Jubilee, Cord open fresh battlefront in vote hunt: Jubilee and the newly formed Opposition alliance, Nasa, are preparing for a tough political duel from Monday, when the listing of voters kicks off countrywide. On Thursday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said that the country has 9.1 million unlisted potential voters with national identity cards. According to the commission, another 2.9 million Kenyans issued with identity cards in the last 20 years have died. There has been debate over the cleanliness of the voters’ registers with questions being asked on whether “dead voters” participated in past General Election. On Wednesday, Nasa held a meeting with its aspirants and drummed up the message of the need for Opposition supporters to register as voters in large numbers.
Munya to governors: Sack striking doctors: Council of Governors (CoG) chairman Peter Munya has urged county bosses to issue sacking letters to striking doctors if they fail to resume work. The Meru governor has told doctors that the 40 per cent pay increase negotiated with the government is the best deal they will receive, noting that doctors in other countries are paid less. “Our striking doctors need to consider the package the government is offering them. Our neighbouring countries pay much less than the salaries our medics are currently receiving,” he noted. Appealing to the doctors to agree to the State’s offer, Mr Munya said counties would have to look for alternatives if they continue to demand more.
State staff told to quit ahead of polls: Public servants seeking to contest in the August elections have been given up to February 7 to resign from their jobs or forfeit their candidature. In a notice published in local dailies on Thursday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) stated that public officers seeking to contest an election must resign at least six months before the date of the election. The law, however, does not require the President, the Deputy President, MPs, governors, deputy governors and members of county assemblies to resign from their jobs prior to elections. “Pursuant to the provisions of Section 43(5) of the Elections Act, all public officers and state officers seeking to contest in the 2017 general election must resign on or before February 7, 2017 with the exception of the President, the Deputy President, members of parliament, county governors, deputy county governors and members of county assembly,” said the IEBC in the notice.
India rejects Kenya call for doctors as more die over strike: It is now emerging India turned down a request by Kenya for doctors to replace those on strike during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s just-concluded visit to New Delhi. The news broke on a day the health crisis deepened as doctors vowed to ignore a court order requiring them to return to work. The Telegraph, an Indian newspaper, reported the country steered clear of a proposal to have Indian doctors hired by Kenya to ease the crisis that has paralyzed operations in public hospitals for over a month. President Kenyatta was on a two-day State visit to India during which he held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The newspaper reported that Modi only committed to ‘encourage’ the manufacturers of healthcare supplies to invest in Kenya.
Jubilee meets to tackle NASA as focus turns to Mudavadi: The new-found Opposition unity is split between acquiring the new name – National Super Alliance (NASA) – or sticking to Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD). The Standard has learnt that some Opposition chiefs are hesitant to unite under the banner of NASA since it is Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi’s brainchild and is registered under his secretary general’s name. CORD co-principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula as well as Mr Mudavadi on Wednesday agreed to field a single candidate on a united Opposition platform to face Jubilee’s Uhuru and his deputy, William Ruto. Those opposed to NASA allegedly claim joining it would be giving Mudavadi undeserved credit, as well as, an upper hand in the management of the alliance after it emerged that ANC had already made request to register it as a coalition.
Duale in trouble with in-laws over 1982 coup remarks at Too’s burial: The family of retired Chief of General Staff Mahmoud Mohammed has cautioned Garissa Township MP Aden Duale against dragging his name into Jubilee Party (JP) politics. The family, through former Cabinet minister Hussein Maalim — the general’s younger brother — said yesterday that the statement attributed to Duale during Mark Too’s burial on Monday did not represent their position.
The retired general played a sterling role in crushing the 1982 coup attempt on Moi’s government. Mr Maalim, who is the chairman of Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority, described Duale’s utterances as reckless, saying they should not be associated with the family. Duale, who is also the Leader of Majority in the National Assembly, is a son-in-law of Gen Mohammed.
State will not shut down internet on Election Day: Kenya has no plans to shut down the internet before, during or after the general election in August, the Communications Authority said yesterday. The Authority officials made the statement in response to reporters’ questions at a briefing on what is expected of broadcasters covering the August 8 polls. “We are using all possible means not to reach a level where the country can be in tension and force us maybe to take a drastic step,” director general Francis Wangusi told the media at CA headquarters. The statement comes at a time when cases of hate speech and incitement are on the rise. Officials frequently warn against rising temperatures, fear mongering and stirring ethnic contempt in the run-up to the polls.
Salat’s remarks on NASA divide Kanu leaders: Kanu’s top leadership is split right in the middle, with one faction supporting the formation of the opposition outfit Nasa, while another adopts a wait-and see-approach. On Wednesday, secretary general Nick Salat, who attended the official launch of the National Super Alliance at the Bomas of Kenya, said Kanu is part of the outfit. Nasa brings together Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Musalia Mudavadi (ANC). But Salat’s announcement was denounced by two members of the executive council, John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot senator) and Ziporah Kittony (nominated senator). Kittony dismissed the assertions as “personal”, saying not all Kanu members are ready to join Nasa.
Doctors choose Kamiti over talks with state: Doctors’ union officials yesterday chose to be jailed for one month rather than negotiate with the government within the next two weeks. Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union secretary general Ouma Oluga said they cannot negotiate under duress and will serve their jail terms beginning January 26. “We cannot negotiate with a noose on our necks,” he told striking doctors and students at Railways Club, Nairobi. Oluga compared the seven officials to freedom campaigners such as Nelson Mandela, Jomo Kenyatta and Mahatma Gandhi, who were jailed. “On [January] 26th if the government does not implement the collective bargaining agreement, hospitals will still be closed,” he told striking doctors and students.
Kenyan contractor in Sh5.1bn fight with US private equity fund: A Kenyan entrepreneur, who founded troubled construction firm Spencon, has sued a US private equity fund for $50 million (Sh5.1 billion) he claims to have lost when the fund fraudulently acquired a 60.68 per cent stake in the company. Jitendra Chhotabhai Patel filed the suit in the US Court of the District of Columbia seeking discovery — a process that would compel Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) to provide him with information he wants to use in suits against the fund in multiple jurisdictions, including the UK and East Africa. Information sought includes Spencon’s expenses and contracts since the fund forcefully took over its operations.
KRA targets firm in Sh800m Afya House scam for tax fraud: Estama Investments, the company at the centre of Afya House’s Sh1 billion mobile clinics scandal, has run into fresh legal trouble after the taxman moved to court seeking to freeze its bank accounts for tax evasion. The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) says in its suit that Estama has not paid taxes on the Sh800 million it was paid for supplying mobile clinics to the Ministry of Health, but has since moved some of the money to secret offshore bank accounts. KRA alleges that Estama Investments has been suspiciously moving funds received from the controversial Ministry of Health tender without meeting its tax obligations.
Uchumi accuses group of lying in Nairobi prime land dispute: Uchumi Supermarkets has accused self-help group Njathaini Electricity Project of tricking the High Court into barring the retail chain from a disputed 20-acre piece of prime land by posing as squatters. The retail chain says in fresh court filings that Njathaini Electricity Project lied to Justice George Odunga that they have been squatters on land in Roysambu for more than 30 years, a move that saw the judge issue an order restraining Uchumi from the property. Mr Justice Odunga in December ordered the OCS of Kasarani police station to ensure that Uchumi observed his order. But Uchumi through its land holding subsidiary Kasarani Mall Limited now says another two orders order had been issued in 2011 by the High Court barring Njathaini Electricity Project’s members from the land.
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