Posts tagged as: april

Nairobi Workers Tell of Harrowing Ordeals Following Pay Delay

By Lillian Mutavi

As the pay row at City Hall rages, workers with patients admitted to hospitals are the most affected, the Nation has learnt.

Some county staff who spoke to the Nation on Wednesday, on condition of anonymity, narrated of harrowing ordeals they have been subjected to, as City Hall has not remitted National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) money.

On Wednesday, Niarobi County services were paralysed as the workers protested their delayed April salaries due to an impasse between Central Bank and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on one side against the County government on the other side.

According to one of the workers, his spouse has been detained at Nairobi West Hospital as he has been unable to offset bills because no money has been remitted to his NHIF account.

In a hospital form from the Nairobi West Hospital seen by the Nation, the worker has been informed in the membership segment that the current contribution is in arrears and he is not covered for the services offered.

“Current contributions in arrears. This member is not covered for the services (Apr NOT PAID),”read the form.

13,000 WORKERS

A former branch secretary the workers’ union, Edward Peter Nyerere, said that all workers who had patients including family members admitted in the month of May are detained at hospitals and are in debts over arrears in payment of NHIF.

Mr Nyerere said that he could not ascertain the number but with such a huge workforce of over 13,000 with families, those affected are many.

Services paralysed on Wednesday included parking, markets, licences, city mortuary, garbage collectors and inspectorate departments.

The Kenya Union workers union chairman Nairobi branch Bernard Inyangala said that the county had said that the dispute between the county and KRA did not involve them and all they want is their pay.

Workers missed their April salaries following the standoff between KRA and City Hall after CBK transferred money to the taxman which the county says was meant to pay it workers.

ADVANCE LOAN

The devolved unit spends about Sh1.3 billion to pay its 13,000 workers.

However the county received an advance of Sh1.021 billion from treasury on Tuesday with county secretary Robert Ayisi saying workers had been paid terming their strike illegal.

According to Dr Ayisi, workers with accounts at Cooperative bank and Nacico will receive their salaries today as the county had already deposited Sh1 billion.

“While those in other banks will receive there’s tomorrow because of clearance procedures. Everybody should go back to work there is no cause for alarm and unnecessary picketing,” said Dr Ayisi.

Kenya

Former President Kibaki’s Bodyguard Sues For 2002 Accident

A bodyguard involved in a road accident with former President Mwai Kibaki has alleged in a court case he was mistreated… Read more »

Foreigners Warned – High South African Crime Rates

By Peter Dube

South Africa is seemingly at odds with the rest of Africa and, probably, the world over a rising wave of crime and sporadic attacks on foreign nationals.

In recent weeks, at least three countries including Kenya issued travel alerts to their citizens.

Understandably, according to data released by the South African police at the end of March, over 960,000 serious crimes were reported to the police between April and December 2016, averaging over 3,550 cases every day – or 148 every hour.

The biggest increase has happened in the contact crime category, where robbery with aggravating circumstances, including carjacking, showing an increase of 6.1 per cent.

With this, the so-called ‘trio crimes’ – carjacking, robbery at home and robbery at non-residential premises – all saw huge increases across all crime categories.

Foreign nationals have not been spared, hence some countries cautioning their citizens intending to visit the Rainbow nation.

Kenya had a more pronounced advisory after its Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Monica Juma warned of increased cases of armed robberies, carjacking, theft, burglary, kidnap, rape and mugging.

“The most worrying element of this crime wave is the rising number of incidents of attacks within the vicinity of hotels,” Dr Juma said.

She added that the diplomatic community was being openly attacked in residential areas and in the central business district.

World’s watching

The African Diaspora Forum (ADF) chairperson, Mr Marc Gbaffou said the travel warnings were a very strong message to the South African government that the world was watching.

“It’s quite disappointing to hear the remarks that authorities will make publicly about issues like xenophobic attacks. It shows the world that visitors are not protected in the country,” Mr Gbaffou said.

Three months ago, houses belonging to migrants were burnt down in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg and in Pretoria west.

Several businesses belonging to foreign nationals were also attacked by locals, who looted them.

Dr Juma’s letter blames South African authorities for failing to stop the wave of attacks, despite the crime reports being filed with the police.

“We need to bring to the attention of all official delegations or members of public travelling to South Africa on duty or official assignments to be cautious,” the letter says.

The Kenya advisory advises visitors to arrive in South Africa before 6pm and book accommodation in well-established areas and avoid travelling in public service vehicles.

