Obulala an Amani

Nambuye in the dock over delayed justice

Justice Roselyne Nambuye
IN THE DOCK: Justice Roselyne Nambuye, the High Court Judge seeking the position of deputy Chief Justice during the interview yesterday by members of the Judicial Service Commission.

By Paul Ogemba, May 10 2011
The hunt for the deputy Chief Justice started Tuesday with High Court Judge Lady Justice Roselyne Nambuye being taken to task over delayed judgements.

Justice Nambuye was quizzed by the Judicial Service Commission over complaints of long and delayed judgments, poor time management, lack of vibrancy and her numerous involvement in activities outside the Judiciary.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

Amos Wako: There are complaints from the High Court and lawyers that you write too much and that your judgments are too long. What explanations do you give?

Justice Nambuye: It depends on the perspective of the case I am handling, like once I had to give a 311-page judgment. I have to set out the facts, go through the inquiry and find out what basis the case has been brought and the direction to give.

Amos Wako: You are involved in so many activities outside the Judiciary. How do you manage your time and how does the experience help you in your judicial duties?

Justice Nambuye: I manage my time well and know when I am on duty and when to engage in other activities which have taught me lessons on management of staff, team work and dealing with court procedures.

Ahmednasir Abdullahi: In your CV, you have indicated personal service to community, people you are helping, and what you are doing in academics. Considering the time you engage in all these, don’t you think you are too pressed for time to handle the office of the deputy Chief Justice?

Justice Nambuye: The people I handle do not come on board at the same time and I have others helping me in the work. I don’t do anything to sacrifice my work as a judge, and any that will compromise my duties if given the task of a deputy Chief Justice.

Mary Ominde: Members of the public view you as humble and fair tempered, but say you are not vibrant, indecisive, delay judgments, poor in time management and administration, and lack organisation skills hence you are not suitable for the post. What do say?

Justice Nambuye: I don’t know how I am a poor time manager or administrator because I have run stations outside Nairobi effectively. Delayed judgments is not deliberate, it’s because of case over load and if people take my humility to be lack of vibrancy, let them give me a chance and they will see the true Nambuye.

Christine Mango: Delayed judgments make lawyers and litigants suffer. If we recommend you to be the deputy Chief Justice, how will you address the problem?

Justice Nambuye: We will have a policy where judges file their returns on a quarterly basis. If a judge has too much to do, we will allow him or her apply for leave to go and write the judgments.

Amos Wako: You stated that when you filed your returns, you didn’t know where the Chief Justice took them. What then is the purpose of filing and what will you do with them?

Justice Nambuye: I will go for a return of the judgments and rulings and get in touch with the judge or magistrate to ask whether it is the best. I will compare with other judgments from different stations and demand for more.

Titus Gateere: Suppose the Chief Justice asks you to make recommendations on how to improve the performance of judges and magistrates. What would you recommend?

Justice Nambuye: I will send out questionnaires to the officers on challenges they are facing, where they have gone wrong, do an audit of the cases they have handled and advice that they take some time to engage in more training to diversify their understanding.

Christine Mango: The public hardly understands what the Judiciary does. If recommended for the post of deputy Chief Justice, what will you do to ensure the public understand their legal rights?

Justice Nambuye: I will propose a radio program to educate people on matters of the judiciary, organize field days and create a website for them to post questions.

Mary Ominde: In the Hudicial Service Act, the role of deputy Chief Justice is not defined, and the registrar is given enormous task. What will be your role if the Chief Justice is performing well?

Justice Nambuye: There must be a reason for creating the office. The two should be able to draw a roster that the deputy goes around to various stations to monitor the performance.

Asked whether she will advice the Chief Justice to introduce performance contact among judicial officers, Justice Nambuye said that will be unnecessary because they will be able to assess the officers through work done as listed in the cause lists and the number of rulings and judgments.

On the reasons why most of her judgments are not appealed, Justice Nambuye responded that she believed she gave out justice that had both parties satisfied with her rulings.

To curb corruption in the Judiciary, she said that she will encourage members of the public to offer information because it is lack of evidence that judicial officers who have been accused of corruption normally base their innocence.

Source: NATION

Equity Bank boss is Africa's Banker of the Year

James Mwangi Arnolda Angela Shiundu
Equity Bank chief executive, James Mwangi won the African Banker of the Year Award in Washington last week. He was interviewed by Arnolda Angela Shiundu (right) in Washington, USA

Congratulations on winning the African Banker of the Year. How does that make you feel?

It is very humbling when colleagues identify and celebrate your achievements. It shows confidence and trust in what we have done. South African Banks have dominated African banking, but bankers from other regions, notably East Africa, are getting nominated. It was a moment of pride to see Kenya dominating in most of the nominations. It also means that Kenyan banks are coming of age. As you see the same banks have become regional banks, which is a sign that Kenya might start dominating the eastern region.

