Sunday 21 January 2018
(Reuters (Eng) 10/26/17)
KISUMU, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenyan opposition supporters clashed with police and threw up burning barricades on Thursday to challenge the legitimacy of an election rerun likely to return Uhuru Kenyatta as president of East Africa’s chief economic and political powerhouse. In the western city of Kisumu, stone-throwing youths heeding opposition leader Raila Odinga’s call for a voter boycott were met by live rounds, tear gas and water cannon. There were no immediate reports of casualties and Reuters found no polling stations open. In Kibera and Mathare, two volatile Nairobi slums, riot police patrolled. Protesters set fires in Kibera early in the morning. Nearly 50 people have been killed by security forces since the original August vote that Kenyatta won but...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
Kenyan police clashed with opposition protesters in parts of Nairobi and in the west of the country who tried to block voting Thursday in an election boycotted by their leader Raila Odinga, AFP correspondents said. In several western towns, protesters blocked roads and barricaded the entrances to polling stations, lobbing rocks at police who fired teargas to disperse them. In the slums of the Kenyan capital, police also engaged in running battles with residents trying to prevent voting. Odinga had asked his supporters to stay away from an election he said would not be free or fair, leaving many polling stations empty in his strongholds. Even areas loyal to President Uhuru Kenyatta showed a slow turnout, compared to the previous...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
"It is our right not to vote. We voted already in August and you see what happened," shrugged Joseph Otieno as he stood in the drizzling rain with a handful of youths boycotting Thursday’s presidential re-run. In Nairobi's Mathare slum, a neighbourhood of rickety high-rises and tin shacks, mixed ethnicity and mixed political affiliation, some polling stations were deserted, while others opened late, attracting just a trickle of voters. There was no sign of the thick snaking queues of voters that characterised the August election, whose results were annulled last month, unleashing weeks of acrimonious politicking and angry demonstrations which sometimes turned violent. Near a polling station at the Heidemarie primary school, a small group of young men stood blowing...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called for peace on the eve of a vote that has deeply polarised the nation, and that he is almost certain to win given a boycott by his rival Raila Odinga. "Let us all maintain peace as we exercise our constitutional right to choose," he said in a televised address. Kenyatta, who was furious after his victory in an August poll was overturned by Kenya's top court and forced him to run again, said the decision had allowed the country to strengthen its democracy. "The judiciary is in fact independent and it made its own decision... and for that reason we have reason to be proud of our nation and our maturity," he said. "Tomorrow (Thursday)...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
The United States expressed deep concern about the political crisis in Kenya on Wednesday and urged parties to resolve their differences over a disputed election without resorting to violence. Kenyans are due to vote Thursday in a re-run of August's presidential vote, which was annulled after the Supreme Court found "irregularities" and mismanagement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). But opposition leader Raila Odinga has urged his own supporters to stay at home after protest violence left at least 40 dead, apparently clearing the way for President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election. "The United States urges all Kenyans to remain calm, reject violence, and uphold the principles of their Constitution in the election scheduled for tomorrow," US State Department spokeswoman...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga urged his supporters to boycott Thursday's presidential re-run election, claiming it would not be free and fair. "What we do tomorrow: one, do not participate in any way in the sham election, two, convince your friends, neighbours and everyone else not to participate," he told a crowd of thousands in Nairobi Wednesday. He called on them to "hold vigils and prayers away from polling stations, or just stay at home." Kenya's presidential election has plunged the country into political turmoil.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/25/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya opposition leader Raila Odinga urged supporters to boycott Thursday’s repeat presidential election and persuade their friends to do the same, saying he would lead a campaign of civil disobedience against the government. Odinga, however, backed away from previous promises to hold large-scale protests on election day. “We advise Kenyans who value democracy and justice to hold vigil and prayers away from polling stations, or just stay at home,” he told a cheering crowd of thousands of people on Wednesday in Uhuru Park, in the capital Nairobi. “Convince your friends, neighbors and everyone else not participate,” he said, but if they support the president, he cautioned “do not insult or assault them. Instead, seek to open their...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
Kenya's poll chief confirmed Wednesday that a highly-contentious election would take place as scheduled, despite the absence of opposition leader Raila Odinga and numerous concerns over its credibility. "Based on assurances given to this commission by the relevant authorities and security agencies, based on the progress that has been made in the commission, the election as scheduled will go ahead tomorrow, the 26th of October," said Wafula Chebukati, head of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). With Odinga refusing to participate and numerous last-minute legal battles over the election's legitimacy, there has been a big question mark over whether the vote would actually take place.
