Kenya election: Observers back Kenyatta victory – BBC August 12, 2017

Odinga supporters in mathareEPA
Opposition supporters have been confronting police in Nairobi’s Mathare slum

Kenya’s main monitoring group has backed the official election result, which gave nearly 55% of the vote to the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Elections Observation Group (Elog), which had 8,300 observers, said its tally conformed to the official result.

The opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, has rejected the result, calling it a “charade”.

There has been sporadic violence, with three people reportedly killed by police in areas supporting Mr Odinga.

Elog’s projected outcome put Mr Kenyatta on 54%, just short of the official figure of 54.3%

“We did not find anything deliberately manipulated,” chairwoman Regina Opondo said.

Kenya’s acting interior minister Fred Matiang’i has urged people to return to their normal lives and called for Kenyans to use social media responsibly.

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Clashes Erupt As Kenyans Protest For Electoral Reform: VICE News Quick Hit – Published on May 16, 2016

Hundreds of Kenyans gathered in the capital of Nairobi for the third consecutive Monday to urge the government to replace officials in the electoral oversight commission. Protesters say the country can’t otherwise hold a free and fair general election next year.

Watch more Quick Hits on VICE News –

Coming up roses – The Economist Apr 16th 2016 | From the print edition

Kenya’s flower-export business is a rare success

Heading for a Russian wedding

AROUND THE EDGES of Lake Naivasha, under the shadow of a dormant volcano, Mt Longonot, one of Kenya’s most successful export businesses of recent years has become established. All around the lake, and off dirt roads that lead from it, are acres and acres of plastic tenting in which flowers of all sorts, but especially roses, are grown for export. At the biggest operators, thousands of workers go in each day to water, feed, pick and prepare the crop. On average, 360 tonnes of flowers are flown out of Nairobi airport every day, mostly to Europe but also to Asia and the Middle East. Kenya is the world’s third-largest producer of cut flowers; the crop is its second-largest export, after tea. Since 1988 the industry has grown more than tenfold.

Africa’s global share of agricultural exports, as of manufactured exports, has declined in the decades since independence, from over 8% in the 1970s to just 2% in 2009. Nigeria used to be the world’s biggest producer of palm oil; Ghana of cocoa; and Kenya and Ethiopia of coffee. All have now been overtaken by other regions. Yet the plastic-roofed greenhouses of Kenya’s flower farms are the closest thing the country has to an Asian-style high-tech manufacturing cluster.

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Claudia Dewald Vetta Getty Images

Claudia Dewald Vetta Getty Images

Rural families in Kenya have few or no sources of clean water, with studies by Water Link International showing that half of the population in Kenya, and a majority in the rural areas, use contaminated water for drinking and cooking.

Unlike their urban counterparts, the rural people do not have access to piped water, which is treated at water plants. In the Nyeri area of Central Kenya, one of Kenya’s largest rivers, River Chania, runs through the area with a majority of the rural residents relying on it for consumption. The water is contaminated as a result of the dumping of chemicals, washing away of fertilizer-laden soils through soil erosions, fecal matter from animals grazing near the river source and open defecation.

But the menace of unsafe drinking is not confined to Central Kenya alone. Just recently an outbreak kilometers away in Western Kenya suspected to be as a result of drinking untreated water, claimed seven lives with 80 people hospitalized in critical condition.

It is a regrettable cycle that has gone unchecked for years and in its wake claimed incomes and livelihoods. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way. For every dollar spent on clean water systems in Africa, about $8 in health care costs are avoided according to Dr. Barry Otoyo from Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s largest hospital. “It is regrettable that mothers and children in the 21st century have to succumb to such avoidable diseases. There definitely has to be a mind shift,” he said.

But it is easier said than done. Rural households with pressing needs do not see the need for water treating techniques which they deem expensive. The cheapest is around $0.50, liquid chlorine packaged in miniature bottles which experts have advocated for as the quickest and most convenient water treatment solution, especially for those living in rural areas.

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At least 48 killed in attack on coastal Kenya town – June 16, 2014 1:04AM ET Updated 4:50AM ET

At least 48 people have been killed after unidentified armed men attacked Mpeketoni, a coastal town in Kenya’s Lamu county, police and witnesses said on Monday.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at Jun 16, 2014 2.31

The gunmen opened fire from two minibuses and set two hotels ablaze, officials said, adding that most of the victims were shot in the head. The assault came late Sunday night as town residents were watching World Cup matches on TV.

The attackers also broke into three banks: Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity and Co-operative, but it is not yet clear whether they stole any money.

The Kenya Army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the gunmen entered the western town of Mpeketoni, a trading center on the main coastal road, and started “shooting people around in town,” according to AFP.

The “assailants (are) likely to be Al-Shabab,” Chirchir said, referring to Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked armed group.

“There were around 50 attackers, heavily armed in three vehicles, and they were flying the Shabab flag,” Maisori said, speaking from the town.

“Attackers hijacked a van from Witu town which they used for the attacks. They raided Mpeketoni police station first and opened fire,” Hamaton Mwaliko, Mpeketoni area administration police chief, told Reuters.

Kenya’s National Disaster Operation Center also said that the attack has been linked to Al-Shabab, which has been blamed for previous violence in Kenya.

The center said military surveillance planes were launched after the late Sunday night attack

Kenya sent troops into Somalia in late 2011, after Al-Shabab fighters carried out a series of raids on Kenyan soil.

Kenya has seen a drop in tourist arrivals in recent months following a string of attacks blamed on the group or its sympathizers. Mpeketoni is about 30 miles southwest of the tourist center of Lamu, where the ancient architecture is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Lamu is Kenya’s is the oldest continually inhabited town.

In May explosions in Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa led Britain, the United States, France and Australia to issue warnings about travel to the east African country, and at least 400 tourists cut short their holidays and left hotels along the Indian Ocean coast.

Kenya called the alerts “unfriendly” and said the warnings would increase panic and play into the hands of those behind the assaults.

Al-Shabab has fought a seven-year campaign to impose its interpretation of Islamic law inside Somalia, and has said it wants to take revenge for Kenya’s deployment of troops in the Horn of Africa nation.

The group has claimed responsibility for many other attacks, including the coordinated shooting rampage on Sept. 21, in an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya that left at least 39 people dead. It was also behind a 2010 attack in Kampala, Uganda, during which 74 people were killed while watching a World Cup match.

Al Jazeera and wire services 

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Philip Boit and Bjorn Daehlie: Cross-country friends – By Maddy Savage BBC News 23 January 2014 Last updated at 20:16 ET

Bjorn Daehlie (L) and Philip Boit. Photograph: Uglum Morten, Aftenposten, Scanpix

As Zimbabwe and Togo prepare to make their Winter Olympic debuts in Sochi, Kenya’s first international skier recalls the unexpected friendship that turned him into a poster boy for snow sports in Africa.

When Philip Boit put on his skis at the Nagano Winter Olympics 1998, it was only two years since he had first seen snow.

Boit was born into a farming family in Eldoret in western Kenya, home to some of the world’s fastest runners, but when the sportswear company Nike came looking for a runner prepared to to train as a cross-country skier, the 26-year-old stepped forward.

“It was a bit challenging at first because I had never experienced cold weather like that in my life,” he says, remembering his first trip to Finland, where he went to train.

“Even putting on skis was so difficult! But after some time, I learned to adapt.”