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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

ECOWAS folds, lifts economic, travel sanctions on junta-led Niger, others

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Economic sanctions on Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso were lifted with immediate effect by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday.

This came after the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held an unprecedented meeting at the State House in Abuja, where they deliberated for hours on the political, peace, and security situation in the region.

Mali and its bordering junta-run nations, Niger and Burkina Faso, abruptly announced last month that they were abandoning ECOWAS, the largest political and economic union in West Africa, reversing decades of regional integration.

The ECOWAS Commission President, Dr. Omar Touray, announced the Authority’s resolutions and stated that it has halted the closing of the air and land border with Niger, creating a no-fly zone for any commercial aircraft.

Additionally, it has halted the unfreezing of all of Niger’s assets at EBID and the freezing of any financial transactions involving the central bank of the ECOWAS states and Niger.

Additionally, it removed the restriction on military junta members’ and their families’ travel. “Based on humanitarian considerations due to lent and the approaching month of Ramadan,” according to Touray, the decision was made.

Sanctions against Mali citizens being elected to ECOWAS positions were also lifted by the authority. Along with the lifting of sanctions against Guinea, all four nations were extended an invitation to future ECOWAS technical consultative meetings.

Additionally, ECOWAS requested that the member states that were withdrawing reevaluate their choice in light of the advantages their citizens had received.

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Politics

Senegalese opposition condemns President Sall’s ‘slow’ election date announcement

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The opposition presidential contenders in Senegal have claimed that the government is taking too long to announce a new date for the poll, following a court ruling that declared a 10-month postponement to be illegal.

This occurs just a few days after President Macky Sall pledged to comply with the Constitutional Council’s position that the election be held as soon as feasible following the parliament’s resolution to reschedule the election—which was initially set for February 25—was overruled by the court.

The situation in one of the more stable democracies in coup-hit West Africa led to violent public protests and threats of authoritarian overreach, and Sall came under intense pressure both domestically and internationally to accept the council’s decision.

However, no new date has been announced, which has angered opposition candidates who want the election to happen before Sall’s term expires on April 2.

In a joint statement released late on Tuesday, sixteen out of the nineteen presidential candidates bemoaned the “inexplicable slowness” with which the council’s decision was implemented.

It was their contention that Sall’s tardy return to electoral duty demonstrated his reluctance to initiate a process that would result in a transfer of power. A request for response from the presidency was not answered.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Justice Minister Aïssata Tall Sall said that there was room for discussion over the expiration of Sall’s mandate on April 2.

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