THE RESIGNATION OF ROSELYN AKOMBE – TRUTH, SMOKE AND MIRRORS?

Dr Roselyn Akombe

Commissioner Dr Roselyn Akombe’s resignation from the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission has sent shock waves through Kenya with only a week to go to the re-run of the presidential election but is her sudden flight to the United States the result of intimidation and a desire on her part to be part of a failed electoral process, or is there more to it than that?

Dr Akombe was working in Dubai for the IEBC handling the printing of the ballot papers for the election due on October 26. From there she fled to New York and then released a statement overnight citing her reasons for her resignation and setting out her concerns regarding the functioning of the IEBC and the prospects, or otherwise, for the conduct of a credible presidential election in Kenya next week.

INTIMIDATION BY ‘POLITICAL ACTORS’

In her statement and a subsequent interview with the BBC Roselyn Akombe said that IEBC staff faced continuing intimidation by ‘political actors’; that senior IEBC personnel were serving only their own partisan interests; and that the training of presiding officers was being rushed.

The IEBC, said Akombe, was under ‘political siege’, unable to either reach consensus, and paralysed – unable to take important decisions.

“The commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on Oct. 26”, Akombe said in her statement. “I do not want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity”.

Asked by a BBC interviewer about Kenya’s preparations for the election, Akombe said, “Would it be a credible election? Absolutely not”.

“There is a high likelihood that the mistakes that some of the presiding officers made during the last election will be repeated”, she stated.

PERSONAL INTIMIDATION

On a personal level, Roselyn Akombe said she had received threats, as had her brother, a government official who had already fled to the USA.

“I have never felt that kind of fear in my own country”, she said.

Roselyn Akombe’s resignation will undoubtedly add fuel to opposition Raila Odinga’s fire and his assertions that the IEBC cannot run a credible election.

ROSELYN AKOMBE – TELLING THE FULL TRUTH?

The Kenya Forum thinks, however, that there is more, possibly much more to come out of this story. There are certainly some strange aspects to Ms Akombe’s sudden and late-in-the-day resignation.

Commissioner Akombe was working out of Dubai overseeing the printing of ballot papers for the election where surely her safety could have been all but guaranteed. She was hardly at the physical front line of the election crisis in Kenya. And Akombe’s claims to have been intimidated were not detailed, she referred only to messages via social media to both her and her brother.

One of the questions arising from her resignation and flight is, was it the result of principled concern, or was the dereliction of duty and the abandonment of her post?

AKOMBE TRIED THIS BEFORE?

In mid August Commissioner Akombe was reportedly stopped a Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) when she tried to travel to the United States but had failed to produce clearance from the Head of Public Service and Chief of Staff, Joseph Kinyua, before attempting to leave the country.

It was said at the time (although the Kenya Forum cannot validate the claim) that it took the intervention of the US Ambassador in Kenya for her to be allowed to proceed on her way.

In mid September, Rosleyn Akombe’s brother fled to the United States, not by way of JKIA but over the land border and via a circuitous route across four countries.

Prior to working for the IEBC, Rosleyn Akombe, who hails from Nyamira County, worked for 15 years with the United Nations, most recently as a Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary General (Political Affairs) at the UN Secretariat in New York.

Rosleyn Akombe is now safely back in New York. She told the BBC she is unlikely to return to Kenya. The full story of her road to the Big Apple however, is set to run for a while yet.

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GOVERNMENT INTRODUCES COOKING GAS SUBSIDY PLAN… BUT FUEL PRICES INCREASED

The Ministry of Energy has introduced a gas cylinder subsidy programme that will see households buy cooking gas cylinders and other accessories at lower prices.

The “Gas Yetu” initiative will be rolled out through the state-owned national oil company and will see consumers purchase a complete 6kg gas cylinder at Sh 2000 down from Sh 5000 while refill of the same will be Sh 900 at licensed Gas Yetu retail outlets.

The initiative is aimed to protect the environment by cutting over-reliance on firewood and kerosene in poor households by providing an alternative and affordable source of fuel.

The Sh 3.1 billion Gas Yetu initiative has already been piloted in Machakos and Kajiado counties.

