Posts tagged as: case

Opposition Accuses Jubilee of Intimidating Judiciary

By Ibrahim Oruko

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has accused senior politicians from the Jubilee Party of prosecuting the Presidential Petition filed by Mr Raila Odinga through the social media noting that the move is an attempt to intimidate the Judiciary.

MPs elected on the party’s ticket in the just concluded General Election further warned the media to tread carefully and stop publishing stories that suggest the petition filed by Mr Odinga on Friday is weak and cannot withstand the legal test.

“The Jubilee leadership has gone ahead to purport to poke holes in the case even before the pretrial as prove of how weak the case is. This is an attempt to intimidate the Judiciary into throwing away the case,” Mr John Mbadi, the ODM chairman said.


He added: “We ask Jubilee Party to set our courts free and stop intimidation of judges. But we also remind Jubilee that the battle is far from over. They can intimidate the courts but they cannot succeed in intimidating the people.”

Mr Mbadi was speaking on Tuesday during a press conference at the party headquarters where he rejected calls to accept the outcome of the presidential vote and insisted they will not move on.

Others at the press conference were MPs-elect Ledama ole Kina (Senator, Narok), Mr Jared Okello (Nyando), Mr Sam Atandi (Alego Usonga), Mr Caleb Amisi (Saboti).

Over the weekend, leaders within the Jubilee Party dismissed the petition describing it as weak, inconsistent and incapable of overturning President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election.

Led by Senator from Tharaka Nithi Kithure Kindiki, the leaders said despite filing volumes of paper work in court, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) has not made a serious case that can lead to the nullification of the elections.


“I have gone through that petition, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence and word for word from last evening, and as a lawyer, I am shocked. This is the weakest petition I have come across filed in any court across the world, trying to contest the election of a president,” Kindiki said.

Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen termed the petition as a fishing expedition.

On Tuesday, Mr Mbadi said the pronouncements by leaders was aimed at intimidating the Judiciary and asked the court to determine the case based on evidence that will be presented as the petition was properly filed before the court.

“Jubilee is trying to use shock and awe tactics to panel beat the country into silence and reduce voters into mere bystanders in a struggle that is truly theirs,” Mr Mbadi said.


Mr ole Kina asked Jubilee party politicians to be sober up and let institutions do their work.

“The only way to leave Kenya a better place is to let institutions do their work,” he said, while condemning the media of prejudging the petition by claiming that the Supreme Court had already poked holes in the petition.

Mr Okello said Nasa’s fears are not unfounded and warning that the party will not renege on its quest to overturn President Kenyatta victory.

“The fair thing to do is for the country to await the decision of the seven judges because I believe they have what it takes to make a decision on this matter,” he said.

The party members will assemble at Orange House on Thursday to pray for justice and what Mr Mbadi said is an end to the culture of electoral theft.

He also asked their supporters all over the country to assemble and offer prayers for justice wherever they are.

Lema Defamation Case Files Forwarded to DPP

By Mussa Juma

Arusha — Arusha District Court today August 21 failed to hear two cases facing Arusha Urban Member of Parliament, Godbless Lema because of lack of the case files.

The court was told that files for cases number 440/2016 and 441/2016 which faces the MP, have been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) office for perusal.

In the cases Lema is accused of uttering defamatory statements against President John Magufuli.

It was scheduled earlier that the case would be brought at the court today for preliminary hearing because investigations into it has already been completed.

However, before senior Resident magistrate, Devota Msofe, state attorney,

Agnes Hiera, informed the court that they were not ready for preliminary hearing because the files were with DPP.

After the statement, defence lawyer, Sheck Mfinaga, asked the court to issue last adjournment. He noted that the cases have dragged for long time.

On May 29, this year, Resident Magistrate Desdery Kamugisha withdrew from entertaining one of the cases, in which Mr Lema is accused of inflammatory statements on October 23, last year at a public rally.

