The election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to determine the successor to the incumbent president Joseph Kabila was originally scheduled for 27 November 2016. However, it was delayed, with the promise that the election would be held by the end of 2017 – which also did not pan out. According to the constitution, this means that President Kabila’s second and final term expired on 20 December 2016.
The election delays have triggered unrest and raised fears that the central African nation could slip back into the conflict that saw millions killed around the turn of the century, mostly by hunger and disease. President Kabila is on record as saying that the delays were due to problems with registering millions of voters across the vast, forested country. However, opponents say that he is using the delays to eventually remove any set term limits that prevent him from standing again, as presidents in neighbouring Rwanda and the Republic of the Congo have done.
The election is now scheduled for 23 December 2018, and results will be published on 9 January 2019. The president will be sworn in on 13 January 2019. This is what Jean Pierre Kalamba of the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) told a news conference in Kinshasa at the end of 2017.
The United Nations has asked international donors to contribute US$123 million to support presidential, legislative and local elections over the next two years, the total cost of which is expected to run into more than US$1 billion. Following the delays, the international community has been agitating for the polls to happen on schedule, threatening to revoke this solicited support if they did not. Now the escalation has increased to include the cost and mode of the election.
Losing international support
The United States and European countries have expressed concern about the electoral commission’s plans to use 100 000 new electronic voting machines, saying the system is untested and could allow fraud. In fact, US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, went a step further to warn the Congolese authorities to use paper ballots or lose American support for the poll all together. The withdrawal of US support would cause a domino effect and lose the country the support of a large chunk of the international community.
In a surprising move, the DRC has responded to the pressure by releasing a statement that it would refuse international financing for the long-delayed presidential election and fund the poll itself, saying that donors’ conditions amounted to “foreign interference”.
Government spokesman Lambert Mende told Reuters that the donors’ conditions amounted to meddling in Congo’s sovereign affairs and urged them to direct their contributions to other sectors, such as healthcare and education.
“No country in the world accepts foreign interference in a process that is an exercise of sovereignty,” Mende said.
Mende elaborated that the government’s decision to reject the aid was prompted in part by an upturn in government revenue from its mining sector, which will help finance the polls.
Kenyans To Stop Using National IDs and Replace with Huduma Number.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has announced that the government will phase out current National Identification cards by December 12, 2021.
The ICT CS has also added that the IDs will be replaced by Huduma Number where they will start to be issued on December 1, 2020.
The Cabinet Secretary was speaking in Machakos County during the commencement of issuance and distribution of Huduma Namba cards where the CS also stated that countrywide issuance of the Huduma Cards will commence on December 1, 2020.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta were handed samples of the new Huduma Number cards during the 11th Mashujaa Day, at the Gusii Stadium in Kisii County. The cards were handed over to the President and First Lady by Attorney General Paul Kihara.
The Huduma Namba is expected to aggregate various government information sets ranging from NHIF, NSSF, birth details, driving license, KRA information, among others.
Children below the age of 18 will receive the Minors Huduma Namba Card while newborns will be required to be registered within 90 days after they are born and receive the cards upon attaining 6 years old where they will use it to enroll in school.
At time, the government had held it was ready to roll out the issuance of the cards but was awaiting the National Assembly to approve the appointment of a data commissioner, Immaculate Kassait. The former IEBC Director, Kassait was sworn in on Monday, November 16.
Kenyan MPs Want Emergency Helicopters For Medical Evacuation.
Following the death of Matungu MP Justus Murunga, which was blamed on the lack of oxygen in local hospitals, Members of Parliament have now demanded the house leadership to facilitate them with helicopters for evacuation in case of a medical emergency.
Hon. Justus Murungu collapsed on Saturday evening at his home in what was suspected to be Covid-19 complications after developing breathing difficulties.
The late MP was rushed to Matungu Sub-county Hospital in Kakamega County, where he was referred to St Mary’s Mission Hospital as he could not be admitted in the facility due to lack of oxygen. His conditioned worsened and succumbed while shuttling between the two facilities.
On Tuesday November 17, the National Assembly eulogised their colleague saying he could have survived had he received better healthcare promptly. Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi said, “We are requesting and I have managed to talk to the Clerk of the National Assembly about this, that we be given a hotline number to helicopter services just in case.”
