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Kenya

Kenyan Election Cancelled

On September 1st 2017, the Supreme Court of Kenya gave its verdict on the petition filed by the NASA Coalition Presidential candidate, Mr Raila Odinga, disputing the declared results of the August 8th presidential elections. 

The six judges, led by Chief Justice David Maraga, ruled by 4 votes to 2 that the elections were not properly conducted and that the declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner was invalid, null and void. 

CJ Maraga noted in the summarised ruling that elections are a process, and not an event, and that the election process had been marred by irregularities and illegalities. 

The court ruled that the IEBC “failed, neglected, or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the Constitution” and applicable laws.

The court declared that the IEBC committed irregularities and illegalities in, among other things, the transmission of results.

The court also found that these irregularities and illegalities affected the integrity of the entire Presidential Election.

The court ordered the IEBC to conduct fresh elections in strict compliance with applicable laws, within 60 days as provided for in the Constitution.

The ruling shocked most of the country. This is the first time in Africa that a court has nullified the re-election of a sitting President. 

Raila Odinga and NASA supporters were delighted. 

President Kenyatta gave an official statement that though he disagreed with the ruling, he would respect it. However, speaking at various rallies afterwards, the President said that CJ Maraga and his ‘wakora’ (thugs or crooks) had nullified his re-election. He and other Jubilee supporters accused the Supreme Court judges of overturning the will of the people, of colluding with the NASA coalition and also of staging a judicial coup. The President and his Deputy – Mr William Ruto – said they would deal with the Judiciary and they would revisit the matter after the fresh elections. Jubilee repeatedly said that the Court should have ordered a recount of the ballots instead of calling for fresh elections.

Mr Odinga and the NASA coalition demanded that the IEBC, that the court stated had not conducted the elections properly, should be reconstituted before the new elections. NASA named specific officials that they said should be removed from the Commission. Jubilee responded that if the IEBC officials are removed, then the Supreme Court judges would be removed too (though this is not a simple process).

The IEBC Chairman, Mr Wafula Chebukati, invited the Director of Public Prosecution to investigate IEBC staff and prosecute those found to have possibly been engaged in wrongdoing.

On Thursday 14th September, newly-elected Nyeri Town Member of Parliament,  Ngunjiri Wambugu filed a petition with the Judicial Service Commission seeking to remove Chief Justice David Maraga from office. Ngunjiri says that Maraga exercised a judicial coup by annulling the presidential election. He claimed that the CJ exerted undue pressure on the rest of the judges to make the judgement that they did. 

The MP later withdrew the petition, saying that the political climate did not favour it. It was reported that President Kenyatta asked him to withdraw it.

On Monday 18th September, another petitioner – Mr Derrick Ngumu, who describes himself as the Executive Director of Angaza Empowerment Network, filed a petition seeking the removal of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and Justice Isaac Lenaola for alleged gross misconduct. The two judges are among the four who voted to nullify the presidential election.
Mr Ngumu accused the judges of breaching the Judicial Service Commission code of conduct during proceedings for NASA's presidential election petition, by meeting NASA leaders to discuss the case as it was going on.

On the whole, Jubilee supporters seem to feel that the Supreme Court was wrong to ‘overturn the will of the people’ and that the judges who voted for the annulment were compromised.

NASA supporters, on the other hand, believe that the Supreme Court vindicated their position that the poll was rigged. 

It is noteworthy that during the hearing of the petition, the Supreme Court ordered the IEBC to allow the parties to the case and the court itself access to the server to examine its contents. IEBC complied only partially with this order of the court. This has solidified the view that the IEBC has some damning information within its servers that it is keen to hide.

After much talk by Jubilee leaders against the Supreme Court and it’s judges, the Chief Justice read a statement on behalf of the Judicial Service Commission, condemning the attacks on the Judiciary and stating that the Judiciary would not allow anyone to dictate to it how to discharge its mandate. He said “if leaders are tired of having a strong and independent judiciary, they should call a referendum and abolish it altogether.”

He called upon Kenyans of goodwill to stand up for the independence of the Judiciary and the rule of law. “On our part, we are prepared to pay the ultimate price to protect the Constitution and the rule of law.”
 

Kenyan Election Update: Military Rigging Claims

National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga said there was a plan to rig the August elections. The opposition leader tabled details of alleged rigging plans involving security forces to aid Jubilee hold on power in an operation named Dumisha Utulivu (Keep the Peace). The statement by NASA and the accompanying documents immediately went viral among Kenyans on social media.