In another case, Lema stand charged of issuing yet another inciting statement when addressing a separate rally at Kambi ya Fisi area in Ngarenaro ward.


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Police Officers On the Spot Over Robbery

By Simon Peter Emwamu

Kaberamaido — Police in Kaberamaido District are on the spot over accusations of shielding two of its officers who allegedly robbed a family of Shs3m.

Despite a case of aggravated robbery being registered at the Kaberamaido Police Station, the two officers attached to the same station have not been arraigned before court.

The duo is accused of handcuffing Pius Ebucu and his wife before robbing them of Shs3m and other personal effects such as clothes.


According to Mr Ebucu, when a search was mounted in the police barracks, some clothes were recovered.

The clothes were allegedly being used by one of the wives of the police officers who have been detained.

A police source privy to the case told Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity that whereas the officer in charge of criminal investigations department at the police station had recommended that the case be forwarded to Resident State Attorney for sanctioning and have the duo charged in court, the district police commander, Mr Ahamed Madiri, was opposed to the suggestion.

Mr Madiri, according to the source, instead suggested an out of court settlement of the case. However, when contacted over the matter last week, Mr Madiri said the robbery case is being investigated.


But Mr Jimmy Ebil Ssegawa, the Kaberamaido Resident District Commissioner, warned that any officer trying to undermine justice will also face the law.

“We don’t tolerate any acts of crime. This particular case, I want to get a report from the DPC stating the course of action he has so far taken,” Mr Ssegawa warned.


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Burglars Break Into Police Gunroom, Steal Firearms

Photo: The Observer

AK47 rifle.

By Joseph Kato

Kampala — Six police officers have been arrested at Kampala Central Police station over a break-in at the station’s armoury, Saturday night.

The police officers are said to have been guarding the station when unknown thugs raided the station and took off with two AK47 guns and 60 bullets.

Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Frank Mwesigwa, said the stolen guns and bullets have been recovered.

“We are investigating the case, to find out the motive behind the robbery, as well as identify other accomplices,” Mwesigwa said.

This is however not the first time such a break-in occurred. In 2013 thugs broke into a prison armoury and made off with two submachine guns and 54 bullets in Kamuge Prisons in Pallisa District.

At least two prison warders were arrested to help the police with the investigations investigate the theft.

In 2012 11 submachine guns were stolen from security operatives. In the same year, police recovered 49 guns, according to the 2012 crime report.


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British High Commissioner Welcomes Nasa’s Decision to Take Election Challenge to Court


London — Speaking to the press, Nic Hailey, welcomed NASA’s decision to take their concerns to the Supreme Court, in line with Kenya’s constitution.

What is your view on Raila Odinga’s decision to go to the supreme court?

British High Commissioner: We in the international community have never had a candidate or a preference in this election, we have strongly supported the constitution and the electoral process, and our work has been to strengthen that. Since the election finished, since the result was announced, we have been very clear that there is a process under the constitution for challenging that result, through the Supreme Court, and anybody who is unhappy should follow that process. So I very warmly welcome the decision by Raila Odinga to follow the Supreme Court process, this gives him and anyone else the chance to present all the evidence that they have, to argue their case, and to let justice decide on the verdict.

Do you think the National Super Alliance (NASA) have enough evidence to sustain a case in court, based on what you’ve observed?

I can’t determine that… I am here to represent a country that cares about Kenya’s institutions and its constitution. The parties will clearly want to produce the evidence that they have, there will be a process for that, there will be a process for working it through on all sides, and I think that is exactly right; this is how these things are decided under the rule of law and under the constitution.

Given most election observation missions have the case the thumbs up, do you think the opposition have a solid case and evidence to present for the court to give a fair and just judgment?

