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Kenya's ECK Denied US Entry Visas

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by Ab-Titchaz, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    Oct 2, 2008
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    America Bans ECK Commissioners

    Updated 2 hr(s) 3 min(s) ago
    By Joseph Murimi


    Pressure continues to pile on ECK chiefs to quit, with the US imposing a travel ban on the 22 commissioners, and EU negotiating a soft landing for them.This comes ahead of the commissioners' meeting with EU ambassadors to Kenya in Nairobi, this morning.

    Although the EU representatives in Nairobi refused to divulge details of the agenda of today's meeting with ECK chairman Samuel Kivuitu and his team, impeccable sources intimated to us the ambassadors would be asking them to consider resigning to allow for reforms of the electoral system.

    The source from an EU country told The Standard the meeting would explore options for the commissioners to give them a ‘safe exit' following the bungled General Election, last year.

    "The options include, but are not limited to, the commissioners getting a generous severance pay package," said the source privy to the planning of the meeting.

    The Standard has established from sources within ECK that Kivuitu has come under increasingly heavy pressure to resign as the first step in reforming the electoral body.

    ECK commissioners were roundly condemned by the public after the controversial presidential vote tallying that sparked a wave of violence that led to the death of over 1,200 people and the displacement of about 350,000 others in January and February.


    A scene during the announcement of the presidential election results at the KICC on December 30, last year.

    The exit offer, it emerged on Wednesday, has been on the cards for some time as an option for the commissioners who enjoy security of tenure.

    The law states that getting a commissioner out of office before the expiry of their term would require the President to form a tribunal to probe their conduct.

    But Kivuitu is said to be unhappy the money offered for him to leave office.

    A commissioner, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, said Kivuitu emerged from a meeting with a senior official of the French Embassy on Wednesday very upset.

    According to the commissioner, the embassy official told Kivuitu that if he accepted to resign they (EU) were prepared to pay his dues.

    But the EU officials is said to have told Kivuitu that they are ready to come in and help him find another engagement and fund his retirement.

    The EU's verdict of the General Election last year was that it fell short of key international and regional standards for democratic elections.Most significantly, the electoral process suffered from a lack of transparency in the processing and tallying of results, which undermined the confidence in the accuracy of the final results of the presidential election.They were also ready to find a soft landing for him in form a job if he was interested.

    The commissioner said Kivuitu took offence with the suggestion that he gets the money or even a job outside Kenya if he so wished.

    A second commissioner we spoke to also confirmed the money and the soft landing offer that Kivuitu had been offered in exchange for his job at the commission.The commissioner said that the pressure from foreign missions for ECK's top brass to resign amounts to interference with internal affairs of the country.

    He added that Kivuitu was appointed by the President under Section 3 of the Constitution, and that calls for him to quit show disrespect for the Constitution.

    When we contacted the US embassy's press officer Ms Inmi Patterson on Wednesday on the travel ban, she declined to comment, saying they are on holiday.

    "I am not aware. We closed office on Tuesday at 4.30 and I would only confirm to you tomorrow when I get back to office," she told The Standard on telephone.

    Can't travel to US

    But an official at the embassy said the 22 commissioners were among 30 Kenyans banned from travelling to the US. When the US imposes a travel ban, they do not notify the person affected until they apply for a travel visa.

    The official said he was only aware of four commissioners whose visa applications had been turned down at the height of the post-election violence. But he did not disclose their names.

    When contacted, ECK commissioner Samuel Ngeny directed The Standard to the US embassy and hung up. "Contact the US embassy in that case," he said, and hung up his phone.

    Vice-chairman Kihara Muttu said he was not aware of the ban.

    It also emerged on Wednesday that Kivuitu had been invited for a conference in the United States on November ahead of the November 4 presidential election.

    He had been invited by a media organisation to lecture on how to conduct elections, but has not put in his visa application.

    Commissioner Jack Tumwa noted that he has not received any notification of any US visa ban.

    "I'm in the dark just like you. Nothing has been communicated to me yet," said Tumwa.

    Commissioner Alfred Ndambiri said he was not aware of the ban as he left for Brazil where he is leading a team from ECK to observe the country's municipal elections scheduled for Friday.

    And on Wednesday, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said there was need to reform the Electoral Commission before the 2012 General Election.

    Defend themselves

    On Friday, Kalonzo outlined the processes necessary for the overhaul of the ECK and the entire electoral process before the next General Election.

