Friday, 10 November 2017
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A German nurse who used lethal drugs on patients out of 'boredom' is responsible for the deaths of 106 people, investigators said Thursday, noting the toll could rise further as more bodies are studied.
Niels Hoegel, 41, was convicted in 2015 of two murders and four counts of attempted murder or causing bodily harm on intensive-care patients at the Delmenhorst hospital near the northern city of Bremen.
But exhumations and analyses since have uncovered evidence of scores of other victims, with police saying in August that Hoegel had murdered more than 90 other patients.
On Thursday, police and prosecutors confirmed an additional 16 deaths, attributed to the nurse who worked at two hospitals between 1999 and 2005.
More deaths may still be uncovered with toxicology studies under way for five other cases, and exhumations of three former patients planned in Turkey.
Prosecutors said they expect to bring the new charges against Hoegel early next year.
He has admitted to injecting patients with drugs that can cause heart failure or circulatory collapse so he could then try to revive them and, when successful, shine as a saviour before his medical peers.
He earlier testified that at times he acted out of "boredom", feeling euphoric when he managed to bring a patient back to life and also claimed to be devastated when he failed.
The death toll "is unique in the history of the German republic," the chief police investigator in the case, Arne Schmidt, said in August, adding that Hoegel killed "without a discernible pattern" and preyed especially on those in critical condition.
"The insights we were able to gain are terrifying, they surpass what we could have imagined," said Johann Kuehme, police chief in the city of Oldenburg, where the other hospital is located.
"He cannot remember every case, but in more than 30 he concretely remembered the patients and his behaviour," said prosecutor Daniela Schiereck-Bohlemann.
NUMBERS MAY NEVER BE KNOWN
The revelations date back to June 2005, when a female nurse witnessed Hoegel trying to inject a patient at the Delmenhorst hospital.
The patient survived and Hoegel was arrested and, in June 2008, sentenced to seven and a half years in jail for several cases of attempted murder.
Amid the media publicity, a woman then contacted police, voicing suspicion that her deceased mother had also fallen victim to the killer nurse.
The authorities exhumed several patients' bodies and detected traces of the drug in five of them, declaring it either the definitive or possible contributing cause.
Hoegel was jailed for life in 2015, but at the time it was clear he had murdered many more patients, with investigators admitting they may never know the true number as some remains had been cremated.
Several senior medical staff at Delmenhorst also face separate trials for having failed to act speedily over the high number of suspicious deaths when Hoegel was on duty.
Sunday, 5 November 2017
Saturday, 4 November 2017
The declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as President-elect in the October 26 repeat election has truly divided Kenyans even further.
All eyes are now on Uhuru, and everyone wants to see what he will do next. Raila Odinga, as expected, has rubbished his win and has now created what seems like an alternative government with a new raft of demands, including a fresh election in 90 days. He has now called a new round of street protests in what is likely to push the country to the edge yet again. We have barely recovered from the last round of protests, in which conservative estimates put the economic losses at close to Sh700 billion, which is enough to run for a quarter year. How Uhuru will deal with this new round of protests will test his leadership skills going forward.
BEING SOFT ON RAILA
There is, however, exasperation in certain circles within Jubilee feeling that Uhuru is not firm enough against his arch-nemesis. They think he is not taking the current political situation seriously enough to do something drastic about it. There are many clips on social media showing how Jomo Kenyatta effectively contained Oginga Odinga, just about this time in 1969, including banning the KPU and also detaining all of its MPs. Each of them was released at different times every time, with Wasonga Sijeyo coming out last in 1978, having spent nearly a decade behind bars. But times have changed. We got a new Constitution and gave sweeping freedoms to whoever will use them. There seems to be little or no way of controlling anyone these days.
