Kenya: IEBC – “The Commission wishes to notify the public that one of its ICT Managers was last seen on Friday night. Efforts being made to trace him” (30.07.2017)
I write what I like.
You can wonder and get amazed, he did the same trick President Museveni did in the General Election 2016, and he did not show up at the live TV debate between the Presidential Candidates. Just like in Uganda, his arch nemesis showed up and that was the NASA candidate Raila Odinga. Not that all the other candidates showed up either, but it was only one-half of the main candidates. That the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee could not show is amazing. Especially, since there were reports that he ditched the planned rallies on the same day.
At this point, it does not matter what Odinga said yesterday at the Debate, he at least showed up on Primetime TV spot and showed himself for the republic and the incumbent could not care less about the arranged debate. What is so dangerous about it Kenyatta? Is it terrible to ask questions about your achievement in office?
It seems so, since you could not spare the time or the effort to show up to the debate. Only one that was on live TV and on most of the channels. I would have loved to discuss the difference in style and in chose of words to the different questions between Odinga and Kenyatta. However, I cannot do that, since it was one party there and the other left behind.
So at this point, it is mere enough for the support and the courage of Odinga, just to be there and take the questions from journalists and the audience, something the President was to big to do or something like that.
His State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu wrote this today: “Today, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta will commence an intense 12-day tour of Kenya, to meet fellow citizens from all walks of life, in all regions of the country. His last campaign events will be in the capital Nairobi on August 6 – 48 hours before the August 8 elections. This will be the second round of an all counties campaign where the President will take his message to Kenyans. Only this Sunday he completed a 14-counties blitz covered in seven days in which he put his call for unity and peace at the heart of his campaign agenda. These meet-the-people visits will see the President traverse 30 counties, making stops at more than 200 campaign stops. His Excellency the Deputy President, the Honourable William Ruto, will be visiting dozens of counties as well, making another 200 campaign stops. The President is going directly to the people to demonstrate what the August election is about – himself as someone who is fighting to deliver benefits, success and prosperity to the people versus an opposition challenger who is only after power for himself” (President.co.ke – ‘Spokesperson’s statement’ 25.07.2017).
It is okay, that the President campaigns and travels to every corner of Kenya, that he visit every single county and even every major town of the Republic. Nevertheless, why do he not have the time for a scheduled TV-Debate? Is that too much to ask and anticipate of the President? That the people all through the nation can watch and discuss the differences between him and Odinga?
Let me end on a side-note, but still a viable one. Does President Kenyatta, feel entitled to be the President and therefore a debate about his position and character is beneath him? That is how it can seem like, to not only me, but also many others.
Therefore, we are at this junction and so near the end of the campaigns and race for 8th August polls, there have been significant difference between the NASA and Jubilee from the get-go. In addition, with the time, it is more evident, than ever before. This race will be tight and prognoses seems to be for NASA in many aspects, but hard to grasp yet. There are enough days to see the wind of change. Nevertheless, this is something that is hard to anticipate.
What we can ask ourselves after yesterday’s acts of the President Kenyatta, does he feel entitled to rule and be Executive, or is it just mere arrogance towards Odinga. Peace.
There is something rare about election and preparations to them. The decisions made in the days, months before really sends signals to what is important, and what is needed for the safety of the Republic. Now, it’s revealed, that it was not just whistling out of his mouth, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Joseph Boinnet, did yesterday. He and his organization, the security operations of the Police has purchased and prepared itself for massive demonstrations. As if they are prepared for an uprising, since the results might differ to the actual voting. Which in some regions should be in favor of NASA instead of Jubilee. However, alas, that is why the IGP have been busy with the Minister of Interior to get new merchandise and make ready for mayhem. The Police who are there to serve and protect, do not trust the citizen they are working for! Therefore, they have ordered dozens of new Armored Vehicles from South Korea, tons of tear-gas and other equipment to make sure the citizens stay behind closed doors and behave. Just look!
“At least a dozen new South Korean made riot control vehicles arrived in Nairobi at the weekend, increasing to more than 30, the number of water canons for police use to quell chaos. The fleet of new armoured vehicles with advanced features is in addition to a new consignment of anti-riot gear including teargas canisters, batons, anti-riot wear and guns that have come through the port of Mombasa. Security sources explained the new anti-riot gear has been distributed to various parts of the country in the past month alone as authorities prepare to secure elections and deal with violence should it break out” (Ombati, 2017).
