Posts tagged as: august

Presidential Candidate Vows to Soldier on Despite Nude Photo Scandal

Photo: Cyril Ndegeya/The East African

Diane Shima Rwigara addresses a press conference, announcing her candidature for the Rwanda presidency.

Ever since Diane Shima Rwigara came out to express her political views — and later declared her intention to run for president of Rwanda in the August 4 elections — the 35-year-old has attracted praise and criticism in equal measure.

One week after nude photographs — which she has disowned — were circulated on social media a day after she announced her presidential bid, Ms Rwigara says she will not be deterred: “I will not stop. I am going to continue with my preparations. The incident made me stronger, more resilient and determined to continue with this cause,” she told The EastAfrican.

The photographs were released through an email titled “the shameless acts of Diane Shima Rwigara who wants to contest for presidency”, with the sender adding “look at our presidential candidate”. The sender identified himself/herself as Emmy Twahirwa and claimed to be a journalist.

Robert Mugabe, a journalist who has reportedly been associated with Ms Rwigara, later stated on Facebook that the photos were doctored and were the work of her detractors.

Following that, Ms Rwigara took a few days off the public scene and later told The EastAfrican that the photographs were manipulated.

The incident elicited sympathy for the US-educated activist-turned politician, with many condemning the act of shaming her and others called for investigation.

Bold

No government agency has commented on the nudes scandal nor has any official come out to publicly condemn the sharing of the photos or denounce the presidential hopeful over her supposed “questionable integrity”.

But Ms Rwigara, who on Wednesday May 10 went to the National Electoral Commission to present the list of people who will sign for her and pick documents needed for the purpose, attracted wide coverage.

As an independent candidate, she must raise 600 signatures, at least 20 from each of the 30 districts. She believes that once she makes it to the ballot, she would make a good case and race against President Paul Kagame, who is widely expected to win the August 4 polls with a landslide.

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Ms Rwigara, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the California State University, Sacramento and a master’s degree in accounting from California State University, San Francisco, has surprised many with her boldness.On February 23, she held a press conference where she described herself as a “concerned Rwandan and activist” but denied intending to engage in politics. She highlighted several issues the country was facing that she said needed to be addressed urgently. Among these, she said, were the growing levels of poverty and hunger, which she said the government did not want to recognise, let alone address.”I am neither a politician nor a member of any political party,” Ms Rwigara told The EastAfrican shortly after the press conference, adding that she decided to speak out about the issues “because no one else appeared willing to speak about them.”On May 3, she called another press conference, during which she announced her intention to pit candidature against President Kagame.No freedom of press“The reason I am contesting is because our country has a stained past. The RPF government has achieved a number of things, attempted to deliver on others but completely failed on several aspects. Rwandans still face many challenges including poverty, hunger and injustices in all sections of the society,” she said.Ms Rwigara also said there was no freedom of press and expression in Rwanda, pointing out that none of the media were critical while those who tried to criticise the government often ended up in trouble, pointing out that she was ready to raise those concerns on behalf of the people.”We have cases of insecurity as people disappear without trace, some are killed while others flee the country. Most Rwandans know these but won’t speak out because of fear,” she said.Indeed, her move caught many off-guard, in a country where many people prefer silence rather than point out issues affecting them. A lot of talk followed her press conference, with many wondering where she got the guts to run for the country’s highest office.Several other prospective candidates have announced similar intentions for the top job in Rwanda, among them Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, former journalist Philippe Mpayimana and Gilbert Mwenedata, who will contest as independent candidates.InjusticesThe daughter of Assinapol Rwigara, a prominent businessman and RPF member, who died in February 2015 in an accident, Ms Rwigara maintains that her political ambitions were her personal decision and should not be in any way connected to her family.The embattled family has been in the limelight since the passing on of the tycoon after it contested the police version of the circumstances under which Mr Rwigara died. They went as far as petitioning President Kagame to call for an inquiry into the death.Since then, the family found itself in trouble when Kigali city authorities demolished a hotel of the deceased businessman because “it did not have the necessary permits”. Several of Mr Rwigara’s properties were also repossessed by the City of Kigali administration.Ms Rwigara maintains that she is not driven by anger or disgruntled by events surrounding her family, but says the manner in which her father died are some of the injustices she is willing to fight to correct.Her bid has not been helped by support from ‘renowned enemies’ of Kigali, including members of the Rwanda National Congress, an exiled group which Rwanda refers to as a criminal organisation, and of which one of her exiled uncles Benjamin Rutabana is a member.Ms Rwigara denies being a member of the group or any other political party, existing inside or outside the country.