The document presented to the public by NASA indicated that a number of officers and soldiers will be participating in the plot. It mentioned the selection of 'regime-friendly' soldiers and the use of signal-jamming equipment in selected areas mainly in Central Kenya, which is perceived to predominantly support the Jubilee regime.

According to Raila, the soldiers are being trained on how to cut off power and water in Kibera and Mathare slums and keep people out of city centre.

“Also included will be 226 new soldiers, being trained to be deployed in this mission. The soldiers don’t have networks in the military. Because they are new, they will readily take any orders, and at the same time cannot be identified, nor can they communicate with other soldiers who might not be privy to the plot and would oppose it,” Mr Odinga's running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, claimed.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy President, William Ruto, dismissed the rigging claims saying Raila has sensed defeat and is now discrediting the polls at every opportunity.

In a move that surprised many, on Friday, Kenya Defence Force (KDF) spokesman, Colonel Joseph Owuoth, reportedly confirmed the authenticity of documents presented by NASA on the “Dumisha utulivu” operation. However, he said they were quoted out of context and that military was apolitical and professional.

With just about 10 days to the elections, IEBC Chair, Wafula Chebukati, said the Commission had put “strict measures” in place to prevent rigging. The IEBC chair said IEBC had no plans of deploying KDF anywhere in the electoral process.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo disowned the documents presented by NASA, saying she had not seen them and that the KDF were not plotting anything outside the law.

Political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi expressed worry about KDF's admission of the authenticity of a letter presented by the Opposition on an alleged rigging plot.

"Military documents do not leak. And if they leak, military never confirms that they are authentic."

He added via Twitter on Saturday: "KDF Spokesman executing a scheme. Worrying."

NASA politician, Prof. Anyang Nyong’o, claimed that KDF Spokesperson Colonel Joseph Owuoth, who, the previous week, confirmed the authenticity of documents presented by NASA, had gone missing.

Prof. Nyong'o claimed at a press briefing in Kisumu that Col. Owuoth was ordered to go on compulsory leave right after issuing the statement confirming NASA’s allegations. He was also ordered not to talk to the press and to go to his home in Koru.

The Colonel was said to have been in constant communication with his sister until Monday morning. He boarded a public transport vehicle in Nairobi and went silent once he reached Nakuru (or was assumed to have reached Nakuru), and was not heard from again.

These claims caused considerable concern, since they were made just days after the IEBC ICT manager went missing and was later found dead.

Col Joseph Owuoth resurfaced at a press conference at Defence headquarters alongside Defence CS Raychelle Omamo, and dismissed claims by his family and politicians that he is missing. He also said that he was okay and still on duty and not suspended as claimed by NASA leaders.

NASA's Prof. Nyong’o had told journalists in Kisumu that the family of Owuoth has reported him missing, a day being sent on compulsory leave.

The Defence CS, at the same press conference, said that the ministry had "carried out investigations to establish the veracity, authenticity and source" of the documents presented by NASA, and that the ministry "can state categorically that these documents are fake in all aspects."

Kenyan Election Update: Extra Ballots

Thirdway Party Presidential candidate, Dr. Ekuru Aukot, accompanied by his running mate, Emmanuel Nzia, addressed the media at Ridgeways Baptist Church, Kiambu County on Sunday 30th of July 2017. The candidate accused the IEBC of printing extra ballot papers beyond the 1% contingency provision made for spoilt votes. 

Dr. Aukot added that the 5.7% extra ballots should be a cause for concern. 


"IEBC must now turn its attention to the KIEMS (Kenya Integrated Elections Management System) to ensure that voting is credible. Used, unused and spoilt ballot papers must be reconciled properly and results tallied transparently and transmitted without any hitches," he said. 

The electoral commission said the one per cent additional ballot papers were meant to cater for ballots that were reported as spoilt before they are cast. The commission explained that the ballot papers are bound in booklets, each booklet having 50 papers, hence the commission's decision to round off the number to 50. 

The IEBC communication manager, Andrew Limo said that for uniformity purposes, the commission had to round off to 50 because there was no way to print unmatched numbers for different counties. 

Via Twitter on Saturday, the electoral agency said they had printed 416,360 booklets of 50 ballot papers each, thus totalling 20,818,000 papers. This is to cater for 19,687,563 registered voters, meaning there is an extra 1,130,437 papers.

