What will you do for World Peace Day on September 21?

What is World Peace Day and how did it begin? In 1981, the United Nations General Assembly declared September 21st as the International Day of Peace, as a way of promoting and strengthening peace. From the bell tolling at UN headquarters in New York City to Nairobi, the tradition of commemorating World Peace Day is growing each year. Locally, as we all know Mandera County went through some painfull trauma recent years,that are not something to be proud of. this day therefore, we must use as day of solidarity and day of reflection.

This day has significance in the peace movement because the first world war ended when a truce was held on Armistice Day on November 11 at 11 am, we must use this day also to end the hate and shameful acts that shuttered our county.

This year we must creates a peace banner which features a quote related to peace. for us This year’s quote is from when Carlos Santana stated, “The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.” Mandera County, lets us create a garden of peace at Governor office today 21st September 2014 and sign in large numbers and do the following:

Here are some ideas:

-Smile & meet and greet to a neighbor or a new face

-Do something to help create inner peace: sign a banner on your street,

-Create a peace garden

-Make a peace poster

-Hang a peace sign or poster in your window

-Volunteer in the community

-Renew or mend a former friendship

-Stand in a moment of silence at 12 noon on International Peace Day (Sept. 21st)

-Read about a peace maker & one Surah

-Write a poem or song about peace

-Print out some peace quotes and post them around to help you never forget to keep the peace – always.

-Visit someone who lives alone.

-Offer someone help or food

-Call an old friend or relative and ask how they are doing

-Learn about Compassionate Communication

-call to prayer or pray for peace

-Walk a peace distance

(If you have more ideas of peaceful activities or if you would like to share what you did for International Peace Day, you can write to manderacounty1@gmail.com or share on fun Facebook

Kaparo, Haji to lead peace team over Wajir and Mandera clan clashes

President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed National Cohesion and Integration Commission chair Francis ole Kaparo and the Garissa senator to lead peace-building efforts in Wajir and Mandera counties.

In a statement on Friday, President Kenyatta expressed concern about the loss of lives in the ongoing inter-clan conflict between the Degodia and Garre communities.

“The conflict has led to loss of lives, displacement of people and destruction of property. Schools have been closed and untold suffering has visited innocent Kenyans. There also has been unnecessary disruption of economic activities,” President Kenyatta said.

He said that despite efforts towards peace and security in the region, a long-term solution had not yet been found.

Abdul Haro: Kenya is a democracy and whoever has numbers wins an elective position

I am sure everyone is fully informed about what transpired in the leaders’ meeting in Mandera yesterday. I will be posting my deeper analysis on the meeting later but allow me to quickly dispell some idea which is being bandied around about the cause (causes) of the Conflict in Rhamu. I don’t agree that the conflict is about Mandera North Parliamentary seat neither do I agree that it is because some community has been excluded from resource sharing in Mandera County government . The current problem is a long standing issue (s) which was expressed through violent means before the elections, during the voter registration, during the voting and has continued to date after the elections.

For record both Garre and Degodia have fought for the seat of Mandera North even when it was Mandera Central. I can’t remember a single election when both groups have not contested. At one time Degodia won and their victory was annulled by a court petition. In 2007 they won again and although Garre petitioned the results the court threw out the petition on technicalities. This time round it was Garre who won and Degodia petitioned and the petition was defeated on technicality. So I don’t think the seat is the problem although some people believe it should be set aside for one group and should not be subjected to competitive politics. This everyone knows is not possible because Kenya is a democracy and whoever has numbers wins an elective position. This is so all over the world.

Me thinks this problem has 2 strands: The initial problem started in Ethiopia before the elections when both Garre and Degodia in Ethiopia fought over redistricting policy in Ethiopia and groups fighting in Ethiopia displaced one another with one group spilling into Kenya in Mandera North and setting base. This has since been causing mayhem in the region.

The second strand of this conflict emanates from the fact that whenever Garre and Degodia of Mandera County fight, the Degodia of Wajir descend on the Garre in Wajir ultimately engineering a forced displacement of that community from Wajir County. To make matters worse the IDPs forced out of Wajir were settled in Mandera in the conflict hotshots of Mandera North sub county. What has complicated this second strand is the fact that while Mandera County Government has employed over 87 Degodia as a measure of clan inclusivity, Wajir County government is said to have failed to employ even one Garre. Points to think about for all peace actors.

