Sunday 19 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
Kenyans head to the polls next Thursday for a second time this year after the Supreme Court overturned the August election victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta. But with just a week left, fears are soaring of yet another flawed vote and its potential implications for the country. Opposition leader Raila Odinga has refused to participate and the country's election commission is divided and in turmoil. Here are the key questions: - Will there be an election on October 26? - As of now, yes. But what it will look like is anyone's guess. The 2017 presidential election has seen many twists and turns, and the runup to election day has been marked by near-daily bombshells that have only led to...
(Xinhuanet 10/19/17)
Kenya's travel agents on Wednesday appealed to political leaders to find a solution to the current poll standoff, saying prolonged electioneering period is taking a great toll on business travel in the East African nation. The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) said whereas the industry was able to withstand the aftermath of the Aug. 8 general election, the ongoing political uncertainty punctuated with violent protests is threatening to bring business to a grinding halt. "Overall air ticket bookings from various booking channels by travel agents have dropped by about 10 percent from 1.7 million to 1.5 million for the period ending September compared to same period last year," KATA CEO Nicanor Sabula said in a statement issued in Nairobi...
(Xinhua 10/19/17)
Kenyan universities are embracing biometric registration of students in bid to curb terror networks within the institutions, a government official said on Wednesday. University students have become easy targets of terror groups in Kenya as witnessed by the April 2015 attack at the Garissa University College where 148 students were killed. Some of the gunmen were said to have been university students. To curb repetition of such incidences, in June 2016, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi ordered all universities to register students electronically, create and maintain a database for each by program and year of study for ease of tracking them. Matiangi noted that increased insecurity and terror attacks in Kenya had led to the stringent security measures that will...
(Xinhuanet 10/19/17)
Kenya's election commission head said Wednesday it is difficult to guarantee that the Oct. 26 presidential poll would be free and fair. Wafula Chebukati, the Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), said he will not continue to be pushed by majority commissioners to accept legal opinions that serve partisan interests that are not grounded in the constitution of the law. "I have made several attempts to make critical changes but my motions have been defeated by a majority of the commissioners. Under such conditions, it is difficult to guarantee free, fair and credible elections," Chebukati told journalists in Nairobi. "I m convinced that without critical changes in key secretariat staff we may not have free, fair and...
(Xinhuanet 10/19/17)
Kenya will tackle the opening two legs of the 2017-18 World Sevens Series in Dubai and Cape Town, South Africa without their skipper, Andrew Amonde, who has been ruled out with injury. Amonde confirmed on Wednesday he has undergone successful surgery to repair the hernia injury he sustained while playing for his domestic side, KCB RFC at last weekend's Christie 7s ruling him out of the series openers in Dec. "I will not recover in time for Dubai and Cape Town and I feel terrible about it but there is nothing that can be done," the mainstay of the side who is expected to be out for at least two months, rued. Amonde, who is eying a return during the...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Kenya's polls chief cast doubt Wednesday on his organisation's ability to hold a credible vote next week, pointing to internal divisions and interference by both major parties. In the latest bombshell to hit the presidential election, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief Wafula Chebukati lambasted political leaders and his staff just hours after another commissioner announced her resignation after fleeing to New York. "Let me be very clear that this a yellow card to both sides. I will not tolerate the interference in the commission anymore," said Chebukati in a no-holds-barred statement in which he slammed the "arrogance and narcissism of our political class". "Political leaders who are supposed to build the nation have become the greatest threat to...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/18/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - The head of Kenya’s election commission said on Wednesday he could not guarantee next week’s presidential election will be free and fair, citing interference from politicians and threats of violence against his colleagues. Wafula Chebukati’s statement came hours after another commission member resigned and left the country, saying she and her staff had been repeatedly threatened. “Ironically, the very people, political leaders, who are supposed to build the nation have become the greatest threat to the peace and stability of the nation,” Chebukati told journalists. The Oct. 26 poll is the re-run of an election that took place in August, where incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory was nullified on procedural grounds. But the run-up to the new...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga called Wednesday for mass protests on the day of the October 26 presidential election, in which he has refused to take participate. "​Protests will go on, on the 26th (there) will be the biggest demonstrations in the whole country," he told a rally of thousands of supporters in a suburb of Nairobi. Odinga said last week he was withdrawing from the election, accusing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of failing to reform since the Supreme Court last month annulled the results of a previous vote and ordered a re-run. He vowed on Wednesday there would be "no election" on October 26, but did not give details on how he planned to prevent the...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
One of Kenya's top election officials quit Wednesday in a searing statement accusing her colleagues of political bias and saying an upcoming presidential election could not be credible. The resignation of one of seven poll commissioners is the latest dramatic twist to an election process that has plunged the East African nation into its worst political crisis in a decade. "The commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on 26 October 2017. I do not want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity," Roselyn Akombe wrote in the statement from New York. The country's Supreme Court on September 1 ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to carry out a re-run...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Opposition leader Raila Odinga said Tuesday he was suspending a protest campaign after three people were shot dead in demonstrations against Kenya's election body. "In honour of the innocent victims of the state, our protests will stay suspended. On Friday, we will mark the memory of these victims as heroes of the struggle for electoral justice," he said in a statement. The National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition had earlier said the protests would resume on Wednesday after a one-day break to honour the victims. Odinga said the party would communicate "our next course of action" on Friday. Odinga launched a protest campaign three weeks ago against the Independent Electoral...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Kenya's high court on Tuesday temporarily lifted a government curb on protests in three main cities, until a full hearing can be held on an opposition petition to scrap the ban entirely. Security Minister Fred Matiangi announced the ban last Thursday but opposition supporters have defied the order, notably in the western stronghold of Kisumu where three people have been shot dead by police. The high court ordered the ban suspended "pending the hearing and determination" of a petition by the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition arguing it contravened their constitutional right to protest. Matiangi accused opposition supporters, who had been waging a protest campaign to demand election reforms ahead of an October 26 vote, of lawlessness and destroying property...