In the 2016/2017 budget, the Treasury reduced the import duty on energy efficient stoves with similar stoves and cookers that use gas, electricity and other fuels from 25% to 10% and CS Rotich proposed the amendment of the VAT Act in order to exempt liquefied petroleum gas from payment of VAT.

FUEL PRICES SOAR

Motorists will, however, have to dig deeper in their pockets as at the weekend the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) announced increased prices for petrol and diesel.

The price of super petrol was increased by Sh 3.37 while that of diesel and kerosene surged by Sh 1.85 and Sh 1.82 respectively.

The latest increase in fuel prices comes only a month after the ERC increased the price of Super Petrol by Sh 2.22 per litre, diesel by Sh 1 and kerosene by Sh 0.94.

Kenya’s average monthly inflation rate stands at 9.31 percent.

Posting by Winnie Kabintie

Posted in Latest news

KENYATTA – WHITES, DON’T TELL US WHAT TO DO!

Kenya Forum comment

President Kenyatta – Don’t tell us what to do

Speaking at a rallies in Nyahururu and Karatina at the weekend, President Kenyatta warned foreign countries not to interfere in Kenya’s internal affairs. The President was right to do so but his use of language was unfortunate.

The President spoke against a background of opposition leader Raila Odinga’s trip to the London and one of his co-principle’s, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, visit to Germany.

There have been concerns expressed by Jubilee leaders, echoed in the Kenyan media, that Raila Odinga was lobbying for the support of foreign countries to intervene in Kenya’s election in order to gain power, or at least share it, and that this is what the London and Germany visits were about.

“We will not allow wazungu (whites) to come and tell us what to do” the President declared. “If they come to Kenya, let them come as tourists. Let them go to Maasai Mara, come to Lakipia and other places, but they should not come here and tell us what to do.”

President Kenyatta is of course right. Kenya is a sovereign country, there should be no outside interference.

INTERNATIONAL INTERFERENCE

The President’s concerns are also not without some foundation. At the last election in Kenya (2013) several embassies in Kenya – the US, UK, Germany among them – issued unwise statements suggesting that Kenyans should consider the ramifications of their vote. They meant don’t vote for Kenyatta and Ruto. It was a move that was unwarranted, in that foreign diplomats should not have been commenting in such a manner about Kenya’s internal politics, and foolish in that the move almost certainly backfired, leading to more Kenyans rallying to Kenyatta’s support.

The sentiments expressed by the President were therefore understandable but surely that could have been couched in better language.

There is little evidence that the international community wishes to interfere in Kenyan matters. International observers, after all, gave Kenya’s election a clean bill of health. The language used by foreign diplomats since, regretting that Raila Odinga may not participate in the forthcoming election and declining to make any positive comments about his tactics since the last poll, suggest their support for him, if any, is lukewarm at best.

THE ‘WHITES’ IN KENYA

Then there’s the question of the goodwill towards, and from, whites living in Kenya.

There are approximately 35,000 white Kenyans and a further 32,000 ‘whites’ working and living in the country. They contribute greatly to Kenya’s economy and in many other sectors of life. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that they bear little or no ill-will towards President Kenyatta but rather they do harbour concerns at the idea of an Odinga presidency.

It is worth keeping in mind too, compared to the figures above, that over 130,000 people born in Kenya live in the UK and a further 90,000 in the US, and they are economically significant. The Kenyan Diaspora contributed, through remittances, over $1.7 billion – 2.3 percent of the country’s GDP in 2016.

“LET THEM COME AS TOURISTS”

Tourists of any colour are welcome in Kenya (Photo courtesy heleninwonderlust.co.uk)

“Let them come as tourists” said President Kenyatta – and they do. Depending on conditions (not least at election time!) between 130,000 and 190,000 British tourists arrive in Kenya every year. Add to that approximately 100,000 US citizens, and 10,000 Germans…

One of President Kenyatta’s audiences at the weekend were Kenyan supporters at a political rally and the language at such events (anywhere in the world) can sometimes be more campaigning in nature and less considered. His second audience was the international community who, given past events, perhaps deserved a shot across their bows. It’s a pity that in doing so, however inadvertently, President Kenyatta’s tone and use of language may have given Wazungu, either living in Kenya or visiting it, any cause for concern.

