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Record 46 independent candidates cleared for Kenyan presidential race

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46 independent candidates have declared their interest in running for the presidency in Kenya in the forthcoming general elections coming up in August, according to the East African country’s electoral commission.

The 46 aspirants which is a record in the country, were among over 7000 cleared to vie for various elective positions in the election.

The registrar of Kenyan Political Parties (KPP), Ann Nderitu, who confirmed the development, said the number of presidential aspirants was the highest ever recorded to the history of the country.

Nderitu said independent aspirants for various positions include 106 governors, 147 senators, 110 women Reps, 958 members of the National Assembly and 5,845 members of the County Assembly.

Some of the frontline candidates include current deputy president William Ruto who, despite differences with President Uhuru Kenyatta, decided to run alongside former President Raila Odinga who has the backing of Kenyatta.

Kenyatta himself can no longer stand for re-election after two terms, but is backing Odinga which had caused a strained relationship between him and Ruto.

The last time Kenyatta and Ruto were on opposing sides of an election, in 2007 and 2008, the country was plagued by violence, and they ended up on trial in the international criminal court (ICC), but the case would later be dismissed.

The tension between Kenyatta and Ruto reached a boiling point earlier in the week leading to the president asking his deputy to resign after Ruto had criticised him over his handling of the economy which has been on a free fall for the past two years.

 

Politics

Tunisia-US relations develop cracks, no thanks to President Saied’s ‘one-man’ rule

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The once chummy relations between Tunisia and the United States is gradually developing serious cracks as a result of President Kais Saied drifting into a one-man authoritarian rule.

Before the rift, the US was Tunisia’s main donors but according to US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, in a statement on Thursday, Saied’s power grab leaning on an authoritarian government and the “dream of self-government” for the country was in danger.

Austin’s comments is coming on the heels of previous US criticism of Saied in the wake of the adoption of a controversial constitution that further empowers the President and undermines the country’s post-2011 democratic gains.

“Across Africa, those who support democracy and freedom and the rule of law are battling the forces of autocracy, chaos and corruption,” Austin said at a US Africa Command ceremony.

“We can feel those headwinds in Tunisia, where people inspired the world with their demands for democracy,” he said.

The standoff has already seen the US cut back on aids to Tunisia following political instability in the North African country which is gradually sliding towards autocracy and analysts believe the situation could cast a shadow over Tunisia’s quest to obtain a lifeline from the IMF to avert the crumbling of its public finances.

Before the recent condemnation by Austin, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken had also decried Tumis8 drifting into a one-man under Saied.

“Tunisia has experienced an alarming erosion of democratic norms over the past year and reversed many of the Tunisian people’s hard-won gains since 2011,” Blinken had said following the constitution referendum held on July 25.

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Politics

DR Congo’s main opposition leader, Jean-Marc Kabund, arrested

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A main opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Marc Kabund, has been arrested by government forces after he made an alleged uncomplemetary remarks on President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday.

Kabund, a former right-hand man of Tshisekedi, fell out with the President and became a prominent opposition leader, was arrested after a controversy raged over a remark about his one-time boss.

Kabund who was a former vice president of parliament had a falling out with President Tshisekedi earlier this year, after which he launched his own political party.

Following the breakup with the incumbent president, Kabund has been under investigation in recent weeks on charges that authorities have not specified, but his lawyers say he is accused of contempt of the head of state after a speech whete he called the President “a danger” to the country.

“They did not respect the procedure. Today they came after the hearing and arrested him despite his parliamentary immunity,” Kabund’s lawyer, Henriette Bongwalanga said after he was arrested.

Kabund was a leading figure behind Tshisekedi’s rise to power but fell out with the President over difference which highlighted fault-lines in the country’s leadership.

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