Keynan Bill flawed, dangerous for Kenyans

By Charles Mulila

Just when will Kenya’s political class stop its upfront on the rights and privileges of citizens as enshrined in the Constitution?

This is increasingly becoming a concern among the general populace and the proponents of free and justifiable society that Kenyans have been yearning for.

The optimism of this important issue of governance was heightened by the promulgation of a new Constitution in 2010. Then it was hoped that the new law would buttress the need for equality, rule of the law, respect for human rights, tolerance to divergent opinion and equitable distribution of resources to mention but a few. Before the enactment of the Constitution, Kenyans were bombarded with all sorts of promises from those in support of the plebiscite.

Then, the Grand Goalition Government, civil society and MPs criss crossed the country seeking the support of the media and the public to ensure Kenya turns the corner on the dark past of detention without trial, impunity, unauthorised eavesdropping, dictatorship and political assassinations among other ills associated with authoritarian rule.

So intense and desperate was the push to pass the Constitution that some zealous proponents shed crocodile tears in a bid to conjure maximum effect on the electorate and get mass support.

The motivation then was that the days of unbridled arrogance by the Legislature would be a thing of the past. Now the Legislature is not only mutilating the Constitution, but given a chance, it would appear, they would repeal the document to return the country to the single party rule.

What with Senators, MPs, Governors and MCAs demanding more cash at a time when the common man is reeling under the weight of an unbearable cost of living. MPs have continuously gagged the press and their perceived accomplices — the NGOs. The latest is the so-called Keynan Bill 2014 that is set for debate in Parliament once the current recess ends. The wording, spirit, effect and motive of this Bill is not just to muzzle press freedom. The media is just collateral damage in a wider scheme. A keen interrogation of the Act as proposed is to protect MPs from public scrutiny over ills that border on treason such as corruption, nepotism, abdication of responsibilities and plunder.

The Bill when (not if) enacted will ensure that MPs who perpetrate the ills elucidated above are not exposed to public. And what a better way of achieving this objective than gagging the media through punitive fines.

The punitive fines of Sh500,000 are well beyond the reach of many journalists. So very few will risk a jail term to expose thieving legislators or senators.

Lest you forget, the media has many times being voted as Kenya’s most trusted institution. And there is a strong positive correlation between trust and good governance. Is this why MPs are hell bent on gagging the Fourth and most credible arm of the Government? Kenyans don’t require the intervention of civil society or the media to reject or vote for a leader. Voting trends since 1992 depict a trend where tribal, clan, regionalism and gender determine who takes what electoral position.

Adan Keynan, who has drafted the Bill, has been an MP since 1997, with a break in between before bouncing back in 2008. Unless of course age does change political wit, Keynan does not fit the Bill of a political coward. It baffles the mind trying to establish why he would want to be associated with such a law.
Kenyans are alive to the peculiarity of their nation and leaders. They have come to resign themselves to the fact that a law, Act of Parliament and indeed the Constitution is only good when it is in favour of senior politicians.

That is why majority of them view the current push for a referendum as an avenue to settle political scores, make real money, capture free entertainment from dancing politicians and make merry.

Is Mohamed Guleid right on rethink of revenue Sharing?

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 dictates that county governments should receive an equitable share of revenue in accordance with article 203(2). In the same vein, the Constitution has empowered the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) to, using an agreed formula, determine how to share the revenue collected nationally.

Prior to the inception of the county governments, the CRA proposed to base revenue allocation on population, land size, poverty, fiscal discipline and basic equal share as parameters for determining the amounts allocated to all the 47 counties.

Some counties in previously marginalised areas such as Mandera, Turkana and other Northern Kenya counties were fortunate enough due to land size and demographic factors to receive fairly large sums of money from the National Treasury. However, after application, it is obvious that this formula needs a rethink.

Because it seems the CRA failed to take into consideration other factors that play a role in determining the fairest share for distributing resources. And for that to be seen to be working equitably, issues of national debts should also be made public.