I am not a lawyer and I haven’t seen the evidence that they have and so I am not going to judge on whether their case is solid or not, that is for the court to decide. [The evidence] is for them to pull together, but as I say we support this process and we very much welcome the opposition’s decision to follow the process laid down in the constitution. Meanwhile we call on Kenyans to remain calm, to allow the process to take its course. People have a right to march in the streets, to express their views, but those demonstrations that do occur need to remain peaceful and everybody needs to wait for the case to play out.

Initially NASA had said that court was not an option for them, but they have now changed their minds, in your opinion, do you think this will help unite the country in these days of much tension?

I think it is a very positive move, as I say your constitution sets out very clearly how this process works, how people can challenge the results, and a number of candidates from both sides have taken that option, in their own races across the country. I very much welcome the opposition’s decision to take [this course of action]. We’ve always been very clear that there is a way of challenging this, as set out in your constitution, and that is the [route] we as friends of Kenya would like to see all parties [take]. We welcome their decision.

SOURCE UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office


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Bunda Urban MP to File for Compensation After Winning an Apeal

By Beldina Nyakeke

Bunda — Bunda urban Member of Parliament Esther Bulaya plans to open a case to demand compensation from four people in the constituency who unsuccessfully challenged her victory in the 2015 general election.

Speaking at a public held here on Tuesday evening Ms Bulaya said if she will win the case against the constituents, she will use the money to implement development projects in the area.

“I spent a lot of money in the case, so I will go to court to demand that they compensate me,” she told those who attended the rally.

The Court of Appeal recently dismissed with costs an appeal against the Chadema MP filed by the four who acted on behalf of former minister Stephen Wasira. Ms Bukaya defeated the long serving CCM MP in the election.

The Court of Appeal’s deputy registrar Elizabeth Mkwizu noted the alleged irregularities relied on by the appellants could not have affected the outcome of the election.

Mr Wassira’s supporters Mr Magambo Masato, Ms Janeth Ezekiel, Mr Ascetic Mlagila and Mr Matwiga Matwiga raised six grounds seeking the court to unseat Ms Bulaya, including Bulaya’s alleged failure to produce her election budget as per the Election Expenses Act No 6 of 2010.

The appellants also pointed shortcomings on the election results form and failure of the returning officer to inform the CCM candidate to attend vote counting. The court ruled the appellants had failed to show how the difference in the number of voters in the parliamentary results form affected all election results.

According to Ms Mkwizu, the appellants had failed to prove that the first respondent (Ms Bulaya) did not submit election costs as required by law. They were also ordered to pay the costs of the suit.

The appeal was heard by a panel of three judges Mbarouk Mbarouku, Augustine Mwarija and Rehema Mkuye. The appellants were represented by advocate Constatine Mutalemwa and Yasin Memba while Ms Bulaya who is the first respondent in the case was represented by advocate Tundu Lissu.

Other respondents are Attorney General (AG) and the returning officer. Mr Wassira’s voters appealed against the decision made by the High Court to declare Ms Bulaya as winner on November 18, 2016. High Court Judge Joel Chocha declared Ms Bulaya the legitimate MP for Bunda Urban Constituency.

According to the appellants, the election was not free and fair due to irregularities. They were asking the Court of Appeal to nullify the results and ordered the election to be repeated.


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Gender Rule Case Back in Court

By Sam Kiplagat

The gender principle, which was frustrated by members of the eleventh Parliament is back court.

This time two non-governmental organisations want the next Parliament forced enact legislation to comply with the principle, before conducting any other business.

Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREW) and Community Advocacy and Awareness Trust (Crawn Trust) filed an urgent application before the High Court on Wednesday.

They are seeking among other orders, a declaration that the failure by Parliament to enact legislation to comply with not-more-than two-thirds gender principle, is a violation of women rights and the constitution.

In the application, the two groups say women of Kenya have suffered marginalisation and exclusion from electoral and political processes for a long time.


It is their case that the women have not heard effective and meaningful representation and participation in political decision making processes.

This marginalisation, however, was cured by the new Constitution, which provides mechanism for an inclusive framework for participation in the electoral and political decision making processes by marginalised groups, including women.