Rape crisis

Ironically, the letter is dated April 24, the same day the UK issued a travel advisory against South Africa.

“There is a very high level of crime, including rape and murder in South Africa,” the UK says in its travel warning.

South Africa has one of the highest rape statistics in the world, with 30,069 sexual assault cases reported between April and December 2016.

An NGO that helps rape victims, Rape Crisis said “most cases went unreported because victims have lost faith in the country’s justice system”.

A 35-year-old Zimbabwean woman has been clamouring over how the police have neglected a case of rape she reported against a prominent figure.

“I am aggrieved with the way the police have handled my case. The person assigned to investigate my case told me that I do not have a case and l feel that it is not the place of the police to decide on whether or not I have a case. Theirs is to investigate and collect all evidence, which they have dragged their feet in doing,” she said.

Murder capitals

The UK’s advisory further said the most violent crimes tend to occur in townships, remote and isolated areas and away from the normal tourist destinations.

Nyanga, a notorious township in Cape Town, and Tembisa in Johannesburg, are the murder capitals in South Africa, recording the highest cases every year.

“Most visits to South Africa are trouble-free, but you should take sensible precautions to protect your safety,” the UK advisory read.

Canada also issued a travel advisory against South Africa. On May 2, the North American state said it had not issued a nationwide advisory for South Africa, but warned its citizens “to exercise a high degree of caution due to the significant level of serious crime”.

Kenya slammed

South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Corporation (DIRCO) slammed Kenya for its alert.

DIRCO spokesperson Clayson Monyela said he noted with concern the manner in which the Kenya alert had distorted information and randomly elevated issues which were inconsistent with the main thrust of bilateral relations between the two countries.

“The South African authorities will continue to seek further clarity on the matter from their Kenyan counterparts.

“South Africa wishes to emphasise that Kenyan citizens continue to travel to South Africa on a daily basis as well as official and business visits, with only three incidences reported to the South African authorities,” Mr Monyela said.

He added that South Africa was home to more than 3,000 Kenyan students who lived and studied in an environment free of harassment.

“South Africa wishes to recall the historic State Visit to Kenya in October 2016, which was hailed as a remarkable success following the signing of five new agreements. The signing of these agreements is a demonstration of the collective determination to take our bilateral relations to a higher level.”

Xenophobia

A fortnight ago, South Africa’s Police minister Fikile Mbalula, sparked a spate with neighbouring Zimbabwe when he said Zimbabwean ex-soldiers were wreaking havoc across South Africa, committing violent crime including robberies.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador Isaac Moyo, promptly hit back saying the minister’s remarks were irresponsible.

“We cannot accept the many ill-informed elements in the said statement and we deeply regret that they were made without due regard to their accuracy,” he said.

Two months ago, Nigeria called on the African Union (UN) to intervene over the renewed xenophobia attacks in South Africa.

The Nigerian government said it had it on record that 16 of their nationals had been killed in South Africa in the last two years.

“This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria,” read an emailed statement.

Mr Gbaffou believes how South Africa handled concerns about the safety of visitors and migrants was critical to its relations with other nations.

Cash Incentive Boosts Number of Returnees

By Nasra Bishumba

Months after the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) announced a cash incentive to any Rwandan refugee returning home, the number of returnees has significantly improved, officials have said.

A cash incentive of $250 (about Rwf200,000) goes to any adult refugee and $150 (about Rwf125,000) to any of their minors who return home before the end of 2017. The offer is being provided in partnership with Airtel Rwanda and I&M Bank.

Besides the money, the returnees are offered free medical insurance for a year, a free mobile phone and free transportation to any destination within the country.

UNHCR communication and public information officer Eugene Sibomana said since its launch, there has been a considerable improvement in the numbers of new arrivals.

“In April alone, 553 returnees were received and a total of 1,365 returnees have been received this year so far. Most returnees in April were heading to Nyabihu, Karongi and Ngororero districts,” he said.

Some 71,130 returnees have been received since 2009 and a total 3,436,073 since 1994.

However, there have been reports of fraudulent cases where people falsely claim to be returnees to benefit from the incentive. Some 69 such cases were reported in April alone, 64 of them in Rubavu District, and another five in Cyangugu District.

All the returnees are from DR Congo.

However, Sibomana said mechanisms to detect such false claims have since been put in place.

“As long as money is involved, you are definitely going to have such cases but we have a strong system in place in collaboration with National ID Agency to detect such cases,” he said.

