Thursday 27 July 2017
(Bloomberg 05/31/17)
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga pledged to keep his bid to unseat President Uhuru Kenyatta free of violence, while warning that his supporters may rise up if they suspect rigging. “We do not expect any violence,” Odinga told reporters in Nairobi, the capital, on Tuesday. “It’s not in our hands. If elections are free and fair, I don’t think there would be any. Violence will come if somebody interferes with the electoral process.” “If we lose fairly, we will accept,” said Odinga, who leads a five-party coalition that’s contesting the Aug. 8 vote. Kenyatta would take 47 percent of the vote if elections were held now, pollster Ipsos Kenya said in a survey published Tuesday. That compares to 42 percent...
(Voice of America 05/31/17)
A new report says Kenyan authorities have used threats, beatings and phone tapping to intimidate journalists reporting on sensitive issues. The report, titled "Not Worth the Risk," details abuses in Kenya since 2013 that Human Rights Watch and media advocacy group Article 19 say have made it dangerous for journalists to report on controversial issues like corruption, land rights and alleged human rights violations by security services. Otsieno Namwaya, a Human Rights Watch researcher, detailed some of the issues Kenyan journalists face. "The government has attempted to obstruct critical journalists using legal, administrative and informal measures which include threats, intimidation, harassment online and phone surveillance, which is really a big problem right now. Most journalists are worried they are being...
(The Associated Press 05/31/17)
The U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday it has turned to Kenyan police for possible criminal prosecution of three staffers for allegedly carrying out threats, intimidation and fraud against refugees and other personnel at a camp in northwest Kenya. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman Babar Baloch says the move, which has led to one arrest so far, follows an internal investigation launched after allegations of wrongdoing involving those three and two more staffers at the Kakuma refugee camp emerged between April 2016 and January 2017. Baloch said staff members allegedly sought payments of $500 to $2,500 from refugees for various services that should be free, threatened other workers and intimidated the camp's occupants. Revelations of illegal activities by refugee camp...
(Xinhuanet 05/31/17)
The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) on Tuesday signed an operations, maintenance and service agreement for the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railways (SGR). KR Managing Director Atanas Maina told a media briefing in Mombasa that under the deal, CRBC will from Wednesday take over as operator of the 480 km SGR. "CBRC's key functions, will be to run the railway system in accordance with schedule of the agreement with KR and also to undertake maintenance of the equipment and rail tracks to ensure that they are maintained in accordance with the prescribed manuals as well as the best global industry standards," Maina said. Construction of the 3.8-billion-U.S. dollar project, with the bulk of financing...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/31/17)
In a roadside cafe in Kenya's majestic highlands, Elly Sigilai cradled a steaming mug of tea and recalled how 17 relatives died after British colonialists ousted them in 1934 to plant tea on their family land. The 79-year-old is one of hundreds of elderly Kenyans seeking to sue the British government for alleged displacement and torture by its colonial predecessor, in a case that could encourage other former colonies to press similar claims. "Those on this list died from malaria and sleeping sickness," said Sigilai, a neatly folded piece of paper in his hand naming the dead in his family, including two brothers and a sister. "They were sent to a valley infested by tsetse flies to die." Survivors and...
(Xinhuanet 05/31/17)
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday launched the passenger train service of the 480-km Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). Kenyatta said the railway marks a new chapter in the history of Kenya. The modern railway will replace the meter-gauge railway that was constructed more than 100 years ago during the British colonial rule, Kenyatta said. "Today we celebrate the laying of one of the key cornerstones to Kenya's journey of transformation to an industrial, prosperous and middle income country," he said ahead of embarking on the inaugural trip from Mombasa to Nairobi. The launch came one day after the Kenyan leader launched the first SGR cargo service between the two cities. Kenyatta said that the SGR was made possible due...