You and your colleagues are flying the flag for Kenya here tonight. What excites you about banking ?
How the African banking industry has come out very strong from the global financial crisis. In the past Africa had been written off without being heard, but globally it is the African banks that have emerged strongest out of the crisis and that shows the resilience of African banks. In East Africa, development of mobile banking products means we now have a means and a mechanism of taking banking to the last mile. Kenyan banks are more capitalised and they are all thinking about the farmer and the ordinary citizen.

You faced stiff competition for African Banker of the Year, not just from your peers in Kenya but from others on the continent. What, in your opinion, sets you apart from everyone else?
Prior to this award, I was honoured to receive the award for African Chief Executive of the Year. I was the runner-up in the African Entrepreneur of the Year and early this year the Financial Times named me among the 50 most influential and thought leaders of our time and of course the performance of Equity bank is outstanding. Equity Bank last year was voted the African Investment of the year and it has also been named Microfinance Bank of the year. I think the accolades speak for themselves.

How much do you think banking has evolved in Kenya?
We have seen the bank population increasing from 12 per cent to 23 per cent over the past five years. The second development can be seen in accessibility, as we are seeing more and more Kenyans being able to bank and also to borrow. In addition we have seen a cultural change in terms of the banking practices; banks are going back to the rural areas. We have also seen significant growth over the last five years with banks balance sheets moving from 400 billion to 1.2 trillion shillings. In terms of strengthening, we continue to see the non performing loans during the same period move from a high of 20 per cent to now below 10 per cent which is very commendable.

Technology has obviously played a huge role in revolutionising the banking industry. Where do you see this trend progressing?
Technology has changed banking in Kenya, so much so that it has been used as an enabler, and banks have benefited particularly with the convergence with telecoms. Equity Bank became the first bank in the world to launch a mobile centric account, M-Kesho, which is a banking product similar to M-Pesa. At the same time Equity has been able to use technology to create a regional platform which almost makes it branchless. I see great revolution taking place in the agricultural sector, particularly financing for this sector. I also think that the other areas that we are likely to see greater investment is in money transfer. This will be the next battle in the fight to reduce the costs of transferring money.

Looking at your category, they talk about how the nominees were chosen based on their leadership among other things. In your opinion what makes a good leader?
To me leadership is winning the trust and confidence of your followers and for a bank it is not just your employees, but the customers as well. Leadership also is giving an organisation a strategic direction and vision. One must be the vision bearer. Leadership also means leading by role modelling. A leader must have a value-driven personality such that he/she becomes reliable and predictable.

I am sure there a lot of young people, both men and women, who look at you and the great things you have achieved. What advice would you give to someone setting out into the real world?
Resilience. If you look at the story of Equity, I have worked on it for the last 15 years. It takes a lot of resilience, it takes an immense amount of focus and unfading commitment; going the extra mile so as to achieve your objectives and then recognising that you achieve through others. Lastly, it all about value. That is how you do it.

Source: NATION, October 11 2010

Western's vast investment potential yours for the taking

Zack Mukewa
Zack Mukewa, an investment analyst who sees a tiger rising out of the sleeping giant that is Western.

By Obed Simiyu, Sept 20 2010
TWENTY Seven years ago, in a sleepy dull Sirisia village in the now vast Bungoma county, a little baby boy was born and given the name Zack Mukewa. There were no much celebrations to mark his birth leave for the joy of a newly married couple giving thanks for their first born child and the usual gossip from both good and wicked kinsmen. Zack, son to Mr. Peter Mukewa and Mrs. Dinah Mukewa, never knew that as he studied at the Lugulu Boarding Primary School and later at the prestigious Friends School Kamusinga he would be a celebrated young man.

After successfully completing his studies, he joined Moi University 2002 – 2006 (Bachelor of Business management), Jomo Kenyatta University 2007 – 2008 (Post Graduate Diploma, Computer Science), Strathmore University (Certified Public Accountant) and United States International University  where he just started a Masters in International Business Administration.

He has worked at Barclays Bank of Kenya and currently a Credit and Investment Analyst at Industrial Development Bank, Nairobi. “I hope to work with The Treasury, World Bank or United Nations Development programme in years to come,” he says.

With an experience in Development Finance and Project management and willing to help communities realize real development and empowerment, West FM put him to task on how Bungoma County would stand tall as an economical hub among the 47 counties set out in the new constitution.

West fm:  As a business professional, is the new constitution economically friendly?

Zack: The new constitution will not only improve governance structures in the country by allowing greater accountability by the Government but will also boost citizen participation in all sectors of the economy. The new constitution would be a boom for the private sector by establishing structures that create a conducive environment for a vibrant private sector. The Constitution is expected to give way to job and wealth creation for our people.

With establishment of the counties in the new constitution, funds are expected to be spread across the country. This will ensure that the localities of the various counties build economies of their own thus providing the locals with opportunities for business, employment under less bureaucratic and streamlined governance processes.

What are some of the positive economical inputs that can be adopted by the country's business class to spiral economic recovery?

