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Tanzania seizes diamonds from British mining company
10 September 2017, 3:32 PM

The Tanzanian government said on Sunday it had confiscated diamonds worth nearly 30 million dollars after accusing British company Petra Diamonds of having declared a lower value when trying to export the gems.

Speaking on government television channel TBC 1, Finance Minister Philip Mpango said the diamonds extracted from the Williamson Diamonds mine had been “nationalised”.

The mine is 75 % owned by Petra Diamonds, with the remaining stake held by the Tanzanian state.

The diamonds were seized on August 31 at the airport in Tanzania‘s main city of Dar Es Salaam as they were being shipped to Belgium.

According to Tanzanian authorities, the documents from Williamson Diamonds estimated the value of the shipment at 14.7 million dollars based on a lower declared weight, while in fact they were worth double the amount.

“The Williamson Diamonds company documents put the value of the diamonds at 14.7 million dollars, before cutting and polishing, while their real value is 29.5 million dollars,” the finance ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

On Thursday, two senior officials in the mining sector who had been cited in parliamentary reports on suspected embezzlement connected with the mining and sale of diamonds resigned following pressure from President John Magufuli.

Nicknamed the Bulldozer, Magufuli swept to power in 2015 on an anti-corruption platform.

He has said government officials implicated in the parliamentary report should resign and not wait for a formal dismissal order.

Magufuli has also locked horns with foreign mining companies which according to a parliamentary report have underreported their production, thus depriving Tanzania of tens of billions of dollars in revenue since 1998.

Sunday 10 September 2017 15:32

AFP

Kenya on edge as Supreme Court prepares election ruling
1 September 2017, 8:15 AM

Kenya‘s Supreme Court will rule Friday on whether last month’s presidential election, which the opposition claims was riddled with irregularities, will be annulled or upheld.

Days of sporadic protests erupted after President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, was declared the winner of the August 8 vote with 54%, leading to the deaths of at least 21 people.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga, 72, alleged fraud and took his complaints to the seven Supreme Court judges, and some Kenyans fear renewed protests if he loses his attempt to overturn the result.

It is the third time in a row that Odinga has cried foul, after claiming he was cheated out of rightful victories in 2007 and 2013.

The disputed 2007 election led to politically motivated ethnic violence in which over 1,100 people were killed.

In 2013 Odinga took his grievances to court and lost.

After hearing closing arguments Tuesday from lawyers for the National Super Alliance (NASA) opposition coalition, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Kenyatta, Chief Justice David Maraga said a judgment would be delivered Friday.

The court’s ruling is final and will lead to either confirmation of Kenyatta’s victory, after which he will be sworn in on September 12, or an annulment of the result that would require a new election within 60 days.

A NASA official and lawyer, James Orengo, argued that irregularities, including unsigned and fake tally forms, hacked servers and deliberate miscounting, had affected around one-third of the 15.5 million votes cast, and called for Kenyatta’s victory to be declared invalid.

But lawyers for the election commission and Kenyatta countered that errors were simply “clerical” mistakes and technicalities that did not affect the outcome of the vote.

A report filed by the court registrar found a number of errors in the 41,451 polling station tally sheets known as form 34A and in the 291 form 34B constituency tally sheets, some of which were unsigned, not stamped illegible or lacking serial numbers or watermarks.

In addition, the registrar’s report found that the electoral commission failed to provide full court-ordered access to its servers, which NASA had demanded in order to back its allegations of hacking.

The opposition also argued that in the days between the election and the publication of all the forms, as required by law, the tallies were doctored to fit a pre-determined result handing Kenyatta victory.

Having failed to win his case at the Supreme Court in 2013, Odinga had initially ruled out legal action this time around, but after the resulting violence that killed at least 21 people, mostly by police, he changed his mind.

The violence was short-lived and restricted to opposition strongholds in the slums of the capital Nairobi and the western city of Kisumu, but there are fears the Supreme Court ruling might reignite the protests.

– By AFP

Kenya on edge as Supreme Court prepares election ruling
1 September 2017, 8:15 AM

Kenya‘s Supreme Court will rule Friday on whether last month’s presidential election, which the opposition claims was riddled with irregularities, will be annulled or upheld.