National Super Alliance (NASA) leaders on Monday 31st July claimed that the printing of additional papers could be another plan to rig the General Election. 

The Orange Democratic Movement's National Chairman, John Mbadi, the Secretary General, Agnes Zani, and the Wiper Vice Chairman, Mutula Kilonzo Jr, asked the IEBC to explain the extra ballot papers and warned that this could affect the credibility of the polls. 
"Does this then mean ballots for the other positions will not be spoilt? Why only the extra for the presidential (ballot papers)?" asked Dr Zani. She faulted the electoral body for not involving all stakeholders before deciding to print extra ballot papers. 

The electoral commission on that Monday released a document detailing the packaging of the presidential ballot papers. The document lists each of the 290 constituencies, their respective total number of registered voters, and number of ballot papers to be delivered. It further detailed the number of ballot booklets to be delivered to all the polling stations spread across the country and how the commission reached the rounded off figures.

Commissioner Roselyn Akombe said the ballot papers and result forms have been customised for each polling station, making it impossible to use those not meant for a particular polling station.
 

Kenyan Election Update: Ballot Paper Dispute

On Friday, July 7th 2017, the High Court nullified the tender for the printing of presidential ballot papers for the August 8, 2017 presidential election to, Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company.

In its ruling, a three-judge bench hearing a judicial review filed by the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) found that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) failed to conduct adequate public participation in the tender process, a move that they said goes against constitutional requirements. Further, the bench found IEBC’s decision to meet representatives of Jubilee and NASA at the exclusion of other parties fielding presidential candidates was inappropriate.

The court ordered the IEBC to commence the procurement process afresh.

NASA had also argued that President Uhuru Kenyatta has a relationship with Al Ghurair, which  influenced the award of the tender to the firm. The court ruled that the evidence provided to support this claim fell short of the evidentiary standard required to prove it.

High Court judges Joel Ngugi, George Odunga and John Mativo found that public participation in the direct procurement process was necessary for free, fair elections.

In response to the court ruling, President Uhuru Kenyatta warned the Judiciary against what he considered a plan to frustrate the IEBC in order not to conduct the General Election on August 8th.

The President said Kenyans would not accept any attempt to postpone the polls from the date specified in the Constitution.

Speaking at a rally in Baringo County on Sunday, 9th July, President Kenyatta said the Judiciary should not take them for fools for being silent as the courts make decisions that could lead to the postponement of the elections.

(On NTV's talk show 'Press Pass' the next day, commentator Patrick Gathara pointed out that the 2013 General Elections were not held on the day specified in the Constitution, but on a day set by IEBC following a court ruling.)

"I want to tell those in the courts that because we have respected you for a long time we are not fools.
We cannot accept the courts to be used by those not interested in the elections to frustrate IEBC," said the President.

The President said it was strange that the IEBC had been allowed to go ahead with printing ballot papers for other elective positions but not for the president.

Chief Justice David Maraga, in his Twitter handle on the same day, termed the President's accusations as unfortunate.

"I would not ordinarily respond to statements made by politicians in the course of campaign activities, but these accusations are particularly unfortunate, based that they are on completely wrong premises."

The CJ said that he had at no time asked the IEBC not to proceed with the printing of ballot papers, contrary to statements by Deputy President William Ruto in Baringo on that Sunday.

"The comments I made in Mombasa and elsewhere, which were either deliberately or inadvertently taken out of context, were in reference to the courts' efforts to expeditiously clear the numerous petitions arising from the party primaries in order not to inconvenience the printing of ballot papers," said Maraga.

He added: " I have always been at the forefront of defending the cardinal principle of decisional independence of judges, and at no time have I ever directed any judge or judicial officer on how to determine the cases before them."

On Monday 10th July, Jubilee Party leaders accused judges who handled the tender case of conflict of interest.

The Jubilee leaders said that Judge Odunga’s wife is Siaya Senator James Orengo’s niece while Judge Ouko is related to NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga's wife, Ida.

Speaking at the party’s headquarters in Pangani, Nairobi, the leaders led by Secretary-General Raphael Tuju said that Judges George Odunga and William Ouko should have recused themselves due to conflict of interest.

The IEBC appealed the High Court decision on the ballot paper printing tender, arguing that the judges erred in finding that public participation is a mandatory precondition to direct procurement conducted as provided under the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act. 

On Thursday, the 20th of July, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court judgement and allowed the IEBC to proceed with the printing. 

