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Rwanda: Latest Court Hearing Reveals Details on Arrest of Rusesabagina
March 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti

 Paul Rusesabagina says he was kidnapped and under illegal detention
Paul Rusesabagina says he was kidnapped and under illegal detention

As 21 terror suspects belonging to MRCD-FLN appeared before the Higher Court Special Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes on Friday Paul Rusesabagina presented again an objection that ‘he was kidnapped and was illegally being detained.

Rusesabagina who is considered the prime terror suspect having been the leader of the MRCD outfit that formed FLN army wing was accompanied by one of his two lawyers Felix Rudakemwa.

Rusesabagina says that he is a Belgian with Rwanda origin and that he denounced Rwandan citizenship.

He previously challenged Rwandan courts legal jurisdiction to try him of any crime but the court ruled against his objection citing he allegedly committed crimes on Rwandan soil and it had the power to try him regardless of his Belgian nationality by Naturalisation

He faces nine crimes including the formation of an irregular armed group, membership of a terrorist group, financing terrorism, murder as an act of terrorism, abduction as an act of terrorism, and armed robbery as an act of terrorism.

In yesterday’s hearing, Rusesabagina’s objection was rejected again with the prosecution saying he legally came to Rwanda and was facilitated by his friend, ‘Bishop’ Consitatin Niwemwungere who Burundian and  a Belgian by Naturalization.

The prosecution prayed for the court to first listen to Niwemwungere on how and why he facilitated Rusesabagina’s arrival in Kigali saying it could be very important to justify the groundless of his objection.

The court okayed it. Niwemwungere was present in the court and, clad in a black suit with a clergy collar, he took the stage.

Efforts to meet Burundian authorities over terror plans

He said he first met Rusesabagina in 2017 when a mutual friend brought them together. They befriended as well.

Later Rusesabagina told Niwemwungere that he was a Politian and a founder of MRCD political party with FLN army group.

“He asked me to link him up with Burundian authorities,” he told the court.

He went on telling the court that he linked Rusesabagina up with an official from Burundian Embassy in Belgium.

The court heard that Rusesabagina wanted to meet Burundian authorities to discuss ways to use Burundi as a base for FLN army group to attack Rwanda and any other support the country could offer.

In several instances, FLN attacked Rwanda from Burundi through Nyungwe forest and it killed innocent lives where at least nine people were killed, others injured while properties were destroyed.

 Niyomwungere was shocked when heard on the radio that MRCD-FLN carried out armed attacks in Rwanda and that innocent lives had lost.

“I asked Rusesabagina whether it was true and he admitted the reports. He told me that he was not bothered by innocent lives that succumbed to his militia group’s attacks, but rather, the fact that it claimed responsibility,” he said.

By then, FLN’s spokesperson was Callixte Nsabimana also known as Sankara and he told the media that FLN was behind the attacks. NSabimana is also in the same court.

  “As a bishop, I was shocked and regretted being connected to such a person,” he said.

Messages intercepted

The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) had been kin to follow up Rusesabagina and Niwemwungere’s exchanges and recorded it all.

And when ‘Bishop’ Niwemwungeri came to Rwanda for work-related purposes, he was called by RIB agent who interrogated him and informed him that the investigation bureau had convincing evidence he was collaborating with Rusesabagina and planned to attack Rwanda.

 “The officer among others showed me images of people who succumbed to FLN’s attacks and victims of the atrocities. I allowed to cooperate with RIB and bring Rusesabagina to justice.” He said.

Among the intercepted messages, there was one requesting Niwemwungeri to accompany Rusesabagina to Burundi to meet Burundian officials and his army group there.

I agreed to cooperate  

It was not until when Niwemwungere realized that all the steps and attempts with Rusesabagina were known that he decided to cooperate with the Rwandan Investigation Bureau agents to bring Rusesabagina to Rwanda for him to face justice.

Niyomwungere said that they talked when he was in Kenya while Rusesabagina was in the United States.

But the terror suspect proposed him to pass through Dubai before boarding another plane to Burundi. Rusesabagina was aware of pending arrest warrant against him and feared using either European or African route.

“He found me in Dubai, and I had told him that there was a private jet that would take us to our destination-Burundi,” he noted.