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
The political impasse in Kenya has hit uptake of Treasury bills, with investors remaining cautious ahead of the Oct. 26 repeat elections. Subscription has been on the decline for the last three weeks but dropped to the lowest last week as the contested polls, which the opposition has boycotted, approach. Last week, overall Treasury bills subscription for the 91-, 182- and 364-day bills declined to a record 43 percent, down from 63 percent recorded in the previous week, Central Bank of Kenya data shows Monday. The worst affected of the three bills was the 364-day security, whose uptake stood at 34 percent, down from 81 percent in the previous week. Yields on the 91-, 182- and 364-day papers remained unchanged...
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
Kenya's plantation union on Monday denied reports that flower farmers are relocating to Ethiopia due to frequent labor unrest in the east African nation. Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) Assistant General Secretary Meshack Khisa rejected reports made by county officials as alarmist and reckless. He said that workers in the sector had the right to agitate for higher pay due to the high cost of living which had pushed up the price of basic commodities. "The governor's statements of farmers relocating to Ethiopia is misinformed, alarmist and reckless as the flower industry has continued to grow and expand rather than shrink," Khisa said in Naivasha, about 90 km northwest of Nairobi, referring to Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, who...
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
Kenya's Garissa University College (GUC), which Al-Shabaab attacked in April 2015 and killed more than 140 people, mostly students, is set to be awarded a Charter this week, a legal document that authorizes the university to discharge its mandate. President Uhuru Kenyatta was expected to award the Charter in Nairobi on Thursday, completing the turnaround of the university following the attack. The award would bring the number of public universities in the East African nation to 31. Kenya currently has a total of 71 universities (both private and public), making it among the developing African countries with the highest number of institutions of higher learning. The Charter to be awarded signifies the grant of authority of rights, recognizing the prerogative...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
A young protester was shot dead in western Kenya on Monday as hundreds of opposition supporters again took to the streets demanding reforms ahead of a presidential election, witnesses told AFP. Police teargassed a large crowd of protesters in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu, who set tyres alight, blocked roads and pelted policemen with rocks as they kicked off daily protests just 10 days ahead of the election. One protester, Michael Odiambo, 21, said he had seen police gun down a young man, whose body was also seen by an AFP photographer. "He was running to hide himself from police. A police man just pointed a gun at him and shot him from a distance. He was shot in the...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/16/17)
MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, who withdrew from a presidential election re-run set for Oct. 26 saying it should only take place once wide-ranging reforms are undertaken, urged his supporters on Sunday to hold protests. Authorities have banned protests in central Nairobi and other hotspots in a bid to keep a lid on mounting political turmoil in the build-up to the repeat vote, in which Odinga had been set to challenge President Uhuru Kenyatta once again. The Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta’s victory in the original election on Aug. 8, citing procedural irregularities. On Friday, Odinga said his withdrawal meant the poll had been “canceled” and that there should be fresh nominations for a new vote. “Come...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/16/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - At least 33 people died in the Kenyan capital Nairobi during a police crackdown on opposition supporters after elections in August, including a child and a pregnant woman, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said on Monday. Protests erupted after President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga in the vote. The Supreme Court later voided the result. Odinga has withdrawn from a re-run on Oct. 26, leaving Kenyatta as the only candidate, prompting further protests. Kenyan police disputed the rights groups’ report, which brings the nationwide death toll in the crackdown...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Nairobi (Kenya) - Kenyan police has killed at least 33 people, possibly as many as 50, and injured hundreds more in some parts of Nairobi, the capital, in response to protests following the August 8, 2017 elections, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released on Monday. The 37-page report, “Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections,” documents excessive use of force by police, and in some cases other security agents, against protesters and residents in some of Nairobi’s opposition strongholds after the elections. Researchers found that although police behaved appropriately in some instances, in many others they shot or beat protesters to death. Other victims died of asphyxiation from inhaling teargas...

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