The Court of Appeal said the High Court decision did not take into consideration the constitutional timelines within which General Election must be held. The five-bench judge also ruled that public participation is not a requirement in direct procurement, which was the procedure used by the IEBC in awarding the contract to Al Ghurair. 

The appellate judges did, however, agree with the High Court that newspaper cuttings are insufficient proof of a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Al Ghurair bosses and that such a meeting influenced the award of the tender.
 

Kenyan Election Update

Speaking at a political rally in  Kajiado on 15th June 2017, National Super Alliance (NASA) Presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, said that the people of Kajiado sometimes felt compelled to sell parts of their land, not out of their own desire, but because of poverty. He said that NASA would change that, so that people do not sell their land. He also asked why the land buyers were coming from their places to the sellers' area and that those would-be buyers should remain in their areas. 

Video clips of part of his speech were shared on social media and Jubilee leaders and supporters alleged that Raila was calling for the eviction of 'outsiders' from Kajiado. President Kenyatta pointed out, at a subsequent rally, that the Constitution allows any Kenyan to buy land and settle in any part of the country. Some leaders called upon the National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the Directorate of Public Prosecution to probe Raila for incitement.

Mr. Odinga and NASA officials said that the presidential hopeful had said nothing wrong, and that he had only said NASA would end poverty so that people do not sell their land. Mr. Odinga further added that President Kenyatta's Jubilee administration must implement the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation's Commission's report on land injustices.

Just days after Mr. Odinga's remarks, leaflets calling for certain communities to leave Kajiado County by the 7th of August 2017 - the day before the elections - were found in circulation. Kajiado County Commissioner Harsama Kello said the government was seriously investigating the matter.

Presidential poll results for each constituency will be announced at constituency level, the Court of Appeal ruled on 23rd June, upholding an earlier ruling of the High Court.

The Court of Appeal said that it was hypocritical for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to doubt the honesty of its own staff to give this as the reason for the Commission 'verify' the results from the constituencies that it receives in Nairobi.

This matter was brought before the Court of Appeal by the IEBC after the electoral body disputed the ruling made in April by the High Court which stated that results announced at constituency tallying centres would be used to determine winners. 

A three-judge bench of the High court ruled that presidential election results announced at constituency tallying centres would be final in respect of the constituency and could only be questioned by the election court. The IEBC argued that the Constitution gives it powers to collate the presidential votes from the constituencies before they are pronounced as final. It also argued that IEBC had a responsibility to verify the results since only one court — the Supreme Court — can hear presidential election disputes.

The case in question was filed by human rights activists Maina Kiai, Khelef Khalifa and Tirop Kitur against the IEBC and Attorney General challenging the constitutionality of Section 39 of the Elections Act and Regulations 83(2), 84(1) and 87(2)(c) of the Elections (General) Regulations 2012 that essentially granted IEBC powers to confirm, audit or even verify presidential election results sent by a Constituency Returning Officers.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga had welcomed the April ruling saying that the results at the polling stations can be picked up and relayed to the public by the media and that this is the norm in other jurisdictions around the world.

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001235500/court-now-strips-iebc-boss-power-to-change-constituency-results
https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001236476/why-high-court-got-it-wrong-on-presidential-tallying-case
http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/06/23/win-for-nasa-as-appeals-courts-rules-for-constituency-presidential_c1585138
https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001244632/court-presidential-results-at-constituency-level-final
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Kenya is to hold General Elections on August 8th 2017. The Kenyan polls body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), awarded a tender to print about 120 million ballot papers, election results forms and poll registers for the elections to a Dubai firm, Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC. 

The National Super Alliance (NASA) on Thursday 22nd June filed a lawsuit against the IEBC to block the tender. The suit seeks to cancel the tender on account of alleged fraud and lack of consultation with the main political parties. Presidential candidate Raila Odinga accused IEBC of ignoring voices of suspicion and fear over the involvement of the firm in the electoral process and alleged links to the President Uhuru Kenyatta's family.

On Friday, Justice Odunga asked the Chief Justice to constitute a three-judge bench to hear the dispute over the ballot papers.

This tender has not been without controversy. In October 2016, IEBC awarded the tender to Al Ghurair but the decision was nullified by the High Court in February 2017, following a suit filed by the opposition's Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) (CORD later joined others to form NASA). 
In its suit, CORD argued that the ballot papers tendered for were not in compliance with the amended Election Act which requires the papers to be in conformity with the integrated system. Judge George Odunga directed that the tender process start afresh.

