Connect with us

KENYA

KENYA: AU’s observer mission silent on poll’s credibility

Published

on

African poll observers are tight-lipped on endorsing the credibility of fresh presidential election that saw President Uhuru Kenyatta easily reelected with record 98 per cent win.

African Union election observer mission chairman Thambo Mbeki yesterday declined to endorse the controversial October 26 poll despite indicating that there was smooth polling and tallying of results.

Mbeki, the former South African President, said the mission will assess the poll based on AU’s Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance laying down the manner member nations should conduct elections.

“We are not making any judgment on the credibility of this election now. We will assess what happened here in our final report and give our recommendations soon because the leadership of Kenya would like to look at them,” he said.

The presidential rerun was marred by isolated clashes between police and opposition supporters.

National Super Alliance leaders led by Raila Odinga’s poll boycott also contributed to very low voter turnout in their strongholds.

Mbeki said the AU’s Charter policy statement on elections requires governments to facilitate “inclusive processes” for all citizens to participate in the poll.

“Countries should provide peaceful conditions for people to participate freely and without hindrance to participate in selecting the government of their choice,” he said.

The East Africa Community election observer mission chaired by former Ugandan Speaker Edward Rugumayo also endorsed the fresh poll from polling exercise to tallying of results.

Rugumayo, however, could not give the election a clean bill of health in the mission’s preliminary report until they assess credibility in results transmission.

The AU mission backed the decision by IEBC chaired by Wafula Chebukati to indefinately postpone elections in Raila’s volatile stronghold counties of Homa Bay, Kisumu, Migori and Siaya due to insecurity.
Mbeki pointed out that IEBC improved its technical conduct of carrying out the election through availing hard copies of voters register at all polling stations.

“The mission calls upon all parties that feel aggrieved by this election to follow legal processes in challenging any aspect of the electoral process,” he said.

Chebukati on Monday evening declared Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto winners after garnering 7.4 million votes of 7.6 million voter turnout.

The turnout was far below the August 8 poll with stood at 15.6 million of 19.6 million registered voters.

AU mission, in its preliminary report, decried the politician’s attempt to intimidate the Judiciary from the warning issued by Chief Justice David Maraga.

“The African Union stands ready to assist the sister people of Kenya as they navigate the post-election period. Kenya is an important country in the region and the continent,” Mbeki said.

He, however, said NASA was right and entitled to present irreducible minimums on election reforms for a credible poll but said AU mission has no obligation of assessing whether the demands were “good or bad.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

KENYA

Ahmed Iman alias Kimanthi flees after Al-Shabaab fallout

Published

on

Ahmed Iman alias Kimanthi, a member of Al-Shabaab, is on the run after falling out with other commanders who want him executed. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A Kenyan who rose through Al-Shabaab ranks to become the poster boy for the terrorist organisation is on the run after falling out with other commanders who want him executed.

Ahmed Iman alias Kimanthi, who appeared in numerous Al-Shabaab propaganda videos taunting Kenyan troops fighting in Somalia, the group’s stronghold, is now seeking to surrender to Kenyan forces and get amnesty, the Nation has learnt.

Until the row, he was close to the current Al-Shabaab supremo Ahmed Diriye and Mahad Karate, also known as Abdirahim Mohamed Warsame, who commanded Shabaab’s Amniyat, its intelligence wing, when gunmen stormed Garissa University College and killed 147 students in April, 2015.

VIDEO CLIPS

In the video clips, which are unavailable after they were pulled down by YouTube, Iman says the killings were carried out to avenge the killing of radical Muslim clerics.

Ads By Google

In those videos, he named the clerics as Aboud Rogo, Samir Khan and Sheikh Abubakar Shariff alias Makaburi.

International security sources operating in Somalia, told the Nation that Iman has been the head of a group of foreign fighters who together with him, are now on the run from the main group loyal to Diriye and Karate.

A number of Kenyans and other foreigners who joined Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia have since been captured and executed.

On November 6, a 25-year-old Kenyan from Garissa was among four people who were publicly executed by the terrorists in Somalia.

Omar Adar Omar was killed by firing squad on accusations of spying for the Africa Union Mission in Somalia, which comprises the Kenya Defence Forces.

The fall-out is further complicated after the emergence of a faction that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Syria, while Diriye’s group maintains its formal partnership with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

DRAGNETS

The Nation has further learnt that Iman, in a bid to escape from Somalia, has evaded several dragnets to capture him.

Al-Shabaab is well known for executing militants within its own ranks whenever there is a fallout.

The latest developments are a repeat of what happened to Fazul Abdullah Mohamed, who was killed in a set up laid by Godane Ahmed Abdi Godane alias Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, who was Diriye’s predecessor.

Godane was later killed in a joint operation by US and KDF in Somalia.

Besides assuming the role of commander of foreign fighters in Somalia, Iman also has a great influence in Jaysh Ayman, another Al-Shabaab faction operating in Boni Forest which spreads across the Kenya-Somalia border in Lamu County.

Furthermore, Iman is also said to be getting foreign funding directly, further angering indigenous Somali commanders, the sources also said.

