Posts tagged as: elections

Liberia:Torrential Rains Destroy Roads in Nimba

By Cewhy Kwanue

Last week’s voting in several parts of Nimba was disturbed by heavy rains which messed up road networks causing delays at some polling centers, the offices of the National Elections Commission (NEC) in the county have said.

The NEC complained about the stretch of road between Gban Town, just a stone’s throw east of Ganta, and Saclepea, the central region, which is in ruins as the torrential rains in recent weeks have made travel in and to that part of the county nearly impossible.

The persistent rains have turned most roads in the county from dusty chariot paths to sinuous strips that look more or less like brown mashed potatoes. Some residents are taking advantage of the situation to dig along the worst sections, thus compounding the condition of the roads, travelers have said.

The situation has also stalled commercial activities thereby causing prices of goods and services to increase

The results, according to passengers who confided in the Daily Observer, are serious inconveniences in travel and in some cases accidental deaths. A recent one involved a motorcyclist, Kadiker Whyear, affectionately known as KDK, who lost his life while reportedly bypassing a broken down vehicle on one of the dilapidated bridges in the county’s Electoral District #5 near Gruzenplay Town. The young motorcyclist who died on October 12 at the scene of the accident, has been buried in Nyor-Butuo Town.

To help ease the tension, some of Gban youth created a detour for the cyclists, but extortion is recorded

Motorcyclists who try to relieve travelers of the stress of getting to their destinations have themselves endured the worst of the condition of the roads. Young residents from communities along the impassable stretches have grouped themselves to exploit motorcyclists who get stuck in the mud along the detours they (youngsters) create by extorting money.

Meanwhile, these photos from the Gban Town near Ganta clearly tell the rest of the story.

Liberia

Where’re the Crowds?

The national vice chairman for administration for the opposition party Movement for Economic Empowerment or MOVEE, is… Read more »

Boinnet Dismisses Amnesty, HRW Report on 33 Poll Deaths

By Joseph Muraya

Nairobi — Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet has dismissed the findings of a report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that claimed that police killed 33 people after the August 8 polls.

Boinnet said they are only aware of 12 deaths that are under investigation – including the killing of a 9-year-old girl in Nairobi’s Mathare slum, and a six-month-old baby in Kisumu.

Amnesty International and HRW accused law enforcers of killing at least 33 people when NASA supporters poured into the streets to protest the declaration of President Uhuru Kenyatta as winner.

“We wish to refute the claims as totally misleading and based on falsehoods. We are studying the report and will issue a comprehensive report later,” he said in a statement Monday.

Researchers from the two bodies found that armed police – most of them from the General Service Unit (GSU) and Administration Police (AP) – carried out law enforcement operations in Mathare, Kibera, Babadogo, Dandora, Korogocho, Kariobangi and Kawangware neighbourhoods in Nairobi between August 9 and 13. They shot directly at some protesters and also opened fire, apparently randomly, on crowds.

Victims and witnesses told researchers that as protesters ran away, police pursued them, kicking down doors and chasing people down alleyways, shooting and beating many to death.

The report titled “‘Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections,” documents several cases of excessive use of force by police in Opposition strongholds and concludes that as many as 50 people may have been killed in actual sense and hundreds more injured.

“The Kenyan authorities should publicly acknowledge the violations, conduct speedy, impartial, thorough, and transparent investigations, and take the necessary steps under the law to hold those responsible to account as a key step toward justice for the victims,” said Otsieno Namwaya, Africa Researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“The police attacked opposition supporters and then tried to cover up their attacks. The authorities should ensure that this kind of arbitrary and abusive use of force by police does not recur in the repeat election.”

In the days after the poll, Opposition supporters took to the streets in areas of the capital to protest irregularities in the election, in which the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner.

On September 1, the Supreme Court nullified the results and ordered a new election within 60 days.

Kenya

Ban on Anti-Polls Body Demos in City Centres Lifted

The High Court has temporarily lifted government ban on anti-IEBC demos in the central business districts of Nairobi,… Read more »

NEC to Allow Voters to Use Alternative IDs During Re-Run Polls

By Louis Kolumbia

Dar es Salaam — The National Electoral Commission (NEC) will allow voters who have lost their cards to use alternative cards in the by-elections in 43 wards.

