OKA principals snub Uhuru, Raila meeting with pro-handshake MPs
One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals yesterday skipped a luncheon organised by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, reportedly scuttling the agenda of the State House meeting.
The Standard has established that OKA principals Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula had been invited.
Their absence reportedly forced Uhuru and Raila to confine their deliberations to parliamentary issues, with sources indicating that there were deliberate attempts to curtail discussions around the August 9 election.
An MP from Mt. Kenya said the luncheon was mooted during Raila’s birthday party at his Karen home in Nairobi. MPs who attended the night party reportedly requested the President to host Azimio loyalists to thank them for pushing through the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Raila commended the MPs for passing the Bill and urged the Senate to endorse it as well.
(Source: The Standard)
Schools reopen in Uganda after nearly-two-year COVID closure
Uganda has ended the world’s longest school closure, ordering millions of students back to the classroom after a gap of nearly two years.
Some 15 million pupils have not attended school in Uganda since March 2020 when classrooms were shuttered as COVID-19 swept the world.
Education Minister John Muyingo said all students would automatically resume classes a year above where they left off.
Child rights groups had criticised Uganda’s decision to keep schools fully or partially shut for 83 weeks, longer than anywhere else in the world.
During the pandemic, many school-aged boys entered the child labour market to work in mining, street vending and sugarcane planting.
According to the National Planning Authority (NPA), up to 30 percent of students are expected to not return to their school desks due to teen pregnancy, early marriage and child labour.
Chenge spices up the race to replace Ndugai
The race to succeed Job Ndugai as Speaker of the National Assembly took an interesting twist yesterday when former Attorney-General and Bariadi West legislator Andrew Chenge joined the fray.
Mr Chenge – who holds a Master’s degree in Law (LLM) from Harvard University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Dar es Salaam – is among several CCM cadres who were rumoured as aspiring to succeed Mr Ndugai. The Speaker abruptly resigned last week amid piling pressure from the ruling party loyalists following his remarks on government borrowing.
Mr Chenge, who worked as Attorney-General between 1993 and 2005, and as Minister for Infrastructure and East African Cooperation thereafter, is expected to give other key contestants a run for their money.
Other aspirants for the post of House Speaker who have already picked nomination forms are Sofia Simba, Goodluck Ole-Medeye, Joseph Msukuma, Merikion Ndofi, Godwin Kunambi, Abwene Kajula and Steven Massele.
(Source: The Citizen)
Rwanda fully vaccinates close to half its population against Covid-19
A month after an aggressive Covid-19 vaccination campaign was launched in November, almost six million people in Rwanda out of its 12.9 million population are fully vaccinated. The target is to reach 9.1 million people by June this year.
The countrywide vaccination campaign was launched after the country recorded six cases of the new Omicron variant in early December.
Rwanda currently adheres to a 10pm- 4am curfew that allows businesses to operate until 9pm, except for bars that have to close at 8pm.
Employees are encouraged to work from home, while gatherings and festivities are prohibited except for a limited number of fully vaccinated people who present negative Covid test results.
The rules have been in place since mid-December.
Rwanda has affirmed it has sufficient numbers of Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate the remaining three million target population.
(Source: The East African)
Drone strike kills 17 on day Biden calls Ethiopia’s leader to urge peace
On the same day that President Biden spoke with his Ethiopian counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, about a possible window for peace in the long-running war in Tigray, at least 17 people, including women and children, were killed in an airstrike, aid workers said.
The strike on Monday came days after dozens more were killed after a drone opened fire on a refugee camp in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray and highlighted the increasingly deadly role of armed drones, some supplied by American allies, in a conflict that has badly destabilized Africa’s second most populous country.
Video from the aftermath of the strike on Friday, provided by aid workers, showed the charred bodies of women and children laid out on blue plastic sheeting bearing the United Nations logo. On Monday, U.N. secretary-general António Guterres said he was “deeply concerned” about the attack, which occurred hours after the Ethiopian government issued a call for “national reconciliation.” At least 50 people had been killed, he said.
(Source: The New York TImes)
Egypt president urges Sudanese to talk, denies backing coup
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday urged rival factions in Sudan to engage in talks to move forward in their transition to democracy after a coup toppled the civilian-led government.
Egypt, which has cultivated close ties with Sudan in recent years, fears that prolonged deadlock would further destabilize its southern neighbour.
Following the coup, some Sudanese opposition leaders, including former Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi, suspected that Egypt had given a greenlight for Sudan’s military leader, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, to oust Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s government.
Speaking at a news conference at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, el-Sissi denied siding with either party in Sudan. He said Egypt supported all parties of the transitional government and insisted that his government doesn’t intervene in other country’s internal affairs.
El-Sissi’s call came as the United Nations began separate consultations earlier this week with Sudanese groups to build confidence between the military and the pro-democracy movement before they possibly engage in direct talks.
(Source: The Washington Post)
Somali leaders agree to hold delayed elections
Somali leaders announced on Sunday they had struck a deal to wrap up parliamentary elections by February 25, after repeated delays that have threatened the stability of the troubled country.
The agreement was reached after several days of talks hosted by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble with state leaders to try to defuse a bitter political crisis.
Roble and Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known by his nickname Farmajo, have long been at loggerheads over the long-delayed elections, with fears their squabbling could erupt into violence.
The international community has voiced its alarm over the crisis, fearing for the fate of the fragile Horn of Africa nation as it continues to battle a deadly insurgency by Al-Shabaab Islamist militants.
Resolve to strengthen participation in national affairs
At a public seminar the Eritrean Embassy organized, Eritrean nationals residing in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya, expressed readiness to strengthen participation in national affairs.
At the seminar, Mr. Beyene Russom, Eritrean Ambassador to Kenya, gave an extensive briefing on the objective situation in the homeland as well as regional developments.
Providing an extensive briefing on the opportunities and challenges created by the peace and cooperation agreement reached between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 2018, Ambassador Beyene said that the instability being witnessed in the region is the making of external forces that are not pleased with the promising situation prevailing.
Ambassador Beyene said that the external conspiracies will be foiled by the integrated resilience of the peoples of the region and peace and stability will prevail.
(Source: Ministry of Information)