Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, August 07, 2017
The Campaign Manager of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Peter Mac Manu, over the weekend had a tug of war with authorities in Kenya after the East African country denied him entry.
He was leading a team of Democratic Union of Africa (DUA) International Observers to monitor Kenya’s general election which is scheduled to take place tomorrow, August 8 when the unfortunate incident occurred.
Former President John Mahama, a friend of Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, who was once called ‘President of Ghana’ in one of Ghana’s independence anniversary brochures - is heading a Commonwealth Election Observer’s Mission.
Mr. Mac Manu, a vice chairman of the DUA, in the company of his research assistant, Evans Nimako, disembarked at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi but the authorities made sure the two returned with the next available flight.
The Kenyan authorities fear that Mac Manu, who was to monitor the elections, would train the opposition on the parallel collation of results to avoid rigging as the then opposition NPP in Ghana did to thwart the rigging ploy of National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Earlier last week, the alleged tortured body of Chris Msando, the Electoral Commission’s IT head responsible for overseeing the electronic transmission of results, was found in a forest outside Nairobi.
The local Kenyan media were inundated with reports that apart from Mac Manu, two United States Embassy officials and a Canadian were also asked to leave the country.
The US Embassy in Nairobi confirmed that two foreign nationals working for the opposition were deported.
In a tweet, the US Embassy in Nairobi said an American and a Canadian had been detained Friday.
“They’re safe & departing Kenya,” it added.
James Orengo, a senior official in the National Super Alliance (NASA) - opposition coalition being led by candidate Raila Odinga - named the two as John Aristotle Phillips, an American, and Andreas Katsouris, a Canadian.
Phillips is believed to be chief executive officer of Aristotle Inc, a Washington-based data mining firm and political consultancy, while Katsouris is a senior vice president in the company.
Orengo described the two men as “friends from Canada and the United States,” adding, “Both of them were sharing their experiences with us.”
He said, “The police invaded their apartment where they were living in Westlands, a Nairobi neighbourhood.”
The deportations and denials of entry come as the opposition claimed police late Friday raided a party tally centre in Westlands where a parallel vote count was due to be conducted.
Mr Orengo alleged that all the incidents are part of a government plan to undermine the opposition’s ability to verify results from national elections due on August 8.
“This should be seen in the context that yesterday was like an operation, not simply (targeting) this national centre, but looking for everybody who would want to work with us,” he noted.
Kenya’s police chief has denied that any such raid took place.
Mac Manu returned Saturday morning and was said to have been met on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport by some officials of the NPP.