Uhuru unveils his 2017 party, Raila fights plan: President Uhuru Kenyatta launched his re-election bid in earnest yesterday after he announced that he will be defending his seat through the newly created and broad-based Jubilee Party. Some 12 political parties — including President Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA) and Deputy President William Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) have agreed to fold and join the new movement. “We want all Kenyans to be and to feel included in the government,” Kenyatta said at a press conference televised live from State House, Nairobi, and attended by the chairmen and secretaries-general of the 12 parties that have agreed to the historic merger.
Teachers reject new exam rules: Primary school heads on Tuesday objected to a government plan to have them take charge of the Standard Eight national examination. This will throw a spanner in the works in the drive to curb cheating in national tests. They said they were not prepared to do the work of supervisors and claimed by putting them in charge of examination centres, the Government was trying to have them take the blame in case of cheating. Kenya National Examinations Council deputy director Ibrahim Mohamud was making a presentation on the headteachers’ new role, when the teachers booed him off the stage.
Lawmakers’ team hits impasse on poll reform: A joint select committee of Parliament discussing electoral reforms last evening failed to agree on four crucial areas relating to polls. The team reached a deadlock on amendments to the Constitution; the voters’ register; the presidential petition period; and whether the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission should handle party nominations and the selection of commissioners. The committee is reported to have resolved to refer the issues to the Senate and the National Assembly for determination. The Cord side was reported to have gone back on an agreement that there would be no changes to the Constitution ahead of the August 2017 General Election and instead proposed that the door be left open for some changes.
UhuRuto party is born: After months of haggling and numerous false starts, the Jubilee merger became a reality yesterday. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto presided over the last ceremony before the formal merger, in an event attended by leaders of affiliated political parties. The State House function was also attended by Jubilee bigwigs, including leaders of majority in both houses of Parliament, Aden Duale (National Assembly) and Kithure Kindiki (Senate). Some 12 parties affiliated to the Jubilee coalition agreed to formally collapse into one big family, in what the President and his deputy said was a symbol of unity and an act of political inclusion. The formal dissolution of the parties will take place on September 8, when all the affiliate parties will hold simultaneous national delegates’ conferences.
Teachers say No to strict exam rules and ranking: Delegates and teachers have rejected proposals to reintroduce caning, national examinations ranking and stringent regulations to combat exam cheating. About 10,000 head teachers attending the Kenya Primary Schools Head-teachers Association annual conference at Sheikh Khalifa Secondary School in Mombasa booed down a Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) official when he announced a set of regulations proposing to hold head teachers responsible for any examination cheating. At the same time, delegates supporting child rights opposed proposals to reintroduce corporal punishment to curb indiscipline, warning this could be counter-productive. Instead, they said, teachers and school managements should embrace democratic systems.
MPs reject motion to set up betting probe team: MPs have shot down a motion seeking to establish a parliamentary team to regulate the multi-billion shilling betting and gambling industry. A hostile National Assembly voted by acclamation against the motion by CORD, presented by Deputy Minority leader Jakoyo Midiwo, attracting excitement from a section of legislators who had last week vehemently opposed the proposal. Last week’s debate on the motion sharply divided the House, with the majority of those against questioning the “interest” in it after it emerged that most of those proposed to sit on the 13-member committee were from the National Assembly leadership.
We’re ready for you, Raila tells Uhuru: Opposition chief Raila Odinga yesterday rejected assertions by President Uhuru Kenyatta that the new overarching Jubilee Party will usher in an era of Kenyan unity. Raila commented after the head of state proclaimed from his State House Nairobi pulpit his new political vehicle would be launched on September 9 and 10. He called it his legacy. Raila and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi accused Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto of trying to create a monolithic party state. They said they are prepared to confront the ruling coalition of nine to 12 merged parties. “It’s not right to have one monolithic party…But we assure our supporters we are ready and unshaken,” Raila told the press at Orange House Nairobi after meeting Gusii leaders.
Cartels determined to get me out of EACC, says Kinisu: Anti-graft agency chairman Philip Kinisu has said cartels are ganging up against him because of the reforms he has initiated. In response to a suit filed by activist Okiya Omtata, Kinisu filed an affidavit yesterday saying the case is not about conflict of interest, but “vested interests who do not want to be vetted or see reforms at the EACC”. “It is clear there are individuals who feel threatened with the reform agenda I have started to implement at the commission and have an agenda of releasing false and malicious information to confuse the public,” the affidavit said. Kinisu said he ceased being a director of Esaki Ltd on August 15, 2008 and transferred all his shares to his daughter Caroline Simiyu.
Lusaka tells staff to stop ‘shameful’ acts: Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka has told staff to “stop embarrassing me by engaging in corruption.” He said there are executives, chief officers and other staff engaging in unscrupulous deals and shameful behaviour. “I ask those to whom we have been given work not to bring me shame. If you steal, they say it’s the governor. If you make a mistake, they say it’s the governor, because I’m the driver of this county’s bus,” Lusaka said. He said he will sack anyone involved in graft. “Before residents accuse me of things I’m not aware of, I will send you home first,” Lusaka said.
Safaricom cuts value of city land by Sh366m one year after purchase: Telecoms operator Safaricom has lowered its valuation of a five-acre piece of land it bought last year from a private equity firm, lending credence to a leaked audit report that found the transaction price to have been inflated. Safaricom has in its latest financial statement booked a fair value loss of Sh366 million on the property, having lowered its value to Sh845 million from the purchase price of Sh1.2 billion barely a year after it bought the land from private equity firm Actis. In Kenya, land has in the past 20 years proved to be one of the most valuable assets whose value has continued to appreciate across all cities and major towns, making Safaricom’s decision unique.
Afreximbank’s plan for Kenya regional office hit by tax war: Kenya risks losing out to Ethiopia in the race to host the Sh3 billion regional headquarters of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) due to a diplomatic row, the Business Daily has learned. At the centre of the row is the Kenya government’s refusal to grant the multilateral lender and its staff diplomatic status, a condition Ethiopia is said to have agreed to, making its capital Addis Ababa a formidable contender against Nairobi. Afreximbank has indicated that it will move to Addis if Kenya does not grant it diplomatic status by end of September. The decision follows a two-year wait for communication from the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade which Afreximbank says has not been forthcoming and has stalled any plans to roll out its programmes.
Tobiko, police seek tougher laws for hate: Security agencies have joined hands with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to push for a law that will compel the Judiciary to stop issuing bail to serial hate speech offenders. Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett, Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss Ndegwa Muhoro and the NCIC chairman Francis Ole Kaparo told Parliament that the Judiciary has been handing hatemongers lenient bail terms. At a meeting that also brought together Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru the security chiefs warned that social media and hate speech during political rallies stand in the way of peace and cohesiveness as the country heads to a General Elections next year.
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