UHURU’S DIFFICULT POSITION
Unlike Uhuru, Mwai Kibaki somehow managed to rein in Raila’s unbridled ambitions and contained his expectations. Kibaki kept him imagining that if he was quiet enough, he should succeed him as President. This carrot-and-stick method worked and the donkey followed quietly until Kibaki completed his term. Then at the opportune time, Kibaki openly backed the ICC-indicted Uhuru and William Ruto for the presidency, when in the natural order of things;he should have gone for Raila. Today, Raila has no more hope of stepping into State House than he had under Kibaki, and for that, he is investing on bringing the house down. Uhuru is in a difficult position, knowing how difficult it is to undergo international justice systems at the ICC. What he went through there, he wouldn’t wish it on his worst enemy.
STRONG FATHERS AND WEAK SONS
It is said that strong fathers tend to produce weak sons and vice versa. Uhuru appears to be the weak son of a strong father, while Raila is the strong son of a weak father. This is one way of explaining the current political impasse. While indeed the Constitution guarantees sweeping freedoms to everyone, one wonders whether you have the document only to blame for the current situation. Granted, Raila has ring-fenced himself with people who will do anything for him. He has become virtually untouchable, a law unto himself. It is clear also that he has honed his bullying skills from years of schoolyard fights and possibly prison yard fights. He is now clenching his fist at the blue-eyed boy, Uhuru, who has been raised with velvet gloves.
Some have argued that Uhuru could not be any tougher on Raila than his father was on Odinga. While the country is watching the unfolding events closely, it remains to be seen how Uhuru will manoeuvre his way out of this.
If you compare Ruto’s political style to that of Uhuru, you begin to see that this impasse has a lot to do with Uhuru’s personality. The President is the artless son of Kenya’s founding father, shielded from the street-corner society that basically fed Raila’s political philosophy. Raila attended Maranda School, possibly going there barefooted like the many other kids in his class. He saw the struggle for Independence, before Uhuru was in diapers and operating from Government House. Ruto, on the other, grew on the street-corner diet and is more the political son of retired President Daniel Moi. He is much more Machiavellian than his boss, and would most likely have dealt with Raila with a heavy fist.
DASHED HOPES – CORRECTING MISDEEDS
Questions have been raised about how Raila, using the very same Constitution that Uhuru is using, is able to throw harmful punches at the President with little or no reply. Raila indeed took part in drafting this Constitution and knows each and every corner of it. It seems that even Uhuru’s best advisers are not doing him justice. They have allowed Raila to make a mockery of his presidency. He is putty in Raila’s hands. And unless things change drastically, Kenyans will be in for a rough ride in the coming days.
RAILA’S STRONG INCENTIVE
Raila is properly incentivised to give Uhuru a hard ride. In fact, his age now becomes his biggest asset. He has nothing much to fear as he has more days behind him than ahead of him. Uhuru needs to leave a good legacy and yet this will become increasingly difficult in the run-up to the next election. Uhuru is likely to continue suffering from the intensive bullying of Raila who is, it appears, trying to correct past mistakes. Independence brought in so much hope for Kenya. When given the chance to form government, a guileless Odinga basically mortgaged his political destiny by pegging it to the release of Jomo Kenyatta. Within five years of the release of Jomo, Odinga had swapped places with him as the quintessential prisoner of the state. Was Odinga quickly intimidated out of his position and political destiny? It seems that the son is trying to correct some of the weaknesses of the father. Kenyans might just have been caught up in an Oedipal battle of gargantuan proportions.
