Tag Archives: NASA

Kenya – Uhuru and Raila battle for swing votes

Star (Kenya)

Jun. 19, 2017, 1:00 am

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy Willliam Ruto greet residents of Kiambu during a meet-the-people tour of the area on Sunday. /REBECCA NDUKU/DPPS
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy Willliam Ruto greet residents of Kiambu during a meet-the-people tour of the area on Sunday. /REBECCA NDUKU/DPPS

Both President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM candidate Raila Odinga are focussing their attention on swing votes as they consolidate their strongholds, five weeks to the election.

The plan by both candidates is to ensure that their strongholds turn out, almost to the last man and woman, to vote for them as they seek swing votes from regions their strategists describe as battlegrounds.

Bomet, Narok, Kisii, Meru and Tharaka Nithi are among the 13 counties that have become the epicentre of a ferocious political battle between Kenyatta and Odinga. Of the 13 swing counties, Odinga won seven counties at the last election, while Uhuru ran away with six.

Kenyatta beat Odinga in Isiolo, garnering 26,401 against Raila’s 14,108, in Mandera he got 94,433 against Raila’s 4,366, while in Kajiado Uhuru led by 138, 851 against Raila’s 117,856.

Kenyatta also beat Odinga in West Pokot, garnering 79,772 against 24,952.

However, Odinga beat Kenyatta in Nairobi by 691,156 against 659,490, Turkana 68,402 against Uhuru’s 30,285, Samburu 31,086 against 22,085, Trans Nzoia 92,035 against 74,466, Wajir 49,712 against 38,927, and Narok 118,623 against 109,413. In total, Odinga won in 27 of the 47 counties. An internal NASA document claims that the counties where Odinga won in 2013 had a total of 8,373,840 voters, compared to 5,977,056 in the 20 counties won by Uhuru. According to the strategy document seen by the Star, Odinga was disadvantaged by turnout.

The counties won by Odinga averaged a turnout rate of about 83 per cent compared to counties won by Uhuru that averaged 89.7 per cent.

At the same time, where Uhuru won, he won big, averaging 86 per cent of the votes.

Odinga’s average vote share in the 27 counties was a mere 70 per cent.

In what has given birth to the controversial slogan “10 Million Strong”, NASA says if the 2013 voting patterns are maintained, the counties won by Raila currently have 10,547,913 registered voters, compared to 7,556,609 in the counties where Uhuru prevailed.

This means Odinga’s chances of unseating Kenyatta are hinged on turnout.

Raila, who concluded a two-days campaign blitz in Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties on Saturday, the fourth such visit in six months, is convinced that he will get maximum turnout.

“The overwhelming reception we got from those two areas leaves no doubt that the ground has shifted in our favour,” said Raila yesterday. After visiting his home county of Kiambu yesterday, Uhuru will head to Meru to try and undo any gains Raila may have made. Raila is also heading to Western Kenya this week to seek to do the same in the wake of UhuRuto’s campaign tour of last week.

Although latest opinion polls have suggested a runoff, both NASA and Jubilee are pushing for round one victory.

Both sides are going flat out to get the majority votes in the counties of Nairobi, Narok, Kajiado, Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Trans Nzoia, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana and Samburu.

Once considered to be under lock and key by Jubilee, Meru is becoming restive and recent events in the area have alarmed the ruling party to the possibility that Raila could be penetrating the region.

In his last two visits, including last weekend, Raila drew large, enthusiastic crowds that have made NASA buoyant.

“If President Uhuru Kenyatta will not change the team in Meru, it will cost him a great deal in this election,” Meru Governor Peter Munya warned recently.

Jubilee’s Meru campaign team is led by Senator Kiraitu Murungi and Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi, but Munya said the two have “lost touch with the voters” and have no clout to deliver votes to Jubilee.

At a recent Jubilee function in Igembe North constituency, Kiraitu, once seen as the region’s political supremo, was shouted down, when he tried to dissuade locals against the former Prime Minister.

In a video recording that has gone viral, the people of Igembe North shouted “NASA!” in what appears to have surprised Kiraitu, who stood beside Igembe North parliamentary aspirant Maoka Maore.

