Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum 2018

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship forum 2018 is currently taking place with the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyata, among those participating.

The forum which attracts young entrepreneurs from across the globe also has the founder of the foundation, Tony Elumelu, in attendance.

Kenyatta And Odinga Meet, Vow To Resolve Differences

 

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) shakes hands with the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition opposition leader Raila Odinga after a news conference on March 9, 2018 at Harambee house office in Nairobi.  SIMON MAINA / AFP

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta met opposition leader Raila Odinga in public on Friday for the first time since last year’s hotly-disputed elections, with the pair promising to heal the country’s divisions.

The surprise meeting at Kenyatta’s downtown office on Friday ended with the symbolic appearance of the two men standing side-by-side to deliver a joint statement.

Calling one another “brother,” they announced a plan for “a programme” to overcome deep and long-standing ethnic and political divides, although they provided few details of what it might involve.

“We have come to a common understanding, an understanding that this country of Kenya is greater than any one individual, and that for this country to come together leaders must come together,” Kenyatta said.

Odinga expressed similar sentiments.

“Throughout our independence history, we have had doubts on how we have conducted our affairs in the face of growing divide along ethnic, religious and political lines. Regrettably, we have responded to our challenges by mostly running away from them,” said Odinga, who spoke first.

“The time has come for us to confront and resolve our differences.”

Friday’s meeting came hours before the arrival of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as part of his first Africa tour. The US has been urging direct talks between Kenyatta and Odinga to resolve the political strife.

Tillerson later described the meeting as “a positive step”.

“While we know addressing Kenya’s ethnic and political divisions will take some time and effort, today both of these men showed great leadership in coming together and in the agreement they signed,” he told a press conference in Nairobi after meeting with Kenyatta.

But Tillerson also warned against democratic backsliding, urging the government to, “correct certain actions, like shutting down TV stations and threatening the independence of the courts.”

Last year’s fraught election season saw one presidential poll annulled by the courts and the re-run boycotted by the opposition.

While political violence did not come close to that which followed the 2007 vote — when over 1,100 lives were lost — the disputed elections led to the deaths of over 100 people, most of them shot by police.

On January 10, European Union election monitors said the flawed poll had “weakened” the country’s democracy.

“Kenyans went from high hopes for these elections to many disappointments and confrontations. Kenya remains deeply divided,” EU chief observer Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European parliament, told AFP as the critical report was launched.

AFP

Kenyatta Vows To Unite Kenya After Divisive Poll

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. Photo: SIMON MAINA / AFP

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday vowed to be the leader of all Kenyans and work to unite the country after a bruising and drawn out election process that ended with his swearing-in.

“I will devote my time and energy to build bridges, to unite and bring prosperity,” he said as he started his second term faced with a large portion of the population that rejects his election outright.

Kenyatta’s calls for unity echo those he made throughout an election campaign in which he also launched searing attacks on the judiciary and opposition.

However the message is sorely needed in Kenya, as more than four months of political upheaval have left the nation more divided than ever.

An election on August 8, won by Kenyatta, was annulled in a historic decision by the Supreme Court, which ordered a re-run on October 26.

Kenyatta won that poll with 98 percent, as his rival Raila Odinga boycotted the vote, vowing it would not be free or fair.

“The election we have just concluded is probably one of the longest ever held in our continent’s history,” said Kenyatta.

He declared that his inauguration — on the 123rd day since the country first went to vote — marked “the end, and I repeat the end, of our electoral process”.

“It has been a trying time but once again Kenyans have shown their resilience in calming the passions that accompany political competition.”

Kenyatta urged all leaders to serve the nation regardless of political affiliation, and said he would dedicate all his energy to building “unity and nationhood”.

“Instead of division, I know that we can build a Kenya which prospers by rewarding hard work, and leaving no one behind,” he said.

He laid out his government’s vision for the next five years, including 100-percent universal healthcare coverage and the creation of jobs by focusing on the manufacturing sector.

As the country emerges from a prolonged drought, he vowed to invest in water towers and river ecosystems and re-engineer the agricultural sector in order to cope with future dry spells.

Kenyatta announced that any African wishing to visit Kenya would be able to receive a visa at any port of entry while members of the East African Community (EAC) could work, do business and live in Kenya with only their identity card.

The EAC includes war-torn South Sudan and troubled Burundi, but not Somalia.

Kenyatta urged the nation to focus on building the economy rather than dwell on divisive politics.