Vodafone Cedes 35% Safaricom Shares to Vodacom

Photo: The Nation

Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore.

By Victor Kiprop

UK-based Vodafone Plc has agreed to transfer a 35 per cent stake in Kenyan telco Safaricom to its majority-owned South African subsidiary Vodacom Group Plc.

The transfer -announced on Monday- will see Vodafone, through its fully owned subsidiary Vodafone International Holdings, give up 35 per cent of its total 40 per cent stake in Safaricom in return for new ordinary shares in Vodacom. Vodafone Plc currently controls a 65 per cent stake in Vodacom–South Africa’s largest mobile operator.

Put roots down

Safaricom Chief executive officer Bob Collymore believes the new deal will help the firm in expanding its mobile money services M-Pesa, which has already put roots down in 10 countries.

“The agreement will ensure Safaricom continues to have strong Kenyan representation at Board and management levels, and promotes the continued successful expansion of the company as well as the opportunity to drive M-Pesa to other markets in the continent,” he said.

Last week, Safaricom announced a 27.1 per cent growth in net profit for the full year ended March 31, 2017 to Sh 48.1 billion ($481 million), boosted by a strong growth earnings from its Mobile money service.

Revenues from M-Pesa registered a 32.7 per cent jump per cent to Sh55.1 billion ($551 million)

Second quarter

The transfer does not affect Safaricom’s shareholding structure. Vodafone remains the Kenyan telco’s largest shareholder controlling 40 per cent, the Kenyan government controls 35 per cent while the rest is held through free float.

The agreement gives the UK based telecommunications multinational control over two of Africa’s largest mobile operators, Safaricom and Vodacom.

Safaricom’s market share in the Kenyan market rose to 71.2 per cent, according to 2016 second quarter statistics report by the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK).

Safaricom has been under pressure from lawmakers and regulators motivated by sustained calls from competitors to have it declared a dominant player.

Kenya

16,000 Aspirants Vie for Positions in August Polls

A total of 16,259 Kenyans will compete for the 1,882 positions in the August General Election, in a high-stakes polls… Read more »

Kenya: Insurance Broker Eyes Matatus With Daily Premiums

By James Ngunjiri

An insurance brokerage is set to introduce a new daily premium for matatu industry operators.

LGT Insurance Agency — the insurance brokerage arm of the local private equity fund Lions of Good Times (LGT)–said the product will facilitate matatu operators to make daily premium payments via a mobile payment system. The PE firm has a market capitalisation of Sh500 million.

“It is very difficult for them (matatu operators) to be paying a monthly insurance premium of Sh9,000 at minimum. What we want is to venture into this business and aid them in paying a daily fee starting from Sh305,” said LGT chief executive Biwott Tirop.

For a 14-seater matatu, the agency will be paying a minimum of Sh9,000 in advance to the underwriter since insurance companies usually take monthly cover.

However, they have to pay Sh3,000 registration fee that partly acts as security.

“We are making it flexible for the matatu operators. We are taking that risk to pay for them in advance then we collect our money on a daily basis,” said Mr Tirop.

Industry data shows motor vehicle insurers are still unable to make money.

Between 2009 and 2016, the insurance class recorded a net underwriting loss of Sh2.1 billion.

The net underwriting loss stood at Sh2.4 billion in 2015, making it the worst year for the business class.

