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Bob Collymore takes Raila head on

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Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore has told off politicians over rigging claims.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore has blasted politicians over frequent attacks and links to rigging in the August 8 general election. Collymore told journalists on Tuesday that he will personally hold politicians threatening his staff responsible if anything happens to them.

He said dragging commercial co-operations into political wars, especially while political temperatures are high, is ill-advised. NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga claimed the mobile services provider colluded with IEBC to bungle the August 8 election in favour of Jubilee’s president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Raila claimed one of Safaricom’s VPNs terminated transmission of results, cutting links between KIEMs kits and IEBC servers. He also said the electoral agency’s cloud server, to which transmission was terminated, is registered in Spain but operated from France by OT-Morpho – the KIEMS kits supplier.

READ: Top 10 money mistakes Kenyans make

But Collymore said such claims are “baseless, unwarranted and life-threatening” to Safaricom workers. “These utterances are callous and reckless, considering they are just baseless allegations putting people’s lives at risk. I will hold those accusers personally responsible if any harm meets my staff,” he said.

“Those who want to accuse must engage me because I am the leader of the team. Don’t accuse my innocent members of staff.”

“I reiterate these comments are unfair and unjust…let them fight their political agenda instead of dragging us into their woes.”

He noted he does not intend to take any legal action against the accusers but vowed to put them to task if any of his staff members encounters danger. Collymore noted all three mobile services providers will continue to engage in the country’s electoral process because their is no way results can be transmitted without them.

READ: Belt hawker who turned into PR firm CEO

“IEBC needs us to transmit the results because they cannot be transmitted by magic,” he said. “Some of us have lost billions of money and IEBC is yet to pay. We come here to offer services in good faith and goodwill because yes, IEBC needs us. Dragging us into political drama is so immature and I am so angry about this.”

Collymore had previously dismissed the claims linking his company to the rigging saying the firm transmitted all election results from the KIEMS kits to IEBC servers as per the laid down procedures.

READ: Safaricom losses billions after Raila attack

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Politics

Police find guns at Jimmy Wanjigi’s home

The raid on the well-appointed Muthaiga address happened after police raided another house in Malindi and recovered five guns and 93 bullets

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Police have found six pistols and one shotgun at Jimmy Wanjigi’s Muthaiga home but his family says they are licensed.

The Tuesday, October 17 find comes after Monday’s overnight siege of the property on Muthaiga 44 Road that was followed by an operation on Tuesday during which police used sledgehammers and metal cutters to break into the ritzy house.

The raid on the well-appointed Muthaiga address happened after police raided another house in Malindi and recovered five guns and 93 bullets. They also searched another house in Nyali, Mombasa. They linked both houses to Mr Wanjigi.

He has since denied that the Malindi villa belongs to him. Detectives from the Special Crimes Prevention Unit and Flying Squad arrived at Wanjigi’s gate at about midday. The fortified compound is opposite the official residence of the American ambassador to Kenya.

The officers showed guards on duty a warrant and said they had come to conduct a search. Tuesday Wanjigi moved to court seeking to stop his arrest and a court stopped his arrest until September 19, granted him a Sh50,000 anticipatory bail and warned police against the destruction of the businessman’s property.

An anticipatory bail temporarily bars police from arresting a suspect. The businessman sued Police Inspector General Joseph Boinnet and DPP Keriako Tobiko.

Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the raid on Wanjigi’s homes was in the interest of national security.  Pictures and video footage in our possession show officers arriving armed with rifles, metal cutters and sledgehammers.

The officers are seen struggling to smash the oak doors but not the glass, suggesting that it could be the reinforced Kevlar type.

ALSO SEE: NASA chief financier under siege

Later they are seen inside a sitting room asking “Mzee wapi mwenye nyumba? Tunajua nyinyi ni wazazi” (Where is the owner of the house? We know you are parents.), suggesting the presence of other parties not captured on camera.

On Monday, Jimmy’s father, Moi-era Cabinet Minister Maina Wanjigi drove to the son’s residence. The only civilian seen in the video is a young man on a couch. Later, a female voice is heard telling an officer “I will take you where you want to go. Where do you want to go?” Another officer in a white shirt, pistol in hand, stands calmly as another one is busy tearing down doors.

Police also searched Mr Wanjigi’s Kwacha House offices on General Mathege Drive, Westlands, Nairobi Caramel, the high end club at ABC Place, also Westlands.

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Politics

Court lifts ban on Nasa protests

Justice John Mativo said the suspension would be in effect until NASA chief executive officer Norman Magaya’s case is heard and determined

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The High Court has temporarily lifted government ban on anti-IEBC demos in the central business districts of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

The suspension follows a case filed by National Super Alliance Chief Executive Officer Norman Magaya.

The court on Tuesday said the suspension would be in effect until Mr Magaya’s case is heard and determined.

At the same time, Justice John Mativo blocked the arrest and prosecution of Mr Magaya over the demos until the case is determined.

Judge Mativo issued the temporary orders on Tuesaday after the lawyer representing Mr Magaya appeared before him.

