Turkana Politics

With Kenya’s elections being held in August 2017, the oil industry is seen to be a key factor in Turkana. The two main contenders for the Governor’s seat are Josphat Nanok, who is the current governor, vying on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) seat and John Munyes, the current senator, vying on a Jubilee seat.

Turkana is one of the counties currenlty affected by drought. There have also been incidents of insecurity along the border regions of South Sudan and Ethiopia. In March, president Uhuru Kenyatta had claimed that the county had received 40 billion Kenyan shillings while the Deputy President, William Ruto, claimed 50 billion Kenyan shillings had been allocated to Turkana.

Contenders from both counties, are however looking for ways that the oil revenue can benefit the communites so as to garner votes. The opposition has accussed the ruling party of being interested in the discovery of oil in the county hence its attempts to gain voters there. These claims have however been denied by the government.

The 2015 Petroleum Bill had suggested that the country be allocated 30% of oil revenues. It included a proposal for 20% of those revenues of go to the county and 10% to the community. The President however did not sign the bill proposing that 5% of the revenues go the community, a move that was criticized by Governor Josphat Nanok and other opposition members.

In January, the Deputy president had asked local leaders not to politicize the issue of oil and stated that the bill would be adequately reviewed.

Oil in Kenya

Oil was discovered in Turkana in 2012, by Tullow Oil, which is based in London. The company has spent billions of shillings on the community since it set base in Turkana. Some locals have however claimed not to have benefited from the discovery of oil/

Some organizations have also been exploring the extraction of oil in Lamu which is also believed to have huge deposits of natural gas.

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Mombasa politics

Over the past few weeks, there has been tesnion in Mombasa County, Kenya, as a result of the upcoming elections. In March 2017, while the president was in Mombasa, he held a rally. Prior to the rally, a parallel rally to be held by the Governor, Hassan Joho was cancelled. The country has been known to be an Orange Democratic Party (ODM) stronglhold and the ruling party, Jubilee, has been trying to gain popularity in the county. In the past, parties have tried to gain influence by handing out title deeds to residents in the coastal region.

Joho was also denied entry to a presidential launch of a ferry, a move seen to have been influenced by politics. During this time, there was also an exchange of words perceived to be negative between the two.

In the following weeks, Joho was accussed of lying about his education by faking his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). The move was seen to be an attempt to bar him from contesting for governship in Mombasa.

On 3rd April, shots were fired as Joho attended a political rally in Migori County. This was after Migori’s governor Okoth Obado raided the rally in a bid to disrupt it. Members of the oppositon claimed that shots were fired in order to assasinate Mombasa’s governor. The two governors subsequently made peace.

National Super Aliance (NASA) Denied Permission to Have Parallel Tallying Center

The opposition party, the National Super Alliance (NASA) will not be allowed to have a parallel tallying center for the August 2017 elections, which they had requested for.

The chair of the Independent Boundaries Electoral Commission (IEBC), Wafula Chebukati, stated that its the only body mandated to tally the results. In the 2013 elections, the current ruling party, Jubilee, had a parallel tallying center.

The opposition has often accused the IEBC of unfair electoral practices. This resulted in anti-IEBC protests in 2016 that saw the previous chair, Issack Hassan, step down and hand over to Chebuakti.

Kenyan Immigrants Expelled from Tanzania

Relations between Kenya and Tanzania continue to be uncertain following a directive that saw Kenyan immigrants  being asked to leave the country. Tension began in Namanga, Kajiado County, along the Kenya-Tanzania border after an order by President John Magufuli to expel Kenyan citizens with invalid immigration documents. Some Kenyans have however accused the Tanzanian government of targeting them unfairly.

There were protests in Namanga on 27th March and water supply as well as electricity supply to Tanzania was cut off by the protesters. There are fears of Tanzanians in Namanga being targeted as a retaliatory measure by Kenyans in the area.

The country’s officials have been accused of confiscating legal documentation of Kenyans before. In 2015, Kenyan tour vans from the Mara, Narok County, were barred from entering the country.

There have been mixed reviews on President John Magufuli. Some have praised his policies which they believe are good for the economy. On the other hand he has been criticized for restrictions on the opposition and media sources. His has been criticized on having ‘dictatorial tendencies’.

In addition, relations with Kenya seem to be strained, a claim with Magufuli has constantly denied. The President first visited Kenya in October 31st 2016 after denying that relations between the two states were strained.  Tanzania had refused to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement in July between the East Africa Community and the European Union following the Brexit vote. It was hoped that the visit would be a boost for Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amina Mohamed, to claim the top seat in the African Union. Tanzania however failed to vote for Kenya during the election in January 2017. Djibouti, Burundi and Uganda were among other countries in the region that failed to vote for Kenya.