In an interview with the Star, Jubilee Mount Kenya Youth Chairman Linford Mutembei said Uhuru should visit Meru “as things are getting out of hand”.

“He should come in person and camp in Meru for about three days. The President should also form a new campaign team with a youthful face if he wants to win in Meru. Otherwise the majority of the Meru electorates will vote for NASA,” Mutembei warned.

The NASA Coordinator in Tharaka Nithi, Prof Isaiah Kindiki, brother of Senate Minority leader Kithure Kindiki, said the region is tired of Jubilee’s empty rhetoric when the people are wallowing in poverty.

“NASA has not penetrated Meru, it has grown from within,” Prof Isiah Kindiki emphatically told the Star.

However, a recent opinion poll by Ipsos paints a different picture. Released on May 30, the poll indicates that Uhuru would win the Eastern region, that also includes NASA running mate Kalonzo Musyoka’s Ukambani turf, by 51 per cent.

Raila would secure only 36 per cent of the vote, the poll showed.

Last week, Uhuru gave Sh828 million to IDPs displaced 10 years ago in a gesture that has triggered jitters in opposition circles to the effect that Jubilee is bankrolling its reelection bid using State coffers.

But that is not all.

Since their election in 2013, Ruto has visited Kisii more than 20 times. In a deliberate campaign message, Uhuru and Ruto claim to have given high profile jobs to Gusii leaders, among them Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Chief Justice David Maraga.

The latter move however backfired, after the Judicial Service Commission rebuffed the President, saying any implication “that the appointment of the CJ was part of a political scheme is a grave distortion of law and fact”.

In an interview with the Star, Mutembei said the rivalry between Kiraitu and Munya for the county’s top is hurting Uhuru’s reelection prospects in the region.

He urged Uhuru not take sides in the war.

But Kiraitu, through his director of communication Patrick Muriungi, said the perception that NASA is gaining ground in Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties is a fallacy.

He said Raila should not be cheated by psyched-up crowds that he will actually get their votes.

“These crowds will not translate into votes as the two counties will vote for President Kenyatta in the August polls, according to all the voting patterns,” Muriungi said.

He accused ODM coordinator Mike Mutembei of hiring people to shout down Jubilee leaders and attend Raila rallies when he visits to please the ODM supremo in order to get handouts.

Kenya -President launches election campaign amid fears about violence

Reuters

By George Obulutsa | NAIROBI

NAIROBI Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta kicked off his official campaign for reelection with a rally in Nairobi on Monday, echoing a call by main challenger Raila Odinga to avoid the violence that followed voting a decade ago.

Kenyatta led a lively procession of luxury sports utility vehicles around the city to reach the rally held after the electoral board cleared his candidacy for the August poll.

“We are determined to ensure that we conduct our elections peacefully,” the president told the crowd. “We have no intention to insult, obstruct, abuse our opponents … Peace now, peace during and peace after the election.”

Odinga, the veteran opposition leader who held a similar rally on Sunday after his fourth run for the presidency was officially approved, also said in a talk with journalists that the campaign and voting would be orderly.

“The campaigns are going to be very peaceful, and at the end of the day we expect it is going to be a fair contest,” he said. “In any contest there will be winners and there will be losers.”

Many Kenyans are concerned about possible election-linked violence. More than 1,200 people were killed in 2007 after Odinga called for protests following the vote that year and later degenerated into ethnic based violence.

Electoral authorities had abruptly stopped tallying votes and announced the incumbent president Mwai Kibaki the winner.

Odinga narrowly lost the 2013 elections to Kenyatta and challenged the result in court. He did not call for protests that time and a judge upheld the result, handing Kenyatta a five-year term.

Kenyatta, the wealthy 55-year-old son of the country’s first president, is running on what he presents as his record of aggressive economic development drive, citing new roads, expansion of the electricity grid and a new Chinese-built railway linking the port of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi.

The head of the Jubilee party says he has strengthened the judiciary, reformed the electoral commission and overseen the devolution of power.

But his government has also been rocked by scandals and strikes by doctors and university lecturers, and has not convicted any senior officials of corruption.

Odinga, 72, also comes from a powerful political family – his father was Kenya’s first vice-president. He has pledged to lower rocketing food prices, tackle corruption, reform the public sector and strengthen local government.

