Kenyan Prisoners Vote For The First Time

Women prisoners in Langata’s maximum-security prison in Nairobi voted for the first time in Kenya’s general elections on Tuesday.

There were a couple of exceptions, including one woman who was jailed in 1974 and whose identity card was too old.

Prisoners, who won the right to vote in a 2010 court ruling but have not been able to do so until now because of issues implementing voting in prisons, are voting for presidential candidates only.

Various of prisoners queuing outside polling station inside grounds of langata women’s prison

The presidential race is a close-fought clash that pits incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, the businessman son of Kenya’s founding president, against Raila Odinga, a 72-year-old former political prisoner and son of Kenya’s first vice-president.

The arch rivals are facing each other for the second time, and opinion polls have put them neck-and-neck after two months of campaigning marked by fiery rhetoric but public speeches largely free of the ethnic hate that has sullied previous contests. The winner needs one vote more than 50 percent.

Reuters 

Kenya President, Chief Justice Clash As Elections Approach

Kenya’s chief justice warned President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday not to undermine public confidence in the judiciary.

In an unusually sharp exchange between the two men less than a month before national elections are due.

Kenyatta had earlier responded to a court victory for the opposition against Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) by cautioning against any use of the court process to delay the elections.

“They are taking us for fools….. I want to tell those in courts, we have respected you. But do not think respect is cowardice. And we will not allow our opponents to use the courts and to intimidate the IEBC, thinking they will win using the back door,” he told an election rally in the western county of Baringo, referring to the judiciary. Uhuru Kenyatta said

Chief Justice David Maraga released a statement a few hours later, saying: “When political leaders cast aspersions on the administration of justice based on a misinterpretation of my statements, it has the potential to impair public confidence in our courts, and this concerns me a great deal.”

A Kenyan court on Friday nullified the contract for printing presidential ballot papers.

The opposition has brought a flurry of cases against the electoral commission, including this one in which the high court judge ruled that IEBC’s tendering process was insufficiently transparent.

On the ballot paper case, the IEBC awarded the 2.5 billion-shilling ($24 million) contract to Dubai-based firm Al Ghurair last year. But a high court judge cancelled it in February, saying it did not follow new election regulations, after it was challenged by the opposition.

The IEBC awarded the contract to Al Ghurair again in June, prompting Odinga’s National Super Alliance to appeal again, leading to Friday’s outcome.

“The truth is that apart from very exceptional cases which are not acts of one’s own making, the election date is cast in stone, and this has been determined by both the constitution and by the supreme court. So all the players have to do everything they can, to ensure that elections take place on the 8th of August.” constitutional lawyer, Charles Kanjama said.

President Kenyatta is seeking a second and final five-year term against veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Kenyans are also due to choose legislators and local representatives for the first time since 2013, when the elections passed peacefully after the opposition challenged the results in court.

At least 1,200 people were killed in ethnic violence after the December 2007 polls. The opposition challenged the 2013 result, but it was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Kenya has a history of disputed elections.

Police Beat Kenyan Anti-Graft Protesters, Fire Tear Gas

kenyanPolice beat anti-corruption protesters with batons and fired volleys of tear gas to disperse them in Kenya’s capital on Thursday, Reuters witnesses said.

Hundreds of people rallied in the center of Nairobi in response to reports in the local media and accusations by the opposition about graft and abuse of funds in public healthcare. The Health Ministry dismissed the charges.

The government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is expected to seek a second term in office in next year’s election, made a campaign pledge to clamp down on corruption. Opponents say he has been slow to act and failed to stop high-level graft.

“We supported the government before, but they let us down. Children are dying in hospitals because of corruption,” said Beatrice Shiko, mother of two, who wore a red T-shirt with the slogan “Act on corruption or resign”.

She joined others who sang as they marched towards parliament, before police fired volleys of tear gas and officers in riot gear charged the crowd, beating some with batons.

