my two cents on the new constitution

What I liked:

  • The bicameral parliament. It is expensive but will serve to give the regions a voice.
  • The regional governments. Great idea, but how are they going to be funded? I would have loved it if there was a provision that each region should generate enough revenue to fund a fixed percentage of its budget. This way the regional governments can have incentives to promote economic activity in their regions. Better yet the central government should have been mandated to only issue matching grants to these regions – to spur competition among them for funds for such sectors as education, healthcare, infrastructure development, etc
  • Retention of the Kadhis courts. I am glad that sanity prevailed on this one. Kenyan Christians were being absolutely crazy in their opposition to this.

What I did not like:

  • The judiciary. Judges of the Supreme Court should have had life tenure. They should have created regional court systems. And they should have done away with the “traditional” court systems – whatever they are?
  • Traditional marriages should have been trashed. Marriage should be between two people. Polygamy is an affront on women’s rights. Period.
  • And about gay marriage, I don’t think it was necessary to spell out that marriage is between a man and a woman. These guys should have been open minded enough to allow for the possibility of Kenyans being more liberal than they currently are.
  • Vote share for Nairobi in the Senate. Nairobi should have had one of the biggest shares of Senate votes – by virtue of it being the economic hub. Instead the Rift Valley, with its many underdeveloped counties, has the largest share. Call it urban bias, but I don’t like the idea of rural non-tax-payers always having the biggest say on who gets to steal the money paid in taxes by Nairobians and other city dwellers.
  • The lack for autonomy of towns and cities. The counties idea is great, but we should have designated cities and towns that were autonomous  – with their own police forces and stuff. Security and Justice are political and should have been devolved too.

And in other news, Kenya is still among the most corrupt countries in the world. The new TI corruption perception index ranks Kenya at 146 out of 180 states. This is one more reason to fire Amos Wako, Kenya’s Attorney general since forever. And while we are at it we should also get rid of the Chief Justice. Mr. Gicheru has not lived up to expectations. He was appointed to clean up the judiciary but ended up in the pockets of the powers that be.

obscene, utterly obscene

Stories like this drive me crazy.

Quoting the Guardian Newspaper:

“Little Teodoro, as President Teodoro Obiang Nguema’s son is known at home, appears to spend as little time as possible fulfilling his duties as the minister of agriculture and forestry in the west African state. Instead he flits between South Africa, France and the US, pursuing business ventures such as a failed rap label while acquiring property and a fleet of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bentleys – all made possible by the discovery of oil in Equatorial Guinea’s waters a decade ago.”

further ahead…..

“President Obiang, who has ruled since seizing power in 1979, has decreed that the management of his country’s $3bn a year in oil revenues is a state secret.”

According to the CIA factbook:

Per capita GDP of Equatorial Guinea (PPP) is 37,300. Obiang (the elder) spends a paltry 0.6% of his country’s GDP on education. Almost two thirds of the country’s 633,400 people live below the poverty line. Meanwhile, Obiang – whose kleptocratic leadership has plagued Equatorians since he staged a coup against his own uncle (and then executed him) in 1979 – managed to win a seven year term in 2002 with over 97% of the vote. The next elections will be held in 2010.