Mixed reactions greet Uhuru’s state of nation address
MPs expressed mixed reactions to President Kenyatta’s State of the Nation Address delivered to a joint sitting of Parliament on Tuesday.
Whereas pro-handshake lawmakers lauded the eighth address as comprehensive and giving hope to Kenyans, their counterparts in Deputy President William Ruto’s camp insisted the speech was underwhelming.
The lawmakers cited the Pandora Papers leak, Kemsa heist and debt levels as some of the national concerns missing from the President’s speech. However, Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga dismissed the Tangatanga team, saying Uhuru’s speech was one of the best to be delivered before the House. The ODM MP said highlighting the President’s achievement was crucial to debunk claims by naysayers that the handshake has derailed Jubilee’s development plan.
(Source: The Star)
Tanzania 2020 elections were neither free nor fair, says Redet
The 2020 General Election did not have a level playing ground, affecting the participation of opposition parties, a report has revealed.
The report of the Research and Education for Democracy in Tanzania (Redet) under the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Dar es Salaam, gave the revelation after its launch yesterday following a review on previous elections in all regions with 2,353 observers.
“Opposition parties did not fare well in the last election and the competition was not balanced, it was not fair, so, to some extent it affected the competition and the participation of opposition parties,” said Prof Mukandala.
(Source: The Citizen)
China, Uganda Deny Loan Default-Entebbe Airport Takeover Rumours
China has denied reports it could take control of Uganda’s international airport should the government in Kampala default on a USD 200 million loan from Beijing.
“The malicious allegation… has no factual basis and is ill intended to distort the good relations that China enjoys with developing countries including Uganda,” a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Kampala said late Sunday.
The denial followed reports in the Daily Monitor newspaper last week that Uganda could surrender Entebbe International Airport should it default on a 2015 loan from Beijing to expand and upgrade the facility.
Beijing has been criticised in the past for lending too much to poor countries without scrutinising their ability to repay, and its vast loans to cash-strapped African states have fuelled concerns about debt traps.
Rwanda imposes 7-day quarantine for travellers over new variant
Rwanda has imposed a seven-day quarantine for passengers arriving in Kigali who have recently been to countries affected by the new Covid-19 variant (Omicron). All direct flights between Rwanda and southern African countries have been temporarily suspended.
The resolutions were made during an extraordinary Cabinet meeting on Sunday, which was called to discuss Rwanda’s response to the new variant. It was chaired by President Paul Kagame.
Rwanda joins the European Union, the United States, Israel, United Arab Emirates, the UK, among others, that have suspended flights to southern Africa.
(Source: The East African)
Ethiopian gov’t says it retook string of towns from Tigray forces
The Ethiopian government says its forces recaptured Shewa Robit, a town some 220km (135 miles) from the capital Addis Ababa, which was claimed last week by fighters from the northern Tigray region.
In recent days, state media has broadcast images of a uniformed Abiy, who is a former military lieutenant colonel and the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, in what appeared to be the northeastern region of Afar. On Sunday, state media said the army controlled the lowland Afar town of Chifra, and Abiy said Tuesday such gains would be replicated in the Amhara region, where Dessie lies.
Much of northern Ethiopia is under a communications blackout and access for journalists is heavily restricted, making battlefield claims difficult to corroborate. Al Jazeera, however, was able to gain exclusive access to Chifra, the first international news organisation to do so.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed, millions displaced and hundreds of thousands have been driven to famine-like conditions, according to UN estimates, since fighting broke out in early November 2020.
Excerpts of the Statement delivered by Ambassador Sophia Tesfamariam during the Annual Ministerial Meeting of the G77 and China, 30 November, 2021
”For over seven decades, the people of Eritrea have suffered incessant hostilities by successive US Administrations, including diplomatic pressures, sanctions and economic sabotage. This month the US Administration has again imposed unilateral sanctions on Eritrea. Our group must show solidarity with those of us that are being affected by such measures which continue to negatively impact our efforts to respond effectively to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic and other developmental challenges.
There should not be any hesitation in calling out for the immediate lifting of all unilateral sanctions. We must strengthen our solidarity, enhance our coordination and pursue our common goal to counter policies that intend to break us apart and pick us one after the other. We should say No More to the violations of the UN Charter, to politics of bullying, and external intervention in the affairs of sovereign nations.
Despite the relentless harassment and hostilities, Eritrea will continue its path to ensure an inclusive and people-centred development with the principle of social justice at its core. It has made strides in improving educational and health services, agricultural productivity, and infrastructure with meagre resources. Eritrea will also continue to contribute towards creating a peaceful and collaborative neighbourhood in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea.”
(Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea)
Sudan’s Hamdok to quit if post-coup deal is not implemented
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok will quit if a political agreement he signed with the military last week is not implemented or fails to receive backing from political factions, a source close to him has revealed.
Opponents say the post-coup agreement favours the military by leaving the army chief in charge of a body, the Sovereign Council, that was meant to pass to civilian control. Hamdok has said he signed the agreement to stop bloodshed and preserve much-needed international financial support.
On 1st December, Hamdok issued a decree replacing most of a group of caretaker deputy ministers that had been installed by the military after the coup. The decree did not include the finance, federal rule, and information ministries.
Somalia Election Programme falls short
Somalia was supposed to be conducting indirect elections for the Lower House, part of a bicameral Parliament that also includes the Senate, and which together sit to vote for the next President.
Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo rivals under the caucus of the Council of Presidential Candidates announced they were pulling out of the parliamentary elections which they claimed are rigged.
“The Council of Presidential Candidates will never accept this rigged election,” argued Abdishakur Abdirahman, a member of the Council and leader of the Wadajir party. “The Council’s consultative meetings among its members, and the meetings they will hold with the PM and other stakeholders will focus on every means that would achieve the conduct of free and fair election.”
It was unclear what impact their withdrawal will have, especially since none of the members were contesting for the Lower House seats, but could rely on the outcomes to vet their own chances at the presidency.
The election for the Lower House were supposed to go on until December 26, when all the five federal states should have elected members to the 275-member house. But some Somalis fear rushing through the election could defeat its purpose.
(Source: The East African)