NAIROBI, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Kenyans voted in favour of a new constitution in a peaceful referendum that could reshape the political landscape of east Africa’s largest economy, partial results showed on Thursday.
With provisional results from more than half of the polling stations released by the electoral authority, 67 percent of Kenyans had backed the charter, making it extremely unlikely the "No" camp could catch up. [ID:nLDE67216I]
The "Yes" camp claimed victory late on Thursday morning with Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi saying Kenyans had spoken with a "thunderous voice" and that "Kenya has been truly reborn".
Higher Education Minister William Ruto, leader of the "No" side, then conceded defeat but quickly went on the offensive before a news conference due to be held later by the winners, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Ruto said 60 percent of registered voters had abstained or said "No", so there should be immediate consultations with the "Yes" side on agreeing amendments to the new draft.
Coming two years after allegations over vote-rigging in a presidential election ignited violence that killed 1,300 people, the referendum boosted the Kenyan shilling KES= against the dollar and extended the Kenyan stock market’s recent gains. [ID:nLDE674095]
The changes put to voters on Wednesday allow for greater checks on presidential powers, more devolution to grassroots administrations and an increase in civil liberties.
The new legal framework addresses the corruption, political patronage, land-grabbing and tribalism which have plagued Kenya since it won independence from Britain in 1963.
"Confidence was a key requirement for economic turnaround, and the peaceful passage of the vote should do a lot to underscore that," said Razia Khan, Africa economist at Standard Chartered Bank.
PROTECTION AGAINST UPHEAVAL
After years of marred elections, the charter is seen as an important step in avoiding a repeat of the post-election tribal bloodshed in early 2008 that pushed the country of about 40 million people to the brink of anarchy.
Kenya, which borders Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania, is the fourth largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa, Nigeria and Angola.
Despite the loss, Ruto’s ambition to run for president in the 2012 election was bolstered by a big win for the "No" camp in the Rift Valley. Ruto, a cabinet minister based in Kenya’s largest province, had championed the cause of voters who were angry about clauses related to land ownership and he said these contentious issues must now be addressed by the government.
"We urge the winners and losers to come together for the sake of the country so we can concentrate on development issues," said Jane Njeri, who is living in a camp in Gilgil for Kenyans displaced by past electoral violence.
In the fertile Rift Valley, the "No" camp’s stronghold and the epicentre of the violence after the last election, some said Kenyans should now unite and reject divisive politics.
"The real issue lies with our leaders. Reform is not only on paper but I doubt the leaders can unite. They protect their ill-gotten wealth by pitting communities against each other," said Tom Murgor, 55, a civil engineer and Kalenjin in Eldoret.
The fighting in the Rift Valley after the last election essentially pitted ethnic Kalenjins supporting the opposition against the Kikuyu tribe of Kibaki.
No major incidents were reported at Kenya’s 27,689 polling stations. Some 12.5 million people were registered to vote.
By 0730 GMT, the "Yes" camp had 4.2 million votes with 2.1 million against. Final results were expected later on Thursday.
To be adopted, the law required 50 percent plus one vote of the ballot cast nationally, and at least 25 percent of the votes in five of Kenya’s eight provinces.
Regional election observers said they were satisfied with the voting process, and called for calm during the count.
The new charter was a key provision in the power-sharing deal struck between then-rivals Kibaki and Odinga to end the violence after the 2007 election. Analysts said the win would support Odinga’s presidential ambitions.
NAIROBI, June 2 (Reuters) – An increasing number of Kenyan
companies plan to start generating their own electricity to help
lower power costs, improve reliability of supply and add new
sources of revenue.
Kaluworks, Kenya Petroleum Refineries and Unilever Kenya Tea
(ULVR.L: Quote, Profile, Research) are the three latest firms to lodge applications for
licences with the Energy Regulatory Commission. They plan to put
up plants to generate at least 109 MW.
