Sunday, 22 October 2017

Akombe spills beans:Sunday Nation 22.10.2017

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Former electoral agency commissioner Roselyn Akombe has said that political interference has rendered the agency so dysfunctional that any hope of the commission carrying out a credible repeat election on October 26 is impossible.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Sunday Nationfrom New Jersey on Friday, Dr Roselyn Akombe, who recently quit citing frustrations from fellow commissioners and senior secretariat staff, painted a picture of a statutory body that was not just at war with itself but also one that has become a poster child for political interference.
"The commissioners can’t agree on anything and if they did, chances are that the decisions made would be ignored by the Secretariat.
"In the end, you end up going round and round without making any meaningful decisions," she said.
Dr Akombe claimed that Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission commissioners and senior staff at the secretariat were there to serve the interests of politicians.
"Decisions are made somewhere else and passed on for ratification and implementation.
"Commissioners and senior staff at the secretariat are put in line through bribery and threats. If you don’t agree with them then your life is in danger," she said.
Dr Akombe, who disclosed that she personally faced numerous threats and intimidations for the positions she took during her time at the commission, said she fled the country partly because of her life was in danger and that she had hit a brick wall.
"The other commissioners shot down every suggestion I made to level the playing field as had been recommended by the Supreme Court, so my position in the commission became untenable because I knew we were not complying with the court orders," she added.
Looking relaxed and rejuvenated, Dr Akombe, an employee of the United Nations headquartered in New York, who took a sabbatical leave to join the commission with the hope of giving back to the country her vast experience, said she found so many structural weaknesses in the composition of the Wafula Chebukati led commission and the secretariat, and a culture of patronage so entrenched that in the end, she couldn’t function.
"In many ways, my plan to come back to the US started as soon as I got the commission job because while I believed I got the job because I [was] qualified, there were those who wanted to make me feel that I was undeserving of the job.
"In essence, they wanted me to be beholden to them."
Dr Akombe believes that a small clique of secretariat staff led by Ezra Chiloba, the chief executive officer who is currently on leave, are the ones who were responsible for the bungled August 8 presidential election that was subsequently annulled by the Supreme Court.
"Chiloba and his team misled the commissioners about what was happening with the servers.
"When the chairman recommended their dismissal, he was out-voted so we couldn’t implement the changes necessary to carry out credible elections," she revealed.
Dr Akombe said that the fact that Mr Chiloba has taken a leave of absence a week to the repeat poll would not make the forthcoming election free, fair and credible.
She said the move was too little too late.
"The first recommendation from the Chairman soon after the Supreme Court judgment was that some staff in the secretariat, among them Chiloba, had to step aside if the commission was to carry out credible elections, at least to meet the Supreme Court set standards.
"This recommendation fronted by the chairman and myself was shot down by some members of the commission whose allegiance was clearly somewhere else," she said.
She said that if moves such as Mr Chiloba's stepping aside had happened four weeks ago, then maybe many Kenyans would have been persuaded to believe that they were well meaning.
"But leaving now just six days to [the] election does not make any difference."
Reiterating her call for dialogue between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga to avert the impending catastrophe, Dr Akombe said it was morally wrong for them to put their interests ahead of the lives of Kenyans who are bound to suffer most should fighting break out.
"This crisis is as good as it can get and it’s the responsibility of leaders - political, religious and civic - to dialogue together to resolve it.
"It’s their moral responsibility to safeguard the lives of Kenyans."
Saying that it was wishful thinking to imagine that the forthcoming election would be credible when almost half the country has promised to sit it out, Dr Akombe said the outcome of such a poll would only serve to balkanize the country more.
"Voting takes place at the poll stations and results are announced there.

"How could you claim you’ve had elections when probably half the country has boycotted the election or violence is so much that people fear for their lives and therefore stay away from polling stations?"