The measures, they add, intend to give full effect to the realization of gender parity in political processes, as well as redress the disadvantages suffered by women, before the 2010 constitutional dispensation.

In 2012, the Supreme Court directed the state to take legislative and other measures including affirmative action programmes, designed to redress any disadvantage suffered by individual groups. By a majority decision, the Judges said this mechanism should be in place on or before August 27, 2015.

The period, however, lapsed without Parliament enacting the necessary legislation to implement the two-thirds gender principle. The period was extended by another one year but nothing happened.


The two groups moved to court in September 2016 and the High Court agreed with them that the failure by Parliament to enact the said legislation within the specified period was a violation of the Constitution. Parliament was directed to do so within 60 days, but again, MPs went on recess without passing the legislation.

During the just concluded general election, only 23 women were elected as MPs, yet the rule requires women to be at least 117 members. The 23 plus the 47 women representatives and 12 slots for MPs nominated by political parties would bring the number to 76, making a shortfall of 41 women MPs.

In the Senate, women should make up to 23 members but only three were elected and 16 will be nominated, and one youth and one to represent persons with disabilities, will bring the number 21, remaining with a shortfall of 2.

The groups argue that Parliament must comply with the terms of the constitution and the failure to meet the constitutional threshold both in the National Assembly and Senate, precipitates a constitutional crisis.

The case will be heard on Wednesday.

Kabafunzaki Aides Are Conmen, Labour Commissioner Testifies

By Derrick Kiyonga

The corruption trial of Herbert Kabafunzaki, the interdicted state minister for Labour, rolled off on Monday at the Anti-Corruption court before Justice Margret Tibulya.

He is charged along with his aide Brian Mugabo and Bruce Lubowa for purportedly soliciting and obtaining money from Mohammed Hamid, the AYA Group chief executive officer, in exchange to clear his name of sexual assault allegations.

Prosecution’s first witness Patrick Okello, a commissioner at the labour ministry, told court how Kabafunzaki hijacked the investigations into the sexual harassment allegations. DERRICK KIYONGA followed the proceedings.

Senior State Attorney Barbara Kawuma led the prosecution side and assisted by State Attorney Maxima Elizooba. The defence had MacDosman Kabega, Kenneth Muhangi and Jude Byabakama.

Judge: Do you have any witnesses today?

Kawuma: We have two witnesses and we are ready to proceed. [A man in a suit enters into the witness box]

Judge: Tell court your full names.

Okello: I’m Patrick Okello.

Judge: How old are you?

Okello: I’m 46 years.

Judge: Your religion.

Okello: I’m Christian [He swears in using the Bible]

Kawuma: What do you do for a living?

Okello: I’m a commissioner at the ministry of Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations.

Kawuma: For how long have you been in that position?

Okello: Since January 5, 2015.

Kawuma: What are your qualifications?

Okello: I have Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Makerere University and also a Master’s in Human Resource Management from Uganda Management Institute (UMI).

Kawuma: What does your job entail?

Okello: I handle grievances, I receive and investigate labour conflicts, I supervise labour officers at the ministry and also offer technical advice to the permanent secretary.

Kawuma: How are complaints filed at the ministry?

Okello: A complaint can be filed with the permanent secretary [PS] or directly with my office as the commissioner for labour. Some disputes are filed with the minister and also to the director, labour.

Kawuma: So, how are the cases referred to you?

Okello: The minister refers to the PS and then the PS gives us a go-ahead to proceed with the case. When cases have reached my office, we enter them into the case register. The moment they are entered into the register, I handle some while others I assign them to labor officers that I supervise.

Kawuma: What do you do with the cases?

Okello: We have a number of cases; if it’s a labour dispute, we explore a number of options. We invite parties for mediation; the other option is that we might opt to adjudicate. The third option is we can send the matter to the Industrial court.

Kawuma: How do you handle sexual harassment cases?