“No one eats politics. For the last 50 years, we have watched as the Asian economies have risen to wealth, while much of Africa has stagnated. The difference is that they used politics to create vibrant economies for their people,” he said.

“In our case, we have pursued politics as an end in itself, rather than as a means to economic prosperity. This must end.”

AFP

Kenya Crisis Deepens As Kenyatta Leads in Poll

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta gestures as he speaks during a political rally in Nairobi, on October 23, 2017, ahead of the repeat elections. SIMON MAINA / AFP

Kenya was stuck in a dangerous limbo on Saturday as President Uhuru Kenyatta took an unassailable lead in a disputed poll that has sparked violent protests that have claimed nine lives.

Kenyatta was leading with over 90 percent of vote compared to less than one percent for his rival Raila Odinga, who boycotted the repeat election, according to a tally by the Daily Nation media group of unofficial results from most constituencies.

However, turnout appears headed for a record low of around 35 percent, tarnishing the credibility of an election that has deeply polarised east Africa’s economic powerhouse.

Violent protests have rocked Odinga’s strongholds in the west of the country and flashpoint Nairobi slums, with the death of a man in Homa Bay on Friday taking the death toll since election day to nine. Scores have also been wounded, many by police bullets.

Local police chief Mauris Tum said a gang of youths had stormed the home of a local ruling party lawmaker and police responded, leaving one “fatally wounded”.

In Nairobi’s poor Kawangware neighbourhood, members of Kenyatta’s Kikuyu tribe stood over the blackened remains of their houses and shops after a night of clashes with Odinga supporters.

Both sides were armed with machetes, knives, clubs and rocks. Police said officers shot one man dead but residents claim others also died or were maimed in the clashes.

What started the violence is disputed, with each side blaming the other, but both acknowledge the ethnic logic of what followed.

“We were targeted because this is a Kikuyu place,” said Geoffrey Mbithi, a 42-year-old hotelier whose three-room guesthouse is now a pile of bent and blackened corrugated tin sheets.

“This is about tribalism.”

Politics in Kenya is divided along ethnic lines, and the Kikuyu — the largest grouping — have long been accused of holding a monopoly on power and resources.

– ‘Tragic consequences’ –

At least 49 people have now died since a first election on August 8 in Kenya’s worst crisis since a 2007 vote sparked months of politically-driven ethnic violence that left 1,100 people dead.

While the dynamics of 2017’s political crisis are very different, the memory of the bloodshed a decade ago is never far away.

“From past experience, sporadic incidents of violence quickly burst into a conflagration with tragic consequences. We are likely to go this direction unless quick action is taken,” wrote the Daily Nation in an editorial.

The presidential re-run was ordered by the Supreme Court after it overturned Kenyatta’s August 8 victory over “irregularities” in the transmission of votes.

But two weeks before the new elections, Odinga pulled out, calling for a boycott on the grounds that the electoral commission hadn’t made the necessary changes to ensure a free and fair vote in a call that was widely observed.

Observers expect further legal challenges over the re-run.

– ‘We don’t want elections’ –

In some areas, mostly in the western Nyanza region where the majority of deaths have occurred, the election could not take place at all as opposition supporters blocked hundreds of polling stations from opening on Thursday.

Plans to restage voting in the region on Saturday were again delayed after election chief Wafula Chebukati said he feared for the safety of his staff.

He said a date for the vote there would be announced in the coming days.

According to the Supreme Court, the election re-run must be completed by October 31.

In Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city where three people died on polling day, opposition supporters were still on alert to block plans to deploy election material, although shops opened and transport was circulating.

At a main roundabout in the city, someone had hung up a dead cat. In recent days, ahead of each announcement, Odinga promises to announce his next moves on how to “slay the cat”.

Richard Ogilo, 24, pointed to the carcass and said: “Look there is a member of IEBC (election board) at this roundabout. This is Wafula Chebukati. Let him know that we do not want elections.”

While the Supreme Court ruling was hailed as a chance to deepen democracy, the acrimonious bickering between Odinga and Kenyatta — whose fathers were rivals before them — has sharply divided a country where politics is already polarised along tribal lines.

“Leaders must now begin preaching the message of reconciliation and co-existence. Elections have deeply divided the people and we need to repair the fractures,” said the Daily Nation editorial.

Odinga has vowed a campaign of “civil disobedience” and is demanding another new election be held within 90 days.