Jailed for eight years in 1982 after a failed coup, the self-declared leftist was one of Kenya’s longest serving political prisoners. He ran for president in 1997 but lost. After the violence following the 2007 vote, he served as prime minister from 2008-2013 in a power-sharing government.

The opposition National Super Alliance, known by its acronym NASA, nominated him as its candidate in April.

Seven other presidential candidates have been cleared to run for president.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Katharine Houreld and Tom Heneghan)

 

 

Kenya – Isaac Ruto says he was picked to be NASA candidate but declined in favour of Raila

Daily Nation

I declined offer to be Nasa flag bearer, says Isaac Ruto

Tuesday May 23 2017
Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto addresses his Chama Cha Mashinani supporters at Ngesumin in Bureti, Kericho County on May 21, 2017 where he claimed that he had been picked to be the Nasa presidential flag bearer but he declined the offer, instead leaving it to ODM leader Raila Odinga. PHOTO | TIMOTHY KIMEI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto addresses his Chama Cha Mashinani supporters at Ngesumin in Bureti, Kericho County, on May 21, 2017. He claimed that he had been picked to be the Nasa presidential flag-bearer but he declined the offer, instead leaving it to ODM leader Raila Odinga. PHOTO | TIMOTHY KIMEI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ANITA CHEPKOECH

By TIMOTHY KEMEI

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto has claimed that he had been picked to be the Nasa presidential flag-bearer but he declined the offer, instead leaving it to ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Mr Ruto made the claims on Sunday at Ngesumin in Bureti Sub-County in Kericho while endorsing aspirants who won various tickets in his Chama Cha Mashinani party primaries.

He said his importance in Rift Valley politics has been felt by other Nasa principals who had had picked him to be the presidential flag-bearer.

He, however, said he turned down the offer because he was not ready.

TOP SEAT

“I went to negotiate with my fellows in Nairobi. It was a hard bargain, for everyone wanted the top seat. I also wanted it.

“At one point, I won the support of the others who thought that if I was picked, we would be assured of 90 per cent of the Rift Valley votes plus others,” Mr Ruto said.

He said he thought it wise to let the eldest in the Nasa team to carry the mantle on condition that the change of power to the next principal would be done after only one term in office.

“They challenged me over my 2013 vow that we would never vote for Raila. But I said that since we reconciled as a country over the (2007/2008) bloodshed in 2013, it is easier to reconcile with Raila and [give him] our support,” said the governor.

 

“Raila is not a bad man. Let us support him as he will only take us to the Promised Land, where there is no poverty and economic challenges. We now call him Joshua arap Mibei,” Governor Ruto added.

He also said that he and Deputy President William Ruto are both political brokers in the Rift Valley.

Mr Ruto said the DP should not condemn him for brokering votes for the National Super Alliance presidential flag-bearer, since he (the DP) is also doing the same for President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Governor Ruto said that just as the DP is seeking to retain his seat, he is also fighting for the position of deputy prime minister, adding that “deputies are the same”.

POLITICAL BROKERS

“William Ruto and I are both brokers. He is also seeking for votes for Uhuru just like I am (doing) for Arap Mibei (Raila Odinga).

“He would be the Deputy President and I a deputy prime minister. Are deputies not the same? Is there a better deputy than another?” asked the governor.

“But I can say I am a better broker than him because I am doing it for the common person.”

The governor accused the Jubilee administration of presiding over an unbearable economy that has seen the cost of basic commodities skyrocket.

Mr Ruto also challenged the Jubilee government to come clean on the source of maize that is said to have been imported to solve an impending food crisis, claiming that part of it could be the 60 metric tonnes harvested from the Galana Kulalu project.

MAIZE

The Nasa co-principal claimed that the government could have released maize which was harvested from the irrigation scheme and hoodwinked Kenyans that the same had been imported.

“Where did the government get thousands bags of maize so quickly? We suspect that that maize was harvested from the failed irrigation scheme and stored for that purpose,” he said.

He said he had decided to join hands with opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi after they pledged to set aside 45 per cent of the annual budget for devolution, noting that enhanced resources would boost development in the counties.

