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Kenya’s poll commissioner quits over ‘electoral mockery’
18 October 2017, 8:18 AM

One of Kenya’s electoral commissioners has quit just eight days to Kenya’s repeat elections indicating that the polls as planned will not meet the basic expectations of a credible election.

Dr. Roselyn Akombe sent a lengthy letter from New York, where she previously worked at the United Nations.

Akombe, a key commissioner at the electoral commission said the poll agency in its current state can not guarantee a credible election later this month.

She further stated that she would not be party to what she termed as “electoral mockery.”

The electoral commission is yet to comment on the resignation.

Meanwhile Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta says there is no political crisis in the country and rejected calls for dialogue between him and his political rival Raila Odinga over a political standoff.

Kenyatta has accused his opponent of provoking violence and insisted that the country must go to the polls.

Odinga who has withdrawn from the re-run until the electoral commission implements reforms told his supporters that countrywide protests would continue daily, beginning Monday until the commission institutes the reforms.

The European Union’s observer mission on Monday called for dialogue and compromises to allow for a peaceful and transparent electoral process.

– By Sarah Kimani

African countries urged to accede to APRM
17 October 2017, 5:15 PM

More African governments have been urged to accede to the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) to improve governance and promote transparency and accountability. This has emerged at the plenary session of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) currently underway in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.

African Union (UN) Member States established the APRM in 2003 as a voluntary tool to assess political, economic and corporate governance.

The primary purpose of the APRM is to foster the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, and accelerated intra-Africa economic integration.

Since its launch in 2003, about 36 countries have acceded to the APRM and 17 of these have put themselves forward for peer review. The findings have presented some common challenges across countries. These include corruption, unemployment, poor infrastructure, and gender discrimination.

Once signed up, countries first grade themselves and then allow a panel of independent experts to assess the findings, followed by a government response.

During the debate on the successes and challenges of the APRM, most African parliamentarians endorsed the peer review and had however called on members countries that have not signed up for the voluntary mechanism to do so without further delay.

African MPs have also called on development partners to increase funding for the APRM technical and bureaucratic operations.

Watch related video below:

– By Tshepo Ikaneng

Ruto says Kenya’s opposition party is sensing defeat ahead of election
17 October 2017, 4:40 PM

Kenya‘s Deputy President, William Ruto, says the governing Jubilee party has no problem with the country’s electoral commission meeting conditions set by the opposition ahead of fresh presidential elections due later this month.

Last week, opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrew from the presidential race, indicating that the electoral commission had failed to meet opposition demands that would guarantee transparent elections.

Ruto, however, says the opposition has sensed defeat and is therefore seeking to save face through a negotiated political statement.

Ruto, who has previously criticised the demands by the opposition, now says Jubilee party is ready to participate in the fresh presidential elections, even if the electoral commission opts to meet a raft of demands set by the opposition.

“If they agree on a different printer we have no problem, if they agree on a different supplier we have no problem. Al we are interested in is that there will be ballot papers and there will be an election.”

Odinga withdrew from the elections saying that the electoral commission has failed to meet the opposition’s demands, which would guarantee transparent elections as directed by the Supreme Court while annulling the August 8th presidential elections.

William Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya says, “Mr. Odinga is running away from a humiliating defeat and that’s the essence of all this and of course he has to find this excuse and that excuse to try and justify his exit.”

Odinga’s withdrawal from the race and his calls for daily demonstrations to push for reforms have caused fears the current political stalemate will deepen.

Jubilee party says there is no crisis, “By formenting riots they want the international community to force Kenyans negotiate in an unconstitutional manner against the dictates of the constitution, so it is a manufactured situation to create a political end and that is what we must resist.”

Odinga has denied that he is pushing for a power-sharing deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking a second and final presidential term.

– By Sarah Kimani

Fight against terror not deterred by Somali attack: Kenya
17 October 2017, 6:37 AM

Kenya says the latest attacks in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, will not deter it from its fight against terrorism.

This follows the killing of more than 300 people after twin bomb explosions in Mogadishu on Saturday.

President Jacob Zuma has joined other world leaders in condemning the attacks.

The militant group Al-shabaab has been fighting to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Mogadishu and carries out occasional terrorist attacks in neighbouring Kenya.

Kenyan Permanent Representative to the AU Ambassador Catherin Mwangi addressed a plenary session on Peace and Security in the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand.

“Kenya has been committed to the peace to the rest of Africa and Somalia is our direct neighbour. Kenya has committed a lot of resources and a lot of blood has been shed by Kenyan soldiers to ensure peace in Somalia. This devastation has made us even stronger and relentless in ensuring that this madness of terrorism must be curbed.”

Though condemning the Mogadishu terror attack she expressed her government’s resolve not to relinquish its mission to fight Al-Shabaab on its north-eastern borderline.

Click below to watch videos:

– By Tshepo Ikaneng

PAP seeks solutions on conflicts in Africa
16 October 2017, 9:13 PM

The conflicts afflicting Somalia, South Sudan, Libya, DRC and other parts of the continent, came under scrutiny at the Pan African Parliament on Monday.

The Legislature is calling for a national dialogue to end the ongoing civil war in South Sudan, which has displaced millions. MP’s also condemned the death of 300 Somalis in the weekend’s explosion.

Pan African Parliament (PAP) and the African Union (AU) are concerned about how to end wars on the continent. The AU Commission on Peace and Security presented a gloomy picture with the war ravaging South Sudan taking centre stage.

“South Sudan remains volatile and this is compounded by the renewed fighting in many areas. There is no indication that fighting will end any soon,” said AU’s Catherine Mwangi.

The PAP says the strife will not end, if South Sudan leaders continue to put personal interests ahead of the nation. The legislature’s Committen has 120 medical doctors and 100 nurses. Mane on Cooperation visited Juba last month, on a fact finding mission.

“140 000 people remain in refugee camps. The population of 9millioy children are out of school or don’t complete their education. The economy relies heavily on oil that accounts for 60% of, conflicts even though production is expected to diminish by 2035, “PAP’s Phesheya Hlatshwayo said.

South Sudan blames the rebel leaders for failing to be part of the national dialogue in Juba. “South Sudan needs help of the international community especially Africa. Enough is enough with war. We need peace to start development of the country, South Sudan MP, Agnes Lasuba.

Meanwhile, a motion calling for the lifting of the US ban on citizens of Chad from entering the US was adopted. Washington accuses Chad of failing to share information on activities of Al Shabab terrorists in the region.

Watch video below:

– By Montlenyane Diphoko

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