Citing time constraints, the electoral commission opted to use restricted tendering where select firms were invited to bid but that also ran into trouble weeks later, when the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board nullified the process on grounds of faulty tender papers. The Board also accused the Commission of blatantly violating the law.

But later, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati announced the IEBC would go for direct procurement after consultation with stakeholders.

On June 9th IEBC said it had taken into consideration several issues before settling on Al Ghurair. Among the considerations are the capacity of the firm, history of work done in Africa and the region, logistics and pricing.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga denied that the opposition was consulted.

Opposition leaders said senior Jubilee officials are involved in the Sh. 2.5 billion tender.

Chebukati announced that the IEBC will sponsor representatives of stakeholders to travel to Dubai and witness the printing of the materials.

NASA lawyers said their coalition would not honour IEBC’s invitation to accompany them to Dubai to witness the ballot printing process, maintaining their call that the tender should be awarded to another firm. Jubilee leaders also said they would not be part of the trip.

Thirdway Alliance Party of Kenya also called on the IEBC to cancel ballot printing tender to avoid chaos in the country. Party leader Ekuru Aukot asked for the tender to be awarded to an independent printing firm that has no links to any party contesting in the August elections. The party proposed that the United Nations supervises the tender process.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party claimed that the Opposition was frustrating the process so the tender could be given to a South African company of their choice. Jubilee has also accused the Opposition of plotting to have the elections postponed.

On Friday June 23rd, Chief Justice David Maraga, as requested by the High Court, named Justice George Odunga, Justice Joel Ngugi (presiding) and Justice J.J. Mativo to form a three-judge bench to hear the case. Maraga authorised the judges to sit beyond working hours, if necessary, in light of the matter's urgency.

NASA lawyer, who is also the Senator for Siaya County, James Orengo, said that the remaining six weeks before the polls were enough for another firm to print the ballot papers.

"Printing ballot papers is not rocket science. We even print money here in Kenya," he said.

He added that in previous elections, nominations used to be done three weeks before the polling day and the polls body still managed to have ballot papers printed in the UK.

Kenyan Elections 2017

Kenya's General Elections for President and other positions will be held on Tuesday August 8th 2017. Excitement and tension is building up towards that day, especially with regard to the Presidential election. 

The incumbent President, Uhuru Kenyatta will be vying for a second term. Mr Kenyatta was declared the winner of the 2013 elections, after his main rival at the time, Raila Odinga, disputed the results of those elections and filed a suit in the Supreme Court of Kenya. The Supreme Court upheld the declaration of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as President a few weeks later. 

President Kenyatta is running on the recently formed Jubilee Alliance Party - a party formed out of the coalition of parties under which he vied for presidency in 2013. Mr William Ruto, the Deputy President, will be his running mate once again.

Before the 2013 elections, the current opposition formed the CORD coalition (Coalition for Reforms and Democracy). The principals of this coalition were Mr Raila Odinga, who was then Prime Minister and is the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka, who was then vice-president and is the leader of the Wiper Democratic Movement and Mr. Moses Wetangula, who is currently the Minority Leader in the Senate and is also the leader of the Ford Kenya party 

Mr Odinga was the presidential candidate of the CORD coalition and Mr Musyoka was his running-mate.

A few notable political leaders have now teamed up with the CORD coalition to form what they have called the National Super Alliance (NASA). 'Nasa' also means 'to seize' or 'capture' in Swahili, Kenya's national language, and the opposition has declared their determination to capture the Presidency this year. 

One of the NASA leaders is Mr. Musalia Mudavadi, 56, the leader of the Amani National Congress, who was also a presidential candidate in 2013 and came third in those polls.

A recent addition to the NASA coalition is Mr Isaac Ruto, the current governor of Bomet County, and former member of the URP party that was part of the Jubilee coalition. His entry to NASA is seen by some as a blow to Jubilee and a boost to NASA, at least in terms of perception and possibly in terms of votes as well.

The NASA coalition has publicised an agreement on positions that each principal will get if they win the Presidency and form the next government.

As many people expected, once again, the 72-year-old Raila Odinga will again be running for president this year - for the fourth time. Mr. Musyoka will once again be his running-mate.

Mr. Musyoka served as Vice-President of Kenya from 2008 to 2013. He was a presidential candidate in the 2007 elections, and after those elections, he was appointed Vice-President, even as the country was engulfed in violence as the opposition disputed the election results that declared Mr, Mwai Kibaki the winner of the Presidential race. 