Niyomwungere said he lied to Rusesabagina about the jet’s destination so as to get him apprehended but the rest in the plane news they were going to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

“When the plane landed in Rwanda, we disembarked and found RIB officers waiting for us, Rusesabagina was immediately handed an arrest warrant,” he added.

However, Rusesabagina and his lawyer rejected the bishop’s statements saying it was not founded and prayed to the court to consider their objection of the alleged kidnapping.

Meanwhile, Rusesabagina’s co-accused have asked the court to look at ways to proceed with the hearing taking into account that all the suspects were equal before the court.

They said Rusesabagina and his lawyers were intentionally delaying the court.

 “There have been three hearings and all have rotated around one suspect; Rusesabagina. The court should pronounce itself on a clear roadmap of the trial and should penalize whoever wants to deviate,” Moise Nkundabarashi, the lawyer of Nsabimana,

Presiding Judge Antoine Muhima adjourned the case to March 10 at 2 pm, when the court will deliver a ruling on the objection.

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RDC : Samy Badibanga, 1er vice président du sénat, démissionne
March 5, 2021 | 0 Comments

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your PR reach, industry news, and competitive activity by monitoring most channels in North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Comprehensive and timely media monitoring is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss any reporting of your brand,
you’re constantly informed on what’s going on around your business, and you’re ready to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate
risks in a timely fashion..

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Reckya Modougou, Benin’s presidential opposition party leader, ambushed and arrested
March 4, 2021 | 0 Comments
Reckya Madougou
Reckya Madougou

Porto-Novo, Benin – Today, Ms. Reckya Madougou, the leader of Benin’s largest opposition party and first female presidential candidate for a major party, was ambushed in the capital city of Porto-Novo.

Despite an immense crowd that tried to form a human shield for protection, Madougou was illegally arrested by military forces directed by President Patrice Talon. This order is part of his escalating effort to undermine democracy in Benin.

The ambush also targeted other opposition candidates meeting in the capital, including Joel “The Professor” Aivo and Moise Kerekou, son of President Mathieu Kerekou. Both opposition leaders were able to escape.

This is another glaring example of the erosion of democracy and democratic norms in Benin under the autocratic rule of President Talon.

We call on the international community to condemn President Talon’s disregard for due process and demand Madougou’s immediate release.

Madougou is to appear at the prosecutor’s office tonight. We are calling on all Benin citizens to rally around her by appearing at the office of the prosecutor in peaceful solidarity. Benin’s democratic goals cannot be undermined by President Talon’s strongman tactics.

*Press Statement by Renaud Agbodjo, Esq. Reckya Madougou’s Campaign Team

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Réunion du bureau de l’UA, Tshisekedi et Macron/Coronavirus : Les indicateurs sont au vert pour l’Afrique en pleine 2ème vague
March 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

Félix Tshisekedi

Le président en exercice de l’Union Africaine, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo a présidé hier mercredi une réunion, par visioconférence, du bureau de la Commission de l’Union Africaine avec la participation du président de la France, Emmanuel Macron. Le tableau épidémiologique peint a indiqué une amélioration s’agissant de la 2è vague de coronavirus sur le continent noir. C’est ce qu’a annoncé une communication de la présidence de la République, ce mercredi 3 mars.

Cette réunion virtuelle axée essentiellement sur la gestion de la Covid-19 en Afrique, a connu plusieurs interventions notamment celles du président de la Commission de l’UA, Moussa Faki Mahamat, du Directeur de Africa CDC et du président Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo.

Après ces différentes interventions, un échange a eu lieu.
Le Directeur de Africa CDC, John Nkengasong a dressé le tableau épidémiologique du continent africain.

Le président africain, Cyril Ramaphosa a fait part des efforts entrepris par cette organisation régionale en matière de prévention contre cette pandémie mondiale. 

Il a été noté également que plusieurs pays africains ont déjà souscrit à la vaccination de leurs populations contre la Covid-19. 1,7 millions de doses de vaccination sont arrivées depuis le mardi 2 mars à Kinshasa. La vaccination sera lancée le vendredi 12 mars.

C’est depuis le 10 mars 2020 que la pandémie de coronavirus sévit en RDC.
Le couvre-feu relatif à la 2è vague est instauré depuis le 18 décembre pour tenter de couper les chaînes de contamination de ce virus qui a vu le jour en Asie (Chine) à Wuhan en novembre 2019.

