Kenya – crime and rigging mar party primaries

Reuters

Electorates queue to cast their ballots, during the Jubilee Party primary elections, at a polling centre in Nairobi, Kenya April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
By Katharine Houreld | NAIROBI

NAIROBI Ballot-stuffing, multiple voting and violence marred polls to pick candidates in Kenya’s looming national elections, observers and participants said on Friday, raising fears of further turmoil.

Observers found some polling stations using photocopied ballot papers and found fraud in more than half of the constituencies they visited, said Mulle Musau, national coordinator of the Election Observation Group.

Protesters have taken to the streets in several locations in Kenya over the past month, frustrated by disorganisation and fraud at the primary votes – highly charged events as ethnic voting blocs mean that clinching a party nomination virtually guarantees victory in the final election.

“We have seen a number of cases of ballot-stuffing. We have seen a number of cases of multiple voting,” Musau said. Angry voters stormed cyber-cafes after hearing rumours that fraudsters were using the facilities to print off ballot papers.

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta is once again standing against his arch-rival Raila Odinga in August’s presidential vote, which will run alongside elections for members of parliament and local officials.

This month’s protests have stirred memories of the disputed presidential poll a decade ago, when ethnically-charged violence killed more than 1,200 people.

Musau said his coalition of Kenyan civil society groups, the largest body observing the vote, visited 95 constituencies out of 290.

Polling stations often lacked party registers and allowed anyone with a national ID card to vote, he said. There were no provisions to prevent multiple voting.

Reuters journalists who visited 29 polling stations in four counties during primaries for both parties observed that in many polling stations, ink used to mark voters’ fingers to prevent repeat voting were easily rubbed off. One journalist observed people casting multiple votes.

The main parties were forced to rerun primaries in several locations after protests.

“They have stolen from us and we are rejecting the results,” said Hazel Katana, a senatorial candidate for the Jubilee party in the coastal town of Mombasa.

Hamisi Mwaguya, a Mombasa senatorial candidate for the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, said his strongholds had insufficient ballot papers.

“Somebody is trying to rob us of our victory,” he said. “We shall not accept this.”

The rescheduled primaries should conclude on Sunday. Results for the 47 coveted governorship races show that incumbents retained their seat in 32 of them, despite widespread corruption allegations. Seven have been ousted and eight are disputed or being rerun.

Some disputes spilled into farce: a female bishop vying for the Nairobi governorship was arrested for destroying ballot papers, and two competing candidates for the Kisumu governorship were declared winners in separate locations before results were even counted.

(Additional reporting by John Ndiso and Humphrey Malalo in Nairobi, Athony Gitonga in Naivasha and Joseph Akwiri in Mombassa; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Nigeria – Mines minister ignores Supreme Court ruling on aluminium project

Premium Times

Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mining and Steel Development

Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mining and Steel Development

This week’s pledge by the Minister of Mines & Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, to work with a Russian firm to reactivate the Aluminium Smelting Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, in Ikot-Abasi, is in clear violation of a Supreme Court judgement, PREMIUM TIIMES can report.

The Supreme Court, Nigeria’s apex court, had on two separate occasions ordered that the company be taken away from the Russian firm, UC RUSAL.

On Wednesday, Mr. Fayemi’s aides distributed a statement indicating the minister’s visit to ALSCON and his pledge to work with UC RUSAL.

The Chairman/Chief Executive of BFIGroup, Reuben Jaja, who was reacting to Mr. Fayemi’s visit to the plant, said the minister’s action was not only illegal, but contemptuous of the Supreme Court, which has ruled twice, sacking the Russians from the company since 2012.

BFIG is the Nigerian-American consortium that was declared winner of the bid for ALSCON in 2004 by the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, but was later disqualified by the Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE, in controversial circumstances, triggering a lingering ownership legal tussle.

After a tour of the plant and its adjoining harbour, Mr. Fayemi commended UC RUSAL, led by its managing director, Dimitriy Zaviyalov, for ensuring the “machines were kept in good shape, despite the absence of production activities, occasioned by a legal tussle over ownership.”

Although the minister said government could not do anything about the legal tussle, he assured the Russians that government would “encourage the Supreme Court to expedite action on the ruling, which would free the complex of any encumbrances,” an indication Mr. Fayemi is either ignorant of the Supreme Court rulings or has decided to ignore them.

The minister cleared the Russians of accusations of asset stripping, saying “contrary to reports that UC RUSAL was involved in asset stripping at ALSCON, the fact on ground showed the Russian group maintained the plants as well as a small work force, since it stopped work.”