This violence eventually led to the current President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his Deputy, William Ruto, (the two being in opposite political camps at the time) being brought, with others, to the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity. The cases against them were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence. 

Mr. Odinga, who believes he was the actual winner of the 2007 elections, was appointed Prime Minister in April 2008 in a power-sharing deal with Mwai Kibaki. Mr. Odinga was Prime Minister until 2013.

The fact that Mr. Odinga and Mr. Musyoka were in government between 2008 and 2013 is often cited by Jubilee and their supporters when pointing out perceived failures of the administration of that time, and by extension, the failures of the two, though these supporters often don’t also point out that their own leaders were also in the same government.

Officially, there are 18 people in total who have registered with the IEBC as presidential candidates. Only a few are comparatively well known such as Dr. Ekuru Aukot, former member of the Committee of Experts on Constitution Review that worked on Kenya's 2010 Constitution and Mr Peter Ondeng’, who is expected to get at least some votes from evangelical Christians. The effect of these less prominent candidates on the presidential vote and if they might cause a run-off is yet to be seen.


Kenyan politics, to a significant extent, is based on tribal affiliations. Presidential candidates usually get major support from the areas largely inhabited by their ethnic communities. It is likely that tribal arithmetic – the number of voters from each tribe and their turnout at the polls - will play a significant part in the 2017 elections, but there are also emerging voices of opposition to this approach. A number of people in their forties and younger, are declaring that supporting a candidate based on tribe does not benefit them in their personal lives, and they would rather vote in competent leaders from whichever tribes. 

For example, there was a strike by doctors serving in public hospitals, which resulted in their union leaders being jailed for a few days (for failing to call off the strike). The fact that the doctors come from various ethnic backgrounds and they stood together for their cause may be seen by some as an indication that the tribal mindset may be weakening, at least among the younger generation.

Corruption in government will certainly be among the top issues harped upon by the opposition. USAID recently withdrew funding for government health projects citing corruption and the opposition will likely point this out as an example of government corruption being visible even to outsiders.

The current rising food prices will also likely be raised and the opposition will probably cite this as an example of failure by the government and probably also state that this failure was deliberately orchestrated to allow well-connected cartels to sell food to the public at exorbitant prices.

The Jubilee response to these accusations seems to be that the food shortage is caused by drought and that is beyond the government’s control. Some supporters also say that there was a similar hike in food prices when many of the opposition leaders were in government, so food shortage and high prices are not something new.

The opposition has often said that the Jubilee government has recklessly borrowed money, especially from China, and indebted the country beyond reasonable levels. They have also claimed that a lot of this money is then misdirected to individuals after it is received. 

The incumbent side usually responds by saying that the borrowed money has been used to start long-term projects that will lay the foundation for the country’s future growth and prosperity. The Standard-Gauge Railway (SGR) project is one of the main projects that the Jubilee administration proudly takes credit for. It is supposed to ease transport of goods and services between the port town of Mombasa and the interior of Kenya and has created jobs for those working on the project. 

However, some claim that the cost of the SGR project was inflated and that it did not yield good value for money, when compared to a similar project in neighbouring Ethiopia, for example.

Apart from the polls themselves, IEBC, the body mandated to manage the elections, has been under criticism about its preparedness. In 2013, the polls faced challenges of failure of its machines and officials were later accused of negligence in procuring equipment. The commissioners of that time were compelled to resign following pressure by the opposition and new commissioners were selected and sworn into office. The IEBC recently admitted that it had as many as 128,000 records with shared details in its voter register. This register is currently undergoing audit by an independent audit firm.

In elections like Kenya, predicting elections isn't a straight forward business; but we will be keeping our eyes on the campaign and the results and the opportunities that can come from it it to engage with this part of Africa.

InvestKenya 2017

Kenya has been encountering consistent development for a long while now. The financial figure has been sure with the World Bank anticipating a development rate of 6.6 percent this year and 7 percent come 2017. This force is being fueled by enormous interests in framework and employments, ventures to enhance the business atmosphere, and a lift in fares.

