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United Green Movement (UGM) party has protested plans by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to enrol Kenyans in select countries to take part in the 2022 General Election.

The party said all Kenyans across the world are entitled to vote back home and should be given a chance to do so because it is their democratic right.

Augustine Neto, a co-party leader of UGM said the move by the electoral body to list new voters from 6 countries over and above the five listed in the 2017 election will deny hundreds of thousands of voters in the other countries a chance to exercise their right as enshrined in the Constitution.

“Nothing stops the IEBC from having a Returning Officer in each of the Kenya’s Foreign Missions and Embassies abroad, albeit periodically, or even through secondment to deal with the issues of diaspora voter registration, apart from its ineptitude and the lack of will power to think out of the box,” said Neto who is a former MP for Ndhiwa.

IEBC said it plans to list new voters in South Sudan, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates which met the minimum requirement of 3,000 voters.

The six new voting stations in the diaspora, have now been classified as Kenya’s 48th county.

The six are additional to the existing Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Africa, which participated in the 2017 presidential election.

With IEBC undertaking an enhanced Mass Voter Registration exercise targeting six million voters, Neto said that target can be achieved easily if all eligible Kenyans abroad are included.

 

According to the 2019 World Bank report, majority of Kenyans in the diaspora were in the USA (600,000), while the UK had 300,000, Canada 200,000, European Union at 100,000, as South Africa and South Sudan each had 8,000.

The former Ndhiwa MP has also threatened a class action suit suing the Registrar of Person for delaying in the issuance of identity cards to youth in Garissa, Lamu and Tana River counties years after they filed their applications.

“We were in Garissa County where we were doing a tour. Young people in the county as well as in Lamu and Tana River have been denied access to identification cards due to the stereotype that people with Somali descent as well as those living in the coastal line are linked to terrorism activities,” Neto said.

In particular he pointed out that while Section 5 of the Registration of Person Act stipulates 30 days as the waiting period, some applicants have waited for long to receive the document that will ensure they register as voters.

The UGM party has called on the electoral commission chaired by Wafula Chebukati to find innovative ways to mobilize Kenyans to register as voters, especially the youth.

IEBC last week said it aims to register six million new voters who have attained the age if 18 years and have acquired national identification cards or have valid passports, or other citizens who were not registered in previous registrations. By Irene Mwangi, Capital News

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses journalists after commissioning hospitals on Tuesday night, July 6.
    PSCU
 
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, October 4, responded to a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) dubbed the Pandora Papers linking his family to accounts holding billions of shillings in tax havens. 

    In a statement, the President - although not comprehensive - assured the country and the world at large that he will issue a detailed response once he jets back into the country from a state tour in Barbados.

    He, however, noted that the Pandora Papers and any other audits will set the record straight and unveil secrets for those who cannot explain sources of their wealth. 

    "These reports will go a long way in enhancing the financial transparency and openness that we require in Kenya and around the globe. The movement of illicit funds, proceeds of crime and graft thrive in an environment of secrecy and darkness," stated the President.

    "The Pandora Papers and subsequent follow-up audits will lift that veil of secrecy and darkness for those who can not explain their assets or wealth. Thank you." 

    The Pandora Papers linked the Kenyatta family to offshore bank accounts and companies valued at over Ksh3.3 billion.

    ICIJ obtained over 12 million leaked files that were perused over by 600 investigative journalists. The leaked documents alleged that Kenyatta’s family led by Mama Ngina Kenyatta, his son Uhuru and the siblings amassed wealth offshore specifically Panama and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). 

    At the centre of the purchases and financial transactions was a Panamanian law firm identified as Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal), whose documents revealed that the first family own at least seven companies and foundations overseas. Among them is a home in Central London, United Kingdom. 

    “The records show that the family-owned at least seven such entities, two registered anonymously in Panama and five in the British Virgin Islands,” details ICIJ.

    Other than Kenyatta, among the 35 world leaders mentioned in the leaked papers were President Ali Bongo of Gabon and the King of Jordan and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 

    g
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (front), First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and the President's aide de camp at State House, Nairobi
    PSCU  Kenyans.co.ke
     
 
 
 
 
FILE - Police arrest a man in Bujumbura, Burundi, Feb. 3, 2016. Widespread rights violations and repressive measures in the country are hidden behind a façade of democracy, U.N. investigators have found.
 

U.N. investigators are accusing Burundi’s government of hiding widespread rights violations and repressive measures behind a façade of democracy. The charge comes in a report by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi submitted to the U.N Human Rights Council.