Gloire BATOMENE

L’article Réunion du bureau de l’UA, Tshisekedi et Macron/Coronavirus : Les indicateurs sont au vert pour l’Afrique en pleine 2ème vague est apparu en premier sur Matininfos.NET – Information de la RDC en toute impartialité.

Source: Matininfos

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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RDC/Sénat : Voici la liste des nouveaux membres du Bureau définitif
March 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

We measure and report on
your PR reach, industry news, and competitive activity by monitoring most channels in North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Comprehensive and timely media monitoring is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss any reporting of your brand,
you’re constantly informed on what’s going on around your business, and you’re ready to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate
risks in a timely fashion..

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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RDC : Ne Mwanda Nsemi veut aussi faire parti du gouvernement
March 1, 2021 | 0 Comments

MWANDA-NSEMI

Tout le monde qui est consulté par le nouveau premier ministre veut en tout cas faire parti du gouvernement. Chacun évoque une raison qui ferait en sorte qu il figure dans le nouveau gouvernement de Sama Lukonde.

Et le leader de Mbudu Dia mayala n est pas en reste. Consulté ce lundi 1 er mars, Zacharie Badiengila alias Ne Mwanda Nsemi a indiqué son souci de faire aussi parti de ce nouveau gouvernement de l union sacrée.

« Nous avons dit au Premier ministre notre intention de faire partie de son gouvernement », a souligné ce député honoraire, après échange avec Sama Lukonde.

Le visionnaire de la secte mystico religieuse justifie sa présence dans le nouveau gouvernement par le combat qu il a mené à sa manière pour mettre fin à « la dictature qui a gangrené ce pays pendant 19 ans ». Cette dictature n a pas seulement été combattue par l’UDPS mais aussi et surtout par son parti, Mbudu Dia mayala, a t il martelé.

Le Premier ministre est un ancien collègue député avec qui nous étions à l’Assemblée nationale. Nous nous connaissons depuis longtemps », a conclu Zacharie Badiengila, au sortir de cette consultation.

Selon les informations dignes de foi, le nouveau gouvernement est attendu avant la session de Mars du parlement.

PB

L’article RDC : Ne Mwanda Nsemi veut aussi faire parti du gouvernement est apparu en premier sur Matininfos.NET – Information de la RDC en toute impartialité.

Source: Matininfos

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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RDC : La campagne électorale des candidats au bureau du sénat démarre ce dimanche
February 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

Sénat RDC

Selon le calendrier publié par le bureau d’âge, les élections des membres du bureau définitif du sénat sont prévues pour le mardi 02 Mars. Dans l’entretemps, la campagne électorale commence ce dimanche pour les 17 candidats enregistrés et validés par le bureau d âge.

Parmi ces candidatures, Modeste Bahati qui va briguer au poste de président du sénat en remplacement de Alexis Thambwe Mwamba, qui a démissionné comme les autres membres de son bureau.

Seul Samy Badibanga conserve son poste de premier vice président du sénat comme du temps de Alexis Thambwe Mwamba.

Aujourd’hui, les 17 candidats qui cherchent à être élu et occuper les 6 postes laissés vacants vont donc se déployer pour montrer à leurs pairs, qu’ils méritent ces postes.

Qu’à cela ne tienne, le ticket de l’union sacrée va favori.

PB

L’article RDC : La campagne électorale des candidats au bureau du sénat démarre ce dimanche est apparu en premier sur Matininfos.NET – Information de la RDC en toute impartialité.

Source: Matininfos

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Rwanda:Court claims juridical competence to try Rusesabagina
February 26, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti 

File photo Mr Rusesabagina presented by the Rwandan authorities to the media The court says it will proceed with his trial. Photo Clement Uwiringiyimana/Reuters

The Nyanza based High Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes has said it would proceed with the trial of the terror suspect Paul Rusesabagina stressing that it had jurisdiction to try a suspect who committed crimes on Rwandan territory regardless the citizenship.

The hearing resumed this Friday 26, February 2021 after the court had been adjourned early this month when the prime suspect said he was a Belgian not Rwandan challenging the judicial competence of Rwandan court to try him, but rather sought the transfer to Belgium for trial should he be accused of any crime.

