Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Government stops Sh2b US-funded elections programme

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NGOs Coordination Board Chief Executive Officer Fazul Mahamed. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
NGOs Coordination Board Chief Executive Officer Fazul Mahamed. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
The government has stopped a Sh2 billion United States-funded elections programme a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s warning against what he said was foreign influence in the August polls.
President Kenyatta, in his Jamhuri Day speech, said that foreigners were pumping in billions of money “in the guise of civic education”, but funds he said were meant to influence regime change.
The Non-Governmental Organisation Coordination Board said that a programme dubbed the Kenya Electoral Assistance programme funded by the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) had been given to an organisation that was operating illegally.
The Sh2 billion programme is being run by the International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) that has now funded NGOs to “actively participate in the electoral process by voter registration, civic education, capacity building, and advocacy for women and youth participation in elections, consensus building and early conflict response.”
“The purpose of this communication is to direct the IFES to immediately cease operations in the country, including the implementation of the Kenya Electoral Assistance Programme,” the NGO coordination board executive director Fazul Mahamed said in a letter dated December 19.
The letter has been copied to Usaid, IFES, the Central Bank of Kenya Governor, and the Interior Principal Secretary.
“By a copy of this letter, the Central Bank of Kenya is advised to immediately preserve all bank accounts and any other funds held under the name IEFS and take appropriate legal action,” Mr Mahamed said.
The NGOs board said that the employees of IFES had not been registered by them nor had they obtained a work permit from the Principal Immigration Officer, who was also copied in the letter.
“The above provisions have not been adhered to and therefore all foreigners including IFES Chief of Party, Michael Yard are working in Kenya illegally,” Mr Mahamed wrote.
Incidentally, the letter comes just a day after Jubilee MPs lead by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale claimed that Mr Yard “was part of a scheme” by foreigners to make Cord leader Raila Odinga a “puppet president.”

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