Raila’s actions and vituperative response to Uhuru’s victory invites the angriest reactions from Jubilee supporters. Virtually all those who voted for Uhuru in the last election have not been spared by Raila’s invective, which has served to raise tension yet again. These are people who look up to Uhuru and all eyes really are on him right now. He must move fast to contain him. But can Uhuru really do it? He comes out as a soft, well-meaning fellow who is nothing like his father who had killer instincts. He lacks the direct resolve to get down and get dirty with his arch-nemesis Raila. And Raila knows it. In 1997, Uhuru’s victory in the Gatundu South parliamentary race was snatched from him by Moses Mwihia’s famous ruse. Mwihia faked his own kidnap and played on the mind of the electorate to imagine that Kanu’s President Daniel Moi and Uhuru had conspired to destroy the peasant boy so that the son of the First President could be MP. The angry people of Gatundu South, edgy and angry at Moi’s repressive regime, swallowed Mwihia’s ruse and by the time they realised it, Mwihia was the MP. There was nothing they could do about it. From then on, they had a soft spot. After being outfoxed by Mwihia, he retreated to the family business and opted to lead the quiet life of a business magnate and forget about politics.
He literally retreated to tend his father’s goats and sheep, so to speak. However, the gods were not done with the little shepherd boy. As fate would have it, before that electoral term was over, he was seated in the same Parliament with Mwihia and even got the better of him by being appointed to the Cabinet. Things moved fast for him and Moi would eventually put him in the front row as a presidential candidate to succeed him. However, Raila marshalled forces against Uhuru and stole from him what was obviously his victory. Raila then gave Uhuru’s presidency to Kibaki, who in turn frustrated Raila. What if Raila had cut a deal with Moi to support Uhuru and then get the vice presidency and eventually the presidency? Perhaps we would now be seeing the second term of a Raila presidency. Trust Raila to have all the wrong advisers and also he himself being a poor strategist, he eventually became the Prime Minister after 2007, despite being warned not to enter government. With hindsight, all his friends agree that it was a bad move. If you want to know who did not vote for Raila, there are seven former commissioners led by Issack Hassan who did not vote for him. You can start from there.
WHY APPEASING RAILA WILL NOT WORK
Jubilee’s hawks are dead set against any (appeasement) deal with Raila. They simply do not want to work with him or give him a portion of government to run. These are a group spoiling for a fight with Uhuru about this. In fact, the Kalenjins generally consider the failure at the polls by Raila as fitting punishment for what he did to them when he was Prime Minister. They are likely to oppose any deal with Raila, which they may construe as threatening the chances of DP Ruto in 2022. They have, therefore, been voting against Raila – not so much because they love Uhuru but because they hate the former PM more. This is also true for the many enemies Raila has picked up along the way.
Besides, Raila has also benefited from similar appeasement deals from 2007 through to last year, when the nation conducted yet another appeasement clearing the deck at the IEBC and replacing the entire commission. We, the taxpayers, paid hefty sums to commissioners who were retired in ‘Raila’s interest’ — an act of appeasement that never achieved much for all of us.
AN UNATTAINABLE PIE IN THE SKY
Only a year ago, in August, Siaya Senator James Orengo exuded confidence that the departure of the Hassan-led IEBC would guarantee a ‘free and fair’ election. Pushing for their departure had been the culmination of the demands by the opposition, who had help massive street demonstrations against them, much like we are going through now. So happy was Orengo that he in fact promised to dedicate an entire chapter in an upcoming memoir about the way the deal was struck. Praising the commissioners for agreeing to quit, Orengo said, “Kenya is a great nation. It is by acts like these that Kenya has refused to go down out of conflicts. Kenya has always found a way to rise up and, given their patriotism, many Kenyans will remember this day.”
Well, Kenyans remember it all right, but not for what it now represents. I am not sure he still wants to bestow such substantial space and prominence to the deal now that, with hindsight, it appears to have been a monumental mistake. There really was nothing wrong with Hassan and his commissioners, who included such eminent personalities as Yusuf Nzibo, Abdulahi Sharawe, Muthoni Wangari, Albert Bwire, Mohammed Alawi, Kule Godana, Mahiri Zaja and Thomas Letangule. We replaced them with the faltering Wafula Chebukati, who has turned out to be a master in poor communication. Hassan was a confident communicator and was clearly in charge of the commission.
