Thursday, May 31, 2012
Posted by ME at 4:39 PM
Pollsters barred from publishing poll results
Written By:Catherine Achieng'a, Posted: Wed, May 30, 2012
The publication of electoral opinion polls bill now awaits presidential assent after sailing through parliament at the committee stage with amendments.
The implications of amendments moved by Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale mean stiffer penalties for offenders of the law as well as an increase in the period in which pollsters will be barred from publishing polls prior to elections.
Whereas the initial bill had proposed pollsters not to publish results 48 hours before an election the amendments now see them barred from publishing opinion poll results on the day of the election and 5 days prior to an election.
In moving the amendment Khalwale pointed out after consulting MPs and stakeholders it was agreed the amendment was necessary to avoid anxiety in release of polls at the last minute which is likely to sway the vote.
The other crucial amendment widens the bracket to include persons who cause the publication of the results of an electoral opinion poll during an electoral period to be liable for prosecution should they contravene the law.
At the same time the penalty for offenders of the law has been doubled from 500,000 shillings to one million shillings.
Amendments to the bill also saw Gwassi legislator John Mbadi make a final attempt to oppose its adoption saying there should have been extensive consultations with stakeholders in the industry arguing its implications were not only political but would also affect other areas including the market research.
However, his argument came even as those supporting the bill led by Eldoret North MP William Ruto said the law will help curb doctored polls often released by pollsters accusing them of cooking figures to suit particular candidates.
Sentiments shared by among others Garsen MP Danson Mungatana and Dujis MP Aden Duale who say the law if approved will help regulate the release of electoral polls.
The publication of electoral opinion polls bill seeks to legislate and ensure electoral opinion polls are conducted in a scientific and transparent manner and all the relevant information disclosed to the public including the name of the sponsor, person who conducted the poll, as well as population sample from which respondents are drawn.
Foreign and domestic tour
Elsewhere, the parliamentary committee on budget wants foreign and domestic tour for Mps and civil servant slashed by 50 percent in the coming financial year.
In its proposals ahead of the budget, the committee noted that there was need to slash on the recurrent expenditure by reducing funds for such visits.
According to the committee chairman Elias Mbau, foreign visits should slashed by 50 percent and domestic ones by 30 percent as huge amounts were been used by the state.
Addressing the press at the end of a three day workshop in a Naivasha hotel, the Mps said that the committee supported the Sh17.5B allocated to IEBC for the general elections.
Flanked by chairmen from various parliamentary committees, Mbau called for the increase in equalization fund to Sh6.7B.
He challenged the State to involve Public Private Partnership in huge infrastructure like the Lamu port, the upgrading of Kilindini harbor and the Mombasa-Kisumu rail line instead of relying on taxes.
On agriculture, the Mp called for the government to urgently set up the agriculture, livestock, food and fisheries authority.
Other recommendations the committee want catered in the budget include the hiring of more teachers and doctors to address the current shortage.
The chairman Parliamentary committee on agriculture John Mututho added that other recommendations included the provision of free medical services to minors aged below five years.
On agriculture, the Naivasha Mp said that they had decided that all money meant for irrigation infrastructure should be handled directly by the national irrigation board.
Posted by ME at 5:14 AM
Government blames Monday blast on terrorists
Written By:George Kithuka/Rose Welimo, Posted: Wed, May 30, 2012
The government has now announced that the Monday explosion that left scores of people injured was an act terror by Somalia's Al-Shabaab militia group.
Internal security minister Prof. George Saitoti says the group remains a threat to this nation, but assured that the government will not relent on its quest to deal with the militia's operatives in the country.
Speaking in his office Wednesday morning when he met the Netherlands Minister for Immigration, the Prof. Saitoti observed that the rag tag group remains a threat to national security, but said the government is taking measures to counter the increasing attacks attributed to the group.
With the elections months away and presidential campaigns taking shape, the minister said security agencies are on the lookout for hate mongers in a bid to foster co-existence during and after elections.
The country has been subjected to successive explosives attacks by Al-Shabaab operatives in the country following the onslaught by Kenya's defence forces on the Al-Shabaab in Somalia after the militia staged a series of attacks along the Kenyan coast.
33 people were Monday injured in an explosion that rocked an exhibition store adjacent to Mt Kenya University Towers along the Nairobi's busy Moi Avenue.
