Al-Shabaab remains a threat as attacks increase

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NEW YORK

Al-Shabaab has stepped up its terror attacks in recent months, demonstrating its “resilience and adaptability” despite “internal squabbles and fracturing,” the United Nations chief says in a new report.

A total of 134 civilian deaths and 200 injuries were attributed to Shabaab or “unidentified persons” in the first four months of this year – a 47 per cent increase from the same period last year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Friday.

KDF SOLDIERS KILLED
Somali security forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) accounted for a combined total of 74 civilian deaths during the past four months, the UN leader added.

Al-Shabaab is also reported to have killed more than 30 Kenyan troops in a January 27 “complex attack” on a military base near Kulbiyow in Somalia’s Lower Juba region.

“The exact figure remains unknown,” Mr Guterres states without offering a reason for the uncertainty.

TACTICAL REVAMP
That incident is described in the report as the most serious in a series of frequent Shabaab attacks on Amisom and Somali troops in rural sections of central and southern Somalia.

“Al-Shabaab remains a potent threat.

“The group’s tactical evolution and growing level of sophistication in its execution of complex terrorist operations in urban and rural settings are a testament to that,” the secretary-general observes.

CHOLERA VACCINATION
Mr Guterres also cites a need to “provide Amisom with predictable support in order to increase its effectiveness and facilitate its joint operations”.

He points out that 95 per cent of Amisom’s roughly 21,000 troops have not been vaccinated against cholera, even though an outbreak of the potentially fatal disease is underway in some of the areas where Amisom personnel are located.

Secretary-General Guterres’ report includes an optimistic assessment of political developments in Somalia.

REBUILD SOMALIA

The peaceful election of a new president is viewed as the high point in “a sequence of remarkable events, which gives the people of Somalia and the international community considerable hope for the future of the country”.

“Somalia now has a new federal government that has been welcomed across clan lines.

“The government must build on this vote of confidence in dealing with its many urgent priorities, including drought response, security, public finance management, fighting corruption, increasing revenues and advancing the constitutional review,” the report states.

DROUGHT AND FAMINE
The report adds that “the humanitarian situation remains deeply worrying and could become worse still.

“It has the potential to derail political developments and the legitimacy, in the eyes of the public, of federal and state institutions and office holders.”

More than six million Somalis – half the population – remain in urgent need of food aid, the report notes.

The threat of famine continues despite large infusions of aid by donor nations and charitable groups, Mr Guterres warns.

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Military deployed to northern Kenya to demine roads

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The site of an explosion in Mandera on May 24, 2017. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The military was on Thursday deployed in parts of northern Kenya to demine roads after 20 people, including 11 police officers were killed in explosions in the area.

Several suspects, including one believed to be the bomb expert behind the wave of explosions, now in the third week, have been arrested and are being held by police.

On Thursday, two police officers were killed and three others wounded when their vehicle ran over an explosive at the border town of Kulan, Garissa.

Four others were buried in Mandera, following a similar attack targeting the campaign convoy of Governor Ali Roba in which five officers died on Wednesday.

In Muthwani, Matungulu another family was mourning the other officer killed in the explosion.

Interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said the troops would work with police and other security agencies to clear explosive devices planted on roads by al-Shabaab.

“It’s a tedious process but Kenya Defence Forces have been deployed with mine sweeping equipment and are already in operation. It’s a collaboration between key security agencies to ensure we don’t suffer more casualties,” he said.

The suspected bomb maker was found with an AK-47 rifle, four mobile phones, dry battery cells and bomb making materials.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet identified one of the suspects as Ahmed Abdi Yare.

He said in a statement that while security forces “have managed to prevent majority of al-Shabaab militants from infiltrating the country, a few had managed to sneak through the porous border and are responsible for the latest attacks”.

The police boss also said besides the terrorists, his officers were also looking for “collaborators”.

“We are also investigating other lines of inquiry that suggest the attacks could be linked to racketeering in contraband and other crimes. As we approach Ramadhan, there is likelihood that terrorists might subvert tenets of the holy month by staging other attacks in their vain endeavour to seek martyrdom,” said Mr Boinnet.

Mr Njoka said armoured personnel carriers for police were deployed in other areas that were deemed volatile at the time but the militants chose where there are soft targets.

North Eastern Regional Coordinator Mohamud Saleh said police have arrested “several” suspects and are following multiple leads.