Kenya

16,000 Aspirants Vie for Positions in August Polls

A total of 16,259 Kenyans will compete for the 1,882 positions in the August General Election, in a high-stakes polls… Read more »

Stop The Threats, Electoral Body Warns Opposition Alliance

Photo: Dennis Onsongo/The Nation

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati addresses a press conference on election preparedness. He was speaking at the agency’s offices in Nairobi on May 10, 2017.

By Patrick Lang’at And Ibrahim Oruko

The electoral commission has defended its appeal against a ruling to have the presidential election results at the constituency deemed as final, even as it warned against what it said were threats to its independence.

The Raila Odinga-led opposition National Super Alliance on Sunday threatened to boycott the August 8 elections if the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) does not withdraw the appeal they said was a plot to introduce vote rigging.

CHEBUKATI’S POWERS

But IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, in a statement on Monday, said the commission is seeking clarification on the High Court ruling that took away his powers as the presidential elections returning officer.

As the returning officer for the presidential results, the IEBC argues, Mr Chebukati should have the power to tally and announce the results.

“We want to remind all political players in the country that IEBC, just like any other Kenyan, has the right to seek the protection of the Judiciary and the courts on matters that need legal interpretation,” Mr Chebukati said.

IEBC’S AUTONOMY

He condemned Mr Odinga’s threat, saying the Opposition should instead seek to be enjoined in the case or await the Appeal court’s ruling.

“Coming forth to threaten IEBC that unless it withdraws the case, there would be a boycott of the elections amounts to a threat of the independence of IEBC and muffling an entity from pursuing a right that is enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya,” Mr Chebukati said.

During the rally at Afraha open grounds in Nakuru on Sunday, the Nasa team said it would boycott the elections if IEBC went ahead with the case, which they said was an attempt to interfere with results.

“We shall not accept to have the courts change the earlier decision,” Mr Odinga said.

“There will be no elections in Kenya if it is changed. That will not be our election, but theirs as it will not be under Kenyan law or Constitution.”

NASA CONDEMNED

On Monday, some Jubilee politicians accused Mr Odinga of intimidating independent institutions ahead of elections.

The leaders warned that threats by Nasa to boycott the August 8 elections over a dispute pending before court was “uncivilised, illegal and attack” on the rule of law.

They were led by Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki and deputy Kipchumba Murkomen.

Kenya

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Kiambu Governor Kabogo Seeks Re-Election As Independent

Photo: Evans Habil/The Nation

Kiambu Governor William Kabogo addressing journalists at his Kiambu home on May 14, 2017.

By John Ngirachu

Kiambu Governor William Kabogo will be seeking to portray himself as a changed man as he joins the ranks of nomination losers on the ballot in August.

Mr Kabogo’s determination to show a different side of himself was evident at a press conference in his home, near Windsor Hotel, on Sunday where he announced his decision to seek re-election as an independent candidate.

The county boss said he had gathered evidence showing that he was the victim of propaganda and a flawed Jubilee nomination.

“Make no mistake, my silence in the last couple of weeks was as a result of a peace pact I wanted to honour,” he said.

Asked why he did not produce the evidence of malpractices during the nomination, he said.

COMBATIVE KABOGO

“The younger Kabogo was a stronger, combative and abrasive Kabogo. This is the Kabogo who has been in politics for 15 years and is more mature.”

“Due to public demand, I have decided to honour the wishes of Kiambu people.”

Mr Kabogo was among several prominent politicians whose loss at the primaries surprised many, given his resources, influence and the power of incumbency.

The governor’s loss was attributed to anger at his leadership style and what his rivals said was the use of unsavoury language towards voters.

CAST DIFFERENT IMAGE

At his residence on Sunday, he sought to cast a different image, walking hand in hand with his wife from the house, past a pool to a manicured lawn where a green and yellow podium had been erected.

He started by wishing the women of Kiambu a happy Mothers’ Day.

The county boss said he was no longer in Jubilee and had chosen #tujengeKiambu (let’s build Kiambu) as his slogan.

Still, he has an uphill battle as the candidate from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party in the head of state’s backyard has an overwhelming headstart against an independent.