The Kenyan business community is wide. Business practices that each segment employs are relative to their target group, their sector and also the scale of their operations. I am particularly interested in the role Small and medium Enterprises can play in driving our economy and livelihoods.

Kenya as a country holds a spirit commonly known as ‘Harambee’; coming together. As much as the Government and players in the finance sector will keep packaging products that SME’s can use to establish and grow their businesses, the foundation from which these businesses are formed are what will propel them towards achieving their goals and realizing not only economic recovery but actual growth.

Many business people fear coming together where money and profits are involved. Looking at those who have excelled, the multinationals of this world, they are called ‘shareholders’. The spirit of coming together, identifying common goals and working appropriate methodology to realize this is one way businesses can have meaningful impact on communities, economies and Kenya as a Nation.

With devolution of power and resources from the central government to the counties, how best could it be utilized or rather put into force to benefit the locals therein?

Many of us intuitively feel that local control often produces better results than central control. However, intuition is usually not considered a valid argument in the political marketplace.

Devolution will give Kenyans across counties an enhanced sense of nationhood, and will assist the movement towards realization of people and economic empowerment right where people are. Kenya, with the new constitution dispensation has certainly grown up as a nation, and there is a renewed confidence and pride at large throughout the country. It is now the duty of the Assembly to bring about economic and social cohesion and unity throughout the regions, and address the conditions with regard to the issues dear to the people in localities.

This will involve decentralization of administration which should be devolved from Nairobi for the benefit of the areas of the country which suffer deprivation.

Of course the ideal benefits will be the counties prioritizing the locals in employment, business and social opportunities.

Shall there be real devolution of resources?

The constitution requires that 15% of the wealth made by each county remains at the county for development purposes. The government also through its arms will extend funds to the counties to enhance development in the localities.

There are a number of learned young people who are still jobless, how can they seize this opportunity to emancipate themselves economically and financially?

I hold the thought that our Education system is both to blame for the many young unemployed people and also holds the key to the solution for many unemployed young people.

Through school and in many homes around the country, children are always advised to study hard so that they can get a good job. The 8.4.4 system was designed to enable Kenyans be self sufficient in terms of realizing self employment, grabbing opportunities available and making them worthwhile.

The new constitution seeks to address among other things, the rural urban migration. This means that many more young people are going to lack sufficient reason to move to the cities since there will be enough avenues to realize business and self employment opportunities at their counties. This way they will realize personal and community growth.

In the long run perhaps, stakeholders in the education sector and parents can lay emphasis on children realizing that going to school won’t accord them a good job but provide them with an opportunity to learn something they can specialize and make a living.

Western Province is one of the most resourceful regions in the country but it still remains one of the underdeveloped, what are some of the opportunities that have been overlooked over the years but which can be exploited at the moment?

Commercial Agriculture; this is in reference to farming. There is room for large scale farming for Cereals especially in the Kitale and Bungoma regions, Tobacco in the Malakisi region, Sugar cane around Mumias and Nzoia among others.

Tourism; Western province is rich in culture. With the diverse Luhya sub clans practicing one thing or the other that attracts interest not only regionally but also internationally, communities can realize income and growth with ridding of negative ethnicity and tradition. There is the Wanga Kingdom, The Bukusu Circumcision, and The Bull fighting, these can provide room for establishment of infrastructure that will realize growth. There is also the Kakamega Forest, Mount Elgon, Sio Port and Kitale Museum among others that can provide opportunity.

How can young enterprising people from Western Kenya get to know how to invest? And how can they work through competition from other entities established by more influential, experienced or even fellow first timers in the sector.

Western province has for long suffered from a syndrome of not supporting homegrown business and talent. The communities are always quick to embrace foreign ideology, entities and such. There is always quick dismissal of anyone in locality attempting to do business, institute positive change and such.

I believe western province holds some of the brightest brains. Some of the most innovative people who suffer from not having opportunity to demonstrate what they can or support to realize their goals, especially businesswise. People are educated and ideas are not scarce. The people need to be educated on the importance of team spirit, cohesion and togetherness in business. It is also wrong to see competition as enemy, the idea should be embracing local before foreign, this way competition will not grow. If someone supported a Wafula and Sons Limited, then chances are that Patel and Sons will not really find way. This is however not to say that Tribalism and nepotism should be embraced.

Could you tell us how you have been successful yourself?

Well, saying I am successful is quite a challenge here. But I can say I am on track to realize something I can God willingly transfer to a generation after me. I come from a family that emphasizes the importance of education thus I have schooled most of my life.

I am thankful for the accomplishments I have made so far, career and business related. I know there is a lot more I am due to achieve, for personal growth, business and community development.

Your advice to the young generation who are willing to get their foot in business.

In every decision we make in life, we anticipate either success or failure. It is incumbent upon us to believe in our ideas, seek professional help and understand that risks are just part of business. No meaningful investor can realize any growth without anticipating challenges in all they do. We also can’t know everything, that’s why we have to seek professionals help on issues we don’t understand best.

