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Kibra poll: Voting, hitches and bribery claims

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Kibra residents in Nairobi County are voting in a high-stakes parliamentary by-election on Thursday seen as a do-or-die between Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.

Polls opened at 6am and long lines could be seen in polling stations across the constituency’s five wards – Sarang’ombe, with the highest number of registered voters at 30,754, Woodley/Kenyatta Golf Course (28,066), Makina (25,695), Laini Saba (17,455) while Lindi has 16,688.

There are 24 candidates battling for the 118,658 votes.

A man votes at Ayany Primary school during Kibra by-election on November 7, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The by-election follows the death of MP Ken Okoth after he succumbed to cancer in July.

Mr J.B Ongote, a voter at the Toi Primary poling station, in Woodley/Kenyatta Golf Course ward, says the voting process is smooth and everything is in order.

Further, he says that he believes that the candidate he voted for will win the by-election and bring the change that Kibra needs.

“IEBC has done a good job, the station was opened on time and the voting process has been peaceful so far,” said Mr Ongote.

Voters queue to cast their votes at Toi Primary School in the Kibra by-election on November 7, 2019. PHOTO | COLLINS OMULO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

However, it is not all smooth at Jamhuri Primary polling station in the same ward. At one of the streams, the biometric machine used to verify the voters’ identity is not working properly.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Ken Okoth worked with Jubilee at night and ODM during the day - Anne Muthoni Thumbi

The frustrated voters, who have been on the queue since 6am, say that this is not the first time that they have experienced delays at the polling station. They claim the same hitches occured in previous elections in 2017.

By 8am, only five people had cast their ballots at the affected stream with 672 registered voters.

IEBC officials struggle to verify a voter’s biometrics after the machine stopped working at Jamhuri Primary polling station in the Kibra by-election on November 7, 2019. PHOTO | COLLINS OMULO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Laini Saba, voters at the Mashimoni polling station claimed there were incidences of bribery with Sh200 notes being disbursed.

Kimilili MP Dismas Baraza, who was at the station, was also heckled.

But with heavy police presence, the situation calmed down.

Ford Kenya candidate Khamisi Butichi, addressing the press after voting at Mashimoni, said several cases of voter bribery were also reported in Lindi, and Sarang’ombe wards.

“We have witnessed three cases of some people trying to bribe voters to vote for a particular candidate. We will forward the evidence to police in the next one hour for action,” Mr Butichi said.

Lang’ata MP Nick Korir (left), ex-Embakasi MP Irshad Sumra, and Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo (right) at Ayany Primary School during Kibra parliamentary by-election on November 7, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

READ ALSO:   Why Kibra by-election results were transmitted manually

The four parties are leading the pack in the battle for MP seat.

ODM has fielded the late Okoth’s brother Bernard Imran Okoth, while ruling Jubilee party is fronting football star McDonald Mariga.

Kibra residents queue to cast their ballot at Ayany Primary School in Nairobi on November 7, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Amani National Congress (ANC), led by Musalia Mudavadi, has thrown its weight behind Mr Odinga’s former aide Eliud Owalo, while Ford Kenya, whose leader is Moses Wetang’ula, backs Khamisi Butichi.

A man searches for his name on a voters’ list at Ayany Primary School during Kibra parliamentary by-election on November 7, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The two political heavyweights, Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga, have traversed the constituency chasing votes in what is shaping up to be a rehearsal for the 2022 presidential race.

Political analyst Herman Manyora says the race is a major battle for the two leaders describing it as “too close to call”.

“Anyone can win. I cannot place a bet on this race,” Prof Manyora told Nation.

by nation.co.ke

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Business

Michael Joseph: KQ could fly into more turbulence

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National carrier Kenya Airways has protested the slow pace with which the government is implementing the nationalisation of the airline. It has warned it could fly into more turbulence within six months if the programme is not completed.

Kenya Airways Board Chairman Michael Joseph  yesterday expressed their frustrations at how the Ministry of Transport was handling the recommended programme.

He complained to a parliamentary committee that since the National Assembly directed the nationalisation, little had been done, throwing their restructuring plans into disarray.

Mr Joseph said since July when parliament voted to nationalise the listed airline, approving the government’s buying out of the minority shareholders, there was no clear roadmap and set timelines for the programme, placing the airline at risk of plunging into more debts.

He told the National Assembly’s Transport Committee that while they had worked out their plans and engaged both financial and legal advisers on the nationalisation programme, there was little that had been done by the government to actualise the plan.

“Our frustrations and impatience is that about six months later, we have no timelines on when the process should end. We are not even sure if it will go to conclusion,” said Joseph.

READ ALSO:   Raila Junior, Boniface Mwangi renew rivalry over Kibra candidate

He added: “We are frustrated that this is really taking long. We have vented as much as we can and I am sure even the PS (Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimett) is not happy with me stating this publicly, but we can tell you that unless this is done within the next six months, then the airline will no longer be a strategic asset for this country.”

But Koimett defended the ministry, stating that since parliament’s move, they had formed steering and technical committees that are now handling the specific elements of the process.

She revealed that the committees have since prepared a memorandum to be presented to Cabinet and sought advisory opinion of the Attorney General, who addressed the aspects that need to be taken care of in the process.

by Standard

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Entertainment

Ben Githae: I have no apologies for ‘Tano Tena’ song

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Kikuyu gospel artiste Ben Githae says he will not apologise to Kenyans for his song Tano Tena that urged Kenyans to give President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto another term during the 2017 heated election campaigns.

The song that served as the Jubilee campaigns anthem is currently trending on social media offering a ‘painful’ reminder of the ‘bad’ choice that voters made to elect into power, a government that has led the country into an economic slump.