NAIROBI, May 24 (Reuters) – East African Community, a
five-nation trade bloc that aims to have a monetary union in
2012, said on Monday that problems in the euro area will serve
as a lesson but will not discourage its move to a single
East African Community (EAC) comprises Uganda, Kenya,
Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. It already has a customs union,
and a common market is due to take effect in July. After the
monetary union, it eventually aims to have a political
NAIROBI, April 29 (Reuters) – Kenya Commercial Bank
<KCB.NR>, the largest bank by assets in east Africa’s biggest
economy, posted a 10 percent rise in first quarter pretax profit
on Thursday and said it was optimistic for the rest of 2010.
Chief Executive Officer Martin Oduor-Otieno said the bank
would not add any more branches to its subsidiaries after an
expansion drive that has seen the number of KCB outlets in the
region rise to 210 from 180 in the first quarter of 2009.
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Leading Kenyan mobile phone operator Safaricom plans to move to an Internet protocol (IP) network in the next two years to help lower costs and reduce outages, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
An Internet protocol network allows data to be transmitted continuously, while packet stream technology involves transmitting data after it has been broken into chunks.
NAIROBI, March 3 (Reuters) – African governments need to set clear rules in order to attract more projects under the U.N. Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the United Nations Environment Programme chief said on Wednesday.
CDM promotes investments in emission-reducing projects in the developing world by companies and governments in rich nations.
In return for building wind farms or other projects, such investments can earn valuable carbon offsets called certified emission reductions (CERs) that can be sold for profit or used to meet mandatory targets to cut emissions.
"(There should be) clear signals by government that these policy frameworks are here to stay and will not change a year later, undermining the viability of these projects," UNEP executive director, Achim Steiner, told an African Carbon Forum.
According to data from the United Nations Environmental Programme’s (UNEP) Risoe Centre, there are 4,890 CDM projects registered or being processed worldwide.
Only 122, or 2 percent, are in Africa and around 3 percent of CERs in the pipeline have originated from the continent.
Steiner said a predictable and resilient international carbon market would also help attract more investment.
"There are many on this continent who have … invested in a great deal of time in developing CDM projects only to find that they were not being picked up in the global market," he said.
South Africa leads in the continent with 32 CDM projects, followed by Kenya with 15, Egypt with 13 and Uganda with 12, Steiner said.
Many of the projects in Africa were too small and could benefit from consolidation and regional collaboration in groupings like in the East African Community or the Southern African Development Community, Steiner said.
The shape that CDM will take after 2012, when the first phase of the Kyoto protocol expires, is unclear.
Critics say CDM is hampered by the fact it can only approve single projects at a time. But that did not mean developed countries should move away from it, said Henry Derwent, chief executive of the International Emissions Trading Association.
"There are criticisms of the CDM but there should be no criticisms of principles of international offset projects," he said. "This principle works in the voluntary sector and it must be sustained in the compliance markets however they develop after 2012." (Editing by Dominic Evans)
NAIROBI, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Kenya Power & Lighting Company
<KPLC.NR> posted a 31 percent rise in first-half profit and
raised its interim dividend 50 percent, helping lift its shares
Chief executive Joseph Njoroge also said the company hoped
to raise an annual 268 million shillings ($3.5 million) leasing
spare capacity on its fibre-optic network.
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya plans to boost geothermal power generation to 4,000 megawatts by 2030 and the company responsible needs about $240 million annually to drill wells and harness steam, its chief executive said on Tuesday.
The government estimates east Africa’s largest economy has the potential to produce 7,000 MW of electricity from geothermal energy. It currently generates 167 MW from the source.
DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – A former army captain and senior intelligence officer who is one of the top suspects in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide pleaded not guilty on Wednesday during his first appearance at a U.N. court in Tanzania.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha has charged Idelphonse Nizeyimana with genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.
DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – Global warming could cut Tanzania’s gross domestic product by 1 percent by 2030 and by as much as 68 percent by 2085, with the poor in the African country hit hardest, a London-based think tank said on Thursday.
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) said east African temperatures were expected to rise 2-4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, and weather patterns were becoming more volatile, with more droughts and floods.