The MPs also pushed for suspension of hotel committee meetings to prevent spread of Covid-19 among MPs and that all meetings should be done within the Parliament premises as the rooms are sanitised regularly and observed by Ministry of Health officials.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru Faces Eviction Over Ksh 44 Million Rent Arrears.
Governor Anne Waiguru is fighting eviction from Ksh 80 Million Kitusuru House where she claims to be the rightful owner of the home.
The county boss on February went to court to challenge eviction notice from the landlord arguing she bought the house. Waiguru claims that she paid Ksh 40 million in cash for the house and had an agreement with a local bank to cover the balance of Ksh 40 million through a mortgage.
In the eviction notice, Kihingo Village Ltd, the developer inked a sale deal in September 2015 and asked Anne Waiguru to pay Ksh 80 million or vacate the property by February 29.
The former Devolution Cabinet Secretary claims Kihingo Village Ltd doesn’t have any right to evict her as she is the owner and not a tenant.
The developer has denied receiving payment from the governor saying she is a tenant and not the owner. The developer also claims the Governor has not paid rent for the last five years.
Kihingo Village Ltd, which is owned by ex-Tetu MP James Ndung’u Gethenji and his brother Gitahi Gethenji, wants Waiguru’s assets seized by auctioneers to pay for the rent accrued.
Justice Elijah Obaga issued temporary orders against the eviction and ordered the two parties to solve the rent dispute among themselves. Governor Waiguru through her lawyers has asked the court for permanent orders to halt the eviction.
The hearing has been scheduled for February 2021.
Senators Reach Consensus To Approve Third Basis Revenue Sharing Formula.
On Thursday, September 17, Senators unanimously voted to approve the third basis for sharing revenue among counties after a record 10 failed attempts to reach a consensus. All the 41 senators present in the House on the afternoon session voted to approve the formula.
From the proposed formula, no county loses revenue allocation.
“The motion for approval of the Third Basis Formula for Revenue Allocation among County Governments has be carried. The Ayes 41, Abstention 0, Nays 0,” Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka announced.
The Moses Wetangula and Johnstone Sakaja chaired 12 member committee that was tasked with a win-win formula had reached a consensus on the formula and briefed the rest of the house before the official sitting.
The proposed formula takes into account eight parameters; Basic share (20%), Population (18%), Health (17%), Poverty Level (14%), Agriculture (10%), Roads (8%), Land (8%) and Urban (5%).
In the new formula, Nairobi is the gains the highest amount with Ksh 3.3 billion. This will push it’s total allocation to Ksh 19 billion. Nakuru gains Ksh 2.5 billion, Kiambu Ksh 2.2 billion, Turkana Ksh 2 billion and Kakamega Ksh 1.9 billion. Tharaka Nithi is gaining the least amount of Ksh 289 million.
The Council of Governors through its Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega Governor) released a statement making a treat to shutdown operations in the counties stating it had been occasioned by lack of resources after senators failed to agree on the revenue sharing formula.
Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi To Remain Behind Bars For Seven More Days.
Oscar Kipchumba Sudi appeared before Nakuru Chief Magistrate Josephat Kalu on Wednesday, where he is charged with hate speech, offensive conduct, resisting arrest, being in unlawful possession of a firearm and assault of a police officer.
The legislator will now remain in police custody for 7 more days pending completion of investigations into allegations against him.
Sudi had already spent two days behind bars at the Nakuru Central police station pending a bail application ruling.
Before his arrest, the Kapseret MP insisted he had insulted no one and would not apologise.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and the police who are the prosecutors made an application in court seeking to hold Sudi for 14 days to conclude investigation. The prosecution said the MP is a flight risk having failed to surrender himself soon after he learnt he was being sought by the police. These claims were opposed by the accused lawyers who include Gladys Shollei(Uasin Gishu Women Representative) and Kipkoech Ng’etich.
Some leaders came to show solidarity with Sudi at the Nakuru law Courts. The leaders present included Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, MPs Kimani Ngunjiri, Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), William Cheptumo (Baringo North), Charles Kamuren (Baringo south) and Caleb Kositany (Soi).
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