Friday, 20 October 2017

NCIC warns about 26.10.2017

The NCIC has expressed alarm that civil conflict may break out if leading politicians fail to resolve the current political impasse.
Chairman Francis ole Kaparo yesterday said a repeat of the poll clashes experienced in the country 10 years ago cannot be ruled out after next Thursday’s election.
He described the current political situation as “irresponsible, unfortunate and untenable”.
“The current political climate strikingly resembles the period prior to 2007-08 post-election violence. Allowed to take root, the current political dynamics will catastrophically roll back the gains we have made as a nation to build a cohesive, peaceful and prosperous country,” Kaparo said.
He told President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA leader Raila Odinga to dialogue as the political polarisation and the competitive nature of electoral politics is deeply dividing the nation.
Kaparo urged the government and the opposition to act with openness, sobriety and tolerance in addressing the source of the current tension.
He said Kenyans have had enough traumatising situations and it makes no sense for politicians to push the nation through another cycle of civil strife.
“But it seems like the politicians have quickly forgotten the carnage, suffering, pain and agony that Kenyans went through,” Kaparo said.
He said tension is high in some parts of the country, setting Kenyans into a constant fear mode.
Kaparo said the anxiety has crippled the economy.
“We are concerned with the deepening sense of anxiety, mistrust and ethnic and political intolerance. Let’s realise the age of solving differences whether political or social through brutal bloodletting is long gone,” he said.
Kaparo also urged the IEBC to put its house in order as Kenyans prepare to head to the polls next week.
The commission, he said, must recognise there is a direct correlation between their ability to conduct a free, fair and credible elections and peace and stability.
“The decisions taken by the IEBC have a direct impact on shaping the future of the country. I also urge all the stakeholders to give the IEBC the necessary support,” Kaparo said.
He also condemned increasing level of ethnic and political polarisation, loss of human lives, intolerance, hooliganism and wanton destruction of property during the anti-IEBC demonstrations.
Kaparo urged the government to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for vandalism and looting.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

NASA IN BUNGOMA 19.10.2017

OCTOBER 19, 2017
All peace-loving Kenyans have been horrified by developments at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) over the last 48 hours.
First was Commissioner Roselyn Akombe's resignation and escape to the USA. As she has explained, a majority of her former colleagues at the Commission have absconded their oath of office and turned so politically partisan that her continued presence among them was adding no value to the preparation for the October 26 election. Her honest assessment is that IEBC, as currently constituted, cannot conduct any election that meets the standard set by the Supreme Court ruling of September 1.
She has told the world that the so-called election being organized by the IEBC is a sham. She has disowned her previous statements alleging IEBC is ready for elections. She has shared inside information revealing how IEBC has been hijacked and is ran by the Jubilee Party, through commissioners and top secretariat officials who coordinate with the Jubilee campaign in all but name.
Dr Akombe confessed and confirmed that the Chairman Wafula Chebukati, who is the National Returning Officer for the presidential election, is "under siege"; virtually a prisoner held hostage by Jubilee.
Hours later yesterday, IEBC Chairman Mr. Wafula Chebukati speaking as the National Returning Officer for the presidential election made an exceptional confession in a speech to the country. Mr. Chebukati echoed Dr Akombe explicitly announcing that IEBC, in its current aberration as a playground for Jubilee, cannot guarantee the credibility of the October 26 election. Short of announcing his resignation, Chebukati requested for a rethink on the election date.
He said the Commission is divided and attempts to make crucial changes to ensure a free, fair and credible election sabotaged by Jubilee-leaning Commissioners.
Mr. Chebukati was categorical that these Commissioners were forcing the Commission to accept legal opinions that serve partisan interests and are not grounded in the Constitution or the law.
The chairman further said that without critical changes in the key Secretariat staff the country may not have a free, fair and credible election. He publicly asked staff adversely mentioned to have bungled the August 8 election to step aside and allow the Project Team to function without interference.
The disclosures by Dr. Akombe and Mr. Chebukati are not new but confirm the fears NASA has raised consistently despite fierce resistance and denial at every stage.
Dr Akombe forthrightly affirmed that the space for reforming IEBC systems before the scheduled election has elapsed, and that the election of October 26 shall not meet the most basic standards of credibility.
NASA is therefore at a loss why Jubilee is hustling the country towards a sh12 billion disaster. The elections criminal enterprise and their cohorts in IEBC seem to value KICKBACKS and POWER as more important than the security of the country.
Dr Akombe also expressed concern with the hostility IEBC field officers have faced in our strongholds. These can be attributed to the IEBC intransigence borrowed from Jubilee where the rogue commissioners want to force an election down the throat of Kenyans. NASA is addressing those concerns. Indeed we have appealed to our supporters to refrain from any acts of violence or threats to innocent IEBC officers.
We are, however, alarmed and disturbed that even with serious reservations by IEBC itself about its inability to guarantee the credibility of the October 26 election, President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and sections of the international community, including election observer missions still insist on IEBC holding the election. This is confirmation that all those pushing for elections to proceed have never been keen on free, fair and credible elections after all. All they want is any kind of election; in name only but lacking in content.
NASA will not join this charade. We remain committed to FREE, FAIR AND CREDIBLE ELECTIONS, which IEBC cannot guarantee as disclosed by Dr. Akombe and Mr. Chebukati. As we announced at the Kamukunji Grounds last evening, we will hold massive demonstrations across the country on October 26 to express our displeasure with a sham Jubilee opinion poll affair.
We reject attempts by some internal and external actors to blackmail NASA into being complicit in a sham election. Such actors are cynically trying to put our demonstrations at par with the systematic plot in IEBC to undermine the will of the Kenyan people. Instead of such actors helping safeguard democracy, they are trying to apportion criticisms in a warped logic that 'both sides' must be to blame.
We in NASA are prepared to pay any price to safeguard democracy in Kenya. October 26 will test the commitment by all Kenyans and our partners to the principles of democracy and national unity. October 26 will mark the launch of a new and ambitious movement to reclaim the constitutionally guaranteed sovereignty of the Kenyan people. Our agitation will be peaceful.
We call upon all people of goodwill to stand by Kenyans’ demand for a Kenya in which all citizens are equal before the law and against inherent Jubilee intent to promulgate a policy in which some Kenyans are more special than others.
Hon. Musalia Mudavadi, EGH,
Chairman, NASA National Campaign Committee
& ANC Party leader