Many fled, some of them taking off their T-shirts that bore anti-corruption slogans as they ran away.

Corruption is seen as a major deterrent to investors in the East African nation and a daily frustration to ordinary citizens. It is expected to be a focus for debate in next year’s elections for the presidency, parliament and regional posts.

Death Toll In Kenya Building Collapse Rises To 26

kenya death tollThe death toll from last week’s collapse of a six-storey building in the Kenyan capital after heavy rain has risen to 26, a senior police officer said on Wednesday.

The building in Nairobi’s Huruma district collapsed on Friday. The owners are being questioned by the authorities after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered them detained. A baby was pulled out alive on Tuesday after 80 hours.

“Three more bodies were retrieved on Tuesday night bringing the number of those confirmed dead to 26,” Japheth Koome, Nairobi County police commander, told Reuters.

The collapse of the building was the latest such disaster in a fast expanding African city that is struggling to build homes fast enough.

Kenya’s Former First Lady Lucy Kibaki Dies In UK

Lucy-Kibaki-Former-Kenyan-First-LadyThe former first lady of Kenya, Lucy Kibaki, has died in a London hospital of an undisclosed illness.

Kenyan President, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta said she had been ill for the last month, receiving treatment in both Kenya and the UK.

In a tribute to Mrs Kibaki, President Uhuru Kenyatta praised her for her role in fighting HIV/Aids in Kenya.

“Her Excellency will be remembered for her immense contribution in the development of country,” Mr Kenyatta said in a statement.

She gained popularity for slapping a cameraman in 2005 when she stormed the offices of a private media group in anger at the way a story about her had been reported.

Mr Kenyatta succeeded her husband, Mwai Kikabi, who governed from 2002 to 2013.

Mrs Kibaki, was born in 1940, had withdrawn from public life during the latter part of her husband’s rule.

She was last seen at a public function in August 2010, when she seemed excited about the adoption of a new constitution, dancing to a famous gospel song, Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper reports.

Buhari Calls For Greater Vigour To Tackle Terrorism

TerrorismPresident Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria says the global community must resolve to act with more determination and vigour against radicalisation and extremist ideologies which encourage terrorism.

The President made the statement on Wednesday while speaking at a memorial service in Eldoret, Kenya, held in honour of the Kenyan soldiers that were killed recently by Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

President Buhari said that peace-loving nations of the world must come together and deal with the threat posed to global security by terrorism with greater zeal and cohesion.

‘Defeating Undesirable Elements’

“Terrorists should not have a place in our communities, villages, towns, cities and countries. We must all rise against the culture of intolerance, hatred and extremist ideologies, which drive terrorism.

“We must also act with more firmness against radicalisation and all those who promote values and principles that threaten our unity and cohesion as a people.

“Nigeria is willing to work with Kenya, other African countries and the global community at large with a view to defeating these undesirable elements.

“We must take the battle to the terrorists whoever they are and wherever they are. This requires commitment, sacrifice, resources, collaboration and above all, a realisation that no country is immune to the scourge, as terrorists do not respect national boundaries, race, colour, religion or creed,” President Buhari said.

The President applauded the bravery of Nigerian and Kenyan soldiers as well as other defence forces around the world whom he said had remained faithful and committed to the cause of ensuring a secure and peaceful world in spite of daunting challenges.

He further paid special tribute to the Kenyan soldiers who lost their lives in the terrorist attack on their base in Somalia.

“I wish to use this occasion to pay tribute to all the fallen heroes of the El Adde attack and pray for the repose of their souls. In our efforts to collaboratively tackle terrorism, it is our sacred duty as leaders, politicians and compatriots to ensure that the blood of these fallen heroes was not shed in vain,” he said.

President Buhari, who is on a three-day state visit to Kenya, attended the memorial service in the company of his host, President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Hassan Mohamoud of Somalia.