Kenya has one of the best vehicles to promote new investment into Kenya called KenInvest which is the branding for the Kenyan Investment Corporation. Here are 9 macro-reasons to invest:

  1. Tax Treaties and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements: Kenya is a signatory to a large and growing number of tax treaties and investment promotion and protection Agreements such as the Multilateral Trade System (MTS) ACP Cotonou Agreement, and the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act. This allows exports from Kenya to enjoy preferential access to world markets under a number of special access and duty reduction programmes.
  2. Stability: Since independence, Kenya has maintained remarkable stability despite changes in its political system Since the re-emergence of multiparty democracy and promulgation of a new constitution in 2011, Kenyans have enjoyed an increased degree of freedom.
  3. Regulatory Reforms: Kenya is making efforts to lower the cost of doing business by conducting extensive business regulatory reforms intended to substantially reduce the number of licensing requirements and to make the licensing regimes more simple and transparent and focused on legitimate regulatory purposes.
  4. Access to Large pool of Highly Educated and Skilled Work Force: Kenya prides itself in its large pool of highly educated, skilled and sought after work force in Africa, trained from within the country and in institutions in around the world.
  5. Strategic Location: As the leading economy in East Africa, Kenyas’ strategic location and its well developed business infrastructure make it a natural choice for investors and many international firms have made it their regional hub. This grants investors access to the larger East African Community and regional markets with access to over 385 million consumers. Nairobi is also a major transport Hub in East Africa with Connections from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Major Destinations around the world. All these are coupled with a convenient Time zone of (GMT +3).
  6. Highly Developed Social and Physical Infrastructure: Kenya affords a pleasant and quality standard of living with its spectacular and diverse natural resources. Ranging from wildlife and sceneries. Including the world famous Maasai Mara. The country also boasts of high quality social amenities such as restaurants, hospitals and Entertainment spots. A good reason why the country has the highest number of Expatriates living and working in Kenya.
  7. Fully Liberalised Economy: Kenya fully liberalised its economy by removing all obstacles that previously hampered the free flow of trade and private investment. These includes exchange controls, import and export licensing, as well as restrictions on remittances of profits and dividends.
  8. Preferential Market Access: Kenya is signatory to a number of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements as part of its trade policy. Kenya is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) making her products access more than 90% of world markets at Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment. In addition, Kenya is member to several trade arrangements and beneficiary to trade-enhancing schemes that include the  Africa Growth and opportunity act (AGOA);  ACP-EU Trade Agreement and Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
  9. Well Established and Vocal Private Sector: Kenya has a very substantial private sector, including a significant number of foreign investors and is touted as one of the most resilient in the world. The country has always been a market economy. Key players in voicing private-sector concerns include, The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM). Futhermore, the government frequently conducts regular policy dialogue with private sector players through the Prime Minister Round Tables.

Here are a few parts that could give beneficial venture openings in Kenya:

Agriculture: Farming is the backbone of the economy, giving vocation to around 75 for each penny of the populace. There is impressive degree for broadening and extension of the horticultural division through quickened nourishment trim generation, handling and advertising. There are additionally open doors for development in innovative foundation, for example, bundling, hoarding, and transportation. Escalated water system and extra esteem included processing are fine zones for profitable investment.

Manufacturing: Kenya has a very much created development industry. With growth in populace, openings exist in the development of private, business and mechanical structures, including pre-assembled minimal effort lodging. Broad open doors for venture exist especially in the territory of redesigning ghettos and casual settlements, urban restoration, development of center and low pay lodging, fabricate and supply of building materials and parts.

Producing part is a territory where speculation openings exist. The division assumes a vital part in increasing the value of horticultural yield.  An extensive variety of chances for immediate and joint-wander ventures exist in the assembling division, including agro-preparing, fabricate of articles of clothing, gathering of car parts and hardware, plastics, paper, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metal and building items for both household and fare markets.

Innovation and IT: Kenya has completely grasped the open doors managed by innovation. The bubbly start-up scene is something to be appreciated. This has been floated by great government approaches, with the extent of the neighborhood ICT advertise now is evaluated at around $500 million. The National ICT Masterplan plans to improve Kenya's aggressiveness through usage of its assets in Business Process Outsourcing and fortifying its abilities to meet future innovative difficulties. The 2030 vision for BPO is for the nation to end up distinctly the top BPO goal in Africa. 

Tourism: Kenya at present brags the most noteworthy impart of populace to access to budgetary administrations in Sub-Saharan Africa (more than 70 percent). This is to a great extent on account of the well-known portable cash exchange benefit M-Pesa. Konza City, a cutting edge techno polis is a venture by the Kenyan government which guarantees to drive considerably more development in the ICT division.