Okello: When we get sexual harassment cases, we enter them in the register, then institute an investigation into the matter while at the same time we tell the employer not to victimize the complainant.

Our investigation includes physically visiting the workplace, directing the employer to furnish us with vital information such as the code of conduct and the human resource manual. We require the complainant to assemble adequate evidence. If we get information, then we proceed to hear the case and then make a ruling. If we fail, then we refer the case to the Industrial court.

Kawuma: Do you remember what happened on April, 6, 2017?

Okello: I was in office while holding a mediation session between Cavendish University and its workers who were being unfairly terminated. I was then summoned by the minister of state for Labour, Herbert Kabafunzaki. I was summoned through his office attendant.

Kawuma: What was the purpose?

Okello: I went to his office on the sixth floor. My lord, his office was unusually full with many people. Many people were inside filling the whole space, including that occupied by his secretary.

Even that of his personal assistant was filled by people who included journalists who had mounted cameras. When I entered, the minister [Kabafunzaki] ordered one of the ladies to give me a seat. One of the ladies who was seated was called Jamilah Opondo. Thereafter, the minister proceeded to address the press.

Kawuma: What was he saying?

Okello: He was talking about sexual harassment, saying that government doesn’t condone the vice in any way. The minister then invited me to explain to the public what sexual harassment is all about and highlight our position as the ministry on sexual harassment.

Kawuma: What happened after?

Okello: Thereafter, he [Kabafunzaki] told me he had received complaint of sexual harassment from one Jamilah Opondo against Hamid, whom he kept on referring to as Aya.

He told me that I should immediately prepare and join him to investigate the case of sexual harassment filed by Opondo. My advice to him was it was improper as the minister to do so. I guided him that it was wrong for him to investigate the case. I advised him that it was prudent to appoint a technical officer from the department of labour to carry out the investigations. The officer would produce a report which he would share with him.

Kawuma: So, what happened? How did the minister react?

Okello: This did not go down well with the minister. To him this amounted to insubordination. Therefore, in fear of repercussions, I proceeded as he had told me. So, my lord, we went to Aya hotel, now it’s called Peal of Africa [hotel] because that is what I was told when arrived there. The hotel was next to the All Saints cathedral in Nakasero. My car was the first to arrive at the hotel.

Kawuma: What happened?

Okello: I was received by the security manager of the hotel whom I told to let me in but I also informed him that the minister was coming shortly. Soon, the minister arrived in his official car and a pick-up with some other vehicles from the ministry of Gender, plus many journalists. We then entered the hotel and the security manager told us that Hamid was having Jummah prayers.

Kawuma: Tell us more…

Okello: They ushered us into some room together with journalists. But the minister was with two gentlemen (Mugabo and Lubowa). I can see them in court [He identifies them]. I had first met these two individuals in 2016 when I received a telephone call from Ntinda police.

They were reporting a case of two gentlemen impersonating as ministry of Labour officials. The two [Mugabo and Lubowa] gentlemen, I was told, were arrested after they had extorted money from the business community while claiming to be labour officers. When I went to the police in Ntinda, I had a look at the two gentlemen and I confirmed to the police that they were not labour officers.

Kawuma: Did you establish where they were working?

Okello: One [Mugabo] had a business card purporting to be a personal assistant to the minister [Kabafunzaki]. I cautioned him to stop extorting money from the unsuspecting public.

Kawuma: So, back to the hotel; what happened?

Okello: The minister [Kabafunzaki] said he wanted to meet the staff. He moved around the hotel and found some people who were working. He told them that in the meeting he was going to hold, he doesn’t want supervisors, managers or any other senior person; he wanted only junior workers.

Thereafter, I saw some people who were accompanying the minister chase away supervisors and other managers from the room where the meeting was going to be held. In the process, the minister also joined in chasing away some senior people.