Source: Westfm

Wako hints at becoming Busia senator

By Oscar Obonyo, August 29 2010
For many years, he has been regarded as a major stumbling block to reforms, AG Amos Wako defends his record, senior political writer, OSCAR OBONYO talked to him about his tenure

You are set to leave office in a year’s time, what would you want to be remembered for most as AG?

When I was appointed in 1991, I was asked the same question. I responded that I want to be remembered as a constitutional and legal reformer. I became AG at a volatile period at the height of the clamour for multiparty democracy and by December the same year, I moved constitutional amendments, which opened doors for multiparty democracy.

Amos Wako for Busia Senator

Attorney General Amos Wako

The following year I moved another amendment, which restored the independence and expanded functions of the electoral commission. Besides, I embarked on an ambitious programme of law reforms by appointing 17 task forces that examined various laws.

Many were enacted as a result. I also told Parliament it was my desire that after the 1992 elections, we embark on a new constitution review process. I do not wish to get into the twists and turns of that process but my joy is that by God’s grace I have been able to stay long enough as AG to witness the promulgation of the Constitution.

Many say you are like a cat with nine lives, what has been your survival secret?

I may be smart but the good Bible reminds me not to value myself higher than others. I have come across some, even younger lawyers, who may be sharper than me. With humility, they have equal chances of staying afloat for long.

How would you describe your relationship with Presidents Kibaki and Moi, during this lengthy period?

Cordial and without their confidence in me I would not have survived this long. I have rendered the best professional service to both presidents, however unpalatable my advice has sometimes been to them. There is much more about our relations, but that is for my memoirs to be published soon.

What have been some of your lowest moments?

After a huge struggle in Cabinet in 1992, I convinced members on the need for an amendment to provide for the post of Prime Minister and published a Bill to that effect. Soon after the Kanu Parliamentary Group met and I was directed to withdraw the Bill. I have never felt so frustrated! Some of the law reform task forces I had formed equally raised eyebrows as a Cabinet minister convinced higher authorities that oppositionists and spies from President Museveni’s Government had infiltrated them.

What about the US visa ban?

It was sheer mischief and I saw it coming. But everything was squared the moment I issued a rebuttal statement. If you insist on understanding the type of person (US Ambassador, Michael Ranneberger) partly behind it, go to his website and read for yourself what his specialty really is in the world of diplomacy. Everything will fall in place.

But Ranneberger and Philip Alston (UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions) raised what seemed to be genuine concern over your alleged perpetuation of impunity.

For the AG to be accused of impunity it must be demonstrated that proper investigations were done and files with sufficient evidence presented to the AG who then refused to prosecute. In most jurisdictions around the world, criminal investigations fall under the AG. In Kenya, officers in the criminal investigations department are answerable to the police and the minister responsible in the Office of President. Unfortunately Allston refused to appreciate how our system works as he had a pre-determined agenda.

How about claims by some lawyers that you have previously misused your constitutional privileges of editing Bills for spelling and grammar, to alter the meaning of some laws?

What the lawyers appear to be referring to is the judgement by Justice Mbaluto in 1992. But they completely do not take into account the press statement I issued at the time. Mbaluto made the ruling ex parte without hearing the position of the AG. Had my position been heard I am confident he would have agreed I exercised my rights correctly as my input was reflection of what had been agreed on in Cabinet and Parliament.

Explain your role in the negotiation process

I was not part of the Serena Team but my office drafted the resultant document. There was a major deadlock over whether what had been agreed required a constitutional amendment or not. While PNU argued whatever had been agreed could be executed without constitutional amendment, ODM maintained it must be enshrined in the Constitution. For the deal to be operationalised, I advised it should be constitutionalised. Had I given political and not professional advise at that moment, the ice might not have been broken and the peace deal may have perhaps never been struck.

You have 12 months in office, what major tasks are on your desk?

I will give the implementation all the backing necessary. If there legislations that can be fast-tracked, I will ensure that happens.

Finally, what are your plans on leaving office?

I am a professional and one of the leading commercial arbitrators in Africa. One of the options is to revive that calling. Alternatively I will be available to my people of Busia to serve in any elective or appointive position they deem fit.

Source: Sunday Standard

Mudavadi rubbishes claims he's only second best

After many years in politics, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi tells OSCAR OBONYO he will go for the top seat when the time comes.

The Standard On Sunday: It is two decades since you first set foot in Parliament and throughout this period you have served in the Cabinet as minister, Vice President and now Deputy Prime Minister. Is this where you should be today in the political pecking order?

Musalia: Naturally, my political experience places high expectations on my supporters, especially in Western Province. Indeed, my credentials are not in doubt, the only question is how to aptly chart my political destiny.

Musalia Mudavadi

Deputy Prime Minister Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi

Q: But some MPs claim you are probably not interested in the presidency?

A: I have heard people say that Musalia is not keen on the presidency. But they miss the point. Did I not offer myself for the top seat in 2007? And did we not go through a rigorous exercise at Kasarani (Gymnasium, Nairobi), where I finished second ahead of four other aspirants?