The building known as Assanands house was immediately engulfed in fire after the powerful explosion that occured at 1.15 pm ripping off the roof. The building was extensively damaged and property of unknown value was destroyed.
The attack followed a series of similar raids at entertainment spots, which have led the police investigators to link extremist preachers, poverty and lack of jobs as a threat to national security.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has assured Kenyans that necessary steps have been taken to combat terror attacks.
Raila told parliament Wednesday afternoon that the government has beefed security countrywide as police track down suspected terrorists planning the attacks.
Responding to questions from members of parliament on the safety of Kenyans, the PM said the government is in the process of equipping the Anti-terrorism Unit, commencing thorough inspection at the Kenyan border points, security surveillance in the market areas, as well as drafting the anti-terrorism bill that will offer a legal frame work to fight terrorism.
Posted by ME at 5:13 AM
AG dismisses Ocampo’s claims
Written By:Martin Mwanje, Posted: Wed, May 30, 2012
The Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai has termed as baseless sentiments attributed to the International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Loius Moreno Ocampo claiming that the government has been reluctant in cooperating with the court over cases facing the four post election suspects.
While reiterating the government's resolve to the matter, Prof. Muigai is warning that such sentiments risk straining the cordial relationship between the country and ICC.
Addressing a sensitization Witness Protection workshop in Nairobi Wednesday, the AG said that Ocampo's comments were harmful to the relationship between the Kenyan government and the court adding that the state has facilitated ICC investigators to meet witnesses and carry out any further investigations into the cases
He spoke as Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa lauded the establishment of the Witness Protection agency which he says will go a long way in dispensing criminal justice in the country.
The Minister was categorical that cases like Anglo leasing, golden berg and other big scams will have not taken that long to be concluded if Kenya had a well structured programme on witness protection.
The witness protection agency mandate is to provide special protection to persons in possession of important information and who are facing potential risk or intimidation due to their cooperation with the prosecution, police or other law enforcement agencies.
The two said this Wednesday during the launch of a two day sensitization workshop on witness protection in the country.
Prof. Muigai underscored the fact that Kenya was among the first country to domesticate the Rome statute, and such sentiments could strain relationships between Kenya and the Hague based court.
Key among the agency's mandate is to offer protection to witnesses.
Ocampo on Monday argued before the Trial Chamber that disclosure of evidence and witnesses against the accused should only be done once the protection of all its witnesses is guaranteed.
The defence on the other hand in separate submissions has argued that it cannot adequately prepare for the trial unless the prosecution has fully disclosed any new evidence that it may introduce and the number and identities of witnesses that it will call.
Posted by ME at 5:11 AM
Kenyan forces kill 14 Shabaab fightersPosted by BERNARD MOMANYI on May 30, 2012
The attack occurred when a KDF Navy ship was conducting routine sea patrol in the vicinity of the port of Kismayu, the Kenya Military said.
“14 Al Shabaab militants were neutralised and 10 others injured when a Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) Naval ship engaged the militants at an Al Shabaab seaport watch station yesterday,” Col Cyrus Oguna, the Information Operations Officer said in a statement.
He said the militants were killed when they shot at the military war ship, prompting a fierce gun battle.
“The militants opened fire at the ship prompting retaliatory naval gunship fire. During the engagement two on-shore structures were also destroyed,” Oguna said.
Earlier in the day, Chief of General Staff General Julius Karangi had said there was an encounter that was underway and pledged to provide details much later.
The statement from his office said some 20 Al Shabaab militants had also surrendered to KDF with 13 AK 47 rifles at Fafadun within Gedo region.
It said KDF’s objective in Somalia remains to degrade the Al Shabaab capacity and capability to a level that they will no longer be a threat to the Kenyan citizenry or the Somali public.
“Part of the efforts to achieve this objective has been regular patrols along the Indian Ocean by KDF Naval ships to safeguard the territorial waters against sea borne and land borne threats,” Oguna said.
General Karangi has revealed the KDF forces are working out on a plan jointly with other AMISOM forces to storm Kismayu by August this year.
Posted by ME at 5:10 AM
It’s time for politics of ideologies – PMPosted by LORDRICK MAYABI on May 30, 2012
He said that Kenyans had no choice but to unite as they make the biggest choice for a generation in the forthcoming polls and also as they tackle challenges facing the country.