Days of sporadic protests erupted after President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, was declared the winner of the August 8 vote with 54%, leading to the deaths of at least 21 people.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga, 72, alleged fraud and took his complaints to the seven Supreme Court judges, and some Kenyans fear renewed protests if he loses his attempt to overturn the result.

It is the third time in a row that Odinga has cried foul, after claiming he was cheated out of rightful victories in 2007 and 2013.

The disputed 2007 election led to politically motivated ethnic violence in which over 1,100 people were killed.

In 2013 Odinga took his grievances to court and lost.

After hearing closing arguments Tuesday from lawyers for the National Super Alliance (NASA) opposition coalition, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Kenyatta, Chief Justice David Maraga said a judgment would be delivered Friday.

The court’s ruling is final and will lead to either confirmation of Kenyatta’s victory, after which he will be sworn in on September 12, or an annulment of the result that would require a new election within 60 days.

A NASA official and lawyer, James Orengo, argued that irregularities, including unsigned and fake tally forms, hacked servers and deliberate miscounting, had affected around one-third of the 15.5 million votes cast, and called for Kenyatta’s victory to be declared invalid.

But lawyers for the election commission and Kenyatta countered that errors were simply “clerical” mistakes and technicalities that did not affect the outcome of the vote.

A report filed by the court registrar found a number of errors in the 41,451 polling station tally sheets known as form 34A and in the 291 form 34B constituency tally sheets, some of which were unsigned, not stamped illegible or lacking serial numbers or watermarks.

In addition, the registrar’s report found that the electoral commission failed to provide full court-ordered access to its servers, which NASA had demanded in order to back its allegations of hacking.

The opposition also argued that in the days between the election and the publication of all the forms, as required by law, the tallies were doctored to fit a pre-determined result handing Kenyatta victory.

Having failed to win his case at the Supreme Court in 2013, Odinga had initially ruled out legal action this time around, but after the resulting violence that killed at least 21 people, mostly by police, he changed his mind.

The violence was short-lived and restricted to opposition strongholds in the slums of the capital Nairobi and the western city of Kisumu, but there are fears the Supreme Court ruling might reignite the protests.

Friday 1 September 2017 08:15

AFP

Kenya’s election court case: what you need to know
1 September 2017, 6:55 AM

Kenya’s Supreme Court this week completed two days of hearings during which the opposition alleged fraud it claims handed victory to President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August 8 poll.

On Friday the court’s seven judges will rule on whether the election should be annulled and rerun, as the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) demanded, or the vote and result should stand, as the election commission and Kenyatta contended.

The country is on tenterhooks as it awaits the result here’s why.

Election day was calm with more than 15.5 million Kenyans voting for president, governors, senators, parliamentarians, local assembly members and women’s representatives.

The overwhelming majority of international observers welcomed the successful holding of the elections.

The presidential election — preceded by an acrimonious campaign and the murder of the IT manager at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) pitted incumbent President Kenyatta against Raila Odinga, who had run unsuccessfully three times in the past.

As initial votes were being counted in the early hours of August 9 the opposition cried foul, alleging hacking and rigging were resulting in a false tally favouring Kenyatta.

The August 11 declaration of Kenyatta’s victory with 54.27 percent of the votes, against 44.74 percent for Odinga, was followed by two days of demonstrations and riots in the slums of Nairobi and in the western city of Kisumu, traditional opposition strongholds.

At least 21 people, including a baby and a nine-year-old girl, were killed on 11 and 12 August, mostly by police, according to an AFP tally.

The violence, however, has fallen far short of the politically-motivated ethnic violence that left more than 1,100 dead following the disputed 2007 election.

After initially ruling out taking its complaints to court, the opposition in the end asked the Supreme Court to annul the result of the presidential election, filing its petition just hours before the constitutional deadline on August 18.

Opposition lawyers denounced a “litany” of irregularities, accusing the IEBC of having falsified results during the several days it took to publish polling station and constituency tally sheets on its website.

The Supreme Court ordered the opposition lawyers be granted access to IEBC computer servers, documentation, voter identification kits and GPS data. The IEBC failed to abide by all the orders of the court yet opposition lawyer James Orengo claimed the information gathered proved the fraud allegations affecting more than five million votes.