“The vehicle, according to the manufacturer’s website, has capacity to mix the chemical from the cabin while water gun shooting. It has a nozzle of shooting distance of minimum of 25 metres and maximum 70 metres with an elevation of 90 degrees and rotation of 320 degrees. Each of the new trucks has two water cannons on top of the cabin. It also has a fully automated and centralised control system, a cabin protector and can carry seven crew at a time” (Ombati, 2017).
“Tonnes of tear gas canisters are also among resources that have been mobilised and sent to various places ahead of the polls” (Ombati, 2017).
It seems like the Jubilee government are afraid, they are nervous of the aftermath of the election. They seem to be on edge and wondering how it will go, since they have to threaten, spread fear and buy all of this expensive equipment to silence possible demonstrators. They do not trust the public and their will, when they are super prepared for violence, even when there is no reason to be alarmed. It is supposed to be peaceful elections, right?
It is right that the opposition has hold dozens of demonstrations against the Electoral Body of the Republic and the amendments concerning legislation towards the election. Not that the Jubilee did give much way, only the needed steps to stop the leadership from making their supports continue to rally. Still, the attempt of distrust and disengage the public. Seems very obvious, since instead of being in dialogue with the local leadership at the possible hot-spots. They are coming with tear-gas and anti-riot gear. Not talking, but planning to suppress the distrust from the public towards the Central Government. That is what the planned effort looks like. Not like Jubilee took time to talk and engage, but rather bought expensive riot-gear from South Korea. Like that going to solve the possible problem, if it there and known about.
The only thing it will do, it will quell the demonstrations and possible aftermath of the election, but the wounds are still there. This is not patching up the hurt. Instead, it is spreading fire, with more fire and hope it stop it. It could work, but what cost? When the left behind is burned land and no seedlings of hope for the future.
Shouldn’t the government have worked for a better solution and also had more faith in their citizens than expecting violence and demonstration, that is if the government and electoral bodies we’re prepared for a free and fair election, and not a rigged one. Time will tell, time will only tell. Nevertheless, these signs of possible oppression from the National Police Service does not give me green light. More of the red light and concern of the outcome. Since the Police and the authorities already prepare to use massive force against civilians. Peace.
Ombati, Cyrus – ‘More tear gas, guns arrive to deal with mass protests after August elections’ (17.07.2017) link: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001247838/more-tear-gas-guns-arrive-to-deal-with-mass-protests-after-august-elections
Again, as before the authorities and ruling regime in Kenya are ready to spread fear in the two months ahead of the polls on 8th August 2017. Clearly, the Jubilee administration and their caretakers are afraid of the public will or their own justice. Since they have to go out from both the National Police Service and from the Communication Authority. Seemingly, this instead of talking with the people and engaging them in their communities. That they are both saying the citizens are the reason for causing violence and chaos, also their acts on social media. Surely, this shows how little tolerance it is for the ones outside the parameter of the government. Both Boinett and Daima doesn’t trust their own citizens, which they are supposed to represent. Just take a look!
The Police Warning the Public:
“Inspector-General Joseph Boinnet on Monday said police would have to use “slightly more force than that used by violence perpetrators” if chaos breaks out.“If violence occurs, then we have to stop it and it means we will use slightly more force than that used by those causing violence,” he told a meeting on election preparedness at a Nairobi hotel” (Misiko & Moseti, 2017).
Social Media Warning:
“CA has called on Kenyans not to misuse the internet and social media especially during this campaign period. While addressing the media after KEPSA- Mkenya Daima morning meeting, CA chair said CA would not shutdown the internet on 8/8 unless Kenyans pushed them to do so” (Nation.co.ke, 2017).
We can see that the state and the authorities doesn’t respect their citizens with this sort of acts. It is already proven, that the Kenyan government have bought more Anti-Riot Gear ahead of the polls for possible demonstrations against the post-election. It seems like the Jubilee government fears the public and the citizens. Since they have to go with stern warnings and intimidation, instead of trying to up-ease the public in the days ahead of the polls.
If they didn’t fear and didn’t distrust the public, they wouldn’t have released these statements and warnings. Instead of trying ease the public and saying we will be there for you. They say we come with stronger force and we might shut-down the internet. Seems, like the President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto have learned from the General Election in 2016. Where both things happen and the Police together with the army was all-out during the days of the election. Even the VPN s came up so people could use social-media and be online. So the Kenyans should download VPN now and be prepared in-case of the actions of the CA.
But we have seen how the police acted towards the Anti-IEBC demonstrations that the CORD coalition was involved in during the 2016. The police brutality was vicious and harsh. There was no mercy to the citizens fearing the problems and loopholes that the Electoral Body had. Also, after the famous Chickengate. Therefore, when it is so soon the polls of the General Elections in Kenya. This sort of words and warnings isn’t creating a better environment, but they are showing arrogance and fear for uprisings. They have no problem silencing the voices of the people. They are not trusting them and therefore sending warnings.