Q: So, are we seeing your name on the ballot paper in 2012?

A: For me to make a credible stab at the presidency, it has to be through a national party and not one of the many existing regional and tribal outfits. And to succeed, one must find an axis through a strong national party, such as ODM.

Q: Are you therefore confirming you will be seeking the presidency via ODM?

A: As a party we have set rules of going about the selection and I will offer myself when the time comes

Q: In the meantime, can you confirm whether all is well in the party — at least going by the apparent differences between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Agriculture Minister William Ruto.

A: Definitely, there have been differences of opinion between the two, but that will not affect party operations, especially campaigns in Shinyalu. I expect the PM and the Agriculture minister (William Ruto) to join me in the campaigns.

Q: Don’t you fear the situation will get out of control and probably split your party?

A: We are ably handling what is unfolding under a different forum and I cannot therefore divulge further details on the matter.

Q: Since you both serve as ODM deputy party leaders, has it occurred to you you may well be the target of the current wars. That in fact, this battle is about elbowing you from the party hierarchy?

A: Even if I am the target, I have been around much longer and I can read events correctly. I am a political fighter like anybody else. I can tell what is emerging because I do not live in a vacuum.

Q: Does it bother you that political competitors have frequently been criss-crossing your backyard in Western in your absence?

A: I am not the kind of person to be threatened by tours of parliamentary colleagues. Politicians are at liberty to tour constituencies on invitation by MPs. I have been doing just that, particularly in North and South Rift.

Q: What is your reading of Ruto’s move to lead a section of Rift Valley MPs to a meeting with the President over the Mau question?

A: We should not always second-guess the President when he meets legislators from a given region. In any case, the Cabinet has already taken a stand on the Mau and only the Cabinet can alter the same.

Q: Back to the Shinyalu by-elections, reports indicate the campaign is quickly changing tune to a "vote for or against Mudavadi". Why is this the case?

A: It is unfortunate a by-election involving Shinyalu residents should be turned into a battle between Mudavadi and other politicians. Shinyalu is not about me. It is their (challengers from other parties) campaign strategy, and I ask Shinyalu residents to see through it and discard it.

Q: And what of accusations by some from your backyard that you have failed to unite the Luhya community politically?

A: This is sheer pretence. The same politicians making such claims are the very ones frustrating unity efforts and have, through their parties, fielded candidates in the forthcoming by-elections.

Q: Why is political unity elusive among the Luhya?

A: Our main undoing lies in personal ambition and divisive clan politics. Some players plunge into politics purely for mischief — to be persuaded out of it — while others are merely red herrings, out to ensure a political base of certain individuals is diluted.

Q: You have been accused by some aspirants of handpicking the Shinyalu nominee.

A: I did not interfere with the selection. I was away for two weeks ahead of the ODM primaries. Shinyalu voters elected our candidate and we are the only party that nominated candidates (as well as Bomachoge) through the ballot. The rest were handpicked.

Q: What of allegations that you were rooting for an ODM councillor from your community for the mayoral seat of Nairobi?

A: This is cheap propaganda that should be treated with the contempt it deserves. ODM councillors simply carried out an internal exercise to identify a flag bearer in the contest.

Q: Do you think hostility is emerging between the Legislature and the Executive?

A: Although Parliament has become more assertive, there are fears it has reached proportions where the legislature is in direct conflict with the Executive. Presently, Parliament wants to select people for jobs, interview, vet, hire and supervise them, at the same time.

Q: Finally, what is your reaction to the current backlash you are receiving as Government, for embracing the TJRC option?

A: As a member of the Serena mediation team, I want to clarify that TJRC was supposed to deal with a completely different and separate mandate.

However, the Cabinet felt that a local tribunal would inflame political temperatures. So for now, let the TJRC process roll out.

Source: Standard, August 28 2009

Otiende: I quit politics because of corruption

Joseph Daniel Otiende
Kenya's first education minister, Joseph Daniel Otiende (centre) during an interview at his home in 1988 by Shadrack Bulimo of Nation Newspapers (2nd right), Nation photographer, Yusuf Wachira (right) and other visitors.

By Stephen Makabila, August 22, 2009

Former minister Joseph Otiende, who served in President Jomo Kenyatta’s regime, describes the Cabinet then as lean, disciplined and focused. Otiende was in the first Cabinet of 15 members and served between 1963 and 1969.

He says though some ministries were considered more important, the team worked harmoniously. Some of the ministries considered top were Home Affairs headed by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Justice and Constitutional Affairs under Tom Mboya, Finance and Economic Planning under James Gichuru and Otiende’s Education. Otiende also served in the Health and Housing Ministry before quitting politics.

Balanced cabinet

Otiende, 92, and now chairman of the Luhya Council of Elders, says Kenyatta’s first Cabinet was a huge attempt to dispel fears that the independence government would only benefit people from Nyanza and Central provinces. It was well balanced, he says. "When he took over leadership, Kenyatta was out to develop a strong country but some of his cronies had misleading influence and that is when we started going wrong," says Otiende.