Some independent candidates are reported to have met the President at an off-the-record meeting a week ago before he left for the UK.

SUPPORT RE-ELECTION BID

Mr Kabogo said he was not among those who met Mr Kenyatta but would support his re-election bid.

The President refused to support any Jubilee aspirant, saying he would work with whoever won.

Independent candidates from areas with significant Jubilee support are seeking to become a third force during the August elections.

Mr Kabogo was among a group that met at Kigwa Conference Hotel on Kiambu Road on Friday.

He would be hoping to bank on his achievements to convince Kiambu people to re-elect him their governor.

“The development agenda that we have had is open for everyone to see. Our transformation as a county in the last four years is second to none,” the governor said.

Kenya

Teachers To Get Pay Rise in July

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19 Dead, Several Injured in Nakuru Road Crash

Photo: Joseph Openda/Nation Media Group

Wreckage of the bus that collided with a truck on May 13, 2017 in Mbaruk along Nakuru-Nairobi highway killing 19.

By Joseph Openda

Nineteen people have died while several have been injured after bus collided with a truck at Mbaruk along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway, Nakuru police commander Hassan Barua says.

The bus, belonging to Highway Sacco, was headed to Busia from Nairobi when the crash happened.

Mr Barua said the driver of the bus was overtaking a truck when he crashed into an oncoming truck.

The driver escaped after the crash, police said.

Fourteen people were admitted to St Mary’s Hospital in Nakuru, Shadrack Musau, the nurse in charge said.

More to follow…

Kenya

Tanzania Denies Prying in Kenya’s Politics Ahead of August Elections

The government yesterday rubbished reports by some Kenyan media that Tanzania is prying in Kenyan politics ahead of the… Read more »

Vote So As to Bring Change to Kenya, Says US Envoy

By Simon Ndonga

Nairobi — The US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec is urging Kenyans to come out in large numbers to vote during the August polls so as to bring change to the country.

While stating that America does not support any particular candidate or political party, the envoy stated that the leaders chosen will be accepted.

He also emphasized the need for corruption to be addressed as it was undermining the growth of the country.

“The United States, the American Embassy, me personally, we do not have a candidate in our selection. We do not. We do not support a specific political party. It is your decision alone as Kenyans and all of you need to be involved in this,” he stated.

Godec expressed the American government’s commitment to help Kenya deal firmly with the vice.

“Corruption is undermining the future of Kenya. It is creating huge problems and it is undermining democracy, security, prosperity and having a very bad effect and this needs to change,” he said.

Addressing Maseno University students on Wednesday at the main campus on corruption, Godec stated that it remains the duty of Kenyans to speak through the ballot.

The ambassador explained that corruption is undermining the growth of Kenya and must be addressed.

Godec stated that the vice is affecting many sectors in the country that have the capability of propelling development for the people of Kenya.

Kenya

Drought Lifts Power Exports to Kenya By 300%

Uganda’s electricity exports to Kenya grew 300 per cent in the four months to April as drought cut the neighbouring… Read more »

Troublemakers During Elections Put On Notice

By Joseph Muraya

Nairobi — “Kenya cannot tolerate troublemakers during elections.” – That was the warning sounded Tuesday by National Cohesion Integration Commission (NCIC) Chairperson Francis ole Kaparo, during the launch of the Elections Security Arrangement project.

“This is a firm message that we must give together as people whose Kenyans have given this unique responsibility to ensure we have a fair, peaceful and just election,” he added.

He urged all stakeholders to ensure everything is set ahead of August, to ensure there is no repeat of the 2007-2008 poll chaos that claimed over 1,000 lives and left 600,000 internally displaced.

Kaparo’s message to the police chief Joseph Boinnet was: “Be firm. Do not entrain any nonsense.”

“Thank you IG for being a no-nonsense person and you must continue to do so. Kenya expects nothing less,” he said insisting that all “troublemakers” must be dealt with ruthlessly regardless of the political affiliation or “the depths of their pockets.”

He cautioned all stakeholders to do enough to avoid, “a harsh judgment by Kenyans.”