AFP

Kenyan Opposition Threatens To Boycott Rerun, Says IEBC Can’t Protect Votes

File photo: Raila Odinga

Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Sunday his coalition would only go to the election when they are sure the electoral commission will not take a side, adding that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) cannot protect their votes.

The Supreme Court ruled on Friday (September 1) that the election board had committed irregularities that rendered the August 8 vote invalid and overturned incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory, which had been by a margin of 1.4 million votes.

Odinga, who also contested the presidency in 2007 and 2013, repeated his statement after Friday’s court ruling that the opposition would not participate in the re-run of the election without changes to the election commission. On Friday he called for the commission to resign and face criminal prosecution.

“We have said that you cannot force Kenyans to go to the polls that is being supervised by thieves, we will not accept. We cannot put our goats in a cackle of hyenas, a hyena cannot shepherd goats and they (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) cannot protect our votes,” Odinga said,

“We will only go to the elections when we are sure that the ones organizing the elections are people who will not side with one side or the other.”

Kenyatta insists the poll should be re-run with the current electoral board, while the opposition wants the board dismissed.

Odinga also called on Kenyatta and his supporters to respect the judiciary.

He said, “Why is it that this time they don’t want to accept the ruling from the courts? Why don’t they want to accept? Why are they now insulting the judiciary? They are the ones who told us that If we had issues to go to the courts. Did we go to the courts? Did we give our evidence? Were the courts satisfied? Now what is the issue?”

Kenyatta Ready For Election, Asks Chief Justice Not To Interfere

Kenyatta Ready For Election, Asks Chief Justice Not To Interfere
File photo

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday said he and his party are ready for election as ordered by the Supreme Court.

The President, however, cautioned the Chief Justice not to interfere with the electoral body so the polls could be conducted as soon as possible.

Kenyatta also repeated his message from Friday that he would respect the court’s ruling.

“Let me tell him; we’ve been here before, they chased out the old IEBC. If you have accepted all the rest of the results, let us accept the ruling,” he said.

“(Chief Justice David) Maraga, don’t interfere and don’t think because our friends shout and we keep quite that we are scared of you. No, we are not.

“You’ve done your ruling, we have respected it; let IEBC do their job, let them declare the date and Raila (Odinga) let us meet at the ballot.”

It is the second time since the apex court’s ruling that Kenyatta issued a critical comment in public about the judiciary.

On Friday, during an impromptu rally in Nairobi, the President criticised the court for ignoring the will of the people and dismissed the chief justice’s colleagues as “wakora” (crooks).

Elsewhere, Chief Justice Maraga had said the Supreme Court’s verdict was backed by four of the six judges and declared Kenyatta’s victory “invalid, null and void”.

Reuters

Kenya’s Election Board Must Resign, Face Prosecution – Odinga

File photo: Raila Odinga

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Friday the election commission should resign and some officials should face criminal prosecution after the Supreme Court ruled that irregularities nullified last month’s presidential election.

Odinga held a press conference at his party headquarters hours after the court ordered a new poll within 60 days, an unprecedented move in Africa where governments are often seen holding sway over judges.

Chief Justice David Maraga announced the Supreme Court’s verdict that was backed by four of the six judges, saying the declaration of Kenyatta’s victory was “invalid, null and void”. Details of the ruling will be released within 21 days.

Judges said they found no misconduct by Kenyatta but said the election board “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution.”

Kenya’s judiciary went through sweeping changes after 2007 election violence in a bid to restore confidence the legal system. Friday’s ruling is likely to galvanise pro-democracy campaigners across Africa, where many complain their judiciaries simply rubber stamp presidential rule.

Reuters

Kenyatta Calls For Calm After Supreme Court Nullifies Election Win

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta called for calm and respect after a Supreme Court ruling on Friday (September 1) nullified his election and ordered a new poll within 60 days.

Kenyatta made the appeal for peace to cheering supporters in the Kenyan capital Nairobi and after a televised address in the State House.

“We have said and because we believe in peace and because we believe we have laws, let them say what they want to say but, I ask you, have we accepted? We have accepted. Right? And we are urging for peace,” he said.

File photo: Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta

The decision to cancel the result sets up a new race for the presidency between Kenyatta, 55, and veteran opponent Raila Odinga, 72. Experts said the judgement would reverberate across a continent that is slowly moving away from a history of strongmen towards democracy.