It is time for one thing, that the authorities engage the public and put some trust in them. Since the authorities are serving them and are there for them. They are not their for the President, but for all the people in the Republic. Peace.
Misiko, Harry & Moseti, Brian – ‘Police issue chilling warning on poll chaos’ (17.07.2017) link: http://www.nation.co.ke/news/Joseph-Boinnet-issues-chilling-warning-to-violence-perpetrators/1056-4018244-14icqavz/index.html
Nation.co.ke – ‘Use social media responsibly or we will shut the internet down – Communications Authority of Kenya’ (17.07.2017) link: http://www.nation.co.ke/video/1951480-4018236-ai5hxh/index.html
The international Non-Government Organization Privacy International dropped another gem today with a report on the surveillance and on how the Kenyan Authorities get their ability to get intelligence and how they use the communications platforms to get knowledge. The worrying way is how the Safaricom and the Kenyan Authorities together spies on the population.
This report through different methods and also interviews, as much as people who have worked on the inside has told stories how the Security organization has used the giant Kenyan Telecommunication Company Safaricom. All should be done with court orders, still there are proof now of internal squabble inside Safaricom where there are even undercover agents inside the company. Take a look at key points of the report!
Court order to require Intelligence:
“In practice, if not in law, Kenya’s surveillance regime appears bifurcated. The NIS intercepts both communication content and acquires call data records without warrants to gather intelligence and prevent crime, and police agencies acquire communications data with warrants to prepare criminal cases. If it’s ‘just’ for intelligence, explained one police ATPU investigator, then warrants are not sought: “For the sake of investigations, the DCI [Directorate of Criminal Investigations officer] attached to Safaricom will just give [it to] you… When you take someone to court, you have to make it proper now.” Safaricom stated to PI that they “only provide information as required by courts…and upon receipt of relevant court orders.” (Privacy International, P: 16, 2017).
Internet Providers and NIS:
“One internet service provider recalled the difference between his experiences with the police and with the NIS: “A [police] agency comes to me, and they give me the Occurrence Book (OB) number of the case they are investigating…. The NIS has unfettered access to data.” The NIS simply contacted this operator for the data it required. “They will say ‘give us [data for] whenever X calls Y over this time period’, for example…In instances involving terrorism, no warrants are produced. We have to comply or there is the threat that our licenses [will] be revoked.” A Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) officer confirmed his account: “they’ll get their license revoked [if they do not comply]… If I were them, I’d comply too” (Privacy International, P: 17, 2017).
Safaricom CID Connection:
“The major telecommunications providers have at least one law enforcement liaison, a police officer of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID) on secondment. This analysis focuses on Safaricom, by far Kenya’s most popular mobile service provider with over 60% of the market share. At Safaricom, around ten CID officers sit on one floor of the Safaricom central bloc. They provide information to all police branches” (Privacy International, P: 20, 2017).
“The reported presence of NIS officers undercover in Safaricom and possibly other telecommunication network operators presents serious concerns as to whether any civilian authority or mechanism would be able to effectively oversee the process of communications interception. “The way we know they are here is that they’ll be present, seconded from somewhere else, but then suddenly they’ll disappear,” explained one CA employee. “And then you hear your colleagues saying ‘didn’t you know, that guy was NIS?’ They keep very much to themselves. You’ll even find your boss some time suspecting you of being NIS.” According to sources, by building rapport with civilian officers, NIS are able to informally access communications data. “Of course [the NIS officer in Safaricom] will liaise with the Safaricom engineer… Once there is information that he needs, or that our office needs, he gets in, he talks to the engineer, he is given access,” explained a current NIS officer. “Because in Safaricom, every time you log into the database to check for a certain number, you have to put your code there. … It depends on the rapport he has with the engineers…. They trust him.” (Privacy International, P: 21, 2017).
The use of Safaricom and the surveillance shows the problematic relationship between the government and the private telecom company. That the State Security Agents are not using warrants getting intelligence and private intercepts online shows how little the value of the citizens are. When the government security agents can breach public space without court orders and when they have undercover agents inside the biggest telecom in Kenya, shows how they breach the public sphere to get access and intelligence from the inside. This is a worrying side. Peace.
Privacy International – ‘Track, Capture, Kill: Inside Communications Surveillance and Counterterrorism in Kenya’ (15.03.2017)