Uhuru Kenyatta now sues Raila Odinga over poll impasse

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga. They failed to agree on electoral reforms before repeat poll. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 


  • Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju said after the Supreme Court ordered a fresh presidential election within 60 days after it annulled President Kenyatta's August 8 win, Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka had been in contempt.
  • But despite the order, Mr Tuju said, Mr Odinga had written a letter of withdrawal from the race but failed to sign the requisite form.
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President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party has filed contempt of court case against Nasa leader Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka on their no elections call.
The case was filed on Thursday at the Supreme Court in Nairobi.
Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju said after the apex court ordered a fresh presidential election within 60 days after it annulled President Kenyatta's August 8 win, Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka had been in contempt.
But despite the order, Mr Tuju said, Mr Odinga had written a letter of withdrawal from the race but failed to sign the requisite form.
Further, he said, Nasa leaders and supporters had obstructed the training of election officials in Mr Odinga's Nyanza strongholds.
The ruling party specifically cited governors Prof Anyang' Nyong'o of Kisumu and Siaya's Cornel Rasanga for leading disruption of IEBC polls officials training.
In a statement, Mr Tuju also dismissed IEBC calls for a meeting with the Head of State over the poll impasse.
He said while President Kenyatta might choose to meet Mr Chebukati, "they cannot change anything on the election.
“If it (any decision by Mr Chebukati reached between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga) is illegal, it is null and void," he said.
"As a referee, he (Mr Chebukati) cannot call the teams and ask them: Hey guys, when do you want us to hold the elections? What rules should we use? In other words, there is no room for dialogue," Mr Tuju said.
He said President Uhuru Kenyatta will not meet IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati on any poll agreement because "it has to hold elections without consultation with anyone".
He argued that any dispute on the presidential election could only be handled by the Supreme Court.
"The president and the Nasa candidate do not have power to define the rules of the game. Where there is doubt or ambiguity, it is the duty of the Supreme Court to address it," he said.