A 2016 security report published by the Nation, revealed that Iman and accomplices in Nairobi collected millions of shillings every year by renting shops and kiosks in Umoja and Majengo, and the money is smuggled to Somalia to fund terrorism activities.

LOOTED

In one Al-Shabaab propaganda video, he was seen clad in KDF uniform, holding a walkie-talkie and an M-16 rifle, which he claimed was one of the arms looted from El-Adde Forward Operating Base, which was overran by the terrorists in January 2016.

Besides Kenya, whose soldiers are operating in southern Somalia, Al-Shabaab is also being fought by the US and other countries in Amisom, including Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti.
100 fighters killed

On Tuesday, 100 Al-Shabaab fighters were killed in an air strike by the US.

“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, US forces conducted an air strike in Somalia against an Al-Shabaab camp at approximately 10.30 local Somalia time, killing more than 100 militants.

The operation occurred 125 miles northwest of the capital, Mogadishu,” said a statement by US Africa Command.

The Statement added: “US forces will continue to use all authorised and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats.

This includes partnering with Amisom and Somali National Security Forces in targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia, the region and around the world.”

Continue Reading

KENYA

Soldiers don’t smuggle charcoal in Somalia – KDF

Published

on

The Kenya Defense Forces yesterday disputed allegations its soldiers are involved in charcoal smuggling in Somalia.

The charcoal trade generates major income for al Shabaab.

KDF spokesman Col David Obonyo rejected as untrue the UN Security Council’s Somalia and Ethiopia Monitoring Group’s report that KDF is involvedin export and import of charcoal from and into Somalia.

He said it [the report] is similar to the one the group has been making “with a little variation in wording every year around the same time since 2012”.
Obonyo said the KDF is deployed in only 150km of Somalia’s coastline.

He said the SEMG report does not specify sectors where the charcoal trafficking takes place and who is managing those ports. The group did not visit those areas, he said.

“KDF is not in charge of management of port operations in Kismayu. They are under the Somali Federal Government and Jumbaland State authorities,” Obonyo said.

“KDF is not in Somalia to do business, but to enforce Amisom’s mandate. We are in Somalia to ensure safety and security of the Somali people. Kenya has made a lot of sacrifice to liberate Somali people.”

The UN banned the charcoal trade in Somalia in February 2012 to deny al Shabaab revenues. This was after it emerged the charcoal trade was generating major income for the al Qaeda-linked terror group.

Kenyan soldiers overpowered al Shabaab in Kismayu in September 2012 in the offensive Operation Sledge Hammer in which they dethroned the militants and seized control of the coastal town.

But Obonyo said the Kenyan troops were replaced by those from Siera Leone, who later left and were replaced by those from Burundi and Ethiopia, and the Family Police Unit from Nigeria.

SEMG has deplored the continued charcoal trade through Somali ports controlled by Amisom.

The SEMG report expresses concern that the charcoal trade still provides significant funding for the militia. It urged the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to continue its work, with the Federal Government of Somalia.

Continue Reading

KENYA

Kenya’s supreme court has upheld the reelection of president Uhuru Kenyatta

Published

on

Kenya’s supreme court has dismissed two petitions against the Oct. 26 reelection of president Uhuru Kenyatta. In a summary of their judgment, the six-judge bench unanimously decided that the petitions had “no merit” and upheld his win for a second term.

“Having carefully considered the above issues, the specific players in each petition, as well as the constitution and the applicable laws, the court has unanimously determined that the petitions are not merited,” chief justice David Maraga said today (Nov. 20). “As a consequence, the presidential election of 26 Oct. is hereby upheld as is the election of the third respondent,” president Uhuru Kenyatta.

As per the constitution, Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto will now be sworn in on Nov. 28.

The decision comes after violence in the capital spiraled out of control over the weekend, leading to deaths, protests, and destruction of property. On Friday (Nov. 17), at least five people were killed as police dispersed supporters of opposition candidate Raila Odinga, who were welcoming him back from a trip abroad. Four people were also killed over the weekend, while an opposition lawmaker was shot in the leg during scuffles with the police. The opposition National Super Alliance coalition said that “state-sponsored thuggery” was plunging the country into a crisis.
In a majority decision in early September, Kenya’s supreme court called the August reelection of president Uhuru Kenyatta “invalid, null and void” and ordered a new vote be held in 60 days. After blaming the electoral commission for stonewalling meaningful deliberations, Odinga bowed out of the repeat polls in October and urged his supporters to stay home. Kenyatta won the redo with 7.4 million votes or 98% of the total, with more than 12 million registered voters not participating in the polls.

Rejecting the results as a “sham” and “a meaningless exercise,” Odinga called for a campaign of civil disobedience and peaceful resistance in order to safeguard Kenya’s democracy. He also called for an economic boycott targeting companies aligned with the government and the ruling Jubilee party. The results were also challenged in the supreme court by two cases: one filed by a former lawmaker and another by two members of human-rights organizations.

The uncertainty over the repeated elections and court rulings have also deepened the political crisis in the east African nation and intensified the sense of resignation among citizens. Citing political and economic marginalization, opposition-aligned regions have started calling for secession. The political and legal quagmires have also come at a huge cost for the Kenyan taxpayer, with about $600 million spent conducting the two elections.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

TRENDING