DIGGING UHURU’S GRAVE
US political activist and writer George Jackson wrote, “Men who read Lenin, Fanon, and Che don’t riot, ‘they mass,’ ‘they rage,’ they dig graves.’
I am afraid Raila is digging Uhuru’s grave. And it is getting deeper.”
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Nasa leader Raila Odinga has said the government should compensate the pastoralists whose livestock were killed during a police operation in Laikipia County on Wednesday.
Speaking during a press conference on Saturday, Mr Odinga accused the National Police Service of the crime and said it threatens the livelihood of the pastoralists.
More than 300 livestock belonging to pastoralists who had allegedly invaded private ranches in Ratia were killed.
To protect the Maasai and other pastoralists communities' interests, Mr Odinga proposed that the government should develop "clear policy for coexistence between ranchers and pastoralists".
He added: "Pastoralists should have controlled access to ranches during moments of drought. Criminalization of pastoralists should stop since they contribute to the nation’s economy."
Additionally, a section of Maasai leaders have condemned the shooting and asked the government to launch investigations.
Led by Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal and his Kajiado counterpart Joseph ole Lenku, they demanded that the police officers who were involved in the incident be prosecuted.
They also refuted claims that the herders ambushed the officers.
"We as the leaders from the Maa community, we demand that the government through the relevant security agencies starts investigations into the shooting of cows in Laikipia in order to bring the culprits to book," Governor Lenolkulal said in a press conference in Nairobi on Saturday.
Friday, 3 November 2017
- It makes it difficult for the Supreme Court to annul the election of the President based on minor inconsistencies.
- The Bill also sought to protect the result from being annulled on the basis of inconsistencies in the result forms.
- A majority of the rest of the amendments were already implemented by IEBC.
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The controversial Bill on election laws is now law.
The bill was published in a special issue of the Kenya Gazette that was published Thursday and has the date of assent indicated as October 28, two days after the repeat presidential election.
It states: “This Act may be cited as the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2017 and shall come into force upon publication in the Gazette.”
Among the significant provisions of the bill is a clause that would make it difficult for the Supreme Court to annul the election of the President based on minor inconsistencies.
It states that: “A Court shall not declare an election void for non-compliance with any written law relating to that election if it appears that (a) the election was conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Constitution and in that written law; and (b) the non-compliance did not substantially affect the result of the election.”
The Bill also sought to protect the result from being annulled on the basis of inconsistencies in the result forms as long as they are not meant to mislead.
It states: “A form prescribed by this Act or the regulations made thereunder shall not be void by reason of a deviation from the requirements of that form, as long as the deviation is not calculated to mislead.”
A majority of the rest of the amendments were already implemented by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission via the regulations it published before the repeat election on Thursday last week.
They would however apply in future elections.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Monday that he had not signed the Bill on the basis that some people had argued that the new law amounted to changing the rules of the game midway and that it would give him an advantage over his competitors.
“And because law must be founded on reasoned national consensus, I listened to these voices. I did not sign the new Bill into Law,” he added.
The new law provides for the IEBC to announce the date of a new election once it is annulled, publish the names and political parties of the candidates to participate in the fresh poll and is specific that there would not be fresh nominations.
The new Act was published the same day a former MP challenged its constitutionality.
Monday, 30 October 2017
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati declared this afternoon that Uhuru Kenyatta was the “winner” of last week’s pseudo-election, which the Commission conducted in a manner even more fraudulent than the one on 8 August.
In fact, what this pseudo-election confirmed was the formal declaration of Uhuru as a dictator determined to hold onto power at all costs. There is so little national support for Uhuru now that even as the sole candidate, he needed massive rigging to hide the fact that an abysmally low number of Kenyans turned out to vote – a total of 2.5 million or less than 20 per cent of registered voters, as KIEMS had clearly showed. This is a massive show of no confidence in Uhuru Kenyatta and if he had any dignity he would step aside and allow a free, fair and credible election – and finally earn the respect of the people.