“Government is fully prepared to tackle other administrative issues that crippled production processes at the plant once the legal aspect had been resolved.

“Specifically, the ministry is ready to assist the company in resolving all administrative issues with some organisations, including the Nigeria Export Processing Authority, NEPZA, the Nigerian Gas Company and the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, in the bid to ensure the plant comes alive again.”

Although his action appears a clear violation of the Nigerian law, the minster restated the Buhari administration’s commitment to the rule of law.

“This is a government that believes in the rule of law. So, we cannot influence the judiciary over the matter. But we will help to resolve all other administrative issues that may arise between the company and other organisations in the interest of our economy,” he said.

“It is in our interest for the issues to be resolved. I am sure the Vice President, who is also the Chair of the Privatisation Council of Nigeria, would invite all the parties concerned once I brief him on my findings.

“We cannot have such a huge national asset like ALSCON and allow it to go into ruins. If privatisation must work, there must be sanctity of contractual agreement,” Mr. Fayemi said.

But in his reaction, Mr. Jaja faulted Mr. Fayemi’s stance on the ownership of ALSCON.

“The minister is being misguided to think the case against ownership of ALSCON is still at the Supreme Court,” Mr. Jaja said. “The minister should know the Supreme Court had ruled on the matter on two occasions, and the verdicts were very clear and unambiguous.

The businessman made reference to two Supreme Court judgements PREMIUM TIMES had reported about.

“On July 6, 2012, the Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict of 5 to 0, upheld BFIGroup’s legal right to acquire ALSCON and ordered BPE to comply. Again, on July 11, 2016, the Supreme Court rejected any arguments by BPE (Bureau for Public Enterprises) and UC RUSAL to vacate the judgment of 2012.

“So, for the minister to call for the Supreme Court to expedite action in the case now shows he is not up to date with the current information on ALSCON. If the minister believes in the rule of law, he should know that romancing with UC RUSAL on a matter the Supreme Court has already ruled twice is illegal and contemptuous. This a matter BFIG lawyers intend to take up with the minister,” Mr. Jaja said.

On the continued closure of the plant, Mr. Jaja said in line with Supreme Court ruling, the BPE was supposed to provide the share purchase agreement for BFIGroup to execute, pointing out that the privatization agency was yet to come forward with the already developed agreement, for signature.

On the minister’s comment that the plant’s assets were not stripped, Mr. Jaja said that against the value of ALSCON in 2004, put at about $1.3 billion by the accounting firm, KPMG, its value had dropped significantly to less than $120 million.

“What would be the minister’s explanation to this significant decline, if not the massive degradation of the plant by the company illegally entrusted with its management,” he said.

PREMIUM TIMES tried to reach Mr. Fayemi on why he appears to be ignoring the Supreme Court rulings on the matter. The minister did not pick or return calls, nor respond to a text message.  His spokesperson, Yinka Oyebode, however, said his boss would await a letter by BFIG before making a statement.

Kenya – Raila says he will take Kenya to the promised land

Star (Kenya)

Apr. 28, 2017, 12:15 am

NASA Coalition principals Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Isaac Rutto, Moses Wetangula and Kalonzo Musyoka hold hands in Solidarity during their Rally at Uhuru Park on April 27, 2017.  They announced Raila Odinga as Presidential Candidate with Kalonzo Musyoka as his deputy. Photo/Jack Owuor
NASA Coalition principals Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Isaac Rutto, Moses Wetangula and Kalonzo Musyoka hold hands in Solidarity during their Rally at Uhuru Park on April 27, 2017. They announced Raila Odinga as Presidential Candidate with Kalonzo Musyoka as his deputy. Photo/Jack Owuor

The National Super Alliance has replicated the historic 2002 Narc unity that toppled the Kanu regime by announcing ODM leader Raila Odinga as the joint opposition presidential candidate.

After months of tense negotiations and fears of a bitter split, the NASA Pentagon unveiled the Alliance’s offi cial power structure, setting the stage for a do-or-die battle with President Uhuru Kenyatta. In an event attended by tens of thousands of supporters and initially punctuated by anxiety over the lineup –– Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka was named Raila’s running mate –partially replicating the 2013 lineup.

Under this arrangement, Amani National Congress boss Musalia Mudavadi will be Premier Cabinet Secretary in charge of Government Coordination, in the event of victory.

Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula would be Deputy Premier CS responsible for Rconomic Sector Coordination, making Western Kenya among the biggest benefi ciaries in the NASA government.

In what is meant to woo the vote-rich Rift Valley, fiery Chama cha Mashinani leader Isaac Rutto would be Deputy Premier CS, Governance and Social Services Sector Coordination. After being declared “Tosha” by Kalonzo and Mudavadi, Raila began setting the tempo of the NASA campaign.

The 73-year-old opposition leader said ending the big money graft, entrenched by Jubilee would be among his key priorities.

“The government that we are forming will be a transitional and transformative government that will cleanup all the Jubilee mess and sweep them downstream,” Raila told a massive and jubilant crowd.

“History repeats itself: In October 2002, we were here at Uhuru Park . . . Today these brothers of mine, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Masika Wetang’ula, Isaac Kiprono Rutto, have all said ‘Raila Tosha’.”

He expressed gratitude to his co-principals for giving him the mandate to fly the NASA flag, terming it “a big honour”.

Expert comment: NASA is all about putting Kenya Kwanza

Raila said his priority would be to create jobs for the youth and women, reduce the high cost of living and provide aff ordable education and healthcare.

“We will fight poverty, disease and ignorance . . . We want the prices of foodstuff s to come down. The price of unga and rents to come down,” he promised, adding that doctors, teachers and all civil servants would get decent pay.

As he unveiled the lineup, Musalia said all NASA partners are equal and “one plays the role of the first among equals”.

“All decisions shall be made in consultation and concurrence of partner parties, beginning with formation of government.

Composition of the national Executive shall reflect the regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya as required by Article 130 of the Constitution,” Musalia announced.

There have been fears the mistrust and suspicion that characterized the NASA negotiations would cause an acrimonious split.

Yesterday, Kalonzo said he was determined to fly the NASA flag, having sacrifi ced his bids in 2002 and 2013, but concluded that Kenya was bigger than himself.

He announced that the NASA power-sharing deal had been deposited with the Registrar of Political Parties and would not be dishonoured like the 2002 Narc MoU.

“Th is is not another MoU. It’s an agreement with the people of Kenya that never again will there be political gerrymandering. Th ere will never be political deceit,”Kalonzo said.

Kalonzo’s allies have previously accused Raila of disregarding an alleged 2013 deal to support him in this year’s race for State House.

“In 2002, I said I was ready to bite the bullet, I bit the bullet. Or did I not? I said Kenya is bigger than me, Kalonzo Musyoka . . . but I have said that I am prepared to be a sweeper in the NASA government so long as the ordinary Kenyan is respected,” Kalonzo told the mammoth crowd.

South Africa – Gordhan praises Ramaphosa and back state capture inquiry

News24

Gordhan praises Ramaphosa, backs state capture inquiry

2017-04-27 22:15

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Cape Town – Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Thursday told CNN that a judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture would “clear the air”.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa recently called for the same thing, supporting a recommendation by former public protector Thuli Madonsela for a judicial commission of inquiry into the Gupta family’s alleged attempts to capture the state.

“The law needs to take its course if profoundly wrong things are being done,” Gordhan told CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour, in a video call billed as his first TV interview since being fired last month.

Amanpour asked whether Gordhan had any information that might implicate President Jacob Zuma.

He said he did not but that suggestions not only about Zuma, but about people in the private and public sector, needed to be tested.

Dodging a question about whether Zuma was a good leader, he said South Africa had a culture of “collective leadership”.

He reiterated worries that the ANC might lose the 2019 elections if it remained on the same path, but also hoped courage and boldness would be found to steer it in a different direction by the end of the year.

In the TV interview, he praised Ramaphosa as being very brave.

“He has spoken truth to power, if you like, at difficult times and has demonstrated he is a leader of great mettle and would serve South Africa well into the future.”

On Sunday, Ramaphosa launched a stinging attack on Zuma and the Gupta family in a speech that was interpreted as the unofficial launch of his campaign for the ANC’s presidency.

Speaking at the South African Communist Party’s Chris Hani Memorial Lecture at the Babs Madlakane Hall in KwaNobuhle, near Uitenhage, he called on the ANC to address the challenges it was facing, or continue to lose support among its members, and potentially lose control of the country in upcoming elections

Nigeria Buhari’s health

Reuters

ABUJA Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s doctors have advised him to take things slowly as he recovers from an undisclosed illness, and there is no need to worry about his health, his spokesman said on Thursday.