Uhuru Kenyatta enjoined in Harun Mwau case over presidential nomination

Harun Mwau.Former Kilome MP Harun Mwau. He has sued the IEBC for intending to conduct a repeat presidential election without nominations. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Dr Ekuru Aukot have been enjoined in the case. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
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President Uhuru Kenyatta, Attorney General Githu Muigai and Thirdway Alliance's Dr Ekuru Aukot have been enjoined in the case in which businessman Harun Mwau is seeking to stop the electoral agency from conducting repeat polls without nominations.
High Court judge Enoch Chacha Mwita issued the directive after lawyers representing the three told court there was need for them to be enjoined in the case.
They claimed that the matter is of great public interest and both Mr Kenyatta and Dr Aukot are presidential candidates.
According to the AG, he intends to defend public interest in the matter.
"Mr Kenyatta, Dr Aukot and the AG are hereby enjoined as interested parties and they should therefore file as well as serve the case documents by October 19, indicating the time," said Justice Mwita.
On Monday, Mr Mwau, the former Kilome MP, sued the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and its Chairman Wafula Chebukati.
Through lawyer Benjamin Musyoki, Mr Mwau faulted the IEBC for publishing a gazette notice on September 5 regarding the October 26 repeat presidential polls contrary to the law.
According to him, the Supreme Court directed the IEBC to hold fresh polls, which he argues must entail nominations as per the Elections Act.
Mr Mwau says that while nullifying the August 8 presidential election, the top court directed the IEBC to hold fresh elections in conformity with the Constitution and Elections Act.
He wants the High Court to determine whether fresh or new elections can be held without nominations or whether polls can be held based on a nomination that has been nullified.
The case will be heard on October 23.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Fears of major split at IEBC as Chebukati walks out of critical meeting

14th Oct. 2017

The Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati walked out of a tense commission meeting on Wednesday after differing with his colleagues, it has emerged. Sources say Mr Chebukati was chairing a plenary meeting of the commission at the Anniversary Towers to deliberate the impact of Raila Odinga’s withdrawal from the October 26 race. ALSO READ: IEBC has dropped the ball, now it must redeem itself However, after a lengthy haggling, the chairman ‘excused himself’ and left the meeting saying he had other commitments and asked CEO Ezra Chiloba to summarise what they had discussed and communicate to the country. Shortly after leaving, commissioners Roselyn Akombe and Margaret Mwachanya followed him, leaving the other four behind. “Looks like the chairman was frustrated and didn’t want to own the decision of the plenary,” a source at IEBC said. This happened even as other reports emerged that gazettement of presidential candidates following the High Court ruling failed to be effected after Chebukati allegedly refused to sign it off. Under pressure Confronted with this allegation, the chairman declined to comment. Chebukati would not comment on any of the questions posed to him except to say, “I don’t want to comment, you are reading too much.” The Saturday Standard has credible information that Chebukati had introduced a proposal to change the elections date from October 26, a move that was rejected by all the other six commissioners. ALSO READ: Let parties create a framework to resolve contentious issues Chebukati had sought to peg his argument on Raila’s move to withdraw from the elections and the 2013 Supreme Court opinion which opined that if one candidate withdraws or dies before elections, IEBC should organise fresh polls in 90 days. But the commissioners opposed Chebukati, saying his suggestion could not hold because Odinga’s withdrawal was irregular in the first place because he had not signed Form 24A.  Commissioner Akombe responded thus: “In my communication, the elections are at the polling station. All commissioners are supposed to visit various regions to ensure everything is in place for the October 26th polls.” Different scripts Dr Akombe continued: “The commissioners will be out for five days but the chairman will not be out for that long.” The commission later that evening emerged to declare that the election date would remain and that Odinga’s resignation was irregular.  It was reported that Chebukati had relied heavily on an opinion he had sought from a city lawyer; who gave him two options; either to call for fresh election or proceed with the 26th date but include all the other candidates who participated in the August polls. ALSO READ: IEBC gazettes names of presidential candidates As the discussions neared closure, Chebukati walked out leaving his colleagues to come up with a statement that was sent to the media at about 8pm. Unlike in other statements, which bear either the name of Chebukati or Chiloba, the unsigned statement did not bear any name. “It’s not true that the chairman walked out on us; he had other engagements and thus excused himself while directing that the CEO puts together a summary of what we discussed,” Commissioner Paul Kurgat said Friday. On the issue of unsigned statement, Prof Kurgat said it might have been an ‘oversight’ on the part of the Secretariat. The incident highlights the split in the commission with just 12 days to the repeat polls with insiders painting a picture of a body whose 7-member team do not read from the same script. And perhaps in what signals Chebukati’s frustration, on Thursday he wrote a memo saying he will be out of office for five days from Friday to Tuesday. “The chairman wrote a memo saying he will be in Western and North Rift for five days to supervise the ongoing preparations for the fresh elections. Everything was processed by close of business on Thursday to facilitate his travel,” a source at the commission said. Tight schedule The chairman is supposed to tour Western and North Rift while Akombe is already doing the same in Nairobi County. ALSO READ: Two shot dead during anti-IEBC protests in Bondo The two are set to leave for Dubai on Monday to lead the team that will include journalists, civil society, religious groups and presidential candidates representatives. By yesterday, there were earlier indication that the commission was yet to gazette Thirdway Alliance Presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot as directed by the High Court on Wednesday. They however, did gazetted seven names excluding that of Cyrus Jirongo because he was bankrupt. The commission is yet to publish a corrigendum as directed by Justice John Mativo even as Mr Aukot was at the Anniversary Towers to protest at IEBC’s plan to rely on his order to invite the other presidential candidates. Level of preparedness The Thirdway Alliance leader insisted that the court’s directive was specific to him being gazetted and not the other candidates. “We have met the commission and they have taken us through preparations they have put in place.  We asked that they put it in writing and send to us and now we are retreating to our party headquarters to interrogate that and we may come back here,” Aukot told journalists after the two-hour meeting. Yesterday, the commission defended its decision to stick to Al Ghurair after an attempt to out source UNDP was thwarted by Jubilee and NASA’s outright rejection. Dr Akombe said they were ready for the repeat exercise, she also expressed fears that the current environment may be difficult for the conduct of the exercise. ALSO READ: NASA leaders teargassed in Mombasa “If I were asked today whether the commission is ready the answer would be yes but the question is whether the environment and conditions are conducive for the commission to conduct a free, fair and credible election,” she said. 
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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Kenya's Raila Odinga quits election re-run