The commission on inquiry says encouraging signs that Burundi might be moving toward a more democratic society following the election of President Evariste Ndayishimiye have proven to be an illusion.

Despite initial improvements in human rights at the end of the electoral process in 2020, Commission Chair Doudou Diene notes a significant increase in violations as of June this year.

“To date, only symbolic gestures, though welcome, and often controversial decisions, have been made so far. These are neither sufficient nor adequate to have a sustainable and profound impact on the human rights situation. The façade of normalization hides a very concerning human rights situation,” Diene said, speaking through an interpreter.

The report finds most violations occur in the context of the fight against armed groups allegedly responsible for attacks throughout the country since August of last year.

However, Diene said the Commission believes these armed attacks have been used as an excuse to pursue political opponents in violation of their human rights.

He said Burundian authorities are tightening their grip over the activities of civil society and denying people their right to freedom of expression and association. He said the government has cracked down on a free media and has suspended some media outlets.

He said journalists who dare to question or criticize the government are vilified, intimidated, or threatened.

“It is clear that the Burundian authorities consider that civil society’s sole purpose is to assist them and to support government projects, thereby denying the very principle of freedom of association. In particular, it seeks to control the operating costs of NGO’s and the salaries of expatriates,” Diene said.

In his rebuttal, Burundi’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Renovat Tabu, ignored all criticisms raised by the Commission. He cited the many improvements he said his government made in the fight against injustice, in furthering freedom of opinion and of the press, in education and a wide range of other human rights.

He said Burundi had several institutions engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights. He added that Burundi’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was operational and doing an excellent job in cementing national reconciliation. VOA

Education minister Janet Museveni (left) receives a dummy indicating the donated doses from Belgium Ambassador Rud Veestraeten at State Lodge Nakasero, Kampala, yesterday. PHOTO/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

At least 551,200 of the donated vaccines are AstraZeneca doses.

Speaking yesterday at the official handover ceremony of the vaccines at State Lodge Nakasero in Kampala, Ms Museveni said preparations are underway to allow the government of Belgium to also donate 100,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson, which are also expected in the country soon.

According to Ms Museveni, the first batch of 153,900 of 551,200 AstraZeneca donated doses arrived in the country on on September 23 and were handed over to the National Medical Stores (NMS) for distribution.

She added that the balance of 397,300 doses of AstraZeneca are still expected through the Covax facility, with a batch of 28,800 doses expected in the country tomorrow.

“We have been asking our development partners to donate more vaccines to the government of Uganda to fasten the vaccination of teachers, non-teaching staff and students above 18 years and reopen schools,” Ms Museveni said.

 

“With this donation, the Belgium government is supporting the efforts of the government of Uganda meeting its target of vaccinating against Covid-19 all targeted people in the education sector, “ she added.

Ms Museveni said once they receive the expected Johnson and Johnson doses, they will be able to cover more people since one is required to take only one dose of this type of vaccine.

Government has since pegged reopening of schools for all learners on sufficient vaccination of all teachers, non-teaching staff, students above 18 years, and other target groups in the country.

Government targets to vaccinate at least 550,000 teachers and more than 300,000 students above 18 years.

To date, a total of 296,614 teachers have received their first jab, while 102,418 teachers have received the two required doses. This means a total of 253,386 teachers are yet to be vaccinated.

Ambassador Veestraeten said he is hopeful the doses they have donated are enough to cover all the target groups in the education sector so that the government reopens schools for all learners.

“We share the same concern with the government of Uganda that education is a right as enshrined in the Constitution. However, the only thing hindering reopening is the Covid-19 pandemic. We are hopeful the donation will enable reopening as soon as possible,” Mr Veestraeten said.

Vaccination

Teacher’s status

To date, a total of 296,614 teachers have received their first jab, while 102,418 teachers have received the two required doses. This means a total of 253,386 teachers are yet to be vaccinated. By Damali Mukhaye, Daily Monitor

President Uhuru Kenyatta has a word with his deputy Dr William Ruto during the 57th Madaraka Day Celebrations on June 01, 2020 at State House Gardens, Nairobi. File | PSCU

What you need to know:

  • President Kenyatta owes Kenyans a candid explanation as to why he’s dumped Mr Ruto. 
  • On the other hand, Mr Ruto needs to speak publicly on why he thinks he’s been dumped.