The Head of Airtel Money, Steve Gasana, said the process has been smooth and the company’s provision of the service was especially subsidised to help the returnees to settle in.

“It has been an ongoing process and what we do is to provide them a platform that begins with registering them with our system and giving them support on the ground in terms of helping them access the money that they have been paid. In terms of direct returns, we are not making much because we are not charging them the way we charge everyone else. Our role is to provide support and help them settle in,” he said.

Rwanda

Country’s Economic Outlook As Stable – Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research, has again affirmed Rwanda’s economic outlook as stable. Read more »

Police Decline to Release Children of Suspected Kaweesi Killer

Police have declined to release 12 children of Mr Abdu Rashid Mbaziira, a suspected killer of slain police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

Kampala Metropolitan police spokesman, Mr Emilian Kayima told journalists on Wednesday that they need another week to see if it is possible to release the children aged between 2 and 20 years.

We ask mothers [of the children] to be patient as will not be able to release them today. We need a week,” Mr Kayima said at Naggalama police station where mothers have camped since Tuesday.

Uganda

Drought Lifts Power Exports to Kenya By 300%

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Kenya: Country’s Top Google Searches in April 2017

Photo: The Nation

Janet Kanini Ikua.

By Faith Nyamai

Former NTV news anchor and media personality, the late Janet Kanini Ikua, was the most searched person on Google search trends for the Month of April.

She died on April 1 after a long battle with lung cancer.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries commission (IEBC) jobs were the second in the list of trending searches.

The reason attributed to the IEBC jobs taking the second position is due to the upcoming General Election on August 8.

Football came in third with people searching for matches like Arsenal vs Manchester City and Chelsea vs Tottenham. Other football searches that topped the trends included Barclays Premier League and Champions League.

The Real Madrid vs Barcelona was the trending march searched under Spanish La Liga.

Jubilee nominations came in fourth.

Search for ‘top restaurants nearby’ took the fifth spot, portraying the culture of eating out increasingly becoming popular amongst Kenyans, especially the youths.

Taking the sixth position was government’s delivery portal (www.delivery.go.ke) came in the sixth slot. The Web portal was launched in April to document and communicate to Kenyans the progress the government made since it took office in 2013.

Other trends were, the popular comedian Emanuel Makori popularly known as Ayeiya who died in a car crash, British Professional boxer Antony Joshua and veteran politician, the late David Mwiraria were also among those Kenyans searched on Google.

Other trending search queries were about Kiambu Jubilee nominations where Ferdinand Waititu defeated the incumbent Governor William Kabogo and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), TSC-Tpad which stands for Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development.

The TSC-Tpad is based on performance appraisal programme for teachers and 30,000 school heads as a gateway to higher pay and promotions.

Kenya

Drought Lifts Power Exports to Kenya By 300%

Uganda’s electricity exports to Kenya grew 300 per cent in the four months to April as drought cut the neighbouring… Read more »

Regional Heads of State Summit Now Set for May 20

Photo: Samuel Miring’u/The East African

Regional heads of State during the 17th Ordinary EAC Summit in Arusha Tanzania.

By Christabel Ligami

The East African heads of State Summit has been postponed for the third time to May 20, raising concerns about the EAC leaders’ commitment to regional integration.

The Summit, which had been scheduled for April 28 in Dar es Salaam, was postponed following a request by Kenya through its Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection. The ministry cited undisclosed “other commitments,” — April 28 would have coincided with party primaries in preparation for the August 8 general election.

Originally scheduled to be held last December, the Summit was first moved to March, and then to April at the request of Burundi and Tanzania respectively.

Top of the agenda is giving direction to the Community after what has been a year of sluggish implementation of projects. The year was also marked by a dispute on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU and differences between Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda on the route of a pipeline to evacuate oil from Uganda.

The heads of State Summit is usually held in April and November but was postponed to January 2017 following a request by Tanzania for time to consult on whether the EPA was viable.

Kenya’s Principal Secretary for East African Affairs Betty Maina said there was no cause for alarm in the delay. “Although decisions on key matters are pending, it can only be a big issue if the presidents go for a year without meeting,” said Ms Maina.

“We are hoping that there will be no more postponing from the current date. Burundi has confirmed availability for that day and we are waiting for the other partner states to do so.”

Wanyama Masinde, an expert on EAC integration says it is likely that the presidents are reluctant to meet because of the EPA issue; this especially so for Tanzania, which has taken a step back from the partnership.