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
"Election officers are extremely afraid, they are afraid of being attacked," says John Ngutai, the top election official in Kisumu, an opposition stronghold in western Kenya where protesters are bent on blocking Thursday's deeply-divisive vote. "We should be preparing tomorrow's presidential election, but no one is here," said the frustrated polling officer as he made a series of phone calls trying to persuade other officials to attend a pre-election meeting at Lions High School, the constituency tally centre. Of the roughly 400 officers due to attend, only five turned up. The reason for the no-show is the decision by opposition leader Raila Odinga to boycott Thursday's presidential re-run -- a ballot called after the Supreme Court overturned the results of...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
Kenya's repeat presidential election looked set to go ahead after a last-ditch bid to delay the highly contentious vote failed on Wednesday when the Supreme Court was unable to reach a quorum. The dramatic hearing on the eve of Thursday's poll had stoked opposition hopes of delaying the vote boycotted by their leader Raila Odinga. With political tensions soaring ahead of the vote, even the country's top election official has said he cannot guarantee a free, fair and credible election, prompting concerns at home and abroad about the risks of holding another flawed election. Chief Justice David Maraga, who overturned the August 8 victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta, was forced to ditch the planned hearing, as only two of seven...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/25/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya plunged deeper into crisis on Wednesday after a no-show by the majority of Supreme Court judges scuppered an eleventh-hour petition to delay a presidential election and the governor of a volatile opposition region endorsed rebellion against the state. Within minutes of Supreme Court chief justice David Maraga announcing that five judges had failed to turn up, preventing a quorum, hundreds of supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga took to the streets of Kisumu, his main stronghold. Riot police used teargas to disperse them. Odinga had successfully challenged the outcome of an initial ballot in August, which he lost, in the same court. “We were expecting Maraga to cancel (Thursday‘s) elections. This means the push for postponement...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
Kenya’s Supreme Court said Wednesday it could not hear a last-minute petition to postpone Thursday’s presidential election because it didn’t have a quorum of judges, while the shooting of one judge’s driver hours before the hearing raised fears about intimidation. Chief Justice David Maraga appeared alone in the courtroom and said only he and one other judge had been able to attend the hearing. The announcement appeared to clear the way for Thursday’s fresh presidential elections to proceed. Outside the court, hundreds of women in white scarves gathered to call for peace as tensions have risen about possible violence.
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
Kenya's Supreme Court will hear a last-ditch petition Wednesday to delay a presidential poll which the opposition is boycotting and even top election officials doubt can be free and fair. In the latest twist to a dramatic election saga in the east African powerhouse, the court agreed to hear the urgent petition from three human rights activists arguing Kenya is not ready for Thursday's re-run of the election. Chief Justice David Maraga, who will oversee the hearing, presided over the September 1 ruling that annulled the results of the first election due to "irregularities" in the electronic transmission of results, and mismanagement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries....