While the court is based in the Southern Province’s Nyanza district, the hearing is being held in the country’s capital city of Kigali, precisely in the Supreme Court’s premises to accommodate more people.

In today’s hearing, the courtroom packed though they respected guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as wearing facemasks and respected social distancing.

The hearing was covered by both local and international journalists and attended with different people including representatives from foreign countries.

Rusesabagina is one of 21 terror suspects all members of the National Liberation Front (FLN) who allegedly committed various crimes in Rwanda between 2028-2019 and at least claimed lives of nine people.

FLN is the army wing of the political outfit Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) in French Acronym whose leader and founder is Rusesabagina.

He faces nine crimes including the formation of an irregular armed group, membership of a terrorist group, financing terrorism, murder as an act of terrorism, abduction as an act of terrorism, and armed robbery as an act of terrorism.

The prosecution alleges that Rusesabagina’s MRCD through its armed wing, FLN launched the attacks in Rwanda’s Southern Province through Nyungwe forests and killed civilians injured others, and committed other crimes.

In the same case, eight-four people filed cases claiming for reparation. All the suspects were present along with their lawyers.

Cross border crimes

Judges in theHigh Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes said it decided to try Rusesabagina whether he is a Rwanda or a foreigner because he allegedly committed crimes on Rwandan territory. He will therefore be tried among with his co-accused.

According to the presiding judge Antoine Muhima, the court has analyzed Rusesabagina’s objection and rendered it baseless as the crimes he is accused of were committed on Rwandan soil and the Rwandan law on trans-border crimes grants the court he presented the rights to try crimes in that nature.

“If the alleged crimes took place on Rwandan soil, this chamber has the jurisdiction to try them whether the accused is a Rwandan or a foreigner,” he said.

No sooner had the judge pronounced the decision on the jurisdictions of the court to try Rusesabagina and order the hearing to continue than Rusesabagina and his lawyers appealed against the decision.

Lawyer Gatera Gashabana  told the court that his client would appeal both the jurisdictional decision and present objections.

He prayed for the court to avail more time for him and his client to make their submissions on further objections before the case could proceed.

 “We would therefore pray for the court that this hearing be adjourned to allow us time to do that, I believe it is within the rights of our client to present this obstacle before we can proceed.,” he said Gashabana who was also flanked with the second lawyer to defend.

Both the prosecution, headed by Deputy Prosecutor General Angelique Habyarimana alleged there was no reason for the court to adjourn this case because all necessary submissions had been filed and duly responded.

However, lawyer Gashabana said there were news submissions and insisted that his client be given the rights to sit and agree on the submissions they could present to the court.

The judge ruled in favour of the suspect and gave Rusesabagina five days to submit his objection through the electronic case management system.

He adjourned the hearing to March 3, 2021.

Two Generals seek bail

Meanwhile, the hearing continued with the rest of the suspects.

Two former generals of DR Congo based Democratic Forces for Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and allegedly left the outfit to join FLN-MRCD.

They include  Maj Gen Felicien Nsanzubukire and Maj Gen Anastase Munyaneza and were also present in the court with their lawyers.

The prosecution accuses them of a number of terror-related charges.

The court heard that Nsanzubukire features on a sanction list by the UN court Security Council over atrocity he allegedly committed while he acted as one of the commanders of FDLR.

The duo’s lawyer Herman Twajamahoro prayed for the court to grant bail to his clients saying that there were so cooperative since their capture in the FARDC’s DR Congo army operations fight FDRL.

He also said that one of his clients was critically sick and needed medical attention insisting that both suspects can be given bail and be tried while out.

He adjourned the hearing to March 3, 2021.

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Kenya’s opposition party extends the deadline for presidential applications
February 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Raila Odinga
Raila Odinga

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Kenya’s main opposition party, has pushed forward the deadline for submitting the presidential candidate applications.

The exercise, which was expected to end on February 26 will now go on until March 31, 2021, the party’s National Elections Board chairperson Catherine Mumma announced on Thursday.

“Further to the notice of the National Elections Board (NEB) of January 21, 2021, calling for the submission of applications by individuals interested in consideration as the ODM party presidential candidate for the 2022 general elections, this is to extend the deadline for the submission of applications from February 26, 2021, to 31st march 2021,” read the statement.

