NGOs hold ‘Kenya We Don’t Want’ conference

Published on 05/02/2009

By Ramadhan Rajab

The civil society is dissatisfied with The Kenya We Want conference, terming it a waste of resources.

They thus organised The Kenya We Don’t Want conference at Ufungamano Hall, Nairobi, Thursday.

Speaking during the opening of the meeting, National Civil Society Congress Chairman Morris Odhiambo said such conferences have been held before, but no tangible results are evident.

“It is ironical that those responsible for our miseries are proposing ways of improving the nation,” Mr Odhiambo said.

He said 46 years after independence, Kenya still grapples with poverty, disease and ignorance because of the political elite’s selfishness.

“Poor leadership is the Kenya We Don’t want,” he said.

“It is disturbing that the Kenyan lifestyle has been partitioned into five years of nightmares, irrespective of the way citizens vote.”

Playwright and activist Okoiti Omtatah, who was the master of the ceremonies, said the KICC conference was proof that leaders had no agenda for Kenyans.


“We only exist in the past, present and future, which has already been occupied by (former President) Moi, (President) Kibaki and (Prime Minister) Raila. We are here to create alternatives,” Mr Omtatah told participants at the alternative conference.

He said the transition from Moi to Kibaki did not threaten the status quo. Instead, he said, it ‘gave birth’ to a leadership “that has conspired to keep the poor in poverty… keeps people starving as they form cycles of scandals to selfishly enrich themselves,” Okoiti said.

Former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile said leaders driving The Kenya We Want conference at KICC had ‘grabbed’ what Kenyans fought for.

Kalembe claimed that those attending the KICC meeting had no idea what Kenyans wanted and if they did, their selfish interests won’t allow them to do the right thing.

He said the KICC conference was ‘a perpetuation of impunity’.

Current leadership bad

“Kitu hatutaki kwa sasa ni uongozi uliopo,” (What we do not want is the current leadership), Kalembe said.

International Centre for Policy and Conflict Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina called on all Kenyans to raise the bar, vet political leaders and reject those who lack accountability and professionalism to serve the people.

Civil society members put on top of their agenda constitutional review, setting up of the Special Tribunal, electoral reforms, gender parity, MPs’ taxes and guaranteed livelihood for all Kenyans.

“We will fight on until justice is seen to be done. This country does not belong to the political elite who take us for a ride time and again,” said Odhiambo.

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