 

 

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LIBERIA’S ELECTION: SOCCER STAR GEORGE WEAH TO SCORE FIRST ROUND WIN

Former soccer star George Weah

FORMER MILAN STAR STILL ON GOAL FOR PRESIDENCY

The West Africa state of Liberia which produced Africa’s first elected women president in Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is still on course to be the first African country to elect a former professional footballer, George Weah, to the presidency.

Although the voting results from from some 25 percent of Liberia’s polling stations are still to be officially announced, George Weah has currently received 39 percent of the vote, nearly 10 percent ahead of his main rival Vice President Joseph Boakai. Lawyer Charles Brumskine trails in third place on 9.7 percent.

With no candidate gaining over 50 percent of the vote Liberians will head to the polls for a second round election between the top two candidates, Weah and Boakai.

FIRST AFRICAN FIFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR

As perhaps the best African striker of all times George Weah is used to scoring firsts in life.

A former star player for Milan, Monaco, Paris St Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City, Weah was the first African to be voted FIFA’s World Player of the Year and win the Ballon d’Or, something he achieved in 1989, 1994 and 1995 before being named African Footballer of the Year in 1996.

George Weah lost the presidential election in Liberia in 2005 in the second round of voting, defeated by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf but gained elected office in 2014 as a Senator for the Congress for Democratic Change.

Official results for the first round of elections must be announced by October 25th. If Liberians go on to successfully elect a successor to President Johnson Sirleaf, it will be the first democratic transfer of power seen in the country in over 70 years.

But as they say in football, it’s not over until the referee blows the final whistle and Liberia’s election could yet be a game of two halves.

Posted in Latest news

HOLLYWOOD FILM PRODUCER HARVEY WEINSTEIN FIRED OVER SEXUAL ASSAULTS

Harvey Weinstein

SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE

American film producer and former film studio director, Harvey Weinstein has been fired by the board of the Weinstein company, following the numerous sexual assault allegations raised against him.

A number of Hollywood’s actresses have come out publicly to claim that Harvey sexually assaulted or harassed them at some point in their interactions with him.

US actress Rose McGowan took to Twitter on Thursday to allege that she was raped by Weinstein.

ANGELINA JOLIE – “BEHAVIOUR UNACCEPTABLE”

Three other actresses including Angelina Jolie have also accused Weinstein of rape as reported by the New York Times.

According to Jolie she was propositioned by Weinstein in a hotel room during the release of Playing by Heart in 1998.

Angelina Jolie – “Bad experience”

Jolie said in an email to the New York Times: “I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did.

“This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”

British actress Kate Beckinsale took to Instagram to narrate her experience saying she had an encounter with Harvey Weinstein aged 17, at the Savoy Hotel in London.

The Underworld star said she was told to go to his room, where he “opened the door in his bathrobe”.

“After declining alcohol and announcing that I had school in the morning I left, uneasy but unscathed.

“A few years later he asked me if he had tried anything with me in that first meeting. I realised he couldn’t remember if he had assaulted me or not,” she said.

Kate Beckinsale – “Uneasy but unscathed”

British actress and model Cara Delevingne also said he tried to kiss her as she tried to leave a hotel room.

US and UK police have launched investigations into the sexual assault allegations against the film producer.

Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman left him on Tuesday as the news broke.

SEX FOR ACTING ROLES IN KENYA’S FILM INDUSTRY

In Kenya’s film industry, sex for acting roles, popularly known as “casting couch” is also rampant.

A number of local actresses and actors apparently have subtly taken to their social media accounts at some point to narrate their encounters, without necessarily naming and shaming the perpetrators, mostly for fear of victimization and also the fear of being “blacklisted “ by other producers or casting directors in the future.

Posting by Winnie Kabinte

THE AGONY OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN KENYA’S MEDIA INDUSTRY

 

Posted in Latest news

Dr Roselyn Akombe Resigns, FULL BBC Interview-18.10.2017

Exposed: Weinsten Sexual Harassment

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