Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Lecturers action unnecessary, says Presidency

The Federal Government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Tuesday presented different views on a parley involving both parties over the strike by university teachers.

While the Federal Government said significant steps were taken at the meeting towards the resolution of the issues raised by ASUU, the President of the union, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, said it was a “mere consultation.”

He said, “We have not yet had a formal meeting (with government); we are still making consultation. Don’t worry; I will get back to you when there is information. But there is no information for now.”

But the Director of Press, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowookere, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday said the Minister of Labour and Employment,  Senator Chris Ngige, led government to the meeting on behalf of the government.

He said the meeting held took significant steps towards the resolution of the issues raised by ASUU.

Olowookere said the meeting agreed on the forensic audit of N30bn earlier given to ASUU in 2010 and further agreed on monthly remittances to ASUU while the audit lasts.

He said, “The Minister hence wishes to assure members of ASUU, and indeed all Nigerians that government is already at work   to resolve all outstanding issues in line with the resolve of the present administration to cast any form of disruption of universities’ academic calendar into the dustbin of history.  The meeting continues on Thursday August 17, 2017.”

ASUU strike unnecessary, says Presidency

The Presidency on Tuesday described the industrial action declared by ASUU on Monday as “totally unnecessary.”

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in an interview on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily.

Shehu said the union leaders were aware of the fact that the Muhammadu Buhari administration inherited the agreements based on which the industrial action was declared.

He said they were also aware that the Federal Government had set up a committee on the matter.

The presidential spokesman regretted that while the union leaders were expected to sit down and negotiate with the committee, they resorted to a strike.

He gave an indication that the government might not be able to meet the huge financial obligation the striking university teachers were asking for since the N850bn debt was more than the total allocation to the Ministry of Education in the 2017 Budget which he put at N369bn.

Shehu said, “Governments enter into agreements that they can pay for. Ability to pay is a key requirement in going into agreements.

“Since President Buhari assumed office, he has sent words out there in form of a warning to all government institutions that they should not go into negotiations and agreements that they cannot pay for; but get clearance.

“I understand that they are talking about debts owed their members to the tune of N850bn. If I am correct, the entire appropriation for the Ministry of Education for this year is N369bn. So where do they want us to get the money from?

“We have inherited these agreements and we are not running away from them. Government has set up a committee led by (Dr Wale) Babalakin. They are already sitting. Why didn’t they sit down and negotiate?

“This strike is totally unnecessary. The issues can be resolved, especially where we have full understanding of where we are coming from. The governments that signed those agreements did not deem it fit to implement because the capacity was not there.

“If they are ready, they can sit down and discuss with the committee that has capable and qualified people as members.”

Shehu said the university teachers opted to go on strike because they expected that all their problems should be solved with a wave of hand.

“They want all the problems to go with a wave of the hand. They want all the answers to all their problems at a go. There is an avenue that the government has opened for them for dialogue and it is not closed yet,” the presidential spokesman said.

Poly lecturers threaten sympathy strike

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics on Tuesday said it supported the strike embarked upon by ASUU.

The union in a statement by its Secretary General, Anderson Ezeibe, noted that the strike was aimed at restoring sanity to Nigerian universities and the education sector.

It also urged government to commence the implementation of agreements entered into with ASUP to forestall an impending crisis in polytechnics.

The union lamented that it had become a norm for government to renege on agreements entered into with trade unions, particularly in the education sector.

It said failure of government to implement agreements   frustrated unions and left them with no choice but to go on strike.

The group said that it was concerned about the consequences of the strike on students, parents and society at large.

It urged government to address the issue of shortfall in personnel releases in federal institutions since December 2015, non-payment of salaries in state polytechnics, non-implementation of Needs Assessment report and non-payment of allowances.

“ASUP notes the renewal of hostilities on the country’s university campuses between ASUU and government of Nigeria.

 “While we are in unconditional solidarity with ASUU in this struggle to restore sanity to Nigerian universities, we are calling on the government to commence without further delay the implementation of agreements entered into with ASUP to forestall an impending crisis in the polytechnic sub-sector.”

