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19th November 2021 Political and Regulatory Round Up

KENYA

The Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes (Amendment) Bill seeks to bar corrupt officials from public office (Source: Business Daily)

State and public officers convicted of corruption or economic crimes will be permanently barred from vying for political seats or holding public office if the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes (Amendment) Bill becomes law. 

The Bill seeks to hold managers, chief executives and directors of public institutions personally liable for running down their institutions. “A person who is convicted of an offence of corruption or economic crime and who was involved in the management of a public company, institution or state organ that suffered pecuniary loss as a result of the corruption or economic crime, shall be personally liable for such loss,” reads the Bill.

It also seeks to completely bar anyone convicted of an offence under the Act from holding office as a public or State officer. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) will be empowered to publish the names of those disqualified from assuming public offices in the Kenya Gazette at least once a year.

UGANDA

Police kill five men after suicide bombings (Source: NTV Uganda)

Following deadly explosions in Kampala on Tuesday, November 16, Ugandan authorities have killed at least five people accused of having ties to the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings. 

Islamic State claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s explosions, saying they were carried out by Ugandans. Authorities blamed the attacks on the Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, an extremist group that has been allied to the IS since 2019.

While Ugandan authorities are under pressure to show they are in control of the situation, the killing of suspects raises fears of a crackdown in which innocent people will become victims.

TANZANIA

Regulator Imposes 10-Year Tenure Limit on Bank CEOs (Source: Bloomberg)

Tanzania’s central bank has placed a 10-year limit on the tenure of chief executives officers of banks and banned elected officials from serving on the boards of financial institutions.

CEOs and board members of banks will need to stand down for three years after completing a decade in office before they can be reappointed, the Bank of Tanzania said. The aim of the new rules is to “promote and maintain public confidence in banks and financial institutions” by improving corporate governance.

Banks will also be prohibited from offering commercial loans to employees on terms more favorable than those available to other regular borrowers.

ETHIOPIA

US urges inclusive dialogue in Ethiopia (Source: The East African)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called upon Ethiopia’s warring parties to come to the negotiating table. While on his first trip to Africa, the US diplomat maintained that Washington endorses dialogue with all sides in the ongoing conflict. “It is very important that the differences, the conflicts, be resolved by people sitting down at the table, talking, discussing, negotiating,” Mr Blinken told a joint press conference in Nairobi.

The Ethiopia government has, however, criticized the international community for what it said was propping up a terrorist organisation. In a statement on Sunday, the foreign ministry said the greatest danger to the country and the entire Horn of Africa was the TPLF. 

Ethiopia, which banned TPLF as a terrorist group, has said it will organise a national dialogue, but only invite legitimate stakeholders, including political parties, and not banned movements.

RWANDA

New conservation law to promote fair sharing of genetic resources (Source: The New Times)

Biodiversity conservation experts in Rwanda have welcomed the recently gazetted law on biological diversity and wildlife conservation, saying it will play a role in implementing the Nagoya Protocol. 

The Nagoya Protocol is an international agreement to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources.  It aims to achieve sustainable use of biodiversity.

According to the new law, any person who conducts studies on genetic resources or associated traditional knowledge, accesses or exports them without a relevant permit commits a crime and he or she is liable to an administrative fine of not less than Rwf2 million and not more than Rwf5 million.

In addition to the sanctions, the law also empowers authorities to seize genetic resources on which the offence was committed as well as the equipment used to commit it.

ERITREA

Eritrea responds to sanctions by US (Source: Washington Post and Daily Nation)

The United States has imposed sanctions on the Eritrean military and the country’s ruling party in response to the ongoing crisis and conflict in Ethiopia. According to a press release by the US Department of the Treasury, the sanctions target Eritrean actors that have contributed to the crisis and conflict, which have undermined the stability and integrity of the Ethiopian state.

“We condemn the continued role played by Eritrean actors who are contributing to the violence in northern Ethiopia, which has undermined the stability and integrity of the state and resulted in a humanitarian disaster,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki.

In response to the sanctions, the Eritrean government maintains that the move is aimed at inculcating suffering and starvation of its civil population. “Its transparent aim is to obstruct enduring solutions that promote sustainable stability in the Horn of Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular and to stoke and perpetuate a vicious cycle of chaos that it will then manage” said Information Minister Yemane Meskel.

SUDAN

15 protesters shot dead in latest anti-coup rallies (Source: Mena)

Security forces shot dead at least 15 anti-coup protesters and wounded many others, according to the Central Doctors Committee. “The coup forces are using live bullets extensively in separate areas of the capital, injuring dozens, and some are in critical condition,” said the committee, whose casualty figures have proven reliable in the past. The total number of protesters killed so far since the October 25 coup is around 30.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while on his visit to Kenya has warned that Sudan will only regain access to international aid if the country’s military allows the transition to democracy to continue. So far, the US has suspended USD 700 million in aid to Sudan while the World Bank has also suspended millions in dollars in project assistance.

SOMALIA

Completion of Somalia elections more important than ever: UN envoy (Source: UN News)

Women parliamentarians will account for 26% of the composition of the Upper House of the Federal Parliament. This follows the completion of the indirect elections in the Upper House, which began in July 2021. Fourteen women will be among the 54 Senators. 

The Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia, Mr James Swan, welcomed the completion of the elections but noted that the number of women’s representation fell short of the 30% quota for women participation. “We continue to stress that women’s full inclusion and representation in political life, and in all sectors of life, is key for Somalia’s sustainable peace and development”, said Mr Swan.

Mr Swan further called upon the relevant stakeholders to conclude the Lower House elections before the end of the year so as to pave the way for the Presidential elections.

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