AfricaNow! September 6, 2017 Kenya Presidential Election Nullified and Sierra Leone Mudslide Tragedy

AfricaNow! September 6, 2017

Topics: Kenya Presidential Election Nullified and Sierra Leone Mudslide Tragedy

Topics and Guests: Prior to September 1, 2017 only three countries in the world—Austria, the Maldives, and Ukraine—had their presidential elections nullified by the courts.  On September 1 Kenya joined that group when the Supreme Court of the country nullified the August 8 presidential election in which the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had declared the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee as the victor.  Chief Justice David Maraga stated that the presidential election “was not conducted in accordance with the constitution… rendering the declared results invalid, null and void,” and ordered new election within 60 days.  A few days later the IEBC announced that the fresh presidential election will take place on October 17 and then recently the electoral commission appointed a seven-member interim committee to oversee the election.  Mr. Raila Odinga of National Super Alliance (NASA)—whose petition the Supreme Court decided in favor of—has refused the date of new election and threatened to boycott the process unless certain conditions raised earlier were addressed.  Joining AfricaNow! today from Nairobi to discuss the issue surrounding the annulment of the Kenya presidential election is Mr. Maina Kiai.  Mr. Maina Kiai is co-director of InformAction of Kenya.  Formerly Mr. Kiai was UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association appointed by the Human Rights Council.   Kenyan lawyer and human rights activist Mr. Kiai has worked in the human rights field for over 20 years: he is founder and founding Executive Director of the non-governmental organization Kenya Human Rights Commission.  He also served as Chairman of Kenya’s National Human Rights Commission (2003–2008), where he won a national reputation for his courageous and effective advocacy against official corruption, in support of political reform and against impunity following the post-election violence in 2008 in which thousands were killed.  Mr. Kiai has also served as executive director of the International Council on Human Rights Policy; as director of Amnesty International’s Africa Program, and the Africa director of the International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights).  Mr. Maina Kiai held research fellowships at various organization including the Danish Institute for Human Rights (Copenhagen), the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington) and TransAfrica Forum (Washington).  

The month of August 2017 witnessed heavier than expected rainfall in numerous places across the globe.  In areas in Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the United States rains brought massive flooding, displacement of people and deaths.  Today we focus on the mudslide in Sierra Leone which occurred on August 14 in Regent, a town on the outskirts of Freetown the capital city.  Thousands have been displaced and it has been reported that more than 1,000 have perished from the mudslide.  The tragic event comes only three years after Sierra Leone suffered the Ebola outbreak which claimed nearly 4,000 lives.  Joining AfricaNow! from Freetown to provide an update on the Sierra Leone mudslide tragedy is Mr. Daniel Koroma.    Mr. Daniel Koroma is a leading member of the Sierra Leone diaspora community in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area.  Mr. Koroma has worked with the many non-profits in the Washington DC area and sits on the Board of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art; and serves as Mr. Koroma Community Outreach Manager, Liaison to African and Caribbean Communities Office of Community Partnerships, Montgomery County, Maryland.  His views here today are in his personal capacity and do not reflect the views of Montgomery County Government.

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