Published in Headliners

Presidency rejects claim that PDP left healthy economy

The Presidency yesterday dismissed former President Goodluck Jonathan’s claim on the state of the economy at the end of his administration in May 2015.

Jonathan said at the weekend that he handed over a healthy economy to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We tamed inflation at a single digit, maintained price stability, and drove the economy to become the largest in Africa”, the ex-president explained.

But the Presidency disagreed, saying the economy President Buhari inherited had crumbled.

In a statement titled “Your Excellency Dr Jonathan, this is the economy you left behind, in case you have forgotten”,  the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said: “With due respects to the former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, these are the facts about the economy you left behind, in case you have forgotten.

“I hope this will help to erase the wrong statement credited to you at your party, the PDP Convention at the Eagle Square last weekend that you handed to President Buhari a robustly healthy economy.

“To the same extent, this should also help to erase yet another false statement by Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, the Caretaker Chairman of the party, to the effect that under the previous administration there was money but now things are very hard.

“Let me start by reasserting an obvious statement, which is that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was handed an economy ravaged by years of mismanagement and corruption.

“It is understandable that Dr Jonathon kept his comments short, because a cursory look at any sector clearly indicated that he and his government presided over the most monumental and tragic economic mismanagement recorded in our national history.

“The oil sector boomed under his tenure, with oil prices as high as US$ 120 and peace in the Niger Delta. Nigeria earned unprecedented dollar revenues. Sadly,that is where the story turns sour. There is nothing to show for the revenues earned, no major capital project was completed,  neither power generation, road development, rail nor agriculture benefited from the windfall earnings. Rather the administration presided over  the diversion of oil revenues on such a massive scale that even without the protection now accorded to Whistle blowers, the   then Central Bank Governor blew not only a whistle but a trumpet.

“He was hurriedly shown the door. Meanwhile, the acquisition by public officers and their cohorts of private jets, luxury yachts and the accumulation of expensive property portfolios world-wide continued unabated. Indeed the President once celebrated having the largest number of private jets, whilst our youth languished without jobs, our fields stood idle and our factories began the lay-off of workers.

“Government simply reticulated oil revenue  through personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and  salaries. This was done rather than investing in what would grow the economy. Economies grow due to capital investment in assets like seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing. Nigeria cannot record a single major infrastructural project in the last 10 years. In short the money was mismanaged.”

“Such was the looting that even the goose that was laying the golden egg was being systematically starved. The direct contractual  costs of oil produced , in the form of cash calls, remained unpaid.  The incoming, President Buhari’s welcome from the oil majors included  demand for US$6Bn owed by Nigeria for oil that had already been sold or stolen,” he said.

Shehu recalled that at the inception of the Buhari administration, 21 States were unable to meet their salary bills and the spectre of workers arrears had begun.

“The PDP solution was the raid of the Ecological Fund and it selectively granted N2Bn each to the PDP states.  It was only aggressive borrowing by the Ministry of Finance under Dr  Okonjo- Iweala that prevented Federal Government from also owing salaries. The economic wisdom of borrowing to pay recurrent bills  is a questionable one, particularly as those paid would have included over 45,000 that have subsequently been removed by the Buhari-led administration as ghost workers.

“It also included the lavish costs of chartering private jets, first class travel   and other wasteful acts that have been eliminated under this administration.

“To compound the problem, the government was borrowing heavily and owed contractors, and international oil companies. When this government took over we had accumulated debt back to the level it was before the Paris Club Debt forgiveness.

“All these factors  were building up to Nigeria heading for a major crisis if the price of oil fell. Nigeria did not have fiscal buffers to withstand an oil shock.

“The oil shock should and could have been foreseen.  When Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, crisis started, it was clear that the United States of America wanted to cut off funds to terror groups by crashing the price of oil. When America granted permission for exploration of oil on land (Shale), the warning signs were evident, but these were ignored by Nigeria’s economic managers,” Shehu said

The spokesman added: “In summary, Nigeria earned a lot of money when oil prices were high but there is nothing to show for it. Now oil prices have fallen we are suffering.