A press statement issued by NEC on Monday, October 16, says director of elections Mr Ramadhani Kailima told election supervisors and assistant supervisors during a training in Dodoma that voters will be allowed to use National IDs, passports and driving licenses.

“Though NEC is directed by section 62 (a) of the local government elections act to get satisfaction of voters through registration cards before voting, the commission is allowed to recommend other means of identification in the absence of voter’s identification cards,” he said.

Mr Kailima said voters were allowed under condition that names appearing in the IDs should correlate with those in the voters register, insisting that any difference will deny voters with voting opportunity.

He said NEC was planning to communicate with political parties on the new development, brought by challenges facing voters register that was last updated in 2015.

“The law directs that voters should be given new registration cards if the previous one is lost, therefore denying them with voting opportunity. Since voters register isn’t yet updated, our decision aims at providing voters to participate in the 43 wards rerun election,” reads part of a statement.

Commenting on the decision, returning officers from Tunduru District in Ruvuma Region Mr Abdul Kasembe, Urambo District Council in Tabora Region Ms Margareth Nakainga and Lushoto District in Tanga Region Mr Kazimbaya Makwega hailed the commission for the decision.

“A lot have happened since 2015 which can deny voters with voting opportunities. But, the decision has given citizens with opportunities which they could have missed unless they undergo afresh registration,” said Mr Kasembe.

Ms Nakainga said citizens with lost or damaged registration cards have been given opportunities, promising that they will mobilize citizens to appear in majority in Election Day to cast their ballots.

“The directives have come at the right time considering that under the country’s environment voter’s identifications cards are easily lost and damaged,” said Mr Makwega.

Tanzania

Gender-Based Violence ‘On the Decline’

The rate of gender-based violence has decreased compared to a few years ago, it has been said. Read more »

Police Deny Killing 33 in Nairobi During Anti-IEBC Demos

By Hilary Kimuyu

The National Police Service has denied allegations that police officers have so far killed 33 people in post-election demonstrations.

Human rights watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had on Tuesday released a report that claimed police were directly implicated in the deaths.

The 33 victims were reportedly killed during police operations in Mathare, Kibera, Baba Dogo, Dandora, Korogocho, Kariobangi, and Kawangware between August 9 and 13.

The 37-page report, titled Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections, documents excessive use of force by police and other security agents against protesters and residents.

But National Police Service spokesman George Kinoti, through a statement on Wednesday, termed the accusations as false.

“The National Police Service attention has been drawn to a sensational report by Amnesty International alleging that, 33 people were killed in the immediate post August poll period,” said Mr Kinoti.

“We wish to refute the claims as totally misleading and based on falsehoods. We are studying the report and will issue a comprehensive report later,” he added.

The report by the two human rights watchdogs reported that as many as 50 people, mainly in perceived opposition strongholds in the capital, could have lost their lives during the protests against President Kenyatta’s win.

“They shot directly at some protesters and also opened fire, apparently randomly, on crowds,” the report says.

“Victims and witnesses told researchers that as protesters ran away, police pursued them, kicking down doors and chasing people down alleyways, shooting and beating many to death.”

Other victims, the rights defenders claim, died of asphyxiation from inhaling teargas and pepper spray, from being hit by teargas canisters fired at close range, or from being trampled to death by fleeing crowds.

Additional reporting by Nation Team.

Kenya

Donors Ask Odinga to Rescind Decision to Boycott Poll

Western donors want National Super Alliance leader, Raila Odinga, to rescind his withdrawal from the upcoming repeat… Read more »

No, I Didn’t Splash Millions to Buy Out Nasa Leaders – Kenyatta

By Justus Wanga

President Uhuru Kenyatta has dismissed claims by the opposition that he was buying political support ahead of the repeat election after a number of high-profile Nasa politicians recently switched loyalty.

On Sunday, his spokesman Manoah Esipisu said those moving to Jubilee were only conforming to the wishes of their supporters and not that they had been induced to do so.