Kenya Launches Air Ambulance Service For Battlefield Operations

Kenyatta Air ambulancePresident Uhuru Kenyatta has launched Kenya’s first national air ambulance service to evacuate security forces wounded in battle, a service vital to the speedy treatment of the agents.

“This is a crucial service, especially for our security officers, who put themselves on the front line against our enemies, to ensure that Kenyans are safe wherever they are,” Mr Kenyatta said at the launch in Nairobi.

The initiative, which is expected to boost the morale of security personnel facing multiple threats in remote areas, as several soldiers and policemen have bled to death or have died of dehydration following delays in receiving appropriate medical care.

President Kenyatta notes that the government will be working with other bodies to ensure the service would be successful.

The Red Cross and private firm AMREF Flying Doctors have signed an agreement to dispatch helicopters and vehicles as soon as distress calls are received.

Also, civil servants, especially those who work in the security field in rural areas with few medical facilities, will also benefit from the new scheme BBC reports.

Jonathan To Attend African Union’s Peace and Security Council Meeting

JonathanThe Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, will be among some African leaders that will participate in a meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council scheduled to hold in Kenya on Tuesday.

A statement by a spokesman for President Jonathan, Ruben Abati, said that the President would travel to Nairobi on Monday.

The Nairobi meeting is a follow-up to talks by President Jonathan and other African leaders at Pretoria, South Africa, in May on joint action against terrorism.

The meeting will receive and consider the report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa.

Deliberations at the Nairobi Summit and the adoption of the African Chairperson’s Report by President Jonathan, President Uhuru Kenyatta and other participating Heads of State are expected to lead to more collaborative actions by Nigeria and other African countries in the fight against terrorism.

It is aimed solely at riding the continent of acts of terrorism and violent extremism.

According to the statement, the Nigerian President will be accompanied to the Nairobi Summit by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and other advisers and aides.

The team will return to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, at the conclusion of the meeting on Tuesday.

Armed Men Attack Kenyan Coast Village, Steals Police Gun

kenya attacksArmed assailants attacked Panda Nguo Village on the Lamu County in Kenya’s Coast on Thursday, stealing guns from Police Conscript and burning down schools.

The attack is the latest series of raids since mid-June that have killed about 100 people in the Coast.

Although it was not clear who carried out the assault, there were no immediate reports of casualties in the attack on Thursday night in the village of Panda Nguo, where most of the attacks took place in Kenya.

According to a Senior Religion officials “unknown criminals burnt down the administration block, classrooms and a store,” he said.

The attack on Panda Nguo took place at about 1:00am local time, said Karisa Charo, a tribal chief in the area.

“Apart from burning down houses and stealing guns, they took away all the drugs and other medical supplies from dispensary,” Charo added.

The Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks, including deadly raids on the Mpeketoni area, which lies in Lamu County, in which about 65 people were killed in back-to-back assaults over 24 hours.

The government has dismissed that claim, blaming local political networks – widely seen as directed at President Uhuru Kenyatta’s main opponent Raila Odinga and his opposition allies.

Security forces have been deployed to the region and are combing forests where the attackers are thought to be hiding. There have been dozens of arrests linked to the assaults.

Many on the coast accuse the government of neglecting their region, while Hundreds of families have fled the area where the attacks have occurred, most of them in Lamu County which stretches to the Somali border.

Al Shabaab said it had launched attacks on Kenya to drive Kenyan and other African Union forces out of Somalia.

This raises fears of a full-blown insurgency unless the government tackles problems of ethnic rivalries, land rows and Islamist militancy, on the coast.

 

 

Kenyan Police Arrest Governor Timamy On Attacks

kenya attacksThe Governor of the coastal Lamu County, Issa Timamy, has been arrested over connection with the series of gun attacks in the Coastal Town, Mpeketoni, by the Kenyan Police.

Governor Issa Timamy was arrested late Wednesday over the Mpeketoni and Kibaoni killings that claimed nearly 60 lives.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has dismissed Al-Shabab’s being responsible for the attack but blamed “local political networks” for the violence. Though, opposition parties have derided Mr Kenyatta’s claims.

