Kenya 'shuts' US NGO working on 2017 election

2016-12-20 08:49


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Nairobi - The Kenyan agency that regulates non-governmental groups said on Monday that it has terminated operations of the US-funded International Foundation for Electoral Systems in the East Africa country.

Fazul Mohamed, executive director of the NGO co-ordination board, said in a letter to the US government's aid agency that it has ended the $20m IFES programme for electoral education for Kenya's general election next year.

The letter said IFES is not a registered NGO and all foreigners working there were doing so illegally.

In an independence day speech last week, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta claimed that money is coming into Kenya in the guise of supporting good governance or civic education but is being used to influence Kenyans' electoral choices.

Kenyatta has accused opposition leader Raila Odinga of conspiring with foreign countries to remove his administration. Kenyatta came to power in 2013 amid a wave of resentment at perceived attempts by the West to influence elections.

At the time Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, were facing crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court for allegedly orchestrating violence after the December 2007 flawed election in which former president Mwai Kibaki claimed victory over Odinga. More than 1 000 people died and 600 000 were evicted from their homes. Kenyatta and Ruto were on opposing sides of the conflict but joined forces after they were named suspects.

Their campaigns spread the message that the ICC charges were meant to clear the way for Odinga. A comment by a US diplomat that "choices have consequences" were taken by some Kenyans as a caution to voters against electing a president who faced such charges before the international court and was used as an example of the West's interference.

The charges against the two have since been dropped, but the ICC prosecutor says the lack of evidence was caused by unprecedented witness interference and intimidation.

Read more on:    uhuru kenyatta  |  william ruto  |  raila odinga  |  mwai kibaki  |  kenya  |  us  |  kenya 2017 elections  |  east africa

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