Boinnet, who was present during the event warned that no one will be spared if they breach the law.

As earlier advised by President Uhuru Kenyatta, he said security agencies will adopt a multi-agency approach to ensure no loopholes are left glaring.

“We will apply the law as it is. We will not take any nonsense from anybody,” the IG asserted.

Independent Policing Oversight Authority Chairperson Macharia Njeru on his part called on the Inspector General of Police to ensure security officers don’t infringe on human rights even as they enforce the law.

He said police must work with other stakeholders to ensure any threat to peace is dealt with decisively but within the limits of the law.

“The police cannot do it alone,” he stated.

He called on members of the public to work with the security apparatus in ensuring campaigns and the elections are carried out in a peaceful environment.

Njeru also applauded police officers for ensuring the party primaries were largely peaceful.

During the party primaries, the IG said two people died as a result of electoral violence but there were 23 incidents only that led to the arrest of 63 culprits.

Kenya

Election Body Sets Off Race for 19m Votes

Official poll campaigns will start on May 28, the electoral commission has announced. Read more »

Why Businesses Are Not Taking Political Risk Cover As Kenya, Rwanda Vote

By Njiraini Muchira

As Kenya and Rwanda go to the polls in August, there is an air of optimism among investors in the region that the elections will be largely peaceful, with very few taking up political risk and violence insurance covers.

Pan-African insurer African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) says that only a few investors are considering taking up political risk and political violence covers, compared with 2013 when Kenyans last voted.

The pan-African investment and commercial risk insurance provider recorded a large number of investors in Kenya seeking election-related covers during the last electioneering period in Kenya.

The result of the elections in Kenya is important, as it is the gateway to the landlocked East African states.

“Compared with 2013, we are not getting many inquiries on political cover, because investors feel that the elections will be peaceful,” said George Otieno, ATI chief executive officer.

Increased uptake

In Rwanda, where President Paul Kagame is likely to be re-elected for a third term, ATI, which offers political risk cover to big clients, anticipates a smooth polling process.

Although ATI is recording subdued interest, Kenyan insurance companies offering political violence, terrorism and sabotage covers are recording increase in uptake.

UAP Insurance, Jubilee Insurance and CIC Insurance have all reported significant interest in the cover.

In the bloody 2007 elections aftermath, the three companies paid in excess of $3 million in claims.

Association of Kenya Insurers chief executive officer Tom Gichuhi told The EastAfrican that this being an election year, the industry has seen more companies take up insurance against political violence, considering that some parts of the country have been declared as hotspots.

He noted that chaos was witnessed in some parts of the country during the political party nominations exercise.

He said that many medium-sized companies that were affected by the 2007 post-election violence are leading in safeguarding their businesses.

Peaceful polls

The fact that investors are confident that elections in Kenya will be largely peaceful is positive news not only for the country but also the entire East Africa region.

Indeed, the effects of the 2007/8 post-election violence are still being felt by some traders in the region, and Ugandan and Rwandan businesses have been petitioning Kenya to pay $47.5 million in reparations for business disruption in that period.

Last year, Tanzanian company Modern Holdings East Africa (Masafi) won a $9.2 million compensation case against Kenya Ports Authority for a consignment lost during the violence.

According to a report by Citi Research, the election will be entirely peaceful.

“While the possibility of some violence around the August elections seems possible, notably around closely contested county elections, it should not be overplayed and we think it is unlikely that there will be more widespread unrest,” says the report on East Africa economic prospects 2017.

Foreign direct investment

The elections in Kenya and Rwanda are coming at a time when foreign direct investment inflows in East Africa and economic growth are on a decline, blamed on various shocks.

A report by audit and consulting firm Ernst and Young (E&Y) indicates that FDI inflows into the region significantly plunged last year, with Kenya recording the biggest drop.

E&Y’s Africa Attractiveness Report 2017 shows that last year, Kenya experienced an investment flag after a bumper year in 2015, following a 57.9 per cent decline in FDI projects. Capital investment declined by 55.5 per cent.