He says things worsened when politics shifted from nationalistic to tribal, followed by assassination of politicians such as Tom Mboya. "Some of us left politics because of the individualistic and tribal interests that crept into the Kenyatta regime. People went back to tribal cocoons and we feared to be targets of hit squads," says Otiende.

He says Nyanza and Central regions were the most solid backers of Kanu at the time, while Coast, Western and Rift Valley were pushing for federalism under Kadu.

Spoiled politics

In an interview with The Standard on Saturday at his Mbale home, Otiende says he was ready to serve in the Kenyatta Government but not when tribal and individual interests spoiled national politics. "There emerged a strong caucus of Central Kenya leaders around Kenyatta who made life hell for those of us from other regions," says Otiende.

According to Otiende, the relationship between Kenyatta and his ministers was cordial, but the president’s allies who had access to State House took advantage to undermine others. "For example, certain ministries were considered ‘too important’ to be entrusted with people from particular regions," he says. However, Otiende says the Moi regime was different in terms of regional balance and should serve a good example to Kibaki’s and other leaders to come.

Source: Standard, August 22 2009

Dr Mary Thompson stars in:

15 minutes with . . .

The president of the Association of Directors of Public Health

Authors: Rubinder K Bains, Irfan Ghani, Mary Thompson 

Publication date: 06 Aug 2008

doctor mary thompson
Dr Mary Thompson (above) is the daughter of Kenyan mother (Alice Were and British born Jerry Thompson - Jamaican) Graduate of St Thomas hospital , masters degree in Public health at Imperial College hospital London. Dr Thompson is now working at Croydon Hospital.

Can you give us a summary of your career, leading up to the present day?

I’ve always found epidemiology fascinating. Its basic appeal to me comes from an aptitude with numbers, which I inherited from my father, a maths teacher. I first became hooked while a medical student at Barts in the 1980s. We had an inspiring lecturer, Professor Nicholas Wald, now Sir Nicholas Wald. He invented the Triple Test, used to detect the risk of Down’s syndrome in pregnancy.[1] After I completed house jobs in 1989, I worked back at Barts as a senior house officer in epidemiology, which I loved. Coming from the hierarchical system in hospitals, I found myself able to touch the boundaries of human knowledge within a few months. I then did further senior house officer posts in oncology and gynaecology. In 1992 I joined the public health training scheme as a lecturer in public health at King’s College, London. After completing training, I worked as a consultant, becoming the director of public health at Croydon Primary Care Trust [PCT] in 2002. I joined the Association of Directors of Public Health [ADPH;], becoming treasurer in 2004 and president in 2006.

What are the highlights of your career?

I coordinated the UK’s directors of public health into an effective parliamentary lobby before the 2007 ban on smoking in workplaces. As the single most important piece of legislation affecting public health in a generation, I feel proud to have played a small part in getting it through parliament. The next thing I’m proud to have done relates to my role as medical director in my PCT. I devised a tool called “practice profile.” This shows comparative levels of all sorts of things that general practitioners do. It was recognised as a good way to assess their performance by the Shipman Inquiry. More recently, I have edited the first revision book Mastering Public Health for the Faculty of Public Health Part A examination.[2] This book also provides a good practical guide and is a useful information tool for public health practitioners. I am also proud to have raised the profile of ADPH, perhaps to have given us a slightly louder voice than we have had before.

What are your plans for the future?

There is only so much one can do in a single PCT. Other problems are best dealt with at a national level. The biggest emerging problem for the UK today is obesity. We need to get more people walking and cycling. In my next role as the chief medical adviser for the Department of Transport, I will be pursuing these objectives.

You are the president of the Association of Directors of Public Health. What is the role of this association?

The association exists to promote the interests of directors of public health, especially to bodies that are able to influence public health policy. This would often involve talking to government, ministers, and opposition parties to help them formulate their approach to public health policy. We have recently released consensus statements with the Faculty of Public Health on alcohol misuse and also delivered consensus statements on “active transport.” The latter was achieved by coordinating more than 80 public health and transport organisations.

You are also the director of public health and medical director of Croydon PCT. How do you balance your work?

My hours are usually 9-5, but I’m quite happy to work whatever hours are required to get the job done. With many competing demands on my time, I also prioritise my diary ruthlessly. I could not function without such a strong and dedicated public health department behind me at Croydon PCT. I have been most fortunate to have had some really good colleagues there.

What qualities are needed to succeed in public health?

Having an “epidemiological approach” is an absolutely necessary quality. This is an ability to conceptualise the needs of populations rather than individuals. You must also be able to maintain an open mind, provide sound and credible scientific advice, and communicate this effectively to other people.

What advice would you give to juniors who are considering a career in public health?

For those of us who find change invigorating, particularly if you are the agent of this, then public health is a fascinating career. Like medicine itself, it is a broad church. Very few people in public health would expect to be doing the same job at 40 as they were at 30 or will be doing at 50. The career structure will allow you to move around, giving you diverse experiences.