The National Government currently borrows funds as witnessed recently in the Euro Bond. What stake do the county governments have in such borrowings?

Since the people of Kenya, who are liable for such debts, will in the long run have to pay back, the Treasury and the CRA need to explain the effects of these sovereign bonds on the shared revenue. Be that as it may, there are many counties with a large number of personnel inherited from the defunct Local Authorities.

Also, other counties have taken over a bigger number of staff from the National Government through the transferred functions. Even though the formula used for dividing revenue appears to be fair on the outside, it does not take into consideration issues of staff emoluments.

In cases where most of the funds allocated end up being spent on the payment of salaries, the formula does not take into account how to balance this against the parameters used.

Upon the establishment of the county governments, the liabilities in form of salaries and other debts taken over by the county governments were already in place. Therefore, the pioneer devolved units are not to blame if most funds meant for development end up being used for staff emoluments and other forms of expenditure.

How do we get out of this conundrum? With the focus increasingly being the counties, I wish to propose that for the transferred functions like health, environmental conservation, general public administration and education, an amount commensurate to the functions should be taken to the counties.

Take for example, education. The needs of a student or pupil are unique in each county. So that a laptop might not be the most important thing to a pupil in Isiolo studying under a tree, unlike the case of a pupil in a school in Nairobi or Mombasa.

It is only the leaders in those localities who are conversant with the hierarchy of the needs of those specific pupils. Effective administration of these functions especially in far-flung areas calls for more funding.

CRA has also not really followed up on issues such as fiscal discipline and the Equalisation Fund for those marginalised counties.

The recently passed Revenue Allocation Bill 2014 says little about how to reward counties that have maintained a strict discipline in the usage of funds.

Article 204 of the Constitution has laid down the guidelines for determining the Equalisation Fund.

These funds have not been released. On the other hand, there are claims that the National Assembly is toying with the possibility of putting these funds under the Constituency Development Fund. Since the formula agreed upon was identified before the county governments were in place, it is prudent in my view for the CRA to start collecting views from the people.

This effort could save the country the possibility of going through a referendum to determine how much money should go to the counties. CRA could save us from the trouble of going through a referendum by revising and identifying new formulae.

The new formula could include matters regarding ratio of staff emoluments and such considerations as the potential for a county to prepare for major national government projects like those in the Vision 2030.

A county like Isiolo that will host a resort city, the LAPSETT projects, and an international airport requires more resources to carry out adequate planning. The cost of spatial planning is much higher in such cases. Another way of cancelling off the inequalities is where if possible, the county governments and the national governments partner in major projects.

Another shortcoming of the formula used by CRA is lack of harmonisation per county of functions transferred vis a vis the actual cost of performing those functions.

The formula, even though it identifies a general parameter, falls short of considering the actual costs of operations. For example, a pen purchased for use in an office in Turkana or Marsabit costs much more than the same pen procured in Nairobi or in any of the neighbouring counties.

A litre of petrol costs at times 30 per cent more in some counties than others. As far as recurrent costs are concerned, counties differ widely in terms of planning and implementing the same projects.

Any attempt to revise the formula might mean that the national government is willing to transfer more funds to the counties.

Police boss escapes death narrowly, one person killed in Mandera ambush

MANDERA COUNTY: A worker with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) was killed and a senior police officer escaped death on a knife edge in the troubled Mandera County, after separate cars they travelling in was gun ambushed by gunmen along Elwak-Rhamu road on Saturday.

Takaba district OCPD Joseph Tenai escaped death narrowly after his official vehicle which was heading toward the clashes torn Rhamu from Takaba to pursue clan militia ran into a gun trap by unknown militia.

The incident came barelyhours after militia attempts to raid an internally displaced people’s camp in the outskirts of Rhamu town.

Confirming the incident Mandera county police Commander Noah Mwivanda said an NGO worker who was traveling on another vehicle trailing the OCPD’s vehicle for protection was killed after he was shot severally at a close range by the assailants.

The county police chief noted that, the deceased succumbed to his gunshot wounds as he was been rushed to Rhamu district hospital for medical attention adding that two police officers who were escorting the OCPD also sustained hands fractures in the gun confrontations.