The IEBC denied rigging but acknowledged some “inadvertent errors” that it said would not affect the outcome of the vote.

On Friday the Supreme Court will either validate the election and Kenyatta will be sworn-in a week later for a second five-year term or it will annul the presidential election giving the IEBC 60 days in which to organise a fresh vote.

The response of the losing party — at the court as at the ballot — and its supporters will be key to Kenya’s short-term stability.

In that respect much will depend on the perceived quality and impartiality of the judges’ ruling, which is final and cannot be appealed.
In 2013, the then Supreme Court judges were widely criticised for their rejection of Odinga’s case, again alleging fraud.

Murithi Mutiga of the International Crisis Group think tank said the current procedure has been impressive so far with sessions broadcast live on television and with opposing lawyers laying out their arguments with courtesy and clarity.

But, he warned, “even if the quality of the ruling is high, some people will be disappointed” and that can spell trouble in a country where elections routinely put pressure on ethnic and economic fault lines.

Friday 1 September 2017 06:55

AFP

Kenya’s election court case: what you need to know
1 September 2017, 6:55 AM

Kenya’s Supreme Court this week completed two days of hearings during which the opposition alleged fraud it claims handed victory to President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August 8 poll.

On Friday the court’s seven judges will rule on whether the election should be annulled and rerun, as the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) demanded, or the vote and result should stand, as the election commission and Kenyatta contended.

The country is on tenterhooks as it awaits the result here’s why.

Election day was calm with more than 15.5 million Kenyans voting for president, governors, senators, parliamentarians, local assembly members and women’s representatives.

The overwhelming majority of international observers welcomed the successful holding of the elections.

The presidential election — preceded by an acrimonious campaign and the murder of the IT manager at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) pitted incumbent President Kenyatta against Raila Odinga, who had run unsuccessfully three times in the past.

As initial votes were being counted in the early hours of August 9 the opposition cried foul, alleging hacking and rigging were resulting in a false tally favouring Kenyatta.

The August 11 declaration of Kenyatta’s victory with 54.27 percent of the votes, against 44.74 percent for Odinga, was followed by two days of demonstrations and riots in the slums of Nairobi and in the western city of Kisumu, traditional opposition strongholds.

At least 21 people, including a baby and a nine-year-old girl, were killed on 11 and 12 August, mostly by police, according to an AFP tally.

The violence, however, has fallen far short of the politically-motivated ethnic violence that left more than 1,100 dead following the disputed 2007 election.

After initially ruling out taking its complaints to court, the opposition in the end asked the Supreme Court to annul the result of the presidential election, filing its petition just hours before the constitutional deadline on August 18.

Opposition lawyers denounced a “litany” of irregularities, accusing the IEBC of having falsified results during the several days it took to publish polling station and constituency tally sheets on its website.

The Supreme Court ordered the opposition lawyers be granted access to IEBC computer servers, documentation, voter identification kits and GPS data. The IEBC failed to abide by all the orders of the court yet opposition lawyer James Orengo claimed the information gathered proved the fraud allegations affecting more than five million votes.

The IEBC denied rigging but acknowledged some “inadvertent errors” that it said would not affect the outcome of the vote.

On Friday the Supreme Court will either validate the election and Kenyatta will be sworn-in a week later for a second five-year term or it will annul the presidential election giving the IEBC 60 days in which to organise a fresh vote.

The response of the losing party — at the court as at the ballot — and its supporters will be key to Kenya’s short-term stability.

In that respect much will depend on the perceived quality and impartiality of the judges’ ruling, which is final and cannot be appealed.
In 2013, the then Supreme Court judges were widely criticised for their rejection of Odinga’s case, again alleging fraud.

Murithi Mutiga of the International Crisis Group think tank said the current procedure has been impressive so far with sessions broadcast live on television and with opposing lawyers laying out their arguments with courtesy and clarity.

But, he warned, “even if the quality of the ruling is high, some people will be disappointed” and that can spell trouble in a country where elections routinely put pressure on ethnic and economic fault lines.

– By AFP

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