While the minister was addressing the laborers, Hamid came while drinking water. To calm down the minister, Hamid called him to the boardroom in one of the hotel rooms. The meeting which was chaired by the minister was attended by journalists and me.

Kawuma: What did the minister say?

Okello: He [Kabafunzaki] spoke loudly; he told Hamid that that he shouldn’t mistreat Ugandans; after all he was running business without paying taxes. The minister then told Hamid that he needs him to furnish us with the NSSF payment schedules, copies of workers’ employment contracts and documents showing insurance cover for workers.

Kawuma: What else transpired?

Okello: Hamid told the minister he doesn’t understand what he was talking about. The minister told him he was investigating Jamilah Opondo’s sexual harassment case.

Thereafter, the minister started addressing the press and gave instructions that the hotel should immediately furnish labour officials with the documents he had requested for. Before we could leave, Hamid told the minister that he was being framed by Opondo because she had attempted to steal $100,000 from a clearing agency. Hamid said he had evidence to prove his case.

Kawuma: Tell us what happened after that.

Okello: While I was leaving the hotel, the two gentlemen [Mugabo and Lubowa] who were with the minister entered my car. Actually, they forced their way into my car, saying they wanted a lift to the ministry. We left Aya hotel at around 3pm.

Kawuma: What happened after?

Okello: At around 4pm of the same day, I received a phone call from Hamid, the owner of the hotel, telling me that the persons the minister had travelled with had gone back to him demanding for a bribe so that the case of sexual harassment by Opondo can be killed. He [Hamid] told me he was surprised that Kabafunzaki could send somebody to seek a bribe from him. I attempted to reach the minister but his phone was off.

Kawuma: So, what happened on April 7, 2017?

Okello: On April 7, 2017, at around 11am, I was in office of director, labour on the sixth floor. I saw Hamid and his financial controller, Abdul Hamid -Maulana, entering the office of the minister.

Kawuma: Do you know what transpired?

Okello: I don’t know what happened. I saw them passing. Then the following day I heard the minister had been arrested.

Kawuma: Did you make a statement?

Okello: The police, thereafter, summoned me to make a statement based on what I had seen.

The trial resumes on August 28.

Mozambique: New Regulation to Protect Passenger Rights

Photo: Embraer

A Mozambique Airlines aircraft (file photo).

Maputo — The Mozambican Civil Aviation Institute (IACM) has started discussions of a new regulation which will ensure better protection of passenger rights from airlines operating in the country.

For that purpose, on Friday the IACM brought together in the same table representatives of airline companies operating in the country and civil society organizations to discuss a new draft regulation for the protection of passenger rights, which will be submitted to the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet) by the end of this year.

The new regulation provides for involuntary denied boarding compensation an amount equivalent to four minimum wages for domestic flights, six minimum wages for regional flights and nine for intercontinental flights.

It also contains provisions for non-compliance by airlines with the right to reimbursement or re-routing of passengers and due logistical assistance.

Involuntary denied boarding, cancellation or delay of the flight, damage, loss and delay of baggage are some issues that will be addressed in the new IACM regulation, in order to guarantee an adequate and fair treatment to passengers.

This rule will be applied to passengers departing from an airport located in the country, as well as those departing from an airport located in a third country, to an airport located in Mozambique if the air liner is registered in the country.

João de Abreu, Chairperson of IACM Board of Directors, believes that the new regulation will bring added value to both airlines and passengers in the fulfilment of their rights and obligations, which is not the case at present.

“The regulation is already in the final stages and we thought it would be wise to listen the airline companies before we submit it to the parliament, because it establishes how passengers should be treated,” said João de Abreu.

He added that drafting of the regulation was not only based on the reality of the country, but also sought to align with the regulations of other countries in the region and international standards.

“Now there is no legal framework that can be used in case of disputes.

Often passengers will discuss with airliners in case but it ends there.

There is no any regulation if the case needs to go to court”

IACM supports that disputes between air companies and passengers should be solved by competent courts.