“What could they have done differently? They could have begun doing the very things that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is doing so painfully now:

“Fight corruption, sanitise the huge salary bill  by eliminating payroll fraud, reduce wasteful expenses like first class travel and private jets, encourage state governments to reform their spending and build savings or investments, Increase spending on capital projects, especially on infrastructure needed to make Nigerian businesses competitive, and create jobs, block the leakages that allowed government revenues to be siphoned into private hands, Focus on key sectors  ( apart from oil) that can create jobs and or  generate revenue, such as agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing.”

“If these things had been done when the oil price was as high as US$120 per barrel, Nigeria would not be in the current predicament.”

In Shehu’s view, Nigeria would not have been suffering, if we had cash reserves, power, or a rail system, or good roads, or good housing. “But we don’t have money and we don’t have the projects either.

“Now that the oil has fallen below those levels, it is very difficult to do what is needed but they must be done to save Nigeria. There is no other way if we want to be honest,” he said, adding:

“If PDP were still in power they would have continued deceiving people, by borrowing to fund stealing and wastage and the problem would have simply been postponed for future generations to face.

“One of former President Jonathon’s specific boasts is that dollar under him was N180 compared to today.  With such a line of  argument, it is clear why we are where we are. With oil prices as high as $120, the average inflow of dollars each month was high, making it easy to support cheap dollars. However with oil price plummeting as low as $28, the fundamental laws of supply and demand dictate that the currency would need to adjust, since oil was the sole export.  It is instructive to note that virtually every major oil exporter has witnessed currency adjustments with the fall in oil price.

“The Buhari administration has taken a long term strategic view of supporting a stable naira on both the supply and demand sides. President Buhari has driven Import substitution to reduce demand for dollars to buy things we can produce, thereby creating thousands of rural jobs in rice and other staples. In addition, there is a credible plan to diversify our revenue sources away from oil, with focus on export crops as well as solid minerals, with the release of US$100m fund to develop solid mineral extraction.

“President Muhammdu Buhari has a  positive and prosperous vision for Nigeria. A nation in which  the natural talent and hard work  of the people is  being supported by an enabling environment of  infrastructural development  and policy reforms that will develop a firm future for our nation.  Nigerians are looking forward and the PDP’s lurking in the economic rear view mirror only underscores the resolve of Nigerians, that as far as the economy is concerned it is ‘never again’” Shehu said.

Published in Headliners

Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for five matches after pushing referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea during Real Madrid's 3-1 Spanish Super Cup first-leg win at Barcelona on Sunday.

Ronaldo's 24 minutes as a substitute at the Camp Nou saw him score a superb goal, pick up a booking for removing his shirt during the celebration, and then quickly receive a second yellow after De Burgos Bengoetxea ruled the Portugal captain had dived to try to win a penalty.

Ronaldo reacted to being sent off by pushing De Burgos Bengoetxea. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) banned Ronaldo for one match for drawing the red card and the other four for pushing the official.

That was just one major talking point on a night that also saw Gerard Pique's own goal put Madrid ahead, Lionel Messi equalise with a controversial penalty won by Luis Suarez and Marco Asensio score a screamer to put his side fully in control ahead of Wednesday's second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ronaldo has also been fined €3,805 for his actions, while Madrid were fined €1,750.

Ronaldo is set to miss the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona as well as Madrid's four opening La Liga games against Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad.

His next domestic appearance will come at home to Real Betis in La Liga in the midweek round of fixtures of Sept. 20, although he will be eligible to play in Real Madrid's Champions League group stage opener a week before and the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy friendly against Fiorentina on Aug. 23.

The RFEF says Madrid have 10 days to lodge an appeal with its appeals committee, while adding in its report that the club attempted to get the offence downgraded from a push to a minor "disregard" for the referee.

The official match report sent to the RFEF from the Camp Nou included Ronaldo's push in the "other incidents" section.

"Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro -- having been shown the red card, the player pushed me slightly in a sign of his disagreement," the Basque official wrote.

The RFEF's disciplinary code appears clear that the punishment for such behaviour, even if only "slightly violent," is an extra suspension of four to 12 games.