“They have been weakened by Amisom operations in Somalia, they (al-Shabaab) are now running to Kenya along the porous border that they are now planting explosives in isolated roads, but we’re telling them we will destroy them,” said the administrator.

Council of Governor’s Chairman and Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok asked the national government to beef up security in the counties.

COMMUNITY POLICING

In addition, he said, laws on community policing should be fully implemented to involve locals in security matters.

Mr Nanok said it was shameful that the Mandera governor had been targeted seven times without the national government considering safety measures for him.

“At one point Mr Roba asked to be provided with enough security but those responsible ignored that … it is the right time for all governors to be given extra security,” he said in Nairobi.

Speaking at the same function, Mr Roba said: “I have been with all these officers for four years and their death is the worst experience in my life ever.”

The governor announced that despite the heavy loss, he would continue with his campaign to ensure he is re-elected on August 8.

“So many vehicles had passed the scene before us, but only my car was targeted, only for security to be blown up, meaning someone was behind this, targeting me,” said Mr Roba.

He also blamed lack of communication along the Mandera-Lafey-Elwak road for the attack.

“It is now a year since communication masts were destroyed by the militants in this county and Safaricom is telling us it is too expensive to repair as the national government seems not to care to find out how important communication is,” said the governor.

Mr Roba also wants roads in his county paved to reduce cases of improvised explosive devices attacks.

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi said insecurity was on the rise in the entire north eastern region.

‘VERY SECURE’

“We want the national government to do things differently and ensure we are very secure,” he said.

Mr Abdullahi said it was a bad idea to send KDF into Somalia since terror attacks in Kenya had increased.

“KDF are in Somalia but the al-Shabaab are here making us a buffer zone, we can’t use our roads, there is no tranquillity and stability in our towns,” he said, challenging security managers to tell the public what percentage of security personnel and equipment is in the northern counties.

He accused the Communication Authority of Kenya of denying other parties funds to erect communication masts in the country.

“If we don’t repair the masts, it shows we have conceded defeat to al-Shabaab in our own land,” he said.

Five MPs also expressed concern that the General Election might be affected by increased insecurity.

“It will be very difficult to hold elections in the region if the current trend of insecurity increases,” said Mr Adbulaziz Farah of Mandera East, speaking on behalf of his colleagues.

The MPs called on the government to increase the number soldiers in the region.

Report by Fred Mukinda, Abdimalik Hajir, Manaseh Otsialo, Stephen Muthini and Samwel Owino.

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US Congress panel demands documents on Kenya arms deal

1-cCd1dev1Vrj9KozMm1rRGQBy KEVIN J. KELLEY

A US Congress investigative committee has demanded it be provided with key documents related to the proposed Sh43 billion sale to Kenya of armed border-patrol aircraft intended for use against Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The US Air Force, which arranged the deal, was ordered by the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee to produce a set of specified materials “as soon as possible, but no later than noon on June 2.”

Congressman Ted Budd, the leading critic of the pending agreement between the Kenyan government and New York-based L3 Technologies, welcomed the committee’s action as “the next step on a long road to finding out what actually happened with the Kenya deal.”

“We’ll soon find out if this flawed sale is the result of incompetence, or if there is something more serious going on,” Congressman Budd said on Tuesday.

In a letter last week to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the chairman of the US House oversight committee noted that “L3 has no weaponised border patrol aircraft in service and has limited past performance in manufacturing aircraft of this type.”

Iomax, a military contractor based in Congressman Budd’s district in the state of North Carolina, has 48 of these planes currently in combat service in the Middle East.

OVERCHARGED

Iomax has said it can fulfill Kenya’s request for a dozen of the armed border-patrol aircraft and related items and services for Sh20 billion less than the amount L3 is said to be charging.

The cost of the proposed agreement between Kenya and L3 indicates that US “taxpayers and American allies have been overcharged by millions,” Congressman Budd said on Tuesday.

The Republican lawmaker noted that the Air Force has “stonewalled” his own requests for documents pertaining to the Kenya-L3 arrangement. He said was told by the Air Force that the documents in question were “for official use only” or “sensitive, but unclassified.”

SECRETIVE DEAL

“The Air Force has the legal capability to frustrate my inquiry,” Congressman Budd declared on Tuesday, “but they can’t stonewall the Oversight Committee.’

