and Tom Ocholla, a political scientist at the university, concurred that in an ideal parliamentary system, the party with majority MPs would form the government, with its leader becoming the executive prime minister.
But the two doubted that such a straightjacket system could be applied in the Kenyan situation, saying that certain concessions would have to be made.
Said Wanyande: "We must appreciate that if such a settlement were to be reached here, it may include certain concessions that are not necessarily typical of a parliamentary system. For the sake of national healing, all parties could be brought on board in the power sharing arrangement".
Ocholla said the president’s role was largely ceremonial in a parliamentary system of government but he doubted that PNU would cede that much ground.
"I doubt whether PNU would agree to an executive prime minister with sweeping powers. I believe they are going to push for the Tanzanian model where the prime minister enjoys limited powers," he said.
In Tanzania, the President is both the head of state and head of government. The president appoints a prime minister who serves as the government’s leader in the National Assembly.
Once the deal is struck, Ocholla suggested that the present Cabinet be dissolved to pave way for a freshly reconstituted one in line with the proposed agreement.
Multi-party democracy under threat
Lawyer and political scientist Paul Mwangi said the proposed power-sharing could complicate the case for multi-party democracy.
First, Mwangi said, under the current Constitution Kenya is a multiparty democracy. Second, executive power is vested in the president, hence the proposed position of a prime minister must be preceded by a constitutional overhaul.
As regards multiparty democracy, he argued that if ODM were to be brought into government, that would "water down" this principle and contradict what the opposition has fought for all along.
"Who then would be the leader of opposition if ODM were to join Government? Clearly, ODM cannot be both in Government and in the opposition," he posed.
To sidestep the contradiction, he proposed a mechanism for a Government of National Unity that would allow opposition chiefs to be part of government.
"Even then, we should find out a way of constituting an opposition because leaders of the three big parties would then be in Government," he concluded.
Another political scientist, Dr Chris Abong’o, said whatever balance would be struck between the two sides, Annan’s team must strive to come out with a ‘win-win’ scenario.
"For the sake of healing and reconciliation, no side should be seen to come out wielding the big stick over the other. It should be a ‘win-win’ for both," said Dr Abong’o.
The ‘win-win’ formula was also echoed by visiting Anglican Archbishop of York in the United Kingdom.
"I am appealing to Kofi Annan to lead the process into a ‘win-win’ solution for both sides," said Archbishop Sentamu at the All Saints Cathedral. He has already met Raila and Justice minister Martha Karua.
On where a shared government leaves the opposition, both Prof Wanyande and Ocholla had varied views.
Said Ocholla: "The fate of the opposition certainly is an issue of legitimate concern that is not being addressed seriously in case of a power sharing deal."
Ocholla, however, noted that there could be a silver lining to the arrangement given that the parties involved hold radically different ideological differences.
"This factor perhaps will provide internal checks and balances within Government. Moreover, the fact that both parties would seek to meet their respective pledges to the electorate would discourage wayward behaviour," he argued.
But Wanyande differed, saying the power-sharing arrangement would not necessarily deal a deathblow to multi-party politics "because there is no opposition to speak about in the first place".
He explained that ODM was locked in a bitter electoral dispute with PNU over who won the elections and hence had not accepted to assume the role of the official opposition party.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, who had spoken a day earlier, said the matter of power-sharing needed further discussion to ensure it did not conflict with the Constitution.
"Our Constitution is very clear that Kenya is a multiparty state. This means that what is arrived at protects this cherished ideal," Kalonzo said.
Other politicians who welcomed the power sharing deal included Laikipia East MP Mr Mwangi Kiunjuri
"I think it would be a good idea if it is the only solution to unlock the political impasse," said Kiunjuri, who declined to comment further.
Seven ODM MPs from Nyanza and Western have indicated that any proposed joint government with PNU should reflect the strength of their party.
The MPs, who on Sunday toured Western to assess the impact of post-election violence, pointed out that ODM should have a major stake owing to its strength in Parliament.
The MPs included Dr Oburu Odinga (Bondo), Mr Ababu Namwamba (Budalangi), Mr Manyala Keya (Lurambi), Dr Simiyu Eseli (Kimilili), Mr Fred Outa (Nyando) and Mr Alfred Odhiambo (Butula).

Setting the record straight

Over 500 people dead, hundreds of thousands internally displaced, and the death toll increasing with every dawn. People are fleeing their homes by the dozen everyday. Going where? They don’t know! This is what has befallen Kenya, once a beacon of peace in a sea of violence in the great lakes region. Wait a minute…how did all these start? A disputed presidential election, they say, is the root cause of this unprecedented mayhem!

A country on the brink and a government almost incapable of resolving this crisis, thanks to a strong and hardliner opposition is the picture as of now. With Kibaki sworn in as the president of Kenya on that fateful 30th of December, 2007, the opposition has continually stated that even the ECK chairman, one Mr. Samuel Kivuitu, doesn’t know who won the elections. This, I would say, is a selective interpretation of information. The actual question posed to the ECK chairman was “Do you believe that Hon Mwai Kibaki FAIRLY won the election?” to which he responded, “I don’t know. That is until I see the original records, which I can’t for now until the court authorizes. What we have are records of results from field officers.”

Folks, the question is straight forward! It is a matter of whether the president won the elections fairly or not. It is not about whether he won the elections!

Lets settle this once and for all, Hon Kibaki did win the elections – fairly or not is a case to be determined by the courts, period!

With mediation talks entering a very crucial week, Kenyans can only hope that a solution is forthcoming; a solution, not only to the political stalemate, but also to the ethnic issues at hand.