Buhari did not attend a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, choosing to rest and work from home. That triggered speculation about his health and his ability to run Africa’s biggest economy and most populous nation.

Wednesday’s was Buhari’s second consecutive absence from the weekly meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

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Garba Shehu said Buhari’s decision not to attend the meeting was last minute, otherwise he would have notified his cabinet and Nigerians.

Buhari, 74, returned home in March after nearly two months’ medical leave in Britain and said he would need more rest and health tests. Details of his medical condition were not disclosed.

“President Buhari himself, on his return to the country, made Nigerians aware of the state of his health while he was in London. Full recovery is sometimes a slow process, requiring periods of rest and relaxation,” Shehu said in a statement.

“Despite his lack of visibility, Nigerians should rest assured that President Buhari has not abdicated his role as Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria.”

Shehu said the president received daily briefings on activities of government and met regularly with his vice president.

Osinbajo, a lawyer who is seen as more business-friendly than Buhari, has played an active role in driving policy changes, chairing cabinet meetings during the president’s medical leave.

Shehu said Buhari was spending most of his time in his private residence which is equipped as an office, adding that he had gone through the worst period of his recovery in London.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah and Tife Owolabi; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Nigeria – former V-P Atiku says problems with governance and federalism

Premium Timesmaking progress — Atiku

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says Nigeria will continue to grapple with the crisis of severe and debilitating socio-economic problems unless it gets the structures of the federalism and governance right.

Atiku stated this in a paper titled; “The Challenge of Unity, Diversity and National Development: Nigeria at a Crossroads’’, which he delivered at the formal public presentation of the Daily Stream newspaper, at the Banquet Hall, Nigeria Air force Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja.

According to him, the current system, which is characterized by a focus on sharing rather than production, is clearly not conducive to development.

He noted that virtually all the development indices had not been favourable to Nigeria: massive and pervasive poverty, double-digit inflation, unemployment, dwindling foreign exchange receipts, poor GDP growth rates, high infant and maternal mortality, high levels of illiteracy, and millions of school-age children out of school.

“For Nigeria to develop – or even make any appreciable progress – we must re-structure Nigeria’s political, administrative and political architecture.

“That way we can free resources that would otherwise go to unviable ventures and projects, then commit same to areas that directly cater for and benefit the people.’’

He said restructuring would facilitate the emergence of a leaner bureaucracy, enhance efficiency, block wastages and promote more prudent management.

He said this would make for happier constituent units more committed to the progress and unity of the country and the emergence of a sense of nationhood.

“However, I am not here just to lament over the sad and unenviable state of affairs in Nigeria.

“I firmly believe in the viability of the Nigerian Project, I remain unshaken and completely persuaded that we can eventually change the story of Nigeria for good by collectively making Nigeria a productive, prosperous, peaceful and united nation whose people are happy and contented and one that is able to really lead Africa and assume a pride of place in the comity of nations,’’ he added.

Atiku, who narrated his experiences from his recent trip to Malaysia, said he had concluded arrangements to assemble a class of economic experts to brainstorm on the best ways to boost the economies of the three tiers of government in Nigeria.

The former vice-president, who affirms that Nigeria is truly in crossroads, said “the problem with our federalism is that over the years it has become so skewed in favour of the centre that it impedes our economic development, distorts our politics, weakens our people’s commitment to the country and threatens our existence as a united country’’.

He, therefore, stressed the need to discuss and agree on the kind of federal structure desirable for the country.

“Reverting to the regions of the past seem untenable because those minority groups which feel that they have been liberated from their bigger, dominant neighbours, are unlikely to accept a return to that older order.

“We may consider using the existing the geo-political zones as federating units because they will be more viable economically and address some of the minorities’ concerns?

“If we prefer to keep the current state structure, could we consider introducing a means-test such that a state that is unable to raise a specified percentage of its revenues from internal sources would have to be collapsed into another state?’’

Abubakar, who described himself as more of a businessman than politician, said he would never implement a uniform National Minimum Wage structure across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said under his leadership, state governments in Nigeria would be allowed to pay their workers’ salaries based on their respective financial standing.

(NAN)

Kenya – both Kenyatta and Odinga allies lose in party primary elections

Daily Nation

Uhuru, Raila allies kicked out in Jubilee, ODM polls

Mr William Chepkut (centre), who won the Jubilee ticket for Ainabkoi parliamentary seat, celebrates with supporters on April 26, 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr William Chepkut (centre), who won the Jubilee ticket for Ainabkoi parliamentary seat, celebrates with supporters on April 26, 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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Allies of President Kenyatta and Nasa co-principal Raila Odinga have been voted out by a seemingly decisive public in the Jubilee and ODM nominations which have been marked with violence, chaos and confusion.