“It is condescending to assert that one can only change their political allegiance when bought. I can assure you that no money has been used to influence anyone. There are pressing needs of the people that the President is busy addressing. No penny would be spent on such,” he said.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga last week claimed that Mr Kenyatta’s Jubilee had set up a defectors fund to offer opposition politicians cash.

He made the same claim on Sunday and told the President that influencing those who had lost in the polls to join his team would not give him legitimacy.

“He (Mr Kenyatta) was here recently for the auction of those who lost in the elections. Uhuru should be told that leadership cannot be bought,” Mr Odinga said in Mombasa on Sunday on returning from the UK.

Kenya

Donors Ask Odinga to Rescind Decision to Boycott Poll

Western donors want National Super Alliance leader, Raila Odinga, to rescind his withdrawal from the upcoming repeat… Read more »

Donors Ask Odinga to Rescind Decision to Boycott Poll

Photo: Daily Nation

Nasa leader Raila Odinga.

By Aggrey Mutambo

Western donors want National Super Alliance leader, Raila Odinga, to rescind his withdrawal from the upcoming repeat election, even as they insist on respect for the IEBC.

The move by the Opposition last week may have surprised many of the envoys, after they had pressured both sides of the political divide to let the IEBC do its job and plan for elections.

However, Mr Odinga argued he and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka were withdrawing from the race because the electoral agency had not heeded their call for reforms.

“We called on all actors to participate and respect the Constitution. We are reviewing the practical implications of this withdrawal,” a senior diplomat from the European Union Delegation in Kenya told the Nation, suggesting the Supreme Court may be required to “pronounce itself on this matter.”

REGRET DECISION

“We regret this decision and we feel it would have been better if the Constitution, and the Supreme Court ruling, are respected.”

Asked on possible sanctions, the EU official said his bloc were considering none at the moment, but said the EU sees a peaceful election as a better pathway to stability.

The EU has been indirectly supporting programmes at the IEBC. Through the UNDP, the European body, the UK and the US, they pumped about Sh500 million for programmes that range from training to civic education.

Recently, the UK called on all parties to ensure the presidential election is held according to the ruling of the Supreme Court.

“The UK has called for a free, fair and peaceful presidential election in Kenya in line with the constitution. We are disappointed by opposition candidate Raila Odinga’s decision to withdraw from the contest scheduled for 26 October,” a spokesperson at the UK High Commission in Nairobi said in a statement.

VIOLENCE

“We call on all parties to work together to ensure that democratic elections take place in line with the ruling by the Supreme Court. This is in the best interest of all Kenyans.”

The UK maintained all parties must work within the Constitution and other Kenyan law warning “anybody engaging in or inciting violence should be held accountable by Kenya’s institutions.”

“We have been clear that the international community is watching Kenya and every step of its electoral process closely. Action should be taken against any individual engaging in or inciting violence. The UK reserves the right to take our own action at a later date, should it prove necessary, which includes considering the refusal or revocation of visas.”

Last week, the US said it respected the decision by Nasa to move out of the race was within their right, but said it is regrettable.

“We respect the right of Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga and deputy presidential candidate Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka to withdraw from the Kenyan election scheduled for October 26, but we regret their decision to do so,” US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said.

NEW POLL

“It is unfortunate that the IEBC and the political parties could not reach broad agreement on the conduct of the new poll.”

Mr Godec maintained the US remains a neutral partner but said it viewed the election as “an extraordinarily important for the future of Kenya.

“We urge all Kenyans to come together to support their Constitution, their institutions, and to work for an election that is free, fair, credible, transparent, and peaceful. We stand with all Kenyans working to hold the best possible election and to deepen democracy, advance prosperity, and strengthen the security of their great country.”

The diplomats from US, UK, EU, Germany and Australia had last week warned of unspecified sanctions against trouble makers.

They generally saw both the demands from Nasa and Jubilee as difficult to solve, given the tight schedule.

“Elections should happen as ordered. We had seen some demands from both sides as unreasonable,” said the EU diplomat.

“Others are not, but then we have strict timelines by the Supreme Court.”

