Kimunya election bill causes online storm
The introduction of a Bill seeking to bring back manual transmission of election results, which was last used in 2007, has elicited mixed reactions on the internet since Wednesday, February 2, and the better part of Thursday morning.
This was after three out of Kenya’s four dailies front-paged the details of the Proposed Elections Amendment Bill.
The State-sponsored Bill was tabled on the floor of the House on Wednesday by Majority Leader Amos Kimunya.
“Clause 21 seeks to amend Section 44A of the Act to provide for a complementary mechanism for voter identification and transmission of election results,” reads the Bill.
Most Kenyans expressed their fears of possible election interference that could lead to chaos similar to the 2007 Post-Election Violence.
Some discouraged the use of manual transmission of voting results saying it would highly spread the Covid-19 disease.
The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022 is pushing for alternative methods that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) can deploy to relay results during the August 9 polls.
It further seeks to allow for manual identification of voters at the polling station amid claims of dead voters casting their votes in alleged election manipulation in the previous elections.
The Bill seeks to allow for manual identification of voters at the polling station. Claims of dead voters casting their ballot have been at the heart of alleged election manipulation in the previous elections.
If made law, returning officers managing the polls will have to physically deliver election results to the national tallying centre if doing so electronically fails.
After the 2007 elections, a new commission (IEBC) was formed, to conduct election processes electronically for easy verification.
(Source: The Standard)
MPs demand clarity on reopening of Uganda-Rwanda border
Members of Parliament have summoned the Minister in charge of East African Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga, to update the country and clarify issues surrounding the full reopening of the Uganda-Rwanda border post at Katuna.
This follows reports of restrictions on some Ugandans entering Rwanda through the Katuna border post.
The MPs expressed concerns that individual access to either country was still restricted despite confirmation of border reopening.
The Chief Opposition Whip, John Baptist Nambeshe, who raised the matter, said that the lack of clear communication by the government continues to cause more confusion.
“We do not know whether it is partially open, restricted to cargo, or whether there are categories of essential and non-essential travelers,” said Nambeshe.
Busia Municipality MP, Geoffrey Macho, raised concern over the lack of documentation in some of the agreements entered into between countries.
He said that it was unfortunate that there was no documentation following the agreements to reopen the Katuna border post between Uganda and Rwanda.
Responding to the concerns raised by members, the Minister of State for Industry, David Bahati, said that President Yoweri Museveni, in his address to the Cabinet on January 31, 2022, said that the Rwandan side was only open for cargo because they were still observing COVID-19 protocols on all their borders.
The Deputy Speaker, Ms Anita Among, who chaired the Plenary Session directed that the Minister in charge of East African Affairs updates the country on the ongoing events and development in Katuna border post between Uganda and Rwanda.
(Source: Nile Post News)
Tulia Ackson elected Tanzania Speaker unanimously
The Tanzanian Parliament on Tuesday voted Mbeya Urban MP Tulia Ackson Mwansasu as Speaker of the 12th National Assembly.
Dr Ackson garnered 100 percent votes, beating eight other candidates in the race to succeed Job Ndugai. The 372 members present voted.
Mr Ndugai resigned on January 6 following pressure from ruling CCM members to leave the post after he criticised the government’s borrowing spree.
Parliament Chairman William Lukuvi on Tuesday announced Dr Ackson as the winner.
Dr Ackson, who, until the election, was the Deputy Speaker, will be the second woman in Tanzania to serve as the National Assembly Speaker after Ms Anne Makinda, who held the position in 2010-2015.
Dr Ackson’s triumph was widely considered to be a done deal after CCM’s topmost decision-making organ, the Central Committee chaired by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, nominated her over several other party candidates and CCM legislators endorsed her at a caucus meeting.
Responding to questions from MPs while presenting herself prior to the vote, she pledged to restore public respect for the legislature as an independent pillar of the State and ensure it fulfils its constitutional watchdog role over government performance.
(Source: The East African)
Kenyatta, Kagame meet in Nairobi to discuss trade and cooperation
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday hosted his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame where they discussed trade and transport between the two countries.
The Rwandan leader arrived in Nairobi on a working visit just days after his country reopened the common Gatuna/Katuna land border with Uganda, easing transportation of cargo from the Port of Mombasa to Kigali.
A dispatch from State House in Nairobi said the two leaders discussed “a wide range of areas of cooperation between the two countries including trade and transport,” as well as other continental issues.
President Kenyatta welcomed Rwanda’s move to re-open its Gatuna-Katuna border with Uganda, saying “it will ease the movement of goods and people between the two neighbouring countries.”
The dispatch said Nairobi asked Kigali to “diversify its imports from Kenya and continue taking advantage of the improved services at the Port of Mombasa to facilitate the movement of goods.”