Kenya, a U.S. ally in the fight against Islamists and East Africa’s biggest economy, is a trade gateway for the region. But it has a history of disputed votes, which can send shockwaves through the region and beyond.

Reuters

Kenyatta Urges Opposition To Challenge Election Results In Court

Kenyatta Urges Opposition To Challenge Election Results In Court

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday reiterated an appeal for the opposition to shun violence and take any complaints to court.

President Kenyatta made the appeal as opposition leader Raila Odinga, who refused to concede defeat after the country’s presidential election, claimed the whole vote had been rigged.

He said, “To our friends who are yet to accept the outcome, we continue to appeal to them that we have extended our arm and a hand of peace and a hand of friendship and for them to use whatever legal mechanism that has been created by our wonderful Constitution to express their dissatisfaction.”

“But I truly believe there is no single Kenyan anywhere who wants to continue to see violence, looting, and demonstrations that end up destroying property. But if like I said, there are those who are aggrieved and feel that they are not willing to accept, there are also constitution laid down procedures that they can use to express their dissatisfaction while allowing the many millions of Kenyans who wish to continue with their normal lives to do so.”

Kenya’s election commission had on Friday declared Kenyatta the winner of the election by 1.4 million votes.

International observers had also noted that the August 8 vote was largely fair and a parallel tally by domestic monitors supported the outcome.

Following some protests in parts of Nairobi and Kisumu where Odinga has strong support, the Kenya Red Cross on Monday said it had treated 177 people – of whom 108 sustained serious injuries since the election.

Kenyatta also urged the police to exercise restraint after a Kenyan human rights group alleged that 24 people had been shot dead by police since Election Day, but the government put the number of dead at 10.

On Sunday, Odinga had called for a strike to support his claim to the presidency and accused the ruling party of “spilling the blood of innocent people” as he brushed off growing pressure to concede election defeat.

Kenyans, however, re-opened their shops and returned to work on Monday morning as they largely ignored the demands for demonstrations against Kenyatta’s re-election and against the killing of protesters.

Kenyan Police Tear-Gas Chanting Odinga Supporters

Police fired tear gas on Wednesday in Kisumu, a stronghold of opposition leader Raila Odinga, shortly after he claimed “massive” fraud in Tuesday’s (August 8) elections.

Around 100 of Odinga’s supporters chanted “No Raila, no peace,” as they burned tyres in the streets of the western Kenyan city.

Odinga had urged his supporters to remain calm, but said, “I don’t control the people”.

His deputy Kalonzo Musyoka has also called for calm but said the opposition might call for unspecified “action” at a later date.

As of 0300 GMT, the election commission website put President Uhuru Kenyatta in front. He had 55.1 percent of votes counted to 44 percent for Odinga – a margin of nearly 1.4 million ballots with more than 80 percent of polling stations reported.

Kenyan Election: Kenyatta Maintains Strong Lead, Odinga Rejects Early Results

Kenya’s capital Nairobi got off to a slow start on Wednesday morning after a vote that has seen incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta maintaining a strong lead in the election count.

The electoral commission website showed Kenyatta with 54.8 percent of the vote against 44.3 percent for opposition leader Raila Odinga, a margin of nearly 1.4 million votes.

Odinga rejected early results as “fictitious” and “fake”, lashing out in a late night news conference saying his party’s own tally put him in the lead.

The opposition leader’s comments have raised fears that his supporters could mount street protests.

“They (the results) are fictitious, they are fake,” he told a news conference, saying the election board was required by law to display forms signed by party observers from each polling centre certifying the results and had not done so.

Instead, the election board was displaying a running tally on its website that showed Kenyatta leading with roughly 55 percent of the vote after nearly three-quarters of polling stations had reported results.

Raila Odinga

Odinga said Kenyatta’s lead had been suspiciously constant since tallying began and did not jibe with what his own party agents were telling him.

“We have our projections from our agents which show we are ahead by far,” he said.

Under Kenyan law, results from each polling station should be recorded on a form that is signed by observers from each party in the polling station, then posted by the election board on a public website. The measure is supposed to help ensure the elections are not rigged and parties can cross-check results.

Odinga ran in the last two elections, lost and blamed rigging after the vote was marred by irregularities.

This time, he invoked the unsolved torture and murder of a top election official days before the vote to justify his fears of rigging.

Streets in the capital were quiet this morning due to fears of post-election violence.