Name: Tim Crayford

Position: Director of public health/medical director, Croydon Primary Care Trust; president, UK Association of Directors of Public Health

Biography: Medical student at Barts, London; senior house officer in epidemiology, oncology, gynaecology 1989-92; appointed director of public health at Croydon primary care trust in 2002

Competing interests: None declared.


  1. Wald N. The epidemiological approach: an introduction to epidemiology in medicine  . London: Royal Society of Medicine Press, 2004.
  2. Lewis G, Sheringham J, Kalim K, Crayford T. Mastering public health: a guide to examinations and revalidation (mastering)  . London: Royal Society of Medicine Press, 2008.

Rubinder K Bains public health doctor
Irfan Ghani public health doctor
Mary Thompson public health doctor Croydon Primary Care Trust


An audience with Musalia Mudavadi
Musalia Mudavadi
Former Vice President and now presidential aspirant, answers your questions

Nairobi, April 7 2007
QUESTION: After the 2002 General Election Kanu nominated you to Parliament, but you rejected the offer. Why, and do you regret doing so?
— Bernard Langat, Nairobi.
ANSWER: No, I do not regret the decision at all. As a believer in democracy, I was duty-bound to respect the verdict of the people of Sabatia. To accept nomination would have been a mockery of the people of Sabatia. I could not live with the guilty conscience of having found my way into Parliament through the backdoor.
Considering the country’s ethnic mistrust, do you support majimboism? 
— Walter Mirimu, Nairobi.
There is deliberate misinformation about the majimbo system and the meaning of devolution. ODM Kenya does not advocate ethnic federation, but a system of devolving decision-making power and resource management in a horizontal manner. 
This would ensure more collective and inclusive participation and inculcate a sense of belonging to one nation. Devolution will heal bridge divisions by correcting historical injustices in resource distribution. 
What do you plan to do if you are not elected the ODM presidential candidate?
 — Obed Shikokoti, Eldoret.
All presidential ODM-K candidates have vowed to support the nomination winner. I am not in the nomination race because I am looking for a job; rather, it is a commitment to offering leadership in building a better country. My record shows that I do not play the politics of entitlement, so that I should be enraged if I am not the nominee.
It has been suggested that you should support (Lang’ata MP) Raila Odinga this time and wait for 2012. Please comment.
 — Peter Odawa, Nairobi.
At best, this is a personal opinion and probably a wish, just like people who suggest that Raila is best suited for prime minister. 
It is said that your candidacy is aimed at delivering the Luhya vote and lacking in national outlook? 
— Kennedy Otieno Abong’o, Kitale.
The opposite view might be more popular. I have been accused more of national outlook rather than being regional. My campaign has taken me beyond my native region. My national focus remains as has always been because I do not have ethnic inhibitions or carry prejudices. 
Deliver the Luhya vote to whom? Careful observation will show that I have left people who wish to play ethnic politics in Western province to their designs. 
Some people say you are a coward?
 — Enock Nalianya, Mombasa.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If being wise is cowardice, then I’m guilty as charged. But remember what wisdom teaches — in a battle, there is tactical retreat to regroup and then advance.
What do you think failed you in 2002, and how do you intend to correct the mistake this time?
 — Kibunja wa Ndung’u, Nairobi.
Remaining in Kanu was probably the fundamental reason. Regrettably, it is also the Kanu system at the time that went ahead to seriously undermine my candidacy in Sabatia. 
We all learn from experience, and I did immediately leave Kanu in February 2003, and this has led me to ODM-K and as a presidential candidate. 
Your inability to predict the political climate and party is the main reason why you lost in the last elections; are you ODM-K is the appropriate party? 
— Abong’o Kennedy, Kitale.
My politics is not about expediency. If I was driven by expediency alone, and not principle, service and sacrifice, I would be a nominated MP against the wishes of the electorate. In the new dispensation we are charting, we must reject the notion that we must become elected leaders at all costs by grabbing at any strap. Currently, the broad principles that ODM-K stands for conform to my ideals.
What is your strategy to win back the faith and trust of your supporters after letting them down in 2002?
 — Dennis Mutoro, Sirisia, Bungoma.
If trust and faith are the benchmark for good leadership, I never lost any among my supporters. This i why there is overwhelming desire among most Kenyans that I be the President. 
This support has continued to grow because when Kenyans reflect on the past and present and compare the possibilities that my leadership could offer, they immediately see a bright future. 
What will you do if you feel the ODM-K nomination is not fair?
 — Kwenja Nthiga, Embu.
Given the democratic foundations that drive the party, I anticipate a free and fair nomination. This is why the process is still under debate.
Should Mr Uhuru Kenyatta step down for you like you did for him in 2002?
 — Khalid Njiraini, Mombasa.
This is an interesting idea that keeps being raised. However, the person best placed to respond to it should be my friend Uhuru.
You are a child of opportunities, born with a silver spoon in your mouth — from college straight to Parliament without having time to interact with the poor; what would your government do for the wretched of the earth? 
— Kibutu Kiiru, Lokichoggio.