“It is important for the presidents to meet because most decisions are pegged on the Summit’s outcome,” said Dr Masinde. Ms Maina, however, said the EPA was no longer a major sticking point because there were no timelines attached to it.

“Kenya has already signed and ratified the EPA which makes it safe for the country to sell to the EU market. We are only awaiting the decision of the other countries on the matter to decided the way forward,” she said.

“We expect that Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza will attend since the government had officially asked for the postponement of the Summit,” noted Dr Masinde.

Inflation Eases to 7.3 Percent Year On Year in April

By Peterson Tumwebaze

Rwanda’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, eased to 7.3 percent year on year in April 2017 down from 7.7 percent registered the previous month.

This is, however, still higher than 4.7 per cent registered the same period in 2016.

According to the monthly report released by the National Institute of statistics of Rwanda (NISR), yesterday, the increase was largely attributed to the rising prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, which rose by almost 15.8 percent.

On a monthly basis the country’s CPI increased by 0.4 percent in April 2017 pushing inflation of basic utilities including housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels to rise by 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, the underlying inflation rate (excluding fresh food and energy) increased by 0.3 percent when compared to March 2017 and increased by 4.8 percent when compared to April 2016.

“This therefore means that Rwanda’s average underlying inflation rate is currently established at 4.8 percent, said Lucie Mutetijabiro, the NISR price statistics and research unit team leader.

The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) recently attributed the rising inflationary pressures to rising food prices due to weather conditions and transport inflation.

These pressures, according to John Rwangombwa, the governor, Central Bank are expected to persist till June during the harvest season.

“There have been inflationary pressures for a while now and was mainly due to pressures from food and transport. We expect these pressures to persist until the harvest in June. Overall, we expected to see inflation averaging at about 7 per cent at the end of the year,” Rwangombwa said in a recent interview with The New Times.

It is also important to note that inflationary pressures have been experienced across the region and have also been attributed to poor performance in the agriculture sector and increase in crude oil prices.

Rwanda

Rwandan President Says ICT Should Unite Us, Not Deepen Divides

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Science Courses Offer More Job Opportunities – Research

Photo: Dennis Onsongo/The Nation

Mount Kenya University graduates during the 11th graduation ceremony held at Happy Valley ground’s in Thika on December 9, 2016.

By Jeremiah Wakaya

Nairobi — Most employers believe that science courses create more employment opportunities compared to arts, according a study released Wednesday by CPS International.

Out of 309 respondents sampled, 38 per cent said sciences have more job opportunities compared to arts at 32 per cent. 30 per cent of respondents argued both sciences and arts provide employment opportunities in the study dubbed “The State of Sciences Training in Kenyan Universities: Make Science Great Again” conducted between February and April 2017.

The perception that some institutions offer better training in sciences than others is still thriving, with the University of Nairobi considered to be the best in medicine, law and other science disciplines.

CPS International’s lead consultant Professor Herman Manyora however debunked the perception, saying that may not necessary mean graduates from such institutions are more skilled than their counterparts from other institutions.

“Many firms would seek consultancy, fund or recruit employees based on which course is offered by what university and the reputation and ranking of that university,” he said.

“For instance, University of Nairobi medical and law students are considered to be highly trained making employers seek to hire them. They may be wrong but that is what is happening,” Manyora noted.

The study also revealed that only 49 per cent of science graduates are considered to be well trained with the remaining 51 per cent respondents disagreeing with the position.

Manyora however pointed out that the argument that some graduates are “half baked” is misplaced stating that graduates are equipped with the knowledge in institutions of higher learning for application in their relevant fields of specialisation.

“Some people think that a university graduate in some science area for example automotive engineering should go to the garage and fix a vehicle. No!” he exclaimed.

“There’s a whole difference between science and application. Sometimes we accuse our graduates for nothing because they have the knowledge (the science), the practical aspect will be handled by somebody else,” he added.

According to the survey, most employers believed there is need for enhanced funding by government in order to improve the quality of training in universities.

Findings of the study indicated that a whopping 81 per cent of revenues in public universities are generated from student fees with only 42 per cent of the same making up revenues generated by private universities.

Government capitation followed in income generation accounting for 48 per cent of all revenues collected by public universities.

Kenya

Drought Lifts Power Exports to Kenya By 300%

Uganda’s electricity exports to Kenya grew 300 per cent in the four months to April as drought cut the neighbouring… Read more »

Fewer Somalis Returning Home, Says UN

By Kevin J. Kelley

Smaller numbers of Somalis are returning to their homeland from the Dadaab camps, the United Nations refugee agency reported on Monday.

