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25th February 2022 Political & Regulatory Round Up

KENYA

Why Uhuru is Ruto’s new nightmare 

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s aggressive performance on the political stage could upset his deputy’s strategy and potentially dismantle Kenya Kwanza’s political arithmetic.

Uhuru on Wednesday began mobilising his Mt Kenya political backyard to support ODM leader Raila Odinga and openly linked William Ruto to mega corruption, saying he is not fit to lead.

Ruto responded by simply saying he accepts the President’s decision to endorse Raila.

“I respect the decision of the President to say he supports the person who has never voted for him, who has never supported him. There is no problem. Let us relax now,” Ruto said in Kitui on Thursday.

Although Uhuru’s influence across the country remains in dispute, analysts say Ruto could be in trouble if the President mobilises at least 40 per cent of his backyard to support Raila.

Observers said Ruto needs to replicate what the Jubilee Party garnered in the 2013 and 2017 polls to remain formidable in the presidential race.

In both elections, Uhuru in a joint ticket with Ruto swept Mt Kenya’s votes, securing an average of 95 per cent of the votes from all the region’s 10 counties, including Nakuru.

However, recent polls suggest there is a huge chunk of undecided voters in Mt Kenya region that could potentially make it a swing vote.

Two recent opinion polls have shown that Ruto’s popularity in Mt Kenya is waning and Raila’s increasing despite the DP’s aggressive campaigns in the region backed by strong anti-Jubilee rhetoric.

An opinion poll done by Tifa indicates Ruto’s confidence rating in the President’s turf had fallen from a high of 53 per cent in December to 49 per cent.

On the other hand, Raila has enhanced his fortunes in Mt Kenya to stand at 16 per cent up from 10 per cent in December.

(Source: The Star)

UGANDA

EAC states to hold joint military drills in Uganda 

More than 1,500 troops from the six East African Community (EAC) member states plan to carry out joint military drills in Uganda.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ugandan army said civilians would join the troops in the exercise.

The 12th EAC Field Training Exercise is scheduled for May and June in eastern Uganda to test response readiness to complex security challenges, it said.

Col Raphael Kibiwot Kiptoo, the chairperson of the EAC Defence Liaison Office, said such exercises enhance the high-level interconnectedness and interoperability of the troops in the region.

The six member states are Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

The drills, conducted since 2005, are done on a rotational basis among the partner states every two years.

(Source: The East African)

TANZANIA

Samia is a master political player but Magufuli laws stand in her way

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu is increasingly distinguishing herself as an adept political chess player. In the 11 months she has been at the helm in Dodoma, she has put the country back on the world map, moving from Covid denialism to acceptance and vigorous vaccination.

She has instituted policy and diplomatic efforts to put the Covid-ravaged economy on a growth trend, wooed investors with tax and other trade-related concessions, and continued pushing the projects her predecessor John Magufuli had started.

But it is human rights, freedoms and democracy that present the litmus test for Tanzania’s first woman president. As the successor of Magufuli aka Bulldozer, a man seen to have constricted rights and freedoms, Samia has been under pressure to institute reforms.

This week, she toured Europe in her second outing outside the continent since she became president — she attended the COP26 in Glasgow last November — visiting France and Belgium, from where she is returning with a bag full of goodies for Tanzanians.

The president’s approach of meeting with heads of state and organisations has opened up and strengthened diplomatic relations and reinforced her political influence across the region and beyond. From the early days of her administration, she indicated that she would pursue economic partnerships.

From holding meetings with key players in the global economy to visits to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Mozambique, she has been repairing ties with the outside world.

Will the same charm hold off the campaign for law reforms and expansion of the democratic space? Will she repeal laws that she could deploy to shore up against her rivals?

(Source: The East African)

RWANDA

Political Parties Urged to Optimise Social Media 

Members of 11 political parties in Rwanda have been urged to scale up the use of social media platforms in their community engagements to ensure their ideologies are better understood.

The remarks were made during a one-day workshop organised by the Pan African Movement of Rwanda (PAM) bringing together political organisations in Rwanda on Friday, February 18.

Most participants shared the view that older people who are more knowledgeable on history do not use social media platforms whereas young people who have no or little knowledge of their past do exploit them.

It is in this regard this training was conducted to bridge the gap between the two age divisions among other benefits.

Political expert Ismael Buchanan who spoke on behalf of PAM during the workshop stressed the need to bring together young and old politicians and alert them on the use of social media platforms.

“There is still a gap between young and old people because young people use social networks to share their ideas, while older ones do not do so even if they are the ones who are more knowledgeable,” he said. Hence, he added, this training is a good method to help various politicians become more active on social media platforms and make a change.

