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At least 18,000 observers will monitor the general election on Tuesday.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said it cleared both local and international observers.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati said close to 1,300 international observers will monitor the polls, while the rest are local.

He said there are more observers than the number of candidates participating in this year’s election.

There are 16,098 candidates in the polls with four eyeing the presidency. The rest have been cleared to vie for the 290 parliamentary slots, Senate (47), governor (47) and 1,450 member of county assembly positions.

In the 2017, there were more than 5,000 election observers and international journalists monitoring the election.

The law mandates the commission to facilitate observation, monitoring and evaluation of election.

The European Union Election Observation Mission is among the international organisations that deployed a delegation to observe the polls.

Former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete will head the 52-member East African Community election observation mission to Kenya.

The observers have been taken through what will be needed of them during election day.

Some 22 million registered voters will head to the polls to elect their leaders.

Independent election observers enhance the legitimacy of the electoral processes, as well as the outcome.

Their reports provide an objective critique of an electoral process, giving recommendations on how best the commission could improve on future management of election, hence increase election integrity.

For instance, the objectives of AU-COMESA are to assess the conduct of the 2022 general election and promote democracy and democratic election in Africa, in line with their overall vision of a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa.

After the assessment is carried out, the group will issue its interim statement of preliminary findings on August 11.

IEBC says their guidelines bind the observers in a code of conduct that requires them to be neutral and not to interfere with the election. - CYRUS OMBATI, The Star

(Edited by ‎Makokha bilha)‎

The four presidential candidates in the August 9, 2022 election. From left: Raila Odinga (Azimio), William Ruto (Kenya Kwanza), David Mwaure Waihiga (Agano Party) and George Wajackoyah (Roots Party).

In 48 hours, Kenyans will be casting their votes in an election that has been dominated by the economy but carries more than just that. It could herald a turning point for the country in many ways.

So much has happened since the 2017 General Election that was marred by tension and a nullification of the presidential ballot outcome by the Supreme Court. Each of the political formations that have emerged post-2017 claims to be the agent of change.

“Ours is a coalition of change,” Deputy President William Ruto, who is flying the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) flag, said Saturday at a press conference in Karen.

His opponents, Raila Odinga, Prof George Wajackoyah and David Waihiga, too, have said they represent change. In his campaigns, Prof Wajackoyah has talked of his “theory of economic turnaround… centred on growth and industrial production of marijuana.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession has been characterised by a lot of political intrigues, culminating in this unique political contest—the bromance between the President and Dr Ruto having disappeared and in its place, an acrimonious falling-out, and Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta, who viciously fought in the last two general elections, being in the same camp against Mr Ruto. The coming together of the former rivals saw the formation of a coalition political party—Azimio la Umoja One Kenya.

Unlike his predecessor Mwai Kibaki, who took a low profile in his succession, President Kenyatta, who is the chairman of the Azimio Council, has come out openly to campaign for his preferred successor.

Former President Daniel Moi, who had ruled for 24 years, endorsed and unsuccessfully campaigned for Mr Kenyatta in the 2002 presidential election that was won by Mr Kibaki.

Meanwhile, Covid-19, which struck in 2020, has hit the economy hard and the cost of living has increased exponentially as prices of basic goods skyrocket.

Generationally, and even as revealed in the polls conducted during the campaign period, the two main rivals for the presidency are appealing to different age groups: Mr Ruto, the polls indicated, is more liked by the youth aged between 18 and 34, while the 35-year-olds and above are biased in favour of Mr Odinga.

A win for Mr Ruto, therefore, could mean a significant change in the political landscape as the big families that have dominated the country politically could be staring at being swept away by the ‘hustler’ wave associated with Mr Ruto.

There is also the gender aspect to this election following the nomination of former Cabinet minister Martha Karua as Mr Odinga’s running mate. A win for Mr Odinga would see Ms Karua become the first ever woman in the country to rise to such a position, which, since Independence, has remained the preserve of men.

Following her nomination, several gubernatorial candidates have also nominated women as their running mates, meaning there could be more women deputy governors this time since the advent of devolution.

With so much having happened from 2017, no matter the outcome, this election could be a turning point for the country.

Economically, the country has been reeling from internal and external shocks that have hit the people’s pockets as prices of basic commodities rise. Institute of Economic Affairs chief executive Kwame Owino says the person who will succeed Mr Kenyatta will have to focus on containing wastage in government to get money for the campaign promises. 

“Are there places where wastage can be cut? Certainly there are, in the public sector and the Office of the Auditor General does it quite a lot. In my view, whoever is prepared to go look at audited accounts, detect where money is being lost and wasted and choose to close those loopholes, might make some space to spend, but huge spending on new programmes is not possible," he said.

As a result, the campaign has been dominated by competing economic approaches to how to reduce the cost of living and stabilise the economy.