Media captionRaila Odinga: "The election (on 26 October) will be worse than the previous"
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has pulled out of October's election re-run.
Mr Odinga said his withdrawal would give the electoral commission enough time to introduce reforms that will help deliver a more credible election.
The Supreme Court annulled the result of the original 8 August poll, which saw Uhuru Kenyatta declared winner, after finding irregularities.
But Mr Kenyatta says he is ready to proceed with the new vote as planned.
The country's electoral commission said Mr Kenyatta had won the August vote by a margin of 1.4 million votes - or 54% of the total, compared to Mr Odinga's 44%.
Kenya's vice-president, William Ruto, has now called on the commission to declare Mr Kenyatta president as a result of Mr Odinga's announcement.
The election re-run was due to take place on 26 October, but Mr Odinga said on Tuesday: "We have come to the conclusion that there is no intention on the part of the IEBC [electoral commission] to undertake any changes to its operations and personnel... All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one."
As a result, he said, "considering the interests of the people of Kenya, the region and the world at large" it was best that he withdrew from the race.
Mr Odinga's coalition party believes the election will have to be cancelled as a result of his withdrawal, allowing "adequate time to undertake the reforms necessary to conduct an election that is in strict conformity with the constitution, the relevant laws and the constitution".
But Mr Kenyatta, speaking at a rally in the southern town of Voi, said: "We have no problem going back to elections. We are sure we will get more votes than the last time."
He added: "We are also telling him it is the people's right to choose their leader. It is their sovereign right to choose their leader of choice."

Uncharted territory

By Dickens Olewe, BBC News
The withdrawal could be a strategy for Raila Odinga to exit the political scene on his own terms.
The annulment of President Uhuru Kenyatta's victory in the 8 August election was a much-needed political high for Mr Odinga.
Image copyrightEPA
Image captionMr Odinga's supporters (pictured during a march in September) have been urged to take part in a protest on Wednesday
He felt vindicated for challenging the election and pushed for changes to the electoral system as a condition for his participation in the re-run.
The electoral commission has rejected the changes he demanded, largely because of contractual agreements with the companies providing key services for the election.
With President Kenyatta's party having won a majority of MPs in both houses of parliament, it is likely that Mr Odinga was headed for another defeat and that would be too much for a man, who has been nicknamed the enigma.
The legal consequences of Mr Odinga's withdrawal are unclear.
Constitutional lawyers disagree on the way forward and whether the 26 October election can still take place and if, despite his withdrawal, Mr Odinga will still be on the ballot.
Although many Kenyans are jaded by the never-ending political drama, they will now have to belt-up for a drive further into unchartered territory.

Mr Odinga's opposition coalition - the National Super Alliance (NASA) - has previously made clear its participation in the election was contingent on reforms being made.
But Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says it has made the necessary changes.
Prominent opposition senator James Orengo has called on people to protest on Wednesday, using the slogan "no reform, no elections".