Members of political parties who were present also commended the development saying that it was another step in the contribution towards building their country.

Else, Twizerimana who represented the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda said the training was long overdue.

“Before this training, only one or two political parties were active on social media by sharing their insights on how to build the nation out of all parties but from now I think we are all going to contribute,” he said.

He added that this will curb the prevalent rumours and fake news spread by unidentified elements.

(Source: The New Times)

ETHIOPIA 

PM Abiy Says Government Open to Talks With Tigray Rebels 

Ethiopia’s government is open to talks with the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front to end a 15-month conflict in the country, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said.

While the government has yet to negotiate with the TPLF, “this does not rule out the possibility of discussions,” Abiy’s office said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday.

Abiy’s comments come days after United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there was progress in efforts to end a civil war that’s left thousands of people dead, displaced millions and damaged investor confidence. The African Union and neighboring Kenya have been encouraging both sides to negotiate.”

On Monday, Ethiopia’s parliament announced the formation of an 11-member National Dialogue Commission. The panel has been tasked with presenting proposals aimed at ending simmering tensions between the nation’s ethnic and political groups and conflict that has destabilized one of Africa’s most-populous nations.

Once ready, the commission’s proposals will be put to the Ethiopian people, Abiy said.

(Source: The Washington Post)

SUDAN 

Sudan delegation heads to Russia amid Ukraine crisis 

A delegation of senior Sudanese officials, including the deputy leader of the country’s military-led ruling council, is headed to Russia for talks on cooperation, authorities said.

Sudan has found itself increasingly isolated since an October 25 coup that has seen foreign aid cut as part of the international community’s response to the military takeover.

“Through this visit, we hope to advance relations between Sudan and Russia to broader horizons, and strengthen the existing cooperation between us in various fields,” tweeted the deputy chairman of the transitional Sovereignty Council, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

The official visit comes at a testing time for both countries. Russia is facing new Western sanctions after ordering troops into eastern Ukraine, while the United States has threatened Sudan’s military with sanctions in the wake of the coup.

The Sudanese delegation’s visit to Moscow fell “within the framework of exchanging views and discussing ways to develop and strengthen cooperation between Sudan and Russia”, the Sovereign Council said.

(Source: Aljazeera)

ERITREA

West Alarmed By Ethiopia-Eritrea Alliance 

Some Western forces are alarmed by the new political dynamics which Ethiopia and Eritrea have created in the Horn of Africa and consider the partnership as a great threat for their interest in the strategic region, Eritrean-based independent journalist said.

Appearing in the Going Underground program of the Russian Television network RT, the independent journalist Thomas Mountain stated that the CIA is fully aware of how critical the Horn is and that’s why Ethiopia has been in the firing line of the U.S.

Since it has moved decisively out of the latter’s sphere of influence. Ethiopia’s close partnership with Eritrea is alarming to the West.

The IMF and the World Bank are on their way to control African economies and by controlling economies, they have made every attempt to control each government thereby turning the continent into a place of beggars. Eritrea is saying no to such a neocolonialism approach, Mountain added.

“If Ethiopia follows the Eritrean footsteps of independence, nationalizing the land, getting away from these predatory loans and starting to work more with China, it is going to be a role model for the rest of Africa.”

According to him, Ethiopia’s firm stance and setting up a role model for Africa is also a major threat for EU’s growing dominance in the continent and may trigger some EU member states’ strong opposition towards Ethiopia’s reformist leader. Now, the U.S. doesn’t have that much economic influence in Africa, but the Europeans’ high standard of living is dependent on the super exploitation of African resources.

(Source: The Ethiopian Herald)

SOMALIA

US Announces New Airstrikes against Shabaab Inside Somalia 

The US military command AFRICOM has confirmed that it has launched an airstrike against Al-Shabaab in collaboration with the Somali Federal Government forces, following an attack by allied forces near Dudubley on February 22. 

“The assessment of the casualties is still pending. The Command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed in the shelling, “said a statement from AFRICOM.

The statement also said that US forces had been authorized to carry out attacks in support of US forces operating in Somalia under the US military’s 2001 authorization.

“The Somali Federal Government and US forces in Africa are taking great steps to prevent civilian casualties. These efforts are in stark contrast to al-Shabaab’s indiscriminate attacks on civilians, ”the AFRICOM statement said.

AFRICOM says the Federal Government of Somalia and the United States remain committed to fighting al-Shabaab, in order to prevent the death of innocent civilians.

(Source: Radio Dalsan)

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