Timamy had been in Nairobi for a meeting with the Deputy President Ruto, before he flew back to Lamu, where he was summoned for questioning and later detained.

The head of the Kenya Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Ndegwa Muhoro, said that the Governor is in custody and Timamy was due in  Mombasa court on Thursday. “There are various charges lined up for him that are related to the attack”, he said.

Police, on Wednesday also arrested 13 alleged separatists suspected of planning more attacks in the country’s coastal region, while three others have also been charged in connection with the killings, including a police officer, the owner and driver of a vehicle used by the attackers, and a suspect accused of running fake Shebab social media accounts.

In a statement, the Interior Ministry said that those arrested were suspected of plotting “ethnic cleansing” attacks and were members of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a coastal separatist group.

Kenyans Urged To Watch World Cup Football Games At Home

kenyatta
Uhuru Kenyatta says perpetrators of terror attacks will be held accountable for their actions

As Kenya continues to battle threats from Al-Shabaab, militants who recently attacked the country, the government has urged people to watch world cup football matches in the comfort of their homes instead of in “crowded and unprotected open places”.

The advice comes after two days of attacks on Kenya’s coast earlier this week left more than 60 people dead.

They started in Mpeketoni as people were watching football on Sunday.

The Interior Ministry said that although security had been beefed up across the country, bar and restaurant owners should take extra precautions.

Somalia’s Islamist group Al-Shabab said it carried out the attacks over two days in and around the town of Mpeketoni in revenge for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and the killing of Muslims

But President Uhuru Kenyatta said “local political networks” were to blame for the violence, as members of one ethnic group were targeted.

Most of the dead were ethnic kikuyus, like the president. non-Muslims were also singled out to be killed.

Nigeria, Kenya Boost Bilateral Ties

Goodluck-Jonathan-and-Uhuru-KenyattaNigeria and Kenya have signed an agreement that will improve bilateral ties in eight areas, some of which are entertainment, tourism, oil and gas and information technology.

The two countries signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, during bilateral talks held in the Presidential Villa.

Briefing journalists after the talks, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya condemned every act of terrorism, describing it as diversionary.

They assured their citizens that the vision to develop their countries would not be derailed by those who perpetrate the act of terrorism.

The Kenyan President is in Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa, on a three-day state visit.

On arrival, president Kenyatta was accorded a warm presidential reception at the forecourt of the State House, Abuja, with a detachment of the presidential guard formed for the short ceremony.

The two presidents and a delegation comprising of diplomats and businessmen made straight into the president’s office where they, among other issues, discussed how Kenya and Nigeria could collaborate in investments.

Talks at the meeting lasted for about an hour before the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the two countries emerged to sign the agreements which they presented to the press.

The two leaders share the same experience whenever the issue of terrorism is mentioned, but they have insisted that terror cannot stop them from working for their people.

The assignment continued at the banquet hall where the two presidents met with captains of industries from both countries to enhance investments in the two countries.

Several MoUs were also signed in telecoms, oil and gas, cement, banking and finance, hospitality and entertainment.

Sources say the Kenyan President and his delegation are excited about the opportunities that could come out of the visit coming two days before the commencement of the World Economic Forum on Africa to be hosted by Nigeria. It will hold from 7 to 9 May.

They believe Kenyan businesses offer particular skill sets to Nigeria particularly in the service industry and likewise they are looking forward to sharing their wisdom in the oil and gas sector.

They are confident that the visit will be productive, with established partnerships that will further enhance the foundation laid by the two presidents.

Both countries are experiencing terrorists attacks. Over the weekend, a bomb blast occurred in Kenya suspected to have been carried out by the Al Shabaab, few days after a bomb attack in Nyanya in Abuja, suspected to have been carried out by the Boko Haram sect, left at least 19 dead with over 60 injured.