We are proud of Kenyans who heeded the NASA call to refrain from voting in a patently rigged election. They had finally decided, after three straight fraudulent elections, that they would take this country back from utterly corrupt cartels and oligarchs determined to continue enriching themselves by driving too many of us into impoverishment and despair about the future.
They know that there is no future for our children without democracy, which is a recipe for instability and state failure in a country as progressive and open as Kenya. They know that the current path towards illegality, injustice and exclusion can only be corrected if they can elect leaders they believe will address their challenges and fulfill their aspirations of a peaceful and unified country.
The IEBC has shown itself yet again to be a travesty. It was determined to name Uhuru President and had no compunction about doing this through a patently sham election. Indeed, Chairman Chebukati in his first update on election turnout on the 26th October indicated that 48 per cent of the electorate had cast votes. Within a few hours, beset by video and photographs from around the country showing deserted polling stations, he was forced to revise that figure downwards to 34 per cent. As an international news agency reported under the headline Low Turnout Taints Kenyatta Victory, “vast swathes of opposition leader Raila Odinga’s followers heeded his call for a boycott.” Our Daily Nation, despite its pro-Kenyatta stance, also highlighted in a headline that “Raila Odinga's call for boycotting the election was a major factor in the low turnout even in Uhuru’s strongholds.”
Chebukati explained this astonishing turnaround by saying that his initial figure was in “the best estimate” of the number who had turned out to vote! Is the Electoral Commission, which has spent billions of shillings to make sure that all the voting is registered accurately on its systems, supposed to be giving out “best estimates” to the public??? That it soon lowered the figure by a huge margin meant that no Kenyan could take anything it said seriously.
Mr Abdi Guliye, the Commissioner responsible for ICT, tried to explain away why the KIEMS figure of 2.5 million votes was discarded, saying KIEMS failed to accept biometric data – the third time in a row by electronic instruments purchased to tally votes. Manual voting, therefore, was resorted to, but to vote manually requires the production of a valid ID number and a photograph, which is then matched against an electoral register. Yet there were no electoral registers at the polling stations! They did not even attempt to make it credible as a sham election.
We were very pleased to note today that very few of our vocal envoys attended the declaration of results at Bomas. We hope this marks a recommitment on their part to be the true friends of Kenyans rather than the friends of an illegitimate Government. They have no doubt been chastened and embarrassed by the grossly criminal behavior of this government, which even intimidated the Supreme Court justices into staying away from hearing the case on the legality of this election last Wednesday.
This government has also killed over 100 Kenyans who were lawfully protesting the electoral injustice. While our enemies accuse us of desiring violence, every single person killed, including infants and children, was killed by police, or by Jubilee militias.
It was sad to see many of these envoys from democratic countries go to the forefront in telling Kenyans that they should support the IEBC, despite repeated exposures of its criminal fraud by media and of course the Supreme Court of Kenya. We in NASA had condemned these calls to support IEBC even after the Supreme Court had annulled the election because of grievous and criminal electoral violations. We lookforward to their fullest support now for a new election which will be free, fair and credible.
We in Kenya have been brought to a very sorry pass in the last few months. What kind of moral vacuum are we living in, in which leaders are being criminally installed instead of being elected by the people? How will we tell our children in the years to come that we allowed our country to be hijacked into this despair?
Elections are at the very heart of democracy. There is in fact no democracy unless you have free and fair elections in which the people determine the direction they want their country to take, to address their most pressing needs as well as their aspirations.
This is the fourth election in a row which has been stolen from the people. Kenyans will not stand for that any more. That is why NASA has embarked on an unprecedented campaign of civil resistance and non-cooperation, which is designed to peacefully end the decades of crime, impunity and utter disregard for the welfare of its people. Our goal is very simple, which is why the vast majority of Kenyans refused to vote last Thursday:
WE want a new, credible election.
30 OCTOBER 2017