(Xinhuanet 05/31/17)
The EU on Tuesday commended President Uhuru Kenyatta for his consistent commitment to a free, fair and peaceful election in August. The EU delegation led by EU Ambassador to Kenya, Ambassador Stephano Dejak noted Kenya's level of preparedness and commitment for the August polls and pledged its full support to the process. "We are greatly encouraged by the commitment you once more confirmed on Monday about peaceful, free, fair and credible election," Dejak said in a statement issued after holding talks with Kenyatta in Nairobi. "As the EU, we will be always close by to give all the support we can, including with the imminent arrival of the Election Observation Mission," he added. Millions of Kenyans will vote on Aug...
(Xinhuanet 05/31/17)
The Chinese-built railway linking Kenya's capital of Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa was officially launched on Wednesday, accelerating the country's steps on the path toward industrialization and modernization. As Kenya's first new railway in a century and the largest infrastructure project since its independence, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) carries hopes and dreams of the Kenyan people for a more prosperous future. Construction of the railway began in December 2014. With tremendous efforts by both sides, China and Kenya have strived to complete the flagship project in less than three years, which will greatly improve local people's livelihood by boosting regional trade and deepening integration in East Africa. The fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation once again proved to...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...
(Xinhuanet 05/30/17)
Kenya's electoral body on Monday cleared President Uhuru Kenyatta to run for a second term in office after he presented his nomination papers with his deputy William Ruto as his running mate. Kenyatta, who was accompanied by thousands of his supporters after a day-long tour of the city, said his Jubilee Party will conduct a peaceful campaign free of insults. At the rallies, Kenyatta who defeated the main opposition leader Raila Odinga in 2013 said he was humbly asking Kenyans to vote for him for a second term so that the Jubilee administration can continue with the development programs it has been implementing to transform the country. "We are not people who rely on propaganda and we do not incite...
(Xinhuanet 05/30/17)
Robust involvement in activities that promote social good and ecological sustainability has become the defining feature of Chinese firms that have invested in Kenya, a report said on Monday. The 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, launched by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), revealed great enthusiasm by Chinese firms to advance the welfare of Kenyan communities. Kenyan officials, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa and senior executives from the CCCC, attended the launch of the CSR reports that gave a positive score on the activities of Chinese firms. Principal Secretary of Kenya's Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Paul Maringa Mwangi, lauded Chinese firms for prioritizing community welfare and ecological protection during implementation of mega infrastructure projects in the country...
(Bloomberg 05/30/17)
Africa’s corn harvest this year is a tale of two extremes as worries about overflowing silos and rotting crops in the south contrast with the east where supermarkets are running short of the staple food. Zambia and South Africa are both predicting record output of the grain, while Zimbabwe may meet its domestic needs for the first time since it began seizing land from white farmers in 2000. Yet in East Africa, 17 million people may be facing hunger, and concerns about food shortages are driving up prices as governments scramble to secure imports. “It all comes down to weather,” said Wessel Lemmer, a senior agricultural economist at Barclays Africa Group Ltd.’s Absa unit in Johannesburg. “There’s usually an inverse...
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
More than a century after a colonial railway gave birth to modern Kenya, the country is betting on a new Chinese-built route to cement its position as the gateway to East Africa. The $3.2 billion (2.8 billion euro) railway linking Nairobi with the port city of Mombasa will Wednesday take its first passengers on the 472 kilometre (293 mile) journey, allowing them to skip a hair-raising drive on one of Kenya's most dangerous highways. The railway is the country's biggest infrastructure project since independence, and while it has courted controversy, it is a key selling point for the ruling Jubilee party ahead of August elections. It is also part of a "master plan" by east African leaders to connect their...
(Bloomberg 05/29/17)
The outcome of Kenya’s election pitting President Uhuru Kenyatta against a former prime minister will be close and may involve a run-off vote if turnout in opposition strongholds is high, according to analysts Verisk Maplecroft. While opposition support is seen as depressed due to “disillusionment” with main candidate Raila Odinga, the ex-premier who failed in three previous presidential bids, he can still force a run-off if enough supporters are mobilized to cast ballots, Emma Gordon, senior analyst at the Bath, England-based risk consultancy, said in a report. Kenyatta and Odinga have near-equal support among ethnic voting blocs, Gordon said, and if opposition supporters defy expectations and raise turnout in swing counties by 10 percent on Aug. 8, that would spur...