It seems like aeons ago. In those days – long, long ago – Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were inseparable. Siamese twins. White starched shirts, matching red “power” ties. Sleeves rolled up. Camaraderie. Simpatico. Mr Ruto, the eager and scheming understudy, would stand deferentially behind his boss, hands clasped in decorum. Every now and then Mr Ruto would crack a smile. Studious. The king-in-waiting.

 

Seven years later – as Irish poet William Butler Yates wrote in ‘The Second Coming’ – we’ve all witnessed “Things Fall Apart”. Indeed, “the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” Mr Ruto’s carefully crafted succession plan is adrift – his ship listing, taking on water. Why did the scion of Jomo dump him?

Back then, Mr Kenyatta told fanatical Jubilee hoi polloi that he would serve for a decade, and hand the baton to Mr Ruto for “his own 10”. But as they say, a day – let alone a year – is a long time in politics. After the 2017 elections, Mr Kenyatta turned his back on his precociously ambitious deputy.

  • Makau Mutua: After Kabul, is Mogadishu next?

  • Makau Mutua: The Central-Rift political curse

At one point, Mr Kenyatta rebuked Mr Ruto in public, saying that the “principal assistant” had forcibly grabbed the “succession baton” and was running backwards. It was an extraordinary statement. Mr Ruto pretended to smile as he shifted and squirmed in his seat. Mr Kenyatta’s punch had landed with a loud report. Their relationship had irretrievably entered the Door of No Return.

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were both “Moi-Kanu boys”. But they weren’t a natural fit, especially after the 2008 post-election violence. The worst of it was between the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin. For that, both gentlemen ended up at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. 

Ironically, it was the ICC that united them – and their communities – even after people lustily butchered each other. It was an uncertain truce born of fear and ambition, not principle. The biblical house built on sand. Was their divorce inevitable after Mr Kenyatta secured a second term? Many thought so. But that wasn’t the real reason. Fear, I suggest, is the reason. Fear of Mr Ruto. 

Central Kenya elite

If we understand politics as the conquest of state power without violence, then it all makes sense. 

Political power is the medium through which economic power is captured, and then husbanded. 

Methinks that the Central Kenya elite learnt from the Moi-Kanu era that the presidency was the indispensable tool for taking, and keeping, the commanding heights of the economy. Lose political power and you face economic Armageddon. 

Dictator Daniel arap Moi decimated the Central Kenya business elite. The détente reached between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto – and by implication the Kikuyu and Kalenjin elites – in the wake of the ICC cases couldn’t survive the distrust between the two. Mr Ruto can’t be trusted to protect the Central Kenya elite hold on economic power. 

More importantly, Mr Kenyatta and his larger clan don’t want to find out what Mr Ruto could do to them if he captures state power. There are signs of what animates Mr Ruto. Like Donald Trump, Mr Ruto seems to be enamoured with dictators. His close relationship with the regime of former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, who’s facing charges at the ICC, is a matter of public record. More concerning is Mr Ruto’s admiration of – and dalliance – with Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni. 

Mr Museveni is an African Vladimir Putin who’s essentially abolished term limits. He rules with the fiercest iron fist. All we need to know is that Mr Ruto is under Mr Museveni’s political pupillage. 

Scandal after scandal

That’s not all. Mr Ruto is dogged by allegations of scandal after scandal. Is he the sort of person to whom a wise nation would entrust its democracy? And would any elite – including those around Mr Kenyatta – be comfortable under his reign? 

Kenya is a fledgling democracy. It can be reversed easily. Mr Kenyatta himself has taken an axe to Kenya’s democratic experiment. Often, he’s torn through democratic norms, laws, even the Constitution. He’s set a terrible example for his successors.

But if we think Mr Kenyatta is illiberal and often dictatorial, then as they say, we ain’t seen nutin’ yet. Mr Ruto’s anti-democratic proclivities will probably make Mr Kenyatta’s ham-handedness look like a walk in the park.

It’s clear that Mr Kenyatta wants no part of Mr Ruto in the next administration. Which means he must back someone who can beat Mr Ruto. Mr Ruto has a right to run, and Mr Kenyatta has an equal right to stop him within the strictures of the Constitution and Kenya’s laws. But as a political matter, Mr Kenyatta owes Kenyans a candid explanation – without obfuscation – as to why he’s dumped Mr Ruto. 

Come out and say it straight, and let the chips fall where they may. On the other hand, Mr Ruto needs to speak publicly on why he thinks he’s been dumped. This is critical information for the electorate. By Makau Mutua, Sunday Nation

Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School. He’s chair of KHRC. @makaumutua

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