He has previously suggested that favouritism toward a politically influential military contract may have accounted for the Air Force’s effort to steer the Kenya contract to L3 rather than to Iomax.

“A secretive acquisition unit of the Air Force known as Big Safari” is behind the deal, Congressman Budd has said.

In his letter to Air Force Secretary Wilson, oversight committee chairman Jason Chaffetz seeks “all documents and communications referring or relating to the proposed armed airborne ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance] contract from the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), US Liaison Office in the US Embassy in Nairobi, the US Air Force and the Government of Kenya.”

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President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi (past photo) U.S congress is currently investigating his government. 
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Kalonzo’s fall from Grace Begins – NASA victory no guarantee Kalonzo will succeed Raila in 2022 elections

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Kalonzo Musyoka in total chaos after undermining democracy in Ukambani

After creating unnecessary battles in Ukambani and undermining people such as Senator Johnston Nduya Muthama and Senator Musila of Kitui County, Kalonzo Musyoka’s star seems to be waning by the day. The undermining of democracy including and not limited to direct nominations of non party members into wiper, nomination of his son to East African General Assembly was the waterloo.

It is not a guarantee Kalonzo Musyoka will succeed Raila Odinga in 2022 if NASA wins the August 8 election, Lugari MP Ayub Savula has recently said.

Speaking on a talk show on Citizen TV on Monday evening, Savula said the NASA coalition agreement does not indicate Kalonzo will automatically take over from Raila, after serving his one term.

He said the Wiper leader and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, the brains behind the alliance, will go to the nominations if NASA remains intact. And if they go to the nominations, he said, Musalia will emerge the winner based on the Luhya numbers. According to the IEBC records, the Western region registered 1,375,220 voters in the last mass voter registration compared to Lower Eastern’s — Kitui, Machakos and Makueni counties — 1,067,990.

Wiper had in March threatened to bolt from NASA if its boss Kalonzo was declared the opposition presidential candidate. “If it is not Kalonzo, that will be the end of NASA,” National Assembly minority leader Francis Nyenze said.

“It [NASA] could change into something like Nyanza Super Alliance because we will pull out,” he told reporters at Parliament Buildings.

This also comes against a fierce battle for influence and position in anticipation of a NASA government within Wiper, which threatens to create hostilities within NASA.

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Kalonzo Musyoka 

MAJOR SETBACK NECESSITATED BY PARTY PRIMARIES IN UKAMBANI REGION. 

In the meantime, Wiper party leader and National Super Alliance deputy flag bearer Kalonzo Musyoka has suffered yet another setback following a fallout that was necessitated by party primaries.

As reported by the press, Kalonzo and Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama do no see eye to eye after the latter accused the former of strangling democracy in his party. Muthama was apparently irked by the manner Wiper affairs are being handled, and at some point he claimed senior party members are disrespected.

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Wavinya Ndeti is seen as an opportunist who joined wiper just to be a governor at the expense of loyal wiper members  

The senator was particularly irked by Wavinya Ndeti’s win in the Machakos county gubernatorial race, a nomination he termed a sham.

He wanted Machakos Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala to win. Kiala has since ditched Wiper and will vie as an independent candidate come August 8.

It is this fallout that Kalonzo tried to mend when his party allegedly offered Kiala a speaker of the Machakos county assembly post after the election.

Apparently, Wiper is seeking to kill competition between Kiala and Wavinya which will give Governor Alfred Mutua a chance to win. Mutua left Wiper to form his Maendeleo Chap Chap party.

However, Kiala has apparently turned down the offer and insisted he is in the race for governor. He said he is honoured but he is not a member of the Wiper party and that the position he is being promised is determined by MCAs and not the party. 0fgjhs3rqnfshjg0p.4c9572f7

However, unconfirmed reports reaching  Kenyapoa indicate that Kiala was meeting the Wiper leadership Tuesday, May 23, in a bid to reach a solution to the impasse.

Kalonzo has since sent a stern warning to his boss Raila Odinga, saying he should choose between him and Muthama. Muthama has pledged to campaign for Raila but is suspicious of Kalonzo for undermining democracy in wiper.

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Senator David Musila has ditched wiper to run as an independent in August 8th, 2017 poll. 
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Kalonzo Musyoka (Right) and Senator Muthama (left) in a past photo
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Raila has no running mate, Kalonzo listed as Wiper Presidential candidate in an Organized scheme.