ALSO SEE: You didn’t follow the law, police tell Nasa

Mr Magaya had moved to court on Monday seeking to stop his arrest and the ban on protests against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

He sued Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko and acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

Last week, Dr Matiang’i said Mr Magaya would be held responsible for destruction of property during anti-IEBC protests.

More follows.

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Economy

Drawn-out vote increases risks for investors, IMF says

Bretton Woods institution avers prolonged election period has increased risks for investors and traders, in turn leading to a slowdown in economic activity

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 Kenya’s election rerun is raising the country’s risk profile among investors and weighing down already sluggish economic growth, the International Monetary Fund says.

“The prolonged election period has increased risks for investors and traders,” Jan Mikkelsen, the Washington-based lender’s new resident representative in Kenya, said in an emailed response to questions. “This in turn has led to a slowdown in economic activity.”

The IMF has lowered its 2017 economic growth forecast for Kenya, the largest economy in East Africa, to 5% after expansion slowed in the first half of the year due to a drought that led to a contraction in farming output and pushed up food prices. That would be the lowest growth rate since 2012. Rain-fed agriculture in Kenya, which supplies about a third of the flowers sold in the European Union, contributes about 30 percent to the country’s total output.

ALSO SEE: Prolonged campaigns fatigue Kenyans

The Supreme Court last month overturned President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in an Aug. 8 election, citing “irregularities and illegalities” by the nation’s electoral body. Opposition candidate Raila Odinga, who has been demanding changes at the electoral commission, threw plans for a rerun on Oct. 26 into disarray when he withdrew from participating in the vote, saying the management of the vote “would be worse than the previous one”.

Economic growth may pick up in 2018 “assuming a return to a more normal, predictable political environment after the forthcoming elections and a modest improvement in agriculture production,” Mikkelsen said.

The IMF will hold talks with the Kenyan government on a $1.5-billion standby facility that’s meant to buffer the nation from excessive external shocks after elections are concluded. The facility ends in March and “Kenyan authorities are not expected to draw on the resources,” Mikkelsen said.

 Story Credit: Bloomberg

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Politics

UN experts decry rights clampdown in Kenya

They aver a pattern of police brutality, excessive use of force, consistent harassment of judges and threats to civil society has been witnessed even before the ban on protests

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Independent Expert on Human Rights Michel Forst. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré/UN News Centre

Voicing concern over restrictions on protests as well as attacks on judiciary and civil society in the run-up to presidential elections in Kenya, a group of United Nations independent human rights experts called on the Government to honour its obligations and protect the rights of Kenyans.

“It is precisely when political tensions are high that governments should do their utmost to let people express their grievances and to protect their rights,” said the experts in a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Kenya is facing a choice. We urge it to choose to uphold its constitution and pursue strengthening of its democracy, to avoid deepening political divisions and exacerbating tensions.”

According to the human rights experts, a pattern of police brutality, excessive use of force, consistent harassment of judges and threats to civil society has been witnessed even before the ban was imposed.

Under the restrictions, protests are forbidden in parts of the nation’s three largest cities – Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu – until further notice, protests in other parts of the country require prior police permission and organisers can be held criminally liable for any offence by any participant.

In the news release, experts noted that while some previous protests had been marred by violent incidents, they stressed that response to any violence must be proportional to the level of threat and that security forces must prioritize dialogue and non-violent means.

The presidential elections are to be held on 26 October.

The rights experts also said that there was currently an alleged climate of impunity for law enforcement officers despite the launching of several investigations, including one into the violence that followed the 8 August general election, when dozens of people were killed and many injured as a result of police action.

ALSO SEE: Nasa vows to defy Matiang’i ban on protests

In particular, they highlighted an incident on 28 September, when 27 students and staff at the University of Nairobi were reportedly injured when police used tear gas, beat them with wooden clubs, robbed them and threatened them with sexual violence.

A few days later, on 2 October, police reportedly used tear gas in a nursery in Nyalenda (a suburb of Kisumu) injuring at least three children.

“We call for a prompt, independent and thorough investigation into all allegations of police brutality,” the experts said, adding: “impunity fosters a culture of violence and mistrust, the opposite of what Kenya needs as it prepares for a repeat of the presidential elections.”

Further in the release, the experts expressed serious concern over reports of repeated attacks against individual judges and the judiciary in general and attempts to limit the courts’ role in hearing election-related petitions.

“Robust checks and balances are the prerogative of every democracy,” they said, stressing that the independence of the judiciary must be protected.

They also underscored that the role of the civil society must also be preserved and denounced fake information being circulated online on social media, seeking to denigrate human rights organizations, including members of the Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu initiative which works for free and fair elections.

“This is unacceptable and must immediately stop,” the experts said. “Over the years, we have repeatedly raised concerns with the Government of Kenya about shrinking civil society space and attacks on individual human rights defenders.”

The UN human rights experts noted above include Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Agnes Callamard, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Diego García-Sayán, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Nils Melzer, the Special Rapporteur on torture; and David Kaye, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council – the highest intergovernmental forum in the UN system on rights issues – to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

Story Credit: UN News Centre

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News Updates

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