"Pulling, pushing or shaking, or a general attitude towards the match officials which, even if only slightly violent, without confirming an aggressive attitude on their part, will be punished with a suspension of four to 12 games," says the code's article 96.

At the postmatch news conference, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said the second yellow was "a bit too much" and hoped Ronaldo could still be cleared to play in Wednesday's second leg.

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos told Telecinco after the final whistle that he believed Ronaldo had not dived, and therefore the club would be able to appeal the decision.

"I was far away," Ramos said. "But I believe Cristiano lost his balance and did not fake anything. We can appeal, as it leaves us without a very important player, with 10 minutes left. [The referee] should have thought about it a bit more."

Ramos also said that De Burgos Bengoetxea had erred in earlier awarding a penalty when Suarez fell to the ground dramatically, having been challenged inside the box by Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.

"There is a lot of tension in these type of games," he said. "For me it was not a penalty. I don't believe the referee blew the whistle if he did not see anything; he must have seen it clearly. But for me there was nothing."

Madrid left-back Marcelo told the club's official website that the red card was "bizarre" while acknowledging that referees make mistakes.

"Cristiano being sent off was bizarre, but sometimes that can happen," the Brazil international said. "Referees can make mistakes, along with the things they get right."

Ex-Madrid full-back Alvaro Arbeloa, now popular among fans and pundits for his regular defence of his former club, tweeted after Ronaldo's sending off: "They are laughing in our face. Lamentable."

Published in Sports
Sunday, 13 August 2017 22:05

Kenya opposition urges strike over vote

Kenya's opposition leader has urged people to stay away from work on Monday over the disputed election result.

Raila Odinga said it would be a "day of mourning for the fallen patriots" after a rally in Kibera, the largest slum in the capital Nairobi.

The international community has urged calm following the election, which Mr Odinga alleges was fixed.

But after Mr Odinga spoke on Sunday, renewed violence broke out between his supporters and their opponents.

Police fired tear gas in Mathare - a slum where Mr Odinga met the family of a nine-year-old girl shot by a stray bullet.

AFP is reporting at least 16 people were killed between Friday evening and Saturday night. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said on Saturday 24 people had been shot dead during protests since election day on 8 August.

It is unclear how much these two figures overlap.

Tear gas was fired at opposition leader Raila Odinga's supporters

In a tweet sent after the rally, Mr Odinga said they had died at the hands of "Jubilee mandated death squads", referring to Mr Kenyata's party.

A man was also killed in Kisumu county, an opposition stronghold and the centre of post-election ethnic violence in 2007, when 1,200 people died and 600,000 were displaced.

"This is a failed regime that is resorting to killing people instead of addressing the real issue. The vote was stolen. There's no secret about that," Mr Odinga told the 4,000 people who had gathered to hear him talk on Sunday.

The official results gave President Uhuru Kenyatta 54.3%, and Mr Odinga 44.7%.

He added: "We had predicted they will steal the election and that's what happened. We are not done yet. We will not give up. Wait for the next course of action which I will announce the day after tomorrow.

"But for now I want to tell you not to go to work tomorrow Monday)."

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga addresses thousands of his supportersImage copyrightEPA
Mr Odinga has promised a response to the election results on Tuesday

The BBC's reporter in Nairobi said his claims were contrary to reports from both local and international observers that the poll was free and fair.

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan are among those who have urged Mr Odinga to seek redress through the courts - something the opposition coalition says is not an option.

The Elections Observation Group (Elog), which had 8,300 observers, said its projected outcome put Mr Kenyatta on 54%, just short of the official figure of 54.3%.

Published in Headliners

Champions Chelsea lost Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas to red cards as they suffered a stunning 3-2 home defeat to Burnley on the opening Saturday of the Premier League season.

Chelsea were down to 10 men with 14 minutes gone when captain Cahill was dismissed for a lunging challenge on Steven Defour, and they fell behind with 24 minutes gone as Sam Vokes guided the ball past Thibaut Courtois.