Pro-poor policies

Both DP Ruto and Mr Odinga, having set their eyes on State House, this week have outlined a raft of pro-poor policies to bolster their chances of ascending to power. Mr Ruto, having associated himself with ‘Hustler Nation's bottom-up economic model, while the former Prime Minister has unveiled a rural economy plan.

With the country facing several woes due to skyrocketing prices of basic commodities like fuel, the presidential candidates have intensified their pitches with populist promises to arrest the high cost of living.

Within his first 100 days in office, Dr Ruto has pledged to establish a Sh50 billion Hustlers’ Fund, allocate 50 per cent of his Cabinet to women, implement the problematic two-thirds gender rule for appointive and elected officials, and halt allegedly selective investigation and prosecution of corruption cases. The UDA candidate has also proposed immediate tax reductions on basic commodities and fuel to reduce the heavy burden Kenyans are currently carrying. 

With his Hustlers’ Fund, Kenya Kwanza Alliance is eyeing the youth vote, which is 8.8 million against 13.3 million for the elderly population.

Sh6,000 monthly stipend

On the other hand, in his first 100 days, Mr Odinga will approve funds for his Sh6,000 monthly stipend programme for the poorest families, absorb all jobless teachers into the government payroll, reintroduce Guaranteed Minimum Returns for farmers and roll out universal health insurance cover dubbed ‘BabaCare’.

Then there is the age factor, both for the candidates and their supporters. On the supporters, Jubilee director of elections Kanini Kega, who is also the Kieni MP, is excited about the fact that the poll could be decided by the older generation.

“There has been a fallacy that the majority of the voters are below 35, but this one is very clear that they are above 35. As Azimio, we have been focussing on all the age groups from young to old and that is the reason we have programmes for all. For the Kenya Kwanza team, their focus has been on these young voters and it has become apparent that the young voters would not be the determinants,” says Mr Kega.

“Secondly, the shrinking number of young voters coupled with the entrance of George Wajackoyah, who is also targeting the young voters, means that the votes that Ruto and his team were relying on are at huge risk. For us, we are okay and we are good with the numbers.”

Follow ‘tribal chieftains’

According to Prof Egara Kabaji of Masinde Muliro University, youth might have been lured by how the DP has conducted his campaigns but when it comes to voting, the majority will follow their “tribal chieftains”.

 

“If Ruto manages to dismantle the belief that we all have to vote along tribal lines and vote class instead of the tribe, then he is on the right path. If he does not manage it, then he is in for a rude shock,” said Prof Kabaji.

The age of the candidates has also featured prominently, with DP Ruto’s camp portraying themselves as the young team with the energy to face the rigours of running a government. It mirrors the 2013 ‘digital versus analogue’ campaign of Jubilee against Cord.

“If you observe keenly, is Raila having enough energy to lead this country? Can he manage to govern this country, which has a lot of debts and problems? This country where millions of youth are jobless. Will that old man succeed?" DP Ruto, who is 55, posed to a cheerful crowd at Wabukhonyi in Tongaren, Bungoma County, recently.

Mr Odinga is 77, Prof Wajackoyah is 63 and Mr Waihiga is also in his 60s.

President Kenyatta, who ran on the ‘digital versus analogue’ platform has now advised that age should not be a deciding factor in choosing leaders but rather character. “Old age is not a disease. What is important is a person who has the people at heart, a person with humility, a man who is not interested in chasing money and other people’s wives,” the Head of State said this week while in Bungoma County.

Mr Odinga’s running mate, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, recently referred to former President Kibaki's performance, while he was aged, saying it transformed the country positively. “If you are told Raila is old, yes he is old. He is politically mature and well organised. There comes a time when a country needs a mature and sober leader who has a cool temperament,” she said. 

With President Kenyatta drumming up support for Mr Odinga, the outcome of Tuesday's election also has the potential to end two things that have taken place in this country for years.

Kikuyu-Kalenjin stranglehold

If the Azimio boss trounces DP Ruto, it will have broken the Kikuyu-Kalenjin stranglehold on the presidency since Independence. At the same time, Mr Kenyatta will be the first retiring President to successfully determine his successor.

Laikipia governor Ndiritu Muriithi says the working together of President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga has healed the wounds due to the disagreements between their fathers. Kenyatta's father Jomo was the country's first president while Odinga's father Jaramogi served as vice-president.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta is the ultimate political realist who has been able to turn circumstances that appear very difficult and work with them. Before 2013, there was serious work and he managed it through his alliance with Dr Ruto. The rapprochement between him and the former Prime Minister took many people by surprise, hence the opposition by some,” he said.

The governor is Mr Odinga’s presidential campaign board chair. He says President Kenyatta will be remembered for making political moves, which his predecessors could not achieve, for the sake of uniting Kenya.