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Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila Odinga

In an organized scheme last seen in 2007 -2008 election fiasco, NASA’s presidential running-mate, Kalonzo Musyoka is listed again as the nominee for the Presidency by the Wiper Democratic Party, the IEBC has revealed.

According to a report by IEBC released on Saturday, NASA’s presidential nominee Raila Odinga has been submitted as the ODM candidate but with no running-mate in a clear case to undermine opposition politics in Kenya.

The report shows that out of 19 presidential hopefuls, only President Uhuru Kenyatta has submitted William Ruto as his running-mate under the Jubilee Party.

Raila was unveiled as the NASA presidential candidate on April 27 at Uhuru Park where Kalonzo was named the running mate.

Some Wiper members led by Minority Leader in the National Assembly Francis Nyenze protested the move saying Wiper had been short-changed. The same group then worked closely with Kalonzo to undermine democracy within the party.

They later made an about-turn after being prevailed upon by Kalonzo.

The IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said that political parties can amend the the list which is computer generated by Sunday, May 21.

“Except for independent candidates, the list was generated by the Candidate Registration Management System (CRMS) which allowed political parties to submit their candidates on-line. The last date of submission was on May 16, 2017. Political Parties and independent candidates are encouraged to review the list and provide any clarification and correction where required,” IEBC said in the report.

The IEBC has allowed political parties to access the database and make the necessary changes, though in a limited manner, until Sunday.

“Most presidential and gubernatorial candidates are yet to submit names of their respective running mates,” IEBC said.

Parties can only edit the records or add photos of the candidates but cannot add new records or delete/replace existing records.

Presidential candidates include Dida Mohamed Abduba is Alliance for Real Change, Juma Justus Onyango for Justice and Freedom Party and Musungu Amram for Maendeleo Democratic Party.

Others include Ekuru Aukot for Thirdway Alliance Kenya and Jirongo Shakhalaga for United Democratic Partry.

Independent candidates are Peter Gichira, Michael Waweru, Joseph Nyagah, Michael Orenge, Eliud Kariara, Japhet Kaluyu and Stephen Oganga.

Others are Peter Osotsi, Nazlin Omar, David Munga and Erastus Nyamera.

The IEBC said that it has received a total of 15,082 candidates who are seeking to be on the ballot papers for the August general election.

According to an updated interim report on candidates released by the commission on Saturday, 19 candidates will be battling for presidency, 246 for governor and 349 for senator.

In the report, 327 candidates will battle for Woman MP, 2,078 candidates for Member of Parliament while 12,060 for Member of County Assembly.

Out of this, political parties have submitted 8 presidential candidates, 183 governors, 263 senators, 258 Woman Reps, 1,473 MPs and 9,142 MCAs a total of 11,330 candidates.

For Independent candidates, 11 candidates have submitted their names for presidential seat, 63 governors, 86 senators, 69 Woman Reps, 605 Mps and 2,918 MCAs a total of 3,752 candidates.

Jubilee Party has the largest number of candidates at 1,801 followed by ODM with 1,289 candidates and Maendeleo chap chap is third with 911 candidates.

Kanu follows with 695 candidates, Mudavadi’s ANC has 639 while Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper follows with 632 candidates.

Forum for Restoration of Democracy – Kenya has 631 candidates, CCM has 372, PNU has 344 candidates and DP has 264 candidates.

In terms of county representation, Nairobi leads with the highest number of candidates at 439, followed by Kiambu with 223 and Nakuru is third with 193 candidates.

Meru, Bungoma and Kamega counties have 169, 165 and 145 candidates respectively while Nyeri has 145 followed by Kisii with 143, Murang’a with 127 and Trans Nzoia with 114 candidates.

Chebukati said following a dispute over Chama cha Uzalendo list, the commission has excluded the same from the interim report till further notice.

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BREAKING: ODM Communications Boss Phil Etale SPRAYED With POISONOUS GAS, Rushed to Nairobi Hospital

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ODM Communications Director Mr Philip Etale

ODM Communications Director Mr Philip Etale has been rushed to Nairobi Hospital after he was sprayed by a poisonous gas along Kimathi Street Nairobi (Near Nation Centre).

Etale had just stepped out of Ranalo hotel after having dinner and was walking to his car when a car pulled up and unindetified people sprayed on him and immeditely ran away.

Etale is currently receiving treatment at Nairobi hospital and is said to be out of danger.

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