Chebukati Answers Odinga on Reform Demands Ahead of Repeat Polls

By John Ngirachu

The electoral commission has given in to 20 of the 30 conditions given by the opposition as the minimum that should be done before it takes part in the election, only 10 days away.

But the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) refuses to sack Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba and nine top managers as demanded by Nasa, setting the stage for a continued stand off.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga on Sunday said he will not take part in the election with the same team at the helm of the IEBC.

In a detailed response to Nasa’s 34 “irreducible minimum” conditions, the IEBC also declined to push out commissioners Abdi Guliye and Molu Boya.

AGREED

On that, it said: “There were no officers found to have been complicit in processing results and displaying figures that were not results. Further, as observed in the Supreme Court of Kenya judgment, there was no evidence adduced to prove to the commission of any election offence by the officials.”

It, however, agreed with a demand to have a Nasa ICT team given access to the system used in results transmission, to have results announced at the constituency tallying centres and to have the scanned result forms sent.

Some of the demands, such as to have scanned images of the forms sent and the results announced at the constituency level, have been acceded to, with the commission also telling the parties it is their job to ensure there are agents in all polling stations to verify vote counting and recording.

The commission’s response to the Opposition coalition was published in advertisements in the press on Sunday.

DEMANDS

It comes almost two weeks after the Nasa team walked out of a meeting with IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and other commissioners, saying they were dissatisfied with the response to their demands.

Mr Chebukati characterised Nasa’s discontent as coming out of the failure by the IEBC to give a point-by-point response in writing to their demands but after a further meeting the same day at Bomas of Kenya, Nasa lawyer James Orengo and chief executive Norman Magaya said none of the their demands had been met.

On Sunday, Mr Odinga told a rally in Mombasa that he would have been declared winner of the August elections had the IEBC agreed to open the servers for scrutiny.

He vowed that Nasa will not take part in the elections unless the reforms they want have been implemented. “We will not go back to polls with the same team at IEBC. We want a level playing field,” he said during a rally at Mama Ngina Grounds in Mombasa where he led the crowd in chanting: “No reforms, no elections.”

EXPLAIN DECISION

In the response, IEBC also explains its decision to stick with technology provider OT Morpho and printer Al Ghurair.

On Morpho, the IEBC said it had not received any evidence of the firm’s alleged complicity in mishandling the election and had decided to retain it for a variety of reasons.

Six months

“It will require at least six months to implement a new election system (procurement, supply, commission, implementation, testing, training and support). For this reason the commission had to retain the services of OT Morpho,” it said, adding that the Dubai printing firm had printed the result forms as per the IEBC’s specifications and because of time constraints and the existing contract, another company could not be picked.

The agency refused to allow the demand that it provides the physical location of its servers on the basis that doing so would compromise their security and that the demand that a third party manage their ICT infrastructure for the elections would undermine their security.

REJECTED

It agreed with most of the other demands on the ICT system, which Nasa had listed in detail but rejected others specifying the software it should use to secure its data and to share information on the security of its database with the parties.

On forms 34B, which Nasa wanted pre-printed with the candidates’ names and polling stations, IEBC concluded that it was impractical because there are 40,883 polling stations.

“The commission shall use the appropriately customised spreadsheet to generate Form 34B and 34C to minimise errors and increase efficiency in the results management process,” it said.

The commission refused a demand that it employs new returning officers, saying: “Due to limited time, the commission will not be able to recruit, train and deploy new ones but will use its permanent employees as returning officers for accountability purposes.”

FORMS

The agency rejected the assertion by Nasa that in the last elections, there were 80 fake Forms 34B and said that it has enhanced the management of the forms.

“There shall be adequate statutory forms with specified security features to ensure that all pages of the result forms have security features. The Commission has standardised the appearance of Form 34B across all the constituencies,” IEBC said.

The commission also rejected a proposal that it allows monitors selected from a representative group to have a role in signing off election materials and result forms at polling stations and constituency tallying centres.

How Police Tried to Stop Recording of Brutality Against Nasa Supporters – Report

By Sam Kiplagat

Rights groups and journalists were attacked as they documented police brutality in the aftermath of August 8 polls.