    He said the Cabinet should discuss the Kriegler Report today and make recommendations that would lead to a formulation of a Sessional Paper to be tabled in Parliament.

    "Then the necessary legislations will be put in place to ensure the new team facilitates free and fair elections. Everyone knows there is need to reform ECK," said Kalonzo.

    He said the ECK should be lean with about nine commissioners.

    He added commissioners should be given an opportunity to defend themselves before they are replaced.

    "There is a way of dealing with the matter until the recommendations by Kriegler are implemented," said Kalonzo, who spoke to The Standard in an interview on Friday.

    The Kriegler report proposes overhaul of the ECK.

    On Wednesday, Kalonzo said there was need to take legislative steps to reconstitute the commission.

    He said the ECK matter should be looked at in a comprehensive manner instead of simply changing individuals.
  2. Nkamangi

    Nkamangi JF-Expert Member

    Oct 2, 2008
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    Kwani do the amercans think it is very important for them to go to america kiasi kwamba they use that as a punishment?
  3. Marlenevdc

    Marlenevdc Member

    Oct 2, 2008
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    In my opinion, yes and no.
    Yes - to accentuate america's indignation, protest and contempt on their actions and show these guys and the whole world society that what they "presumably" did was a bad thing!
    No - There are at least 140 other countries to go to and do shopping, visit, relax and do whatever one wanted to do in america! Unless those other countries did the same... which is not impossible, but needs some asking to come true.
  4. R

    Rodelite JF-Expert Member

    Oct 2, 2008
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    The American government should do the same to the responsible parties in Zimbabwe......their actions were similar to Kenya's during presidential elections.
  5. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Very rightly stated.
  6. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    Oct 2, 2008
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    Thats not the message being sent.

    The thing America is trying to say is that these guys denied a country its sacred right of a free and fair election and thus they dont want any relation with them.If they feel they are being treated unfairly and want to shift the blame elsewhere then they should turn in the information indicating so.

    Countries that think likewise will follow suit maana its such people who once they get their money they go abroad to shop and do other business's.So European countries will follow suit.If you have followed the Kenyan Elections you will remember that the gridlock to Kibaki's hanging on to power and Raila being adamant of having his victory stolen, was only cracked when the US threatened to bar Kibaki and almost all his Goverment and their families from stepping on to their soil.Worser still if they had family members there wangerudishwa!!!

    In Kenya, that tool is very effective and it has worked in many instances.
  7. G

    GarageRules Member

    Oct 2, 2008
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    Also, it's shameful for the Kenyan Government for such action, I will love to see this happened to Tanzania as well. There are many corrupt and irresponsible officials in our government. Mungu bariki Tanzania!
  8. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Fisadis in TZ need to be subjected to this same kind of treatment
    and tighten the noose around their business links.
  9. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Oct 4, 2008
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    Kenya anger at West's 'blackmail'
    BBC News Online

    Mr Wetangula said defending Kenyan sovereignty not the ECK
    Kenya has sent protest notes to the United States and European Union following pressure for Kenya's electoral commissioner to resign.

    The foreign minister said Samuel Kivuitu had been threatened with a travel ban, which was "shameless blackmail" and an insult to the public.

    However, diplomatic sources say no such travel threat was made.

    The electoral commission was heavily criticised over last year's polls, which led to deadly political violence.

    Last month, a report said there was no evidence that the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) was guilty of rigging the poll results in favour of President Mwai Kibaki or any other candidates.

    But it did call for a radical overhaul of the electoral body.


    "I am not defending Kivuitu and his team, I am simply protecting our sovereignty," Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper quotes Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula as saying.

    The commissioners have lost the confidence of the Kenyan people and must be held accountable

    US embassy statement

    "I am outraged, as most Kenyans are, by the audacious and blatant breach of protocol by some ambassadors who reportedly visited the chairman of ECK and demanded his immediate resignation, short of which he would face travel ban to their respective countries."

    In a statement, the US embassy in Kenya said it could not discuss visa applications, but said that in December last year the "lack of transparency and accountability in the election vote tallying process seriously compromised the credibility of the results".

    "The commissioners have lost the confidence of the Kenyan people and must be held accountable," it said.

    More than 1,500 people died in clashes following claims the poll was rigged, and the violence also displaced another 600,000 people.

    After international mediation, President Kibaki and then opposition leader Raila Odinga signed a power-sharing deal in February, forming a coalition government in which Mr Odinga became prime minister.