(AfricaNews 05/29/17)
Kenyan opposition politician Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka on Sunday (May 28) presented their election documents to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ahead of the presidential election in August. Odinga, who comes from one of Kenya’s most powerful political families, will try to unseat President Uhuru Kenyatta, the wealthy son of the country’s first president and head of the ruling Jubilee party, who is seeking a second term. It is Odinga’s fourth time as a presidential candidate. The veteran politician was nominated by a group of other leaders who also had presidential ambitions and came together to form the National Super Alliance, known by its acronym NASA. Kenyans go to the polls on August 8...
(Voice of America 05/29/17)
In Kenya, the official campaign period has begun as the electoral body clears candidates to run for the presidency. The commission is calling on the candidates to maintain peace during the August polls. Kenya’s presidential campaign has begun with 70 days to the August elections. So far the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has cleared seven candidates and rejected three because of logistical issues. Addressing Jubilee Party supporters Monday in Nairobi, Deputy President William Ruto said he and the president would make a re-election bid. “As you are aware today President Uhuru Kenyatta is going to present his papers to the IEBC given to him by Jubilee Party so that he can compete for the presidency on August 8th and...
(Agence Ecofin 05/29/17)
Kenya's sugar production hit 172,722 tons at the end of the first quarter of 2017, or 28% less than last year over the same period, reports Business daily africa citing the Kenyan Sugar Board (KSD). According to KSD, the lower output is due to a poor performance of processing plants in the country, as their raw material input has also slumped amid drought hitting most of the production areas. However, beyond the unfavorable weather, there are internal issues which are also responsible for the performance and must not be ignored. These include the disinterest of producers in the crop due to the lack of support from the government and delayed payment of the raw material. Meanwhile, let it be noted...
(Xinhuanet 05/29/17)
Two Ethiopians have been charged in the Ethiopian Federal High Court with inciting violence during the Oct. 2, 2016, Irrecha religious festival, which witnessed a stampede that killed at least 55 people. State affiliated media outlet Radio Fana reported on Sunday that the two, identified as Tufa Melka and Kedir Bedasso, were in particular accused of snatching microphones from elders during the festival and broadcasting inflammatory statements that led a crowd to initiate violence. Irrecha is an annual religious festival where Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, the Oromos, congregate on Bishoftu city, 45 kms south of Addis Ababa, in their thousands. The Ethiopian Federal High Court adjourned the case to June 1, 2017 to hear from defense and prosecution opening statements...
(Daily Nation 05/29/17)
The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum is seeking to tap London cash for Kenyan power projects. The ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to promote dual-listings of energy companies in Nairobi and London. The memorandum was signed by Energy secretary Charles Keter and London Stock Exchange Group (LSE owner) chief executive officer Nikhil Rathi. This is the first agreement signed between them. It outlines both parties' commitment to raising capital for Kenya's energy industry, through public market equity and debt listings. The MoU also lays out their plans to assemble key stakeholders to establish an effective dual-listing framework for equity listings in London and Nairobi. The signing follows an event in Nairobi on...
(BBC News Africa 05/29/17)
The daily journey to work can be a stressful, exhausting or plain boring experience. It may not be to everyone's tastes but one husband-and-wife team of preachers in Kenya believes the time is best used for spiritual upliftment and has transformed a Nairobi commuter train into a prayer session. Self-styled pastor Helen Wangui Tiphy, a secretary in a government office, believes she plays a vital role in helping commuters cope with their problems. "Many of the people travelling in the morning are jobless, others are discouraged. We decided to give them the word of hope." "You can see someone has many problems, but when we preach the word, you can see the person getting better and getting healed. There is...

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