In Kiambu, voters overwhelmingly voted out Governor William Kabogo in favour of Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu.

Six MPs were also kicked out in the Jubilee Party nominations in President Kenyatta’s backyard.

Among the MPs kicked out was Kiambu Woman Rep Anna Nyokabi, a relative of President Kenyatta, who lost by a huge margin to radio journalist Gathoni Wamuchomba.

Ms Wamuchomba garnered 374,306 votes to Ms Nyokabi’s measly 26,768 votes.

Ruiru MP Esther Gathogo lost to businessman N’gan’ga Kin’gara while Limuru’s John Kiragu lost the ticket to former MP Peter Mwathi.

ACTIVE PARTICIPANT

MP Njoroge Baiya, an active participant in the National Assembly debates, lost to newcomer Kago Wa Lydia.

In Nyanza, Mr Odinga’s allies were easily beaten in the ODM nominations by newcomers.

Those kicked out are Mr Odinga’s elder brother Oburu Oginga (Nominated), Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem) and Nicholas Gumbo, who was seeking the Siaya governor seat.

Gem Member of Parliament Jakoyo Midiwo in Seme, Kisumu on March 17, 2017. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Gem Member of Parliament Jakoyo Midiwo in Seme, Kisumu on March 17, 2017. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Others are MPs Aduma Owuor (Nyakach), Augustino Neto (Ndhiwa), George Oner (Rangwe), Omondi Muluan (Alego-Usonga) and former aide of Mr Odinga, Caroli Omondi.

In Nyanza, where clinching the ODM ticket almost guarantees one a win in the general election, the leaders are likely to face an uphill task retaining their seats should they chose to vie as independent candidates.

At the same time, Deputy President William Ruto, who was busy at the Jubilee Party headquarters in Pangani signing off nomination certificates, watched as his allies were shown the door in the Jubilee nominations in his Rift Valley backyard.

TALLAM FLOORED

His deputy communication secretary Emmanuel Tallam was floored in the Nandi Hills contest by outspoken MP Alfred Keter, considered a rebel in the Jubilee Party. Mr Keter garnered 19,734 votes against Mr Tallam’s 5,620.

National Assembly Legal Affairs chairman Samuel Chepkonga, another close ally of the DP, lost in the Jubilee nominations for Ainabkoi constituency to Mr William Chepkut, an aide of former Cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott. Mr Chepkut got 13,685 votes against Mr Chepkonga’s 13,556.

Kiambu Governor William Kabogo (centre) and the county's Woman Representative Anna Nyokabi Gatheca.

Kiambu Governor William Kabogo (centre) and the county’s Woman Representative Anna Nyokabi Gatheca. The two lost during the April 25 Jubilee primaries. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Elgeyo-Marakwet, Keiyo South MP Jackson Kiptanui, who was said to have been fronted by the DP to topple Governor Alex Tolgos, was trounced by the incumbent.

He came a distant second in the Monday primaries. Mr Tolgos won with 63,645 votes against the MP’s 34,666.

In Uasin Gishu, Mr Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop, popularly known as Buzeki, was headed to a defeat on Wednesday after failing to get enough votes to topple Governor Jackson Mandago.

UNASSAILABLE LEAD

Although he denied being fronted by the DP, Mr Kiprop is said to be a close friend of Mr Ruto.

By last evening, with only one constituency remaining, Mr Mandago enjoyed an unassailable lead of 103,961 votes against Mr Kiprop’s 68,833.

Former Judiciary chief registrar Gladys Shollei clinched the Jubilee ticket for Woman Rep.

In Kapseret, current MP Oscar Sudi managed to shrug off a challenge by newcomer Steve Kewa, who was said to have ben fronted by the DP.

In Kitui, Wiper chairman David Musila, an ally of Nasa-co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka, lost his bid to clinch the ticket for the governor’s seat.

Senator Musila lost to Governor Julius Malombe, who garnered 88,382 votes while Mr Musila got 74,308 in the contest in which tallying of votes took more than 50 hours to conclude as the candidates disagreed on the results.

—Reports by Eric Wainaina, Justus Ochieng, Kitavi Mutua and Jeremiah Kiplang’at