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Kenya on knife’s edge; Odinga dismisses Kenyatta’s 98% “victory” as a “sham”

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Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday rejected outright the result of last week’s “sham” election, vowing to fight on after the protest-hit poll that handed President Uhuru Kenyatta a landslide win.

“This election must not stand. If allowed to stand, it will make a complete mockery of elections,” he said in his first remarks on Thursday’s presidential re-run, which his supporters boycotted en masse.

Without change, “elections will become coronation rituals,” Odinga warned.

The vote, which saw Kenyatta winning with 98 percent of the votes cast, was the chaotic climax of two months of political drama and acrimony triggered by the Supreme Court’s overturning of an initial August poll over widespread irregularities.

But Odinga did not say whether he would once again petition the Supreme Court to have the vote annulled, as he did back in August.

He spelt out a campaign of non-violent protest and disobedience that would ensure the government had “no peace” so long as there was no change.

The remarks are likely to extend the political uncertainty that has paralysed the country since September 1.

Despite his successful bid to throw out the results of the August election, Odinga withdrew from the re-run some two weeks beforehand, citing concerns the new vote would be neither free nor fair.

Last week, the 72-year-old leader pledged to transform his National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition into “a resistance movement” that would spearhead a campaign of “civil disobedience.”

On Tuesday, he laid out plans for a programme of “vigorous” political action including “economic boycotts, peaceful processions, picketing and other legitimate protests.”

“If there is no justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government,” he declared.

– Odinga ‘the unpredictable’ –

In his western stronghold of Kisumu, Odinga’s highly-anticipated speech drew a mixed reaction.

“It was a very good speech,” nodded Linah Awuor, 42, who was selling plastic jerrycans in Kibuye market, saying she hoped the government would hear his “message of peace”.

“I am happy that it’s peaceful. It was not good for business lately, and I hope it will get better now.”

And Nixon Juma, a 25-year-old who said he had taken part in every protest since August, said he was happy to follow Odinga’s leadership.

“Raila has said dialogue first, so dialogue it is. We will see what happens,” he said. “Raila knows that he can count on us, we are here, and we will be waiting for his word.”

But 21-year-old taxi driver Samwell Ochyeng was a bit nonplussed, saying Odinga was definitely living up to his nickname Agwambo, a Luo word which translates as “the unpredictable”.

“I don’t understand, I am a bit disappointed. We were waiting for a crucial announcement, and he comes up with this speech,” he said.

But in the end, they would follow, he said. “We are waiting, and whatever he says, we’ll do.”

Aside from some scuffles after the results were announced, things have been largely calm for the past four days although security was stepped up Tuesday as more than a million pupils aged between 13 and 15 began sitting their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams.

– Victor but at what cost? –

In his victory speech on Monday, Kenyatta hailed the result as vindication of his triumph in the August poll which was later overturned.

But it proved to be a bittersweet victory.

Turnout was just 38.8 percent, marring the credibility of a vote that has deeply polarised the East African nation, sparking months of bitter infighting, legal wrangling and violent protest.

The last few months of chaos drew a sharp rebuke on Tuesday from the European Union’s election observer mission.

“Actions by both sides of the political divide have been damaging to the electoral process and have put the people and institutions of Kenya in an extremely difficult position,” it said.

“Such a divisive electoral process, with accompanying violence, has been detrimental to Kenya’s democratic functioning and the rule of law, as well as its prosperity,” the mission said.

And it stressed the “urgent need for dialogue between the two sides… and for grievances to be addressed through democratic and judicial channels”, saying the onus was on the leaders to “find a way out of the current impasse”.

But from a technical point of view, it said the actual polling and counting process appeared to be “generally well administered” with some technical improvements evident in the results process.

The political crisis is the worst to hit the country since a 2007 vote sparked months of politically-driven ethnic violence that left 1,100 people dead.

While the dynamics of 2017’s political crisis are very different, the memory of the bloodshed a decade ago is never far away. ref:: Hazel Ward, AFP

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ogu Ojukwu

    November 1, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Railna Odinga is not a democrat. [He should] go and sit down and don’t ever come out again.

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AFRICA

World SOCCER SHOWDOWN: South Africa backs Morocco; U.S under pressure

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  • USAfricaonline.com  •  @Chido247  @USAfricalive

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.

Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.

Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.

In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency

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USAfrica: Catholic priest Etienne killed by militia in DR Congo, after a wedding mass

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  •  @USAfricaLIVE

Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.

“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.

The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.

Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.

North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.

Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.

Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Nigeria’s LOOTERS LIST and Buhari’s selective corruption targets. By Majeed Dahiru

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PDP vs APC Looters List and Buhari’s selective corruption targets

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @USAfricaLive

 

Timipriye Silva, a former governor and PDP chieftain, who became a founding member and financier of APC, had his corruption charges quashed by a federal high court and Buhari’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to appeal the N19.5 billion fraud case.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to Nigeria’s First and Second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, the PDP appointed former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from [Buhari’s Information Minister] Lai Mohammed’s list.