“His succession is going to heal rifts that have existed between our people for a long time. If you take political competition between Kikuyu and Luo, it is a thing of the past now. Every time these two major groups are on the same side, Kenya moves forward,” said Mr Muriithi.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  By Walter Menya , Onyango K'Onyango, Sila Kiplagat, Evans Habil, Jared Nyataya & Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

 

On Thursday, the head of UN Peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, briefed a closed-door session of the Security Council to discuss the situation in the country

The United Nations continues to engage with authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the wake of the deadly shooting this past weekend involving peacekeepers from its Mission there, MONUSCO.  

On Thursday, the head of UN Peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, briefed a closed-door session of the Security Council to discuss the situation in the country, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists in New York. 

Ambassadors met a day after Congolese authorities officially expelled the MONUSCO Spokesperson from the country, reportedly for making “indelicate and inappropriate remarks” following recent deadly protests in the east, according to media reports. 

Regret and commitment  

Mr. Dujarric said the UN regrets the decision. 

The Secretary-General strongly emphasized the need to establish accountability, and welcomed MONUSCO’s decision to immediately open an investigation

“In line with the status of the UN under the Charter of the Organization, any concerns that the Government may have regarding the actions of a member of MONUSCO should be raised directly with the Mission leadership. The Mission and UN Headquarters are accordingly engaging with the Government to address this matter,” he added. 

MONUSCO also lamented the government’s decision. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Mission underscored its commitment “to continuing to work alongside the Congolese population and authorities to implement the mandate entrusted to it by the Security Council.” 

Establish accountability 

The shooting incident occurred on Sunday in Kasindi, a town in North Kivu province, on the border between the DRC and Uganda. 

The peacekeepers were returning from leave, when they opened fire at a border post, under circumstances which are not yet clear. Two people were killed, and several others wounded, according to media reports. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres was “outraged” by the “serious incident”, in addition to being saddened and dismayed over the loss of life and injuries, according to a statement issued that day by his Spokesperson. 

The Secretary-General strongly emphasized the need to establish accountability, and welcomed MONUSCO’s decision to immediately open an investigation. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

 

The head of Burundi’s ruling political party gave an appalling speech at a public event this week commemorating Lt. Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimina, who, before he was killed seven years ago, oversaw human rights violations including the killing, torture, and arbitrary arrest of suspected political opponents.

The speech was given by Révérien Ndikuriyo, the secretary general of the Burundi’s ruling party, to which Nshimirimina also belonged, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Forces for the Defense of Democracy (Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces pour la défense de la démocratie, CNDD-FDD). Ndikuriyo's words were a slap in the face for Nshimirimana’s victims.

Ndikuriyo then launched a shocking attack on international human rights organizations documenting abuse in Burundi today, including by members of the ruling party’s notorious youth league, the Imbonerakure. Ndikuriyo boasted about the party’s strategy to militarize the youth league, whose members commit abuses across the country.

That a known human rights violator continues to be idolized is bad enough, but it is compounded by the diplomatic community’s failure to take a public stance against these developments. On the same day that Ndikuriyo was attacking international human rights groups, the European Union ambassador to Burundi held a meeting with President Évariste Ndayishimiye.

Seven years ago, on August 2, 2015, Nshimirimana, the former head of the intelligence service and a close ally of then-President Pierre Nkurunziza, was killed when unidentified men opened fire on his vehicle in Bujumbura, Burundi. One of the country’s most powerful and brutal figures, he was seen as untouchable.

Nshimirimana’s assassination took place as the country descended into a protracted human rights crisis, triggered by Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a controversial third term. Protesters were killed, tortured, and jailed. Civil society organizations and independent media were decimated, with almost all of their leaders forced into exile. The day after Nshimirimana’s death, a leading Burundian human rights defender, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, was shot and injured.

At the time, the international community reacted forcefully to the unfolding human rights crisis, by imposing targeted sanctions, restrictions on funding, and establishing a United Nations commission of inquiry on Burundi to investigate grave human rights violations.

This week, Ndikuriyo's defiant speech shows how little interest ruling party leaders have in addressing the country’s abysmal human rights record. Today’s diplomats should seize every opportunity to raise human rights issues with Burundi’s leaders, making clear their concern about this kind of inflammatory rhetoric. - Clémentine de Montjoye, Human Rights Watch

Another jurisdiction for BMM Testlabs - the company is now licensed to provide compliance testing services in Tanzania.

James Mbalwe (left) of the Gaming Board of Tanzania is seen with Boipelo Lencwe (centre) of BMM and Catherine Lamwai of the Gaming Board at the confirmation of the licence.

BMM’s vice-president operations and sales for South Africa, said: “it is pleasing to be granted a licence to provide compliance testing services for the Tanzanian gambling market.”

The company is now accepting supplier submissions for testing services in the country. BMM employs over 500 people in 15 global locations and serves over 470 gaming jurisdictions. Source: iNTERGAME

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