Kenya – Wetang’ula attacks William Ruto as an illiterate

Star (Kenya)

Wetang’ula attacks Ruto, says he went to school but acts illiterate

May. 19, 2017, 3:00 pm

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula with Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi during a meeting in Kanduyi with Ford Kenya aspirants who lost the primaries, May 19, 2017. /JOHN NALIANYA
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula with Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi during a meeting in Kanduyi with Ford Kenya aspirants who lost the primaries, May 19, 2017. /JOHN NALIANYA

Deputy President William Ruto is educated yet behaves like an illiterate man, NASA principal Moses Wetang’ula has said.

Wetang’ula said Ruto’s arguments on Kenya’s pertinent issues were not any different from those of a person who has never stepped into a classroom.

“I wonder what he was doing in class…was he just planning when his grabbing spree would start?” he said in Kanduyi, Bungoma county, where he met Ford Kenya aspirants who lost the primaries.

In November last year, Ruto defended himself against accusations of land grabbing, involvement in extrajudicial killings and the murder of anti-government whistle-blower Jacob Juma.

More on Ruto’s response: Corrupt? Not me, says DP Ruto

Wetang’ula, who is Bungoma Senator, singled out Ruto’s argument on World bank and IMF’s advisory on foreign lending, saying his dismissal of the report showed he could not grasp the obvious.

He said the country’s over-borrowing was risky and that the National Super Alliance will review borrowing when it takes over.

“How can a person who went to school rubbish bodies like World Bank and IMF?” he asked, adding corruption by the Jubilee regime “can only be by one illiterate person”.

Economists at the International Monetary Fund and its sister company, the World Bank, have led a growing chorus for review of the the Banking (Amendment) Act, 2016 since January.

The amended law, enforced on September 14, capped loan charges at four percentage points above the prevailing 10 per cent Central Bank Rate and put a floor of 70 per cent of the CBR on interest paid on term deposits. It was meant to help micro- and small-sized enterprises – the drivers of Kenya’s growth – access affordable credit, but has largely been seen as counterproductive.

Ruto trashed the recommendations and ruled out a review of the law in the near-term.

Read: Ruto tells off IMF, World Bank over review of interest cap law

Wetang’ula further said the DP lacked the moral authority to speak about NASA leaders as his source of wealth is questionable.

“Let him stop telling lies about us because we are going to tell Kenyans lots of truth about them,” he said.

Others in the Opposition coalition are flag bear Raila Odinga (ODM), DP candidate Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Bomet Governor Issac Rutto (CCM) and Musalia Mudavadi (ANC).

In October 2016, the DP fought a bid to declare his wealth. Activist Boniface Mwagi had asked the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for Ruto’s tax returns and wealth declaration forms.

More on this: Ruto fights bid to reveal his wealth

Wetang’ula said the Jubilee government has failed and only works under pressure and protests.

The Ford Kenya boss also said NASA’s decision to run a parallel tallying centre was not up for debate because they were not doing anything illegal .

Wetang’ula added that Jubilee’s opposition to this only shows they are planning to rig the August 8 election.

He noted NASA had laid down proper strategies to ensure its 10 million votes are protected.
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Kenya – Odinga chosen as candidate by Coast

Daily Nation

ODM leader Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses a press conference at Tamarind Restaurant in Mombasa on March 26, 2017. Mr Odinga was endorsed to run for President. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By LUCAS BARASA

By MOHAMED AHMED

ODM leader Raila Odinga stormed back into the campaigns with a well attended solo rally at Mombasa’s Tononoka grounds and immediately turned his guns on President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr Odinga, who campaigned without the other Nasa leaders — Mr Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper, Mr Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya and Mr Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress — was endorsed to run for President.

Mr Odinga and the other three are fighting to be torchbearer for Nasa, the opposition alliance.

At the Tononoka rally, ODM supporters from six coastal counties vowed to support Mr Odinga for the presidency.

In what was dubbed “the Coast Declaration”, Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and John Mruttu (Taita Taveta) said although the region was in Nasa, they preferred Mr Odinga to run for president.

The declaration, read by Mr Mruttu, said that only Mr Odinga could protect the interests of locals, unite Kenyans, end tribalism, uplift the economy and protect devolution.