In January 2021, Raila Odinga’s party invited candidates interested in flying ODM’s flag in the 2022 presidential polls to apply.

Aspirants must be Kenyan citizens and a degree holder from a recognized university. He or she must also be a registered voter and a life member of the party.

They are also required to pay ksh1 million (approximately US$10,000) non-refundable application fees.

The application forms can be sourced from the party headquarters in Nairobi or downloaded from the party’s website.

Only the outgoing Mombasa Governor and the deputy party leader Ali Hassan Joho have submitted his applications.

Others expected to send their applications are Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and the party leader Raila Odinga.

The former Prime Minister has been the party’s presidential candidate in the last three general elections.

The Orange party recently dismissed calls by former Raila’s allies asking to be endorsed by the African Union envoy.

The former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka and his Amani National Congress (ANC) counterpart Musalia were allegedly waiting for the opposition Chief’s endorsement because they had supported him in previous elections.

In a statement to the newsroom, the ODM national chairman John Mbadi ruled out any possibility of Raila endorsing any of the Nasa coalition principals-Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, and Moses Wetang’ula.

While referring to Raila’s  2018 mock swearing-in as the People’s president, which the trio boycotted, Mbadi described the trio as incoherent cowards who depend on endorsements but cannot stand to be counted.

“As a party, we will strongly discourage Hon. Odinga from doing so. We encourage Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang’ula, and Musalia Mudavadi to stop whining and be men for once in their political careers,” said Mbadi.

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Kenya:Youths vow to shut down the BBI as the Bill overshoot threshold in County Assemblies
February 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

A section of youths have disclosed that they will vote against the Building Bridge Initiative (Amendment) Bill 2020.

The youths allied to the deputy president William Ruto said their decision to oppose the document was arrived at after realizing that the document has nothing to offer to young people and ordinary citizens.

They described the BBI as the document by politicians for politicians.

Their reactions came just a few hours after the Bill surpassed the 24 county threshold.

As of noon on Tuesday, 28 Counties had voted for the BBI constitutional amendment bill, and more were expected to endorse it.

The 16 counties gave the document the green light on Tuesday morning. They included Mombasa, Kakamega, Makueni, Narok, Nakuru, Kirinyaga, Taita Taveta, Nyamira, and Bungoma. Others are Machakos, Kitui, Lamu, Garissa, Murang’a, Nyeri, and Nyandarua.

They joined Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Busia, Vihiga, Trans Nzoia, Nairobi, Kisii, West Pokot, Kajiado, Laikipia, and Samburu that had already voted for the document, paving the way for the Bill to be introduced to the National and Assembly the Senate. So far, only Baringo County has opposed the Bill.

The news of the Bill being approved by the County assemblies did not move the youths who claimed the government had sidelined them when it comes to state appointments. They alleged the ward representatives were coerced and bribed to support BBI.

“After bribing them with a car grant, let’s see if ul manage to bribe over 20million voters at the ballot. All in all, we will have the final say,” said Erick Hassan Ogutu.

“How foolish…they have dealt with a few puppets. How shameful will it be after being rejected by the great people of Kenya,” reiterated Wachira Freddie.

“Approving to get car grants at the expense of 47 million Kenyans. History will judge us harshly,” reacted Mugai Ian.

Plans to have countrywide tours to sell the referendum message to citizens are underway, said the BBI secretariat.

“From March 1, we are rolling out countrywide tours to take BBI to the people. With all the signs that the assemblies will pass the document by a big number, we will be rolling out grand plans to tell the people what is in the document and counter any propaganda out there,” the Nation quoted Junet Mohamed, the BBI secretariat co-chairman.

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NYCFPA STATEMENT THE VIOLATIONS OF BASIC DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS AND POLITICAL UREST IN BENIN
February 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

President Talon is smiling to a second term unopposed as Benin’s ongoing democratic backsliding reached another tragic milestone when the Electoral Commission announced its exclusion of all opposition candidates from the upcoming presidential election scheduled for April. 

WASHINGTON, DC [19 FEB 2021] – The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) is deeply troubled about the recent decision of the National Electoral Commission of Benin (CENA) to exclude all opposition candidates from the upcoming presidential election in Benin. It is concerning that the country’s ongoing removal of basic democratic rights will lead to another electoral crisis and civil unrest in the country, thus undermining the region’s stability and security.