Burnley's lead was doubled when, with a little over five minutes remaining until the break, Jack Cork set up Stephen Ward to hammer home, and it was 3-0 before the interval when Vokes scored his second with a header.

Marcos Alonso had an effort saved by Burnley keeper Tom Heaton early in the second half before Alvaro Morata was brought on for Michy Batshuayi, and Alonso had a free kick saved soon afterwards.

Morata dived to head home his first Premier League goal from a Willian cross and bundled the ball home moments later only to see an offside flag deny him.

Fabregas then saw red for a second booking -- but David Luiz pulled another one back to set up a frenetic finish in which Burnley's Robbie Brady hit the post and Morata failed to touch home late on.

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Liverpool conceded an injury-time equaliser as they were held 3-3 at Watford in their Premier League opener.

Mohamed Salah looked to have netted a winner on his Liverpool debut, but Miguel Britos headed home from point-blank range in the dying moments to secure a share of the spoils.

Liverpool -- without Philippe Coutinho, who was ruled out with a back injury amid intense speculation over his future -- fell behind on eight minutes, with Stefano Okaka taking advantage of some poor defending from a corner to head past Simon Mignolet.

Sadio Mane hit back on 29 minutes, but Liverpool's defensive weaknesses were exposed again as Abdoulaye Doucoure slotted in for 2-1.

Liverpool turned it around early in the second half, with Roberto Firmino equalising from the penalty spot after Salah was brought down in the area by goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes on 55 minutes and then Salah nudging home.

Two goals in three minutes set Huddersfield up for a dream start to life in the Premier League as they defeated Crystal Palace 3-0 at Selhurst Park.

Tom Ince missed an early chance to give the Terriers the lead when he sent a bouncing effort from Tommy Smith's cross straight at keeper Wayne Hennessey.

But they were ahead after 23 minutes when Palace failed to deal with an Aaron Mooy corner and the ball deflected in off Joel Ward -- and with Palace rocking Mooy crossed again and Steve Mounie headed home.

Palace made a half-time change, with Andros Townsend coming on in place of Luka Milivojevic, and Christian Benteke almost pulled a goal back -- but Huddersfield made sure when Mounie struck again.

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Sergio Aguero was on target as Manchester City denied Brighton any hope of a shock on their Premier League debut.

Pep Guardiola's side, for all their riches, took time to get into their groove in a 2-0 win at the Amex Stadium.

But the moment they did it was ruthless as striker Aguero converted 20 minutes from time.

Lewis Dunk turned Fernandinho's cross through goalkeeper Mathew Ryan grasp and into his own net soon afterwards as City prevailed after previously being frustrated.

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Wayne Rooney scored the decisive goal on his second Everton debut as the big-spending Merseysiders beat Stoke City 1-0 at Goodison Park.

New-look Everton had marginally the better of a disjointed opening spell with Sandro, another of their new signings, seeing an effort trundle just wide of the Stoke goal.

But Rooney ended a scrappy first half when he headed in to mark his Goodison homecoming in the best possible style.

Stoke started the second half in determined fashion but found good chances at a premium with Darren Fletcher coming closest when he seized on a loose ball 25 yards out and drilled narrowly wide from distance, and they were denied at the end when new home keeper Jordan Pickford made a fine stop from Xherdan Shaqiri.

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West Bromwich Albion made another set piece pay as they opened the season with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at The Hawthorns.

The visitors produced plenty of neat football throughout, but were unable to create much threat and fell behind after 31 minutes when Ahmed Hegazi headed in a Chris Brunt free kick.

Jermain Defoe came on for Bournemouth after the break, replacing Benik Afobe, but the former Sunderland striker had little to work with as West Brom held firm.

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Southampton suffered a frustrating afternoon as they were held 0-0 at home by Swansea City.

Dusan Tadic missed a fine early chance to put the home side in front when he guided a close-range finish wide from Ryan Bertrand's inviting cross, and James Ward-Prowse saw an effort deflected over as the home side kept control.

They continued to create the better openings, with a Nathan Redmond cross creating havoc before Swansea scraped the ball away, but struggled to carve out clear chances against a well-organised visiting side.