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
The bodyguard and driver of Kenya's deputy chief justice was shot and seriously injured on Tuesday - just two days before a divisive re-run of the country's presidential election. Philomena Mwilu was part of a majority of Supreme Court judges who voted to annul the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta last month, following the initial August vote. The judge, who was not with her driver at the time of the Nairobi shooting, is due to hear a last-ditch legal bid on Wednesday to delay the new poll, set for Thursday. "We have launched an investigation and we are looking for the criminals who shot the deputy chief justice’s driver," Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome said. The attacker, who arrived on...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/25/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Official results from Kenya’s repeat presidential election on Thursday are likely to take several days to collate, election officials told Reuters, due to changes in the process to try to make it more transparent. The Supreme Court on Sept. 1 ordered a repeat of the election after judges annulled the results of an Aug. 8 poll, pitting incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta against opposition leader Raila Odinga, due to procedural irregularities. Official results said Kenyatta won on Aug. 8 by 1.4 million votes, but Odinga said the vote was rigged. Odinga has refused to participate in Thursday’s rerun because he said election officials have not carried out sufficient reforms.
(Xinhuanet 10/25/17)
Kenyan soldiers destroyed a Al-Shabaab camp in the coastal Lamu region and killed four militants on Tuesday, said Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) spokesman David Obonyo. Obonyo said the raid, which took place in the general area of Mararani in Lamu County, also saw the soldiers recover four AK 47 rifles, six magazines, three grenades, three car batteries, rolls of cable, three mobile phones and assorted foodstuffs. "It is believed that several other terrorists escaped with injuries. The camp is believed to be training and operations base for the terrorists," Obonyo said in a statement. Obonyo said the raid was conducted by soldiers who have been combing the vast Boni forest used by Al-Shabaab as their hideout and also to launch...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/25/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - A gunman shot and wounded a bodyguard to Kenya’s deputy chief justice on Tuesday, police said, adding to an increasingly tense atmosphere two days before the East African nation is due to hold a repeat presidential election. Rashid Mohamed, the officer in charge of Dagoretti police station, told Reuters it was unclear why the bodyguard to Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu was shot or how many attackers there were. The bodyguard was shot in the shoulder and his gun was taken as he was buying pots of flowers by the side of the road, Mohamed said. Last month, the chief justice said judges have received repeated threats since the Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in...
(BBC News Africa 10/25/17)
Kenya's Chief Justice has said the Supreme Court is unable to hear a petition calling for a delay in Thursday's presidential re-run. David Maraga said not enough of the court's seven judges were available to hear the case. The deputy chief justice was not available after her bodyguard was shot by gunmen on Tuesday. The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Nairobi says the election is now expected to go ahead as planned. The Supreme Court annulled the original election in August, saying there had been "irregularities and illegalities". Opposition leader Raila Odinga is boycotting the re-run, saying nothing has changed. Read more at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-41747735
(Bloomberg 10/25/17)
If Kenya goes ahead with its presidential vote this week, it will be making a historic mistake -- one that threatens unrest and undermines a landmark court decision affirming the importance of transparent, free and fair elections. Thursday's scheduled vote is a redo of one held on Aug. 8, which Kenya's Supreme Court annulled on Sept. 1. In making its historic decision -- the first reversal of an incumbent African president's re-election -- the court cited unconstitutional procedures and electoral systems that had been "infiltrated and compromised." Without specifying remedies, the court ordered Kenya's electoral commission to conduct a new vote within 60 days. Yet what should have been an opportunity to improve electoral processes and restore public faith has...
(Bloomberg 10/25/17)
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is certain to win re-election in Thursday’s vote rerun after his main rival, Raila Odinga, withdrew from the race, but his victory could prove to be a hollow one. “It would be a Pyrrhic victory for Kenyatta, especially if opposition strongholds boycott as they have promised,” said Nanjala Nyabola, a Nairobi-based independent political analyst. “It may have serious implications for his ability to govern.” A supporter of Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta salutes from a crowd in Nairobi on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017.Photographer: Luis Tato/Bloomberg The Supreme Court, which annulled the Aug. 8 vote, said Wednesday it couldn’t hear a petition to cancel the rerun because of a lack of a quorum. On Monday, Western envoys proposed...

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