Kenyatta and Kagame also affirmed their commitment to working together to find lasting solutions to conflicts facing Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia.
They said Kenya and Rwanda will continue to play a leading role in promoting dialogue and peace.
(Source: The East African)
Kenyatta calls on Ethiopia to end war, embrace dialogue
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday called on Ethiopian protagonists to embrace “genuine” reconciliation and end the war that has been fought for more than a year.
The Kenyan leader, speaking publicly for the third time in three months on Ethiopia’s conflict, said civilians in Ethiopia have been deprived of dignity as protagonists continue to fight.
“The promise of a peaceful, secure, and stable Ethiopia will only be realised by the ability of all parties in Ethiopia to surmount challenges in ways that are both sustainable and acceptable to all the people of Ethiopia,” President Kenyatta said in a statement.
The Kenyan leader said an “all-inclusive national dialogue” should be held where both sides agree to compromise on their stances.
He spoke ahead of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa this Friday, a first gathering of heads of state in Ethiopia under the continental bloc since January 2019.
The Tigray conflict has not been indicated as a point of discussion on the tentative agenda provided so far; leaders were expected to discuss nutrition and human development.
Kenyatta, however, has been vocal about the situation in Ethiopia.
In November, he issued a statement warning that nobody could help the country to rebuild if warring parties continue to fight.
(Source: The East African)
Sudan: Clampdown on peaceful protesters continues unabated
Security forces in Sudan have repeatedly attacked or otherwise used excessive unnecessary force, including lethal force, against peaceful demonstrators in Khartoum, Human Rights Watch said Thursday, February 3. On January 17, 2022, alone, doctors’ groups recorded seven killings of protesters by live ammunition, three of which Human Rights Watch documented.
Following the October 25 military coup, numerous protests have taken place across Sudan, particularly in the capital, Khartoum. According to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, security forces have killed 79 people, including a woman and nine children. January 17 was the second deadliest day since the coup.
Witnesses said the anti-riot police and Central Reserve Police (CRP), a militarized police unit, led the lethal response on January 17. Six witnesses said that the CRP used live ammunition against unarmed protesters at multiple locations throughout the day. Regular police beat and arrested peaceful protesters.
Calls from regional and international actors for the military to halt the crackdown have had no impact, Human Rights Watch said. Security forces have denied using live ammunition and claimed that they only use an “appropriate amount of force.”
(Source: Human Rights Watch)
Somali government calls on five countries to support bid to join AU council
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Government of Somalia, Abdisaid Muse Ali, attended the opening of the 40th Session of the Executive Council of the 35th African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The conference addressed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, insecurity, instability, and socio-economic development in Africa.
Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on the continent as a whole and the importance of working together to reverse the negative impact of the disease.
Minister Abdisaid Muse highlighted the significant achievements of the Federal Government of Somalia in the fight against terrorism, stabilization of the country, prevention of COVID-19 and the Somali Government’s readiness to cooperate fully with African countries in order to address all the threats facing the Continent.
During the meeting, Foreign Minister Abdisaid Muse Ali held separate talks with the Foreign Ministers of Algeria, Burundi, Botswana, Namibia and Madagascar, discussing cooperation and support from the continent on Somalia’s membership in the upcoming African Union Peace and Security Council.
(Source: Radio Dalsan)
Why Eritrea’s involvement in Tigray to boost its stature could backfire
The Eritrean military has been involved in the war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region since the conflict broke out in November 2020. Eritrea shares a 1,000 km border with Ethiopia, including with Tigray. It sent thousands of soldiers in support of the Ethiopian federal forces in their operations against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. These actions have both prolonged and worsened the hugely destructive conflict.
Eritrea’s involvement also has wider implications. It represents an attempt by Asmara to reassert itself on the regional stage, following two decades of relative diplomatic isolation.
The government in Asmara has pursued an opportunistic foreign policy. Its aim has essentially been to gain regional superiority at Ethiopia’s expense.
A weakened and disunited Ethiopia – with at least some political actors who are easy to influence – therefore represents an opportunity for Eritrea’s interests. This is because the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front’s vision for the country is as a regional gatekeeper and pivot – secure in itself, cohesive and militarily potent.
Asmara’s best-case scenario is a prolonged, unresolved conflict in Ethiopia in which the presence of Eritrean forces and political support are still required by Addis Ababa.
If there is to be serious dialogue between Addis Ababa and Mekele, the Tigrayan leadership will demand the withdrawal of Eritrean forces and Isaias’ removal from discussions over Ethiopia’s future. Abiy will need to concede this. In such a scenario, Isaias will quickly find himself isolated. This would take him back to the pariah status he has occupied for most of the last two decades.