5 key stories this week in Kenya

Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho at the US State Department, Feb 17th, 2017 (Facebook/Gov. Joho)

A roundup of this week’s key stories in the Kenyan press:

Suspected jihadists are being killed in droves on Kenya’s coast

(The Economist, 18 Feb.) – The Economist suggests that police hit squads are inadvertently killing off a source of anti-Jihadist propaganda by targeting fighters who have returned from Somalia.

Because many of these returnees are already disillusioned with the jihadists’ struggle, they could discourage others from going to fight in Somalia. Instead, their deaths turn them into martyrs and a source of further grievance.

The Economist also argues that the presence of “well-practised hit-squads already on the prowl” presents a risk ahead of the election in case of post-election violence involving the incumbent Governor Hassan Joho and his opponents.

Mombasa governor in USA for violent extremism meeting

(The Star, 15 Feb.) – Ali Hassan Joho left Kenya this week for meetings in the United States including with US Department of Homeland Security and USAID officials involved in overseeing programs “countering violent extremism.”

The visit also has the effect of dispelling rumors that the governor could be wanted in the US over alleged links to narcotics trafficking. Two drug barons from Mombasa – known as the Akasha brothers – were extradited to the USA last month.

Jubilee leaders want Judiciary powers reduced

(Daily Nation, 17 Feb.) – Some ruling party leaders want to slash the powers of the judiciary after the August election, saying that it holds other branches of government hostage.

The rhetoric coming from the Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kinjuri and MP Kanini Kega came after a judge nullified a tender relating to ballot printing for the August election.

The two Jubilee politicians resent activist judges who seemingly step outside of their competencies. “From the look of things, the Judiciary will soon start electing the President, church bishops and IEBC commissioners. This is unacceptable,” said the MP.

Senate launches probe into Vihiga governormoses-akaranga

(The Standard, 17 Feb.) – The Senate wants Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga to account for Sh1.6 billion allocated towards development expenditure in the 2014/2015 budget.

The governor is expected to explain charges laid out in a petition saying that he flouted procuremnt laws.

The Senate is also probing Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero’s administration for failing to bank locally generated revenue in the County Revenue Fund.

“Since 2013, the Nairobi City County government has failed to bank locally collected revenue in the County Revenue Fund, as required by Article 207 of the Constitution and section 109 of the Public Finance Management Act,” reads a petition.

Fresh bargaining to begin as Kenya doctors’ strike continues

(VOA, 15 Feb.) – A Kenyan appeals court has ordered the release of doctors union officials jailed earlier this week for refusing to end their three-month strike. Kenyan legal experts and rights groups will now take the lead in a fresh round of negotiations between doctors and the government to end the strike.

The seven doctors’ union officials spent two days behind bars, after being sentenced to one month in jail Monday. A three-judge bench ordered their release Wednesday, after Kenya’s council of governors and union lawyers agreed to continue talks.