“It is the time for Kenyans to unite.., it is the time for politics to be about what parties and their leaders can and want to do for the country and the people. It is the time for politics of policies and ideologies, not personalities,” he said.
The PM made the remarks on Wednesday when he officially opened Nairobi County Orange Democratic Party (ODM) offices situated in Lavington.
Among the areas the PM observed as still wanting include in the area of economic inclusion, where he said that the making and distribution of wealth equitably is the next battle front.
The premier asserted that although the country got a new constitution, the gains are still on shaky ground and could be reversed unless Kenyans elect leaders who believe in the gains brought by these new set of laws.
“There are politicians who still believe that the constitution should never have come and that the institutions it has come with are a bother that should be frustrated and killed,” he stated.
The party leader said that ODM was committed to playing a critical role in ensuring that most of the dreams and aspirations of Kenyans are realised.
He exuded confidence that ODM has a strong team that is certain to clinch victory with a landslide in the coming polls.
He said that party in Nairobi has emerged strong as a united team after Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru and Nairobi ODM branch chairman Mayor George Aladwa also the Nairobi Mayor agreed to work together after party polls where they competed against each other.
Elsewhere, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi insisted that Kenya was not a monarchy where some leaders are entitled to lead and others follow.
Mudavadi said that Kenya is democratic country where the people elect their leaders based on the policies of a candidates.
Speaking during the Western Kenya Secondary School Head Teachers Associations (KESSHA) annual general meeting in Nakuru, Mudavadi said Kenyans should not be brain washed that the presidency is an entitlement of an individual in reference to ODM persistent reference to him as ‘project’.
“Kenya is not a monarch where leadership is a preserve of an individual or a family. Kenya has about over 18 million registered voters making a decision every five years to elect their leaders and it is on that knowledge that I have offered my candidature to the people of Kenya,” he said.
Mudavadi said his decision to seek the presidency was made after wide consultations and cannot be stopped and urged the Kenyans and the residents of Western to rally behind him.
The DPM noted that the residents of Western are now tired of the number two slot after having several vice-presidents.
“Some of the MPs from western mudslinging me were at the forefront of urging me stand. Now they are scared stiff of taking risk. Who is the coward now? May I tell them hypocrisy and sycophancy is the well cowards drink from,” he countered.
Referring to claims he made a mistake leaving ODM, Mudavadi likened the MPs to psychotic mourners who mourn more than the bereaved then ask the bereaved family for favours: “Haven’t you seen how much I have mourned? Is there no food in this home?” posed Mudavadi.
Former Trade minister Mukhisa Kituyi who accompanied the DPM urged Kenyans to look at the leader who can capture the mood of the nation, blend youthfulness and experience, send message of reconciliation, heal the nation and stabilize the country.
Posted by ME at 5:09 AM
Terror a threat to peaceful poll – SaitotiPosted by BERNARD MOMANYI on May 30, 2012
Saitoti says the government has put in place all necessary measures to secure the country during the polls, but it is still worried about the increased threat of terrorism.
“This of course is urgent because we will be having a general soon. It is the desire of Kenyans to have a peaceful election, that is what Kenyans want,” Saitoti said.
“But there is this other burden of terrorism… that is where we need the assistance from friends like you, because this is also something that can disrupt things,” the minister told US Senator Christopher Coons of Delaware and Ambassador Scott Gration who paid him a courtesy call at his Harambee House office Wednesday.
The minister said Kenya is paying a price for a problem that was “never ours because the Al Shabaab have now resorted to even use Improvised Explosive Devices to attack innocent people.”
Saitoti is worried that unless concerted efforts are put in place, the Al Shabaab and other terrorist elements are likely to continue terrorising Kenyans.
“Kenyans want to be peaceful as they elect their leaders. I can assure you we have put in place all the necessary measures,” he said.
He has appealed to the international community to help Kenya maintain security in the country, particularly during the critical poll period.
Senator Coons and Ambassador Gration pledged that the US will continue working closely with the Kenyan security forces in fighting terrorism because it is a global challenge.
Already, Federal Bureau of Investigations detectives are involved in the investigation of Monday’s Moi Avenue blast where 38 people were wounded when a home-made bomb exploded at Assanand’s House.
Posted by ME at 5:08 AM