In a report, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on Monday accused police of smashing phones and cameras used to document their brutal acts.

BRUTALITY

The report, titled Kill Those Criminals says, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) documented cases of at least 10 journalists countrywide who reported being harassed and being prevented from doing their job during the election period.

The report notes that threats of arrest after the elections from the Nairobi police chief also played a part in intimidating journalists and disrupting their work.

“Police smashed the camera of well-known international photographer, Neil Shea, in Kibera when he tried to photograph a youth leader being beaten,” the report reads in part.

In Mathare, an activist who tried to capture police on film had his camera snatched and smashed by police.

They then beat him for the attempt.

He said the police told him: “If you film us, it can be used as evidence; we can lose our jobs.”

PERMIT

Such experiences were common during the protests, the HRW and Amnesty International researchers say.

In Kibera, police obstructed and ejected from the area journalists who were covering protests.

KTN journalist Duncan Khaemba and cameraman David Okech were arrested for not possessing a permit for their protective clothing, while Wall Street Journal correspondent Matina Stevis was hit with a stick and told to leave the area along with others.

Police also threatened human rights defenders.

Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) said officers were not cooperating with them in their investigations into police actions in the post-election period.

Kenya

Police Killed Over 33 During Demo – Report

Kenya police killed at least 33 people in Nairobi during demos sparked off by August 8 presidential poll results,… Read more »

Rights Groups Say 33 Killed in Poll Aftermath, Demand Probe

By Margaret Njugunah

Nairobi — Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for investigations into police brutality following protests after the August 8, 2017 elections.

In a new report, the organisations say Kenyan police have killed at least 33 people, although the figure is being disputed by Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet.

Dubbed Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections, the report documents excessive use of force by police, and in some cases other security agents against protesters and residents in some of Nairobi’s Opposition strongholds after the disputed elections.

“Researchers found that although police behaved appropriately in some instances, in many others they shot or beat protesters to death,” the organisations say in a statement.

The report comes two days after three protesters were shot dead in Bondo as Opposition supporters clashed with police in Western Kenya, with hundreds defying a ban on rallies to express their anger over the October 26 presidential election.

President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier Sunday warned Opposition leader Raila Odinga that he will face the full force of the law if he continues to cause violence in the pretext of demonstrations.

He said the Opposition should stop playing with the lives of Kenyans pretending to hold demonstrations while his actual intention is to cause chaos so that he can get to power through the back door.

Kenya

Police Killed Over 33 During Demo – Report

Kenya police killed at least 33 people in Nairobi during demos sparked off by August 8 presidential poll results,… Read more »

Police Killed Over 33 During Demo – Report

Photo: Daily Nation

Police officers patrol Kibra streets in Nairobi on August 12, 2017 during protests by residents.

Kenya police killed at least 33 people in Nairobi during demos sparked off by August 8 presidential poll results, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch research shows.

A report by the two rights watchdogs reveals as many as 50 people, mainly in perceived opposition strongholds in the capital, could have lost their lives during the protests against President Kenyatta’s win.

SHOT DEAD

The 37-page report, titled Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections, documents excessive use of force by police and other security agents against protesters and residents.

Police were directly implicated in the deaths of at least 33 people during their operations in Mathare, Kibera, Babadogo, Dandora, Korogocho, Kariobangi, and Kawangware between August 9 and 13.

“Another 17 were alleged killed, most of them in Kawangware, but researchers could not confirm the cases,” the report says.

In some cases, the officers shot or beat protesters to death, researchers say.

“They shot directly at some protesters and also opened fire, apparently randomly, on crowds.,” the report says.

“Victims and witnesses told researchers that as protesters ran away, police pursued them, kicking down doors and chasing people down alleyways, shooting and beating many to death.”

Other victims, the rights defenders claim, died of asphyxiation from inhaling teargas and pepper spray, from being hit by teargas canisters fired at close range, or from being trampled to death by fleeing crowds.

More follows.

More on This

Opposition Reaches Out to Foreign Powers for Help

The National Super Alliance MPs are now appealing to international agencies to move in and help investigate acts of… Read more »

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