While studies have shown that majority of Kenyans are surviving on a single meal per day, citizens have taken to social media to vent about having to cut down their expenses by walking to work and reducing their leisure activities to be able to survive.

They have accused the government of doing little to change the situation. Jubilee administration has also gone on a borrowing spree with the total public debt now standing at Sh5.902 trillion.

Some Kenyans have called on the artiste to produce another song that apologises to Kenyans for “misleading” them.

MISLEADING US

“Mpendwa, aka Baba Daisy should release a seven minutes apology hit song so that we can forgive him for misleading us .I personally apologized for voting three times in favor of the poor (in terms of leadership) duo,” wrote Moses Ngigi.

READ ALSO:   Let Mariga focus on football — Kuria tells DP Ruto

The artiste, however, feels those who voted for Jubilee government based on the contents of the song only have themselves to blame.

He said his influence could not have driven such a huge mass towards making a decision such as who to elect in office and called on those claiming that it influenced their voting patterns to instead clap for him for supporting a winning candidate.

“I saw an opportunity and seized it. I have no apologies to make,” said Mr Githae.

He said the song that was part of his Roho wa Ngai urotoma roho wa wuirualbum (May the spirit of God win over that of jealousy) hit more because of the timing of its release.

Despite the flak received for the song, Mr Githae says he made a tidy sum from the opportunities it brought forth. Also, contrary to people’s beliefs, he says he was not contracted by the Jubilee party to do the song.

The artiste said he made a decision to include a political song in the album as an expression of his support for the president.

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS

“I said to myself that I do not have money to support the presidential campaigns but I have a gift I can use. So why not do a song, record a simple video for it and share it amongst the people to test its reception?” he said.

READ ALSO:   Raila Junior, Boniface Mwangi renew rivalry over Kibra candidate

The song went viral and became a darling amongst Jubilee party supporters. The trending clip was shot at Ndumberi in Kiambu, his home county.

“The president was voted for by over 8 million Kenyans, the ones claiming my song guided their choice of candidates are lying. How can such a huge mass be influenced by a person of my stature,” said Mr Githae.

He called on the president to work to improve the lives of Kenyans. “Those that may be failing him should be pointed out and ejected from his administration,” said the artist.

Mr Githae said he is not sure if he shall releasing another political song in 2022. “I did Tano Tena in support of Uhuru and he shall not be seeking another term. That decision shall be guided by the dynamics of the time,” he said.

BY NN

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News

How Shabaab is recruiting in Kenya

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Three Kenyans and two Somalis linked to the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Garissa County carried out the January attack claimed by Al-Shabaab on the DusitD2 hotel complex in Nairobi, according to United Nations experts.

A fourth Kenyan citizen based in Mandera County served as “a key financing link between al-Shabaab in Somalia and the attacking cell in Kenya,” adds a report by the UN experts released on November 12.

The findings lend some substance to Shabaab’s claim in June that it has recruited “an army of fighters from the Kenyan population itself.”

The Dusit attack also highlights what the UN experts describe as “a newly observed dimension of al-Shabaab’s recruitment strategy.”

“The possession of criminal skills, including knowledge of evading law enforcement, are privileged over ideology or affiliation with certain mosques or religious networks,” report says.

Ali Salim Gichunge, born in Isiolo in 1995, is named as the organiser and coordinator of the Dusit attack which left 26 people dead, including a suicide bomber and four gunmen.

“Unusually for a Kenyan operative within al-Shabaab,” the report notes, “Gichunge was given wide discretion and autonomy over the particulars of the plot — including the selection of the target — rather than being directly overseen from within Somalia.”

READ ALSO:   Why Kibra by-election results were transmitted manually

Gichunge and his wife, Violet Wanjiru, established a safe house in the Guango Estate, Muchatha, on the outskirts of Nairobi about nine months prior to the attack, the report finds.

Another Kenyan national, Osman Ibrahim Gedi, served as Gichunge’s lieutenant, the experts say.

The assault on the Dusit complex began at 3.28pm East African time on January 15 when a third Kenyan, Mombasa-born Mahir Khalid Riziki, detonated a suicide bomb, the report recounts.

Siyat Omar Abdi, a Somali born in the Dadaab refugee complex in 1992, was among the gunmen who stormed the hotel.

The UN experts say they obtained a Dadaab identification and ration card number attributed to Abdi through his fingerprint. But officials with the UN refugee programme in Dadaab say there is no record of Abdi in their databases, the report notes.

A fifth member of Shabaab’s Dusit attack unit has not been identified but is presumed to be of Somali origin, the report adds. This individual activated a new Kenyan mobile phone in Dadaab’s Dagahaley camp on December 15, 2018, according to the UN panel of experts.

Also implicated in the Dusit attack is Abdi Ali Mohamed, a Kenyan national based in Mandera. He used three phone numbers to transmit almost Sh70,000 to Shabaab cell leader Gichunge via M-Pesa, the report states.

READ ALSO:   Moses Kuria throws cheeky jibe at Mariga after Kibra defeat

“A conservative estimate of the total cost of the DusitD2 operation was between $45,000 and $50,000 (Sh4 million and Sh5 million),” the experts suggest.

Riziki, the suicide bomber, was recruited in 2014 by Ramadhan Hamisi Kufungwa, described in the report as “a well-known Kenyan Al-Shabaab recruiter now located in Somalia.”

The recruitment was centred on the Musa Mosque in Mombasa, which the experts say “has long been associated with radicalisation, recruitment for al-Shabaab, and religious violence.”

by nation.co.ke

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