InvestKenya2017

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African Investment and Trade: The Future

One would think that on seeing the economic scenario across the developing nations in Africa, investors could not be thinking about zeroing down on Africa as their next destination to strike a deal on investment or trade. Analysts tends to believe that people would rather wait for nations to stabilise before investment or trade will follow. This is a complete misrepresentation of the majority of African states. There are plenty of stable African states that are able to be dealt in straight away and our Gravis Global Invest team are here to help!

Immediately there are 5 major types of trade and investment opportunities on the continent.

These are:

Agriculture: ranking among the business opportunities available to investors and entrepreneurs in Africa, the continent is home to 60% of the world's total uncultivated arable land. As the world's population is now above 7 billion, there must be a systematic approach for producing enough food to feed that many mouths. The challenge in this case has to do with poor connecting infrastructure to facilitate product making it to exit points to enter into markets.  There are also moves with a number of nations to remove trade barriers as well. This allows for agricultural development to support other 'flow on' industries such as fertilisers, pesticides, seeds production and processing and refining businesses.

Infrastructure: this sector is second in importance only to agriculture for investment. Though successive African governments have made efforts to improve infrastructure, a huge deficit in this sector still looms thereby creating bottlenecks in the smooth delivery of trade and investment deals. The World Bank in 2008 estimated that the continent needed US$80Billion annually to cover the infrastructure deficit on the continent. This provides an opportunity for private investors to invest in Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) or Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) deals with governments, especially for infrastructure such as airports, electricity networks, railway networks, roads and airport facilities.

Tourism: Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania have become some of the worlds favourite tourism spots. There have been estimates that up to 50 million tourists per year coming through the continent since 2012 with that number rising year to year. This creates side markets that become investment ready in hotels, resorts, airline business, transport businesses and tourism related tour activities. 

Mining: This is a sector that has been developed in some parts already and has large amounts of Chinese investment. Chinese companies have been buying the world's major miners out of their interests on the continent which is freeing them up to make new investment elsewhere. It also therefore means that there are large Chinese slabs of influence in this sector. There are however nations in the continent with under-developed mining industries where skills shortages and infrastructure shortages have lead to this underdevelopment. 

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG): For the first time 2012 saw African consumer spending go past the one trillion dollars (US$1 trillion). With a population that is one of the fastest growing in the world, a middle class of over three hundred million (300 Million) people, the FMCG sector promises to very profitable in the years ahead. Food, beverages, home and personal care products provide an ample opportunity for new profits as the African middle class grows and expands in more countries on the continent. This is a market though that will work on a 'first come, first serve' basis and will lead to long term market dominance if done properly with a good market entry plan.

Gravis Global Invest team expands

In terms of international investment markets the African continent represents huge potential for a number of sectors. As such, Gravis Insights Australia will have an ever growing focus on the continent; not only in terms of helping African nations and businesses seek out new opportunities inbound to Australasia but also to assist outbound investors looking to Africa for opportunities.

As many of our clients know, we are specialists in terms of multicultural engagement and from there derives our connections in the global investment space.

For us at Gravis Insights Australia, we firmly believe that global investment is about two way exchanges of capital and intellectual property. Too often is there a narrow focus on either the inbound nature of investment or the outbound nature of trade but rarely both considered in a dynamic way; here at Gravis Insights Australia - we think a little differently about global investment strategies.

It is to this end that we are proud to announce two new members of our team and how their entrance into our team develops our long term vision for Gravis Global Invest.

We would like to introduce to the team Mr Bobby Whitfield. Bobby is a Queensland Multicultural Ambassador from 2013 and was the first ever person to receive this prestigious award from the Queensland Government Department of Multicultural Affairs under the Ministerial guidance of former LNP Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Glen Elmes

We look forward to working with Bobby on delivering international investment and trade deals from countries such as Liberia, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire and other West African nations. 

Secondly, we would like to introduce Leila Abukar to the team. Leila is a long term friend of our team at Gravis Insights Australia. We assisted her and raised money for her failed bid for Yeerongpilly in the Queensland Election of 2015. Leila is now doing some great work for our good friends over at Access Community Services.  Leila holds significant connections in places such as Somalia, Djibouti, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Our Gravis Global Invest team continues to expand and this next stage delivers the full range of expertise and knowledge to help facilitate new deals between African nations and international investment interests. Furthermore, we will even be exploring the partnering of products and services from a number of African nations into the Pacific and into Asia. 

With Leila and Bobby's business and political connections on the continent, we know that these two wonderful additions to our team will deliver real results for our clients in Australia and abroad.