You do not know me well enough. After university I worked in both the public and the private sectors before joining politics. Nobody chooses their social status at birth. It is what we do with that acquisition that should determine our character — not our pedigree. 
This is why I am offended by your disparaging reference to Kenyans as the wretched of the earth. My leadership will seek to address Kenyans’ problems on the basis of equality and equity. We will need to tackle the distressing poverty as a means of empowering Kenyans to live in dignity.
You promised to support the Western University Students Organisation on a community development mission in Matayos, Busia district, but failed without apology. Why should Kenyans trust you to be a good president?
 — George Nyongesa, Busia. 
I do recall your private request for support in the understanding that you would make a follow-up. However, your mission in Matayos is not the last in your activities. I look forward to our working together. 
Why did you not go to London for the ODM Kenya bonding trip? Did you sense a visa hitch?
 — Fwamba N.C. Fwamba, Eldoret.
I was busy campaigning in Coast province. The campaign programme was under way and I could not abandon the Coast people to go to London. I have said this right from the outset. The visa issue did not did not arise; it was manufactured. 
You were an insider and beneficiary of corruption of the last regime; why should you be trusted by the electorate?
 — Joel Masanga, Nairobi.
I was not and I am not an insider nor beneficiary of corruption. I remain trusted because I was not corrupted by the past regime. 
It’s Raila who pushed you to vie for the ODM nomination as part of his political manoeuvres; are you his “project” in Western province? 
— Hassan Mohamed, Chuka.
This perception beats logic. Why would Raila who wants to be president want me also to be president at the same time? I am Raila’s competitor for nomination, and I am in the race because I have some qualities that are needed in the Kenyan leadership. 
You were Finance minister during some of Kenya’s hardest times yet during your tenure some economic recovery was realised, what is keeping the country away from economic prosperity?
 — Brian Maiyo, Brisbane, Australia.
The economy is showing signs of recovery. The setbacks that remain and which I offer to deal with include constitutional constraints and poor infrastructure.
During your recent tour of Coast province, at a rally in Tononoka, you sat on Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s chair; what is the political significance of the action?
 — Mohamed Ali, Mombasa.
This is news to me, but I feel greatly honoured symbolically since the chair has historical significance. In view of the importance of this chair, I recommend that it be preserved by the National Museums of Kenya. 
Why do you criticise the Kibaki government that has performed fairly well, yet you were part of the Kanu administration that ruined the economy?
 — Richard Munene Kiruthu, Karatina.
In democracy we criticise not to destroy, but to correct and build. It is a right reserved for every citizen. Nonetheless, when we forget history, history punishes us. 
President Kibaki served for long in successive Kanu regimes, rising to be a vice-president, and only when he formed DP in 1991 did he criticise Kanu. He served Kanu longer than I did. 
I am one of the people more qualified to criticise him on the economic front since I can account for my time as Finance minister during the harshest economic period in Kenya’s history. 
I did my bit to save this country from economic ruin and set it up for recovery. 
Is it possible for you to unite Kenyans when you have failed to bring Luhyas together?
 — Justus Onkware Arita, Nairobi.
My commitment is helping the leadership to shun ethnic balkanisation. We should focus on unity and integration so that Kenyans may focus on social enemies such as poverty, unemployment as well as lack of education and health facilities.
What plans do you have for the youth?
 — Douglas Nyabunga, Nairobi.
The youth are the majority in Kenya, so the formulation, planning and implementation of policies and programmes should essentially target them. 
I am concerned that they are an afterthought given the piecemeal government programmes just before elections. 
I will be offering affirmative intervention that will ensure that they have access to quality education and health, employment, affordable credit to start business, entrepreneurial skills and wealth. 
Do you think that the fact that your name featured in the Goldenberg scandal has ruined your chances of ODM presidential nomination? 
— Kennedy Adel, Kisumu.
No. In any case, it is Mudavadi as Finance minister who stopped the Goldenberg rip-off. The Bosire commission confirmed my role. And now we know who was involved.
Is it true that you don’t hold a strong political opinion, and that you can easily be swayed as happened in 2002?
 — Dennis Nyambane Obare, Nairobi.
The 2002 events are historical references whose lessons have only enriched my experience. In retrospect, I was actually not the one who was swayed, but my colleagues in the Rainbow Coalition who have lived to regret it. 
I remain a very strong believer in democratic principles and practices, fairness to all and the rule of law, the promotion of human rights and equity as well as fair competition during elections. 
Opinion polls have been rating you poorly; why don’t you shelve your presidential ambitions and back a more popular candidate such as Kalonzo Musyoka or Raila Odinga? 
— Alex Muthyoi, Kitui.
Political polling is new in Kenya. Factor in the issues of expertise and funding, and impartiality is likely to be comprised. In any case, the popularity of any candidate is the decision of core voters.