This West African country, once dubbed the cradle of democracy in Africa, has experienced the fastest deterioration in political civil liberties, democratic rights and freedom of the press in Africa according to several organizations familiar with the situation. 

On Friday, February 12, 2021, Benin’s ongoing democratic backsliding reached another tragic milestone when the Electoral Commission announced its exclusion of all opposition candidates from the upcoming presidential election scheduled for April. The exclusion appears to focus on Les Démocrates…the largest opposition party in the country…and their candidate, Reckya Madougou (the first female candidate of any major party in the country). We note that in addition to President Talon’s candidacy, only two other candidates are allowed to run. Unfortunately, our organization notes that these candidates are handpicked, groomed, and financed by President Talon and his party.

The dereliction of duty of the central government in Benin has single-handedly sparked another electoral crisis that could lead to civil unrest in the country if nothing is done to prevent it. 

Until 2016, Benin had been regarded as one of the United States’ most stable and strategic partners in the region.   It is our belief that another electoral crisis or civil unrest in the country, will empower and expand extremist groups like Boko Haram, AQMI, and ISIS, in the region. We believe that any instability of a political or civil nature will undermine the democratic ideals of the people of Benin as well as harm U.S. interests in West Africa. We must remind our allies during the darkest of times that we as a nation are willing and able to advocate alongside them in their fight for democracy.

Justin Russell, the NYCFPA’s Principal Director, states, “We expresses our most profound concern about the egregious attacks on the democratic process, the rule of law, and basic human rights in Benin. We call on President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and the United States Congress to demand that the Benin government immediately organize a national dialogue with all stakeholders in order to guarantee an inclusive, transparent, free, fair, and trustworthy election. Only a fair and free election…and the re-establishment of democratic rights… will prevent any civil unrest that could further destabilize the region.”

*Source The New York Center For Foreign Policy Affairs. The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) is a policy, research, and educational organization headquartered in New York State with an office in Washington D.C. NYCFPA is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, institution devoted to conducting in-depth research and analysis on every aspect of American foreign policy and its impact around the world. 

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Kenya: Ruto’s hurdles ahead of 2022 polls
February 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Down but not out Deputy President Ruto is showing no signs of abandoning his Presidential ambitions.Photo courtesy
Down but not out Deputy President Ruto is showing no signs of abandoning his Presidential ambitions .Photo courtesy

Kenya heads towards critical elections in 2022, and many candidates have already expressed their interests in the country’s top seat led by Deputy President William Ruto. With 2022 drawing closer, political realignments and new parties’ formation have begun at very high gear.

So far, more than ten candidates have announced their presidential bids, and the number might increase with time. The latest to join the race is Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and his Mombasa counterpart Hassan Joho of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party headed by the AU envoy Raila Odinga. The duo whose terms as Governor expire next year are deputizing Odinga. Oparanya and Joho seek the ODM ticket in a battle that will pit them against their boss to get a strong candidate to face Ruto.

“I will submit my nomination papers to seek the ODM ticket for the 2022 presidential race,” Oparanya told the Star.

The bold decision taken by the two county bosses was preceded by the ODM’s earlier announcement inviting applicants interested in vying for the 2022 presidential election of the party’s ticket to submit their applications latest on February 26, 2021. The Elections Board Chairperson Catherine Muyeka Mumma, in an advert on a local daily, said that each candidate must pay a ksh 1 million (approximately 10,000 USD) non-refundable fee. The applicants must also meet t the minimum requirements of presidential candidates as set out by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

“Pursuant to  the resolution of the party’s Central Committee on the need for early preparations towards the 2022 General Elections and guided by The Constitution of Kenya, 2010, The  Elections Act, 2011, The Political Parties Act, 2011, The Elections (General) Regulations, 2012, The ODM Constitution and The ODM party  National Elections and Nomination Rules, the National Elections Board (NEB) hereby gives notice to party members who are interested in vying for the 2022 presidential elections on the ODM party ticket to declare their interest by submitting their applications to the NEB, “ read the part of the advert.

Other candidates include former vice presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi, Governors Alfred Mutua and Kivutha Kibwana, Senators Gideon Moi and Moses Wetangla, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Mukhisa Kituyi, and former minister Mwangi Kiunjuri.