Dusan Tadic went close late on as Southampton made it a club-record six home league games in a row without a goal, their worst run since the 1930s.

Published in Sports

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he is okay but has to obey his doctors orders in London.

Buhari had left Nigeria on May 7th to meet up follow up consultation with his doctors in the United Kingdom.

Stressing that there is tremendous improvement in his health, he said that he really wished to return home.

He spoke while receiving the presidential media team, and the Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Matters, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, at Abuja House, London, on Saturday.

The team was led by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, accompanied by Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity; Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, and Lauretta Onochie, Personal Assistant on Digital/Online Media.

Buhari, in a statement issued by Adesina, said “But I’ve learnt to obey my doctor’s orders, rather than be the one issuing the orders. Here, the doctor is absolutely in charge.”

When the team expressed delight at the much improved health of the President, he retorted: “I feel I could go home, but the doctors are in charge. I’ve now learnt to obey orders, rather than be obeyed.”

On how he felt hearing different conjectures about his health, an amused President Buhari said he followed events at home closely, lauding Nigerian television stations, and the media generally, for keeping him informed.

When told that prayers were going on fervently for him, not only in Nigeria, but all over Africa, and round the world, a delighted President said: “What we did in The Gambia early this year fetched us a lot of goodwill on the African continent. It gave us a lot of latitude. I thank all those who are praying. May God reward them.”

President Buhari, the statement said, sent appreciation to all Nigerians, expressing hope that he would be with them soon.

Published in Headliners

The Kenya election commission on Friday declared incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta had won a second and final five-year term in this week’s polls, despite opposition objections over the fairness of the vote.

Kenyatta took 54.27 percent of the vote, and opposition leader Raila Odinga took 44.74 percent, said election commission head Wafula Chebukati.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has won re-election in Kenya, defeating veteran opposition leader and longtime rival Raila Odinga in a tense contest.

Kenya’s election commission declared Friday that the 55-year-old businessman and son of the country’s founding President had received enough votes to secure a second five-year term.
Provisional and unverified reporting following Tuesday’s vote had given Kenyatta a wide margin of 54% to 45% with 98% of polling stations reporting.
He garnered 54.27% of the final vote; Odinga received 44.74%.
The nation’s top elections official, Wafula Chebukati, said the vote was carried out in a “free, fair and credible manner.”
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta high-fives with supporters after casting his vote in Tuesday's presidential election.
Odinga, a 72-year-old former political prisoner who has campaigned for the presidency four times, is refusing to accept the results, claiming the vote was hacked.
Speaking before the declaration, Musalia Mudavadi, co-principal of the opposition’s National Super Alliance (NASA), said they would not be party to the announcement of Kenyatta as president, citing unresolved concerns about the veracity of the electoral process.
“The issues we raised have not been adequately addressed,” he said. “One can conclude that they (Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) were not keen on taking our concerns seriously.”
James Orengo, NASA party chief agent, described the process as a “disaster.” “This has been an entire charade. The judgment is now out there in the court of public opinion.”
 
Odinga, running as the NASA candidate, told CNN Thursday that he doesn’t “trust” the paper forms from polling stations around the country that officials used to authenticate votes.
Odinga said the forms could have been “manipulated” before being returned to the capital. At a news conference Thursday, members of Odinga’s party gave no evidence to support any claims of election tampering, citing only unnamed sources at the election commission.
Kisumu's main street "Oginga Odinga street," named for Raila's father who acted as the country's first vice president, was largely deserted on Friday.
In a letter released Friday morning, Chebukati, the chairman of the election commission, rejected the opposition coalition’s evidence of election fraud, calling it “obviously and plainly falsified.”
On Thursday, Chebukati said tampering with the election system “was attempted but did not succeed,” without elaborating further.