A total of 707 Somali refugees are reported to have left Dadaab in the second half of April as part of the UN’s voluntary repatriation initiative.

DROUGHT

More than twice as many — 1,836 refugees — had returned to Somalia during the previous two weeks.

“This reduction could be attributed to the ongoing drought, the cholera outbreak and the recent heavy rains in Somalia,” the UN said.

At the same time, increasingly dire conditions in Somalia are driving a new set of refugees into the Dadaab complex.

Nearly 3,500 “undocumented individuals” had been counted in the camps as of April 30, the UN said.

It added that 999 of these persons had come to Dadaab as a result of the drought.

NON-SOMALIS

A UN effort to relocate non-Somali refugees from Dadaab to the Kakuma camps in Turkana County has meanwhile been suspended.

Almost 7,000 Ethiopians and other non-Somali nationals in Dadaab are registered for relocation to Kakuma, but transfers are not occurring at present “due to low turnout at both the relocation help desk and the medical screening centre,” the UN reported. “People not showing up for departures render flights uneconomical,” the refugee agency added.

Despite these developments, Dadaab’s total population continues to dwindle.

It stood at 247,798 registered refugees and asylum seekers as of April 30, compared to 248,719 as of April 15.som

62,000 RETURNED

The Kenyan government has said it wants to close the 26-year-old Dadaab complex entirely due to alleged security threats emanating from the camps.

The UN refugee agency, along with the Somali and Kenyan governments, have jointly initiated a voluntary return programme in response to those concerns.

Since the launch of this tri-partite repatriation effort in December 2014, a total of 62,372 Somalis have gone back to their homeland, the UN said on Monday.

The rate of return could quicken once the rainy season ends.

Road convoys to Somalia are currently suspended due to heavy rains in some parts of the country, the UN said.

Refugees returning home are at present being flown to either Kismayu or Mogadishu, the UN noted.

Somalia

KDF to Stay in Somalia Until Kenya Is Secure – Uhuru Kenyatta

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Nigeria: Poor Power Supply Persists Despite Rise in Supply to 3,578 MW

By Udeme Akpan

Power generation has risen from 3,161 megawatts, MW to 3,578 MW over the weekend as Electricity Generating Companies; GENCOs continue to increase generation after the recent system collapse.

This showed 9,222MW below the nation’s 12, 800 estimated daily national demand, meaning that many individuals, households and companies did not have constant and adequate supply in all parts of the nation.

The Presidency report that indicated this on Sunday stated that, “On May 06 2017, average power sent out was 3578Wh/hour (up by 417MWh/h). The reported gas constraint was 2388MW.”

“The reported line constraint was 332MW. The reported high frequency constraint was 849MW. The water management constraint was 375MW. The power sector lost an estimated N1, 893,000, 000 on May 06 2017 due to constraints. Egbin is reporting higher gas constraints than before, causing further generation reduction,” it added.

A few days ago, electricity supply in Nigeria had dropped by 29 per cent because of a system collapse that affected the generation, transmission and distribution of power nationwide.

Authoritative Presidency report had disclosed that power supply which stood at 3,717MW on April 2, 2017, dropped to 2, 638MW, on April 9, 2017.

“On April 09 2017, average power sent out was 2, 638Wh/hour, down by 698MWh/h. The reported gas constraint was 2603MW. The reported line constraint was 0MW. The reported high frequency constraint was 282MW. The water management constraint was 0MW.”

“The power sector lost an estimated N1, 428,000, 000 on April 09 2017 due to constraints. There was heavy rainfall reported from Onitsha T/S, Benin T/S & Alaoji T/S which led to area load reduction from 70MW to 15MW, 100MW to 20MW & 300MW to 51MW respectively.”

“These led to rise in system frequency and voltage which subsequently resulted to the transmission line drippings as indicated in reports from stations. 06:21Hrs, the system frequency sharply dropped from 51.03Hz to 47.48Hz followed by system collapse..,” it had added.

Investigations had showed that the power generated was inadequate, considering the nation’s over 15,000 MW estimated daily national demand.

Mr. Muda Yusuf, the Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, had indicated in a telephone interview that the nation’s poor power situation has crippled operations in many sectors of the nation’s economy.

He had said that investors in many sectors, especially manufacturing, telecoms and agriculture have been compelled to generate their independent power at higher cost. Yusuf had pointed out that the high cost of generating power has culminated in the high cost of goods and services, making locally produced goods uncompetitive in the global market.

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