The report adds that although there were year-on-year declines in FDI flows into East African markets generally, both Tanzania and Uganda are highly placed, ranking fifth and sixth in attractiveness respectively.

According to John Lentaigne, ATI chief underwriting officer, ATI is projecting a record year in underwriting, owing to the economic turmoil being experienced in the majority of sub-Saharan African nations.

Public debt in most countries has skyrocketed to worrying levels and economic growth, particularly in nations that largely depend on commodities, is expected to be depressed. This has created an environment where demand for insurance cover will be significant.

Profitable trajectory

Demand may also be driven by the tough global regulatory environment, which has made it difficult for international financial institutions to lend to a majority of African countries whose ratings are poor.

“The environment is challenging, but investors still want to chase deals. This will lead to a demand in underwriting,” he said.

He added that in the current environment, ATI’s products are being seen as a valuable tool to enable lenders to venture into Africa, thus allowing governments and corporates to access more affordable financing.

Besides being an investment insurer of last resort, ATI is also providing the comfort for investments amid uncertainties on the continent.

Due to the rising demand for its products, which include off-taker guarantees for energy projects, surety bonds and trade credit insurance, ATI expects to maintain a profitable trajectory after posting a 36 per cent increase in net profit to $6.4 million in 2016, compared with $4.7 in 2015.

ATI attributed its steady profit growth to stronger partnerships with African governments that are increasingly seeing the value it offers in driving growth and development.

“We are increasingly viewed as a strategic partner in Africa helping investors and our member countries attract vital foreign investment,” said Mr Otieno.

He said that ATI’s impact is being felt considering it is insuring investments equivalent to approximately one per cent of member country’s gross domestic product every year, something that is helping in attracting new member countries.

The insurer currently has 13 members, with Côte d’Ivoire being the latest member. In 2016, it insured close to $4 billion worth of trade and investments. In the next five years, ATI hopes to increase its membership to 26, and plans are underway to open a West African hub.

What Happens When Politicians Malign the IEBC

opinionBy Henry Gekonde

One manifestation of our schizophrenic politics is that we create institutions to help the democratic process along only to immediately turn around and start undermining them.

A case in point is the much maligned electoral agency. It has been obvious for a long time that politicians will not allow the IEBC to do its job, constantly vilifying its staff and second-guessing the decisions of its executives.

The latest critical comments come from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero. The Nation reports today that Kidero, speaking at an Eastleigh church on Saturday, “warned the [IEBC] not to use the recent reshuffle of its staff to deny Kenyans their will” in the August elections.

This is a reference to proposed changes in which election managers and other officers in constituencies were to be reassigned by May 4. The proposals have sparked acrimony between the IEBC secretariat and the commissioners.

IEBC chief executive CEO Ezra Chiloba had explained that the changes were meant to improve efficiency. But chairman Wafula Chebukati responded to the planned staff transfers by cancelling them, arguing that they didn’t have a “human face”, whatever that means.

PETTY TURF WARS

The squabble, which reflects shoddy management and petty turf wars, appears to have given opposition politicians more ammunition to keep fighting the agency.

Constantly bad-mouthing the IEBC has obvious negative consequences: It kills IEBC staff morale, it undermines the authority of the agency and it further dents public confidence in the institution itself.

While politicians are busy wooing voters as they prepare for the August elections, they are also preoccupied with dumping on the agency that’s crucial to the success of those elections. What does this paradox say about our attitudes to democracy?

It says that we are half-hearted in our commitment to the progressive ideals that we profess to hold — including that we want free and fair elections and that everyone should play by the same rules. It also shows a deep lack of trust, not just in our institutions but in each other.

When people in power are working overtime to undermine the very institutions we have created to help us become a more democratic society, the scorn trickles down to ordinary voters, in whom it displays itself as apathy.

Kenya

Six Dead As Wall Collapses On Mombasa House

Six people have died after a hospital wall collapsed on their house in Kizingo, Mombasa County, on Monday after heavy… Read more »

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