Fears of violence

Peaceful elections in East Africa’s largest economy would help provide stability to the region but allegations of vote rigging have sparked concern with some Kenyans fearing ethnic clashes similar to those triggered a decade ago.
More than 1,000 died in months of violence and bloodshed after Odinga — who had been defeated by the then-President Mwai Kibaki — claimed the 2007 election had been rigged.
Odinga and his party repeatedly called for calm this week as the final results were compiled.
Kenyan security personnel walk towards burning barricades on a road in Kisumu on Wednesday.
Extra security forces have been deployed to the streets of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka told CNN. Additional police have also been installed at the airport in the western city of Kisumu as a preventative measure, according to Reuters.
Nairobi remained quieter than usual after the national holiday on Tuesday. Some businesses were open in the city center but mostly people were remaining indoors; other residents who went to their home villages to vote might also have stayed away.
In Kisumu, a local journalist described the city center as “a ghost town.”
At least two people died in election-related violence after brief protests broke out in several Odinga strongholds — in Nairobi and Kisumu — on Wednesday. The day before, a polling agent from Odinga’s party was killed in a machete attack in Tana River county.
Odinga's hacking claims this week have ratched up tensions in his strongholds.
“We do not want to see any violence in Kenya. We know the consequences of what happened in 2008 and we don’t want to see a repeat of that anymore,” Odinga told CNN on Thursday.
“I don’t control anybody. What is happening is that people just want to see justice. We also hope that the security forces are not going to use excessive force.”
Published in Headliners
 

South Africa's main opposition party submitted a motion to dissolve the nation's parliament on Thursday, which, if passed, would require fresh national elections.

“The ANC is willing to do anything to protect President Jacob Zuma,” said John Steenhuisen, chief whip of the Democratic Alliance party. “South Africans need to be given the opportunity to make their voices heard at the polls.”

The dissolution motion comes hot on the heels of a no confidence vote which Zuma narrowly survived earlier this week.

The dissolution attempt, which requires 201 out of 400 parliamentary votes to pass, is seen as unlikely to succeed as the ANC holds a majority of 249 of the house's seats.

The motion says the some ANC lawmakers “no longer represent the earnest hopes and aspirations of the electorate” and “exhibit unquestioning fealty to President Jacob Zuma and to the organization he leads.”

The ANC blasted the DA's move as an attempt to subvert the will of South African voters by trying to dissolve a government that received 62 percent of the national vote in the 2014 polls.

Zuma has survived multiple attempts by the opposition to remove him from power, as he has faced growing anger over multiple allegations of corruption while the economy has slid into recession.

Tuesday's no-confidence motion was the first to be held by secret ballot, and more than 25 members of his ruling party revolted and supported the motion or abstained, the ANC said.

“We are deeply disappointed that some of our ANC members allowed themselves to be used by the opposition to fracture and weaken the ANC and destabilize our country,” the party said in a statement. It did not say how and if it would discipline members who did not tow the party line.

The ANC is expected to replace Zuma as party president at a meeting in December, but his term as head of state is set to continue until elections in 2019.

Published in Business and Economy
 

At least 27 people, including three police officers, were killed in clashes between protesters and police in Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this week, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

The majority of the deaths were in the capital, Kinshasa, where members of the separatist sect Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) marched against President Joseph Kabila and attacked a prison Monday.

BDK is just one of many sources of opposition to Kabila that have threatened to plunge the vast, mineral-rich central African country into chaos since the president refused to step down when his mandate expired in December.

“Prompt and impartial investigations are needed to determine who is responsible for the deaths. … Violence by protesters or excessive use of force by security forces should not be tolerated and those responsible should be held accountable,” HRW Central Africa director Ida Sawyer said.

Congo security forces shot into crowds to disperse the protesters in Kinshasa, killing 11 BDK members and 10 bystanders, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

Others were killed in similar clashes in the southwestern cities of Matadi and Muanda, it added.

Congo’s police spokesman said Wednesday that 19 people had been killed in total, including 17 BDK members and two police.

Published in Headliners

This is the $37.5m Banana Island, Lagos property belonging to former petroleum resources minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, which a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered should be temporary forfeited to the Federal Government.

The property has 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses. It is located as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate.

Apart from the property, the court also ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70, said to be part of the rent collected on the property.

The funds were said to have been found in a Zenith Bank account number 1013612486.

Published in Headliners
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