For a party that has been accused of destroying Nigeria by squandering accrued oil revenues estimated at over $500 billion in sixteen years, it is confounding that Lai’s list is not only exclusively comprised of PDP looters but also captures the last two years of PDP’s last lap in power and included just Goodluck Jonathan’s associates, who supported him against candidate Buhari, while also relating only to funds used in the last electioneering campaign of the PDP.

Whenever the obviously abysmal performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be gaining sustained attention, and leading to murmuring within the rank and file of his supporters, a tale of humungous looting by opposition elements is usually spun and thrown into the public space to distract people away from the core issue of the failure of governance.

Like a fit of deja vu, the recently unveiled list of looters by Lai Mohammed, a fellow who comes across as more of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief propagandist than a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria in charge of information and culture, didn’t come as a surprise. The list is all too familiar as the unveiling was a summarised rehash of politically exposed individuals who are members of the opposition party, close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly his appointees in government, who have been named and shamed several times in well-coordinated media trials.

First on Lai’s list is Uche Secondus, the chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lai had this to say of Secondus: “On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA”. An unidentified former financial secretary of the PDP was similarly accused of “taking” N600 million from the same office of the National Security Adviser. Lai Mohammed also re-revealed that frontline member of PDP and media mogul, who deployed his media power to promote Goodluck Jonathan by de-marketing the Buhari candidacy in the run up to 2015 presidential election, Raymond Dokpesi, is on trial for “taking” N2.1 billion from the office of the then NSA. Lai also reminded Nigerians that his shouting match and former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh is on trial for “collecting” N1.4 billion from the same office of the NSA.

Lai Mohammed’s expanded follow up list included the usual suspects – former ministers, PDP state governors, service chiefs, presidential aides, associates and family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who were collectively accused of looting Nigeria of close to $2.1 billion through the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

The choice of words like “took” and “collected” deployed by Lai to describe the manner in which those named received these monies was deliberate for the maximum effect of propaganda, portraying the accused persons as looters who broke into NSA vault and catered away boxes of cash at something akin to a gun point.

While the clamp down on PDP looters who supported Goodluck Jonathan and are still members of the former ruling party has been heavy handed, others who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the 2015 elections and supported candidate Buhari’s campaign with their share of loot have been forgiven. For example, former NSA, Sambo Dasuki is being treated as an apostate for his role in the disbursement of funds that were used to oil Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering effort. He has been kept in detention illegally and in defiance of several judicial rulings. Judging by the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption standard of an accusation being tantamount to guilt, in clear contempt of court proceedings by the resort to the naming and shaming suspects even before investigations and criminal prosecution are concluded and convictions obtained, it becomes curious that Lai’s list didn’t reveal any new name. Rather some names were either missing or omitted from what is a familiar list. This appears so because the bulk of PDP bigwigs who “destroyed” Nigeria in sixteen years of national rule are firmly in control of the APC, from its elected national executives to the National Assembly and appointed members of the federal executive council. The majority of APC-elected governors were also former members of the PDP. Even recently decamped PDP members to APC, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and Sulivan Chime, who have been prominently named and shamed in the recent past, were conspicuously missing from the released list of looters.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to the first and second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, a former PDP appointed managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from Lai’s list. Also missing on that list is Bola Shagaya.

Arguably one of Africa’s richest women, with a reputation for close business and political ties to all first families in the past two decades, Bola Shagaya was exceptionally close to the Goodluck Jonathan family. Often described as a bosom friend of former first lady Patience Jonathan, she has been accused, in numerous instances, allegedly, of acting as Patience Jonathan’s front for the laundering of illicit money estimated at over N13 billion, while engaging in other fraudulent activities involved in state capture. All that may be in the past now as she has found her way back to reckoning with the marriage of her son, Seun Bakare to Damilola, the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo. Little wonder then, Bola Shagaya’s name is not on Lai’s looters list.

In a clear display of the arrogance of ignorance, the Buhari administration has narrowed its war on corruption to the hounding of members of the Jonathan administration, other individuals and organisations that were known to have worked against the emergence of the President [Buhari] in the 2015 presidential elections. This is clearly evident in the selective nature of the current anti-corruption effort.

The tone of generalisation of the PDP as the problem of Nigeria, as an indicator of corruption, should make all members of PDP (both former and present) and their collaborators in other parties guilty, hence qualifying them for naming and shaming, while being liable for criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Buhari’s list of looters is devoid of integrity, because his selective war on corruption is indicative of corruption in itself. All that is required of a former PDP looter is to get baptised into APC and profess Buhari as the saviour of Nigeria. This is precisely responsible for the failure and ineffectiveness of the war on corruption. Nothing has changed as the current APC looters continue to loot Nigeria, while the redeemed former PDP looters continue to enjoy their loot in hibernation under the abundant grace of the infallible Buhari.

• Dahiru is based in Abuja 

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