In his speech, Mr Odinga said the Jubilee leadership had failed to fulfil its promises to Kenyans and should prepare to go home in August.

He accused Jubilee leaders of setting a new record in corruption, saying Kenya was now in “the Super League of graft”.

“President Kenyatta has promoted Kenya from lower league in graft to top league only compared to Nicaragua and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said and dismissed claims by Jubilee leaders that the government had built 7,500 kilometres of roads, calling it “a lie”.

He accused President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto of launching roads that were not budgeted for to hoodwink Kenyans into voting for them.

“The tractors and earth movers are usually removed from the site once the leaders leave,” Mr Odinga said, adding that the prices of fuel and maize flour had skyrocketed under Mr Kenyatta’s leadership.

He accused the President of launching county government projects such as the Mtongwe ferry, and harassing governors.

“A governor is not like a provincial commissioner,” Mr Odinga said and accused Coast regional commissioner Nelson Marwa of undermining Mr Joho.

ILLEGAL AWARD

Mr Odinga also used the rally, and an earlier press conference, to raise questions about the award of a tender for the management of the second container terminal at the port of Mombasa.

He said a soft loan given by the United Arab Emirates was a “bribe” so that the UAE’s port management company, Dubai Port World, can get the tender to run the terminal.

“This loan looks more like a bribe to senior persons in government than a loan. This so called loan leaves more questions than answers and we want specific answers from none other than President Uhuru Kenyatta,” Mr Odinga said at a news conference at

 

 

 

 

 

Tamarind Restaurant in Mombasa.

But Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia dismissed the claim, saying there was no concessional agreement between the Government and Dubai Port World.

“There is no financing agreement between UAE and the Government. There is no loan and there is no port management deal,” said Mr Macharia on the telephone.

Dubai Port World is one of the best port management companies in the world and runs more than 77 marine terminals across six continents.

Mr Odinga claimed that the UAE Government agreed to offer the loan as a sweetener to secure the tender to manage the terminal.

Dubai Port World won the tender to manage the terminal although in Mr Odinga’s opinion, the other 12 port operators, who had tendered, “were more qualified”.

“Can President Uhuru Kenyatta prove to Kenyans that the so-called loan was not a bribe to sway the contract in favour of Dubai? Can he explain how he ended up giving the job to Dubai instead of the more than 10 firms that came out top?

“What was the purpose of the tender when the job ended up being given to a defeated bidder,” asked Mr Odinga.

SELF-INTEREST
But in Malindi, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale dismissed the bribery allegations as propaganda.

“All the loans have been used for various projects in the country after being approved by the National Assembly,” he said during a Jubilee rally at Malindi Stadium in Kilifi County.

Mr Odinga argued the case for a Chinese consortium, PSA International, which had partnered with Multi Hauliers, a Kenyan company, and which he said “emerged top in the bids for the tender but was denied the contract”.

“A whiff of corruption hangs over this so-called loan as it leaves more questions than answers,” he said.

He also said the Japanese Government had funded and built the project, expecting to be given the chance to manage and operate it, did not win the contract either.

Mr Odinga claimed there was direct conflict of interest in the matter and asked the President to assure Kenyans that he had no personal reasons in having the Middle East firm manage the port.

“Space balls” fall on Namibia

http://platform.twitter.com/widgets/hub.1324331373.html

Radio Netherlands

A large metallic ball fell out of the sky on a remote grassland in Namibia, prompting baffled authorities to contact NASA and the European space agency.

The hollow ball with a circumference of 1.1 metres (43 inches) was found near a village in the north of the country some 750 kilometres (480 miles) from the capital Windhoek, according to police forensics director Paul Ludik.

Locals had heard several small explosions a few days beforehand, he said.

With a diameter of 35 centimetres (14 inches), the ball has a rough surface and appears to consist of “two halves welded together”.

It was made of a “metal alloy known to man” and weighed six kilogrammes (13 pounds), said Ludik.

It was found 18 metres from its landing spot, a hole 33 centimetres deep and 3.8 meters wide.

Several such balls have dropped in southern Africa, Australia and Latin America in the past twenty years, authorities found in an Internet search. Read more…