Daily Archives: August 5, 2017


NAIROBI, Aug 5 (NNN-KBC) — The African Union (AU) Election Observation Mission in Kenya to monitor the country’s general election on Tuesday has emphasized the need for peaceful elections.

The head of the observer mission and former South African president Thabo Mbeki told a media briefing here Friday that the mission was here to observe and give out findings once the elections are over.

Mbeki, who earlier met politicians, the Chief Justice and officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), said that following the consultations, he was of the impression that Kenyans want free, fair credible and peaceful elections.

However, as the representative of the AU, the mission not had a responsibility to observe the elections but was also open for any input from candidates should the mission be approached, he added. The AU has sent 90 observers from 21 African countries to Kenya and they will be deployed to 36 of Kenya’s 47 counties.

The mission is set to deploy is observers to their posts by Sunday and set Aug 9 as the date for their return to Nairobi after which they participate in a debriefing.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan Ethics and Ant-Corruption Commission (EACC) says it will deploy 60 elections observers countrywide to monitor Tuesday’s presidential, parliamentary, gubernatorial and county assembly elections.

The EACC said the observers would undertake due diligence to ensure the elections were conducted in line with internationally accepted principles of democracy and good governance. The head of the EACC team, Professor Edward Rugumayo, said they would release a preliminary report immediately after the polls closed and a final report with recommendations from various stakeholders would be compiled within two weeks after the elections.

He urged the electorate to maintain peace before and after the elections. Other observation missions in the country include those from the European Union (EU), led by Marietje Schaake, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Netherlands, and from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).


Rwanda’s Kagame Posts Overwhelming Lead in Early Vote Returns

KIGALI, RWANDA � Rwandan President Paul Kagame led Friday’s presidential election with more than 99 percent support in early returns, the country’s election commission said.

In a nationally televised broadcast, the commission’s executive secretary said more than 80 percent of the country’s 6.9 million registered voters had cast ballots.

In July, Kagame told a political rally that “the day of the presidential elections will just be a formality.” The massive lead in the preliminary results set the stage for his third term in office.

“I’m very excited” about the initial results, said Kagame supporter Ester Kabaera, 55, a businesswoman. “Obviously, he is going to win. He’s the only president who can win, who can rule this country.”

At the national headquarters of Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front party, political leaders, supporters and donors watched election results on televisions as they came in district by district.

“Tonight we are very, very, extremely happy because he accepted our request [to lead the country],” medical student Fred Namania, 30, said at the event. “And we are looking forward to a lot of things being done in the next seven years.”

In power for nearly 20 years

Kagame has been in power for 17 years. A 2015 constitutional measure, approved by 98 percent of voters, could allow Kagame to remain in power until 2034.

“I feel like President Kagame should lead us for [more] decades,” Namania said.

Other Kagame supporters told VOA they weren’t looking for a president for life.

“At the end of the [new] seven-year term of his excellency, Paul Kagame, someone will continue after him,” Kagame supporter Joseph Zorondera said after casting his ballot at the Mbandazi Primary School outside Kigali. “We need a good leader in our country now to continue to secure the country, to help the people of Rwanda and to continue to develop the country for the next seven years,”

Voting was calm as people trickled into the school, nestled in the hilly outskirts of the sprawling capital.

Valerian Musengamana, the polling station chief, told VOA that people were “very happy with the activities of the election. They are really satisfied.”

The East African Community � a regional intergovernmental organization comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda � sent international observers to monitor the polls. The European Union did not. Representatives of local observer missions told VOA they hadn’t encountered any significant issues and that the voting appeared to be progressing smoothly.

Opposition presidential candidate Frank Habineza of the Green Party told VOA that some of his party’s observers had been denied access to polling stations, but after the National Election Commission was informed of the problem, 95 percent of them were permitted to monitor the voting process.

Habineza was one of two challengers Kagame faced in his re-election bid. Independent Philippe Mpayimana was also on the ballot.

Few of their supporters would agree to be interviewed at the polls.

“I chose [the Green] Party simply because of its good platform,” said voter Charles Ndamage, with electoral commission officials watching nearby. “The manifesto presented by Habineza was very interesting to me � for instance, the fact that he wants to develop the country by reducing the step between rich people and poor people.”

Endorsements for Kagame

Nine of the 11 political parties permitted to register in Rwanda endorsed Kagame. Four other presidential hopefuls were disqualified by the electoral commission. The government and ruling party brushed off allegations from human rights groups that authorities restricted freedom of expression and stifled political opposition.

Kagame is widely credited with stabilizing the country after a 1994 genocide.

“They [the opposition candidates] are good but I don’t think any of them will do better than Paul Kagame. Because we have seen for the last few years that he has been on, the changes. It’s really a big change. It’s obvious,” said voter Imelda Batamoliza.

Kagame’s supporters pointed to developments like improved roads, more community connections to clean water and recently built schools.

Government officials said they expected to announce final results over the weekend.

Source: Voice of America


PRETORIA, Aug 5 (NNN-SA NEWS) — The South African Police Service (SAPS) has put in place contingency plans at all of its 10111 Call Centres to ensure that emergency calls are answered and responded to as a priority.

These contingency plans are tried and tested as they were implemented successfully during the strike last month and proved effective, says SAPS spokesperson Major General Sally de Beer.

In the past, the SAPS management had deployed non-uniformed police to fill the positions vacated by striking employees at the call centres.

De Beer stressed that the hotline is intended for crime-related emergency purposes only. We caution against people making unnecessary or hoax calls to the 10111 number and from phoning the number to ‘test’ if operators are working as this places a strain on the queuing system, he said here Thursday.

The introduction of the SAPS contingency plans followed the withdrawal of the South African Police Union (SAPU) from Commission of ConciliationS Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) negotiations.

The SAPU is demanding salary increases from level 5 to level 7 which were recommended by a task team in 2013. The union and the SAPS management had initially agreed to let the mediation process unfold at the CCMAS thus resulting in the strike being temporarily postponed.

However, the union withdrew from the negotiations after it accused SAPS management of delaying the speedy resolution of this issue by rejecting any proposal tabled by the CCMA commissioner. As such the workers resume their strike action at SAPS 10111 Call Centres Friday morning.

The union also threatened that if no progress was made by August 11S they would call for unions under the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) to join in the strike in solidarity.