From friends to foes, relations between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto have soured
From friends to foes, relations between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto have soured

Between now and next year, Kenyans are set to witness the birth of new political parties and alliances and party-hopping as leaders try to find out a political vehicle that will drive them to power. Reports from the Registrar of Political Parties’ office show that many people are tendering their resignation from one party and move to another.

“We do have an increase in people changing parties. People resign from one party and join another every day. Resignations are all over now, maybe because of the several by-elections that have been scheduled by the IEBC,” said the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu.

The ruling party’s ongoing battles, Jubilee, have seen the formation of a new political outfit, namely the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) associated with the deputy president. Even though the second in command has not personally come out and identify himself with the new party, his allies several times have hinted that the party is the chosen bus that will drive their boss to the presidency. Ruto’s allies are somehow correct because the outfit is associated with the Hustler Nation slogan, along with the Wheelbarrow Movement that Ruto has been popularising across the country.

 “We formed Jubilee but to our dismay, we are humiliated and derided. We no longer have a say in it. In UDA which is an affiliate to Jubilee, we have a home that can help us ascend to power. There is an option now for us who have a difference of opinion regarding the operations of the Jubilee party. UDA has now gained traction across the country and we shall use it for shelter,” reiterated MP Caleb Kositany.

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA), formerly the Party of Development and Reform (PDR), will be launched soon, followed by the election of officials from the grassroots to the national level, according to the party’s chairman Johnson Muthama.

“We have succeeded in changing the name and already have our headquarters. Now we are in Phase Two where we are set to open offices in all the sub-counties and county headquarters. From there, we will elect officials in all our branches to the top leadership. This is the party by the hustlers and for the hustlers and we want them to own and be part of every step and process of the decision-making in the party,” said Muthama.

The country’s political atmosphere is already tensed as the presidential hopefuls engage in a bitter exchange of words. Recently, Kalonzo and Ruto locked horns over land grabbing claims. Ruto had accused the former of grabbing land belonging to the National Youth Service in Yatta, Machakos County. Kalonzo instead turned guns on the deputy president, accusing him of all manner of ills, and ended up branding him the chief land grabber. Addressing the press in Nairobi on January 19, 2021, the former vice president termed Ruto’s claims wild and desperate propaganda and challenged him to subject himself to lifestyle audit and investigations.

Prior, Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress Party (ANC) had asked Ruto to resign or face impeachment over his constant attack on the president. Ayub Savula, an ANC deputy party leader, threatened to rally lawmakers to ouster Ruto for allegedly disrespecting President Uhuru Kenyatta. Ruto, allies in rejoinder, described Mudavadi and his party as confused, asking them to keep off the Jubilee party’s affairs.

“Who is supposed to complain? Is it ANC or members of Jubilee? That is a sign of a confused party,” said former National Assembly Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali.

Moreover, Ruto’s claims that Raila should take responsibility for the government’s failures to meet the development plan due to a famous handshake has put him under fire from the opposition chief.  Raila criticized him over Jubilee’s unfulfilled promises labeling him “Mr. Six months.”

Ruto in a handshake with opposition leader Raila Odinga while President Kenyatta looks on.Both men are frontline candidates to succeed Kenyatta when his second and last mandate ends. Photo courtesy
Ruto in a handshake with opposition leader Raila Odinga while President Kenyatta looks on.Both men are frontline candidates to succeed Kenyatta when his second and last mandate ends. Photo courtesy

“Mr Six months! The youngsters you promised laptops eight years ago are now old enough to see through your lies. The youth you promised eight million jobs in eight yrs can see through the wheelbarrow lie you are now peddling. It has been eight yrs Mr Six months and not three years. No Mr Six months!”

“There are people like ‘Mr. Six Months Time’, In six months time we shall give all children in schools laptops, in six months time we shall give one million jobs to our youth, in six months we shall build 47 modern stadia, in six months we shall build tarmacked roads,” said Raila.

President Kenyatta had indicated that he would prefer a person from an ethnic community other than any of the two that have produced the country’s past presidents to succeed him. Many leaders welcomed his statement except those in Ruto’s camp. Ruto hails from the Kalenjin community, which produced a long-serving head of state in Kenya’s political history. The late Daniel Moi served for 24 years before retiring in 2022.

*Culled from February Issue of PAV Magazine

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