In 2016, the parliament passed the Law 5/2016 which establishes a regulatory framework for civil aviation and passenger rights in the event of disputes.

Mozambique is a signatory to several international conventions and platforms on civil aviation, including the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the Montreal Convention, among others.


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Nigeria: Understanding Blockchain Technology (I)

opinionBy Foluso Ladeinde

EVERYDAY TECHNOLOGY with Prof. Foluso Ladeinde

State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA

Transacting money usually relies heavily on intermediaries (“middle-men”) like banks, accountants, governments, etc., to ensure trust and successful transactional process like authentication or record keeping. Transacting in crypto currencies (Internet money), such as bitcoin, has relied on the blockchain (BT) technology, which is one of the hottest topics in technology today.

This is what Don Tapscott says about the blockchain technology: “The technology likely to have the greatest impact on the next few decades has arrived. And it’s not social media. It’s not big data. It’s not robotics. It’s not even AI (Artificial Intelligence). You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s the underlying technology of digital currencies like Bitcoin. It’s called the blockchain.”

Although the blockchain technology, whose basic idea is to get rid of the “middle-man,” is commonly associated with bitcoin, it has many other applications. In fact, it is believed that the blockchain operating system will profoundly disrupt hundreds of industries that rely on intermediaries, including banking, finance, academia, real estate, insurance, legal, healthcare and the public sector.

Collin Thompson says that “perhaps, most profoundly, blockchain promises to democratize and expand the global financial system; giving people who have limited exposure to the global economy better access to financial and payment systems and stronger protection against corruption and exploitation.”

Technically speaking, the BT technology allows connected computers to reach an agreement over the data that they share. The computers in the blocktrain are connected in a peer-to-peer network, meaning that a particular computer in the network can directly talk to any of the other computers in the network. In this fashion, there is no central server owned by some entity that is controlling access. The agreement between the computers in a BT network involves using a consensus mechanism wherein the rules are implemented in software that all the computers run.

The rules ensure that all the computers in the network are synchronized. For the case of bitcoin, one of the rules require that nobody can send bitcoins that they have not first received from someone else or from mining (that is, from a coinbase transaction). One implication of this rule is that the “leading” computer (see below) cannot include transactions that arbitrarily give it hundreds of fake bitcoins. Also, as part of the rules, every 10 minutes, one of the connected computers is randomly selected to state the authoritative order of valid transactions for that period of time. In computer science lingo, this arrangement is sometimes called a repeated leader selection. Note that the chosen “leader” is given the privilege to mine bitcoin – which is the only way that bitcoin is minted – provided it (the leader) is able to solve a very complicated math problem, as described in a previous article in this column in Daily Trust (1 May 2017). Another way to say this is that the randomly-selected computer can write itself a coinbase transaction – provided it can solve the math problem.

The data that is shared in the BT technology is what is actually called the blocktrain, which is basically data in a specific format that facilitates the maintenance (by all computers) of the consistency of the data. The 1 May 2017 article in this column discusses this aspect to some detail for the case of bitcoin, and is included here for your convenience. Bitcoin dealers are sending bitcoins to each other over the bitcoin network all the time, but someone needs to keep track of who had paid or sent what. The bitcoin network has the responsibility of collecting the transactions made by all bitcoin dealers (during a given interval of time) into a list, called a block. Miners (leaders) compete to authenticate the transaction in the most recent block and write them into a general ledger, which is a long list of blocks (or individual transactions). The general ledger is also called the “blockchain,” or the chain of the blocks, if you may.

Of course, the general ledger has to have integrity, which is where the miners come in. When a block of transactions is created, miners authenticate it. They do this by applying some mathematical formula to the data and turn it into something else – that is shorter; perhaps a random combination of characters (letters) and numbers. This end result, which is called a “hash,” is stored along with the block, which at the time is the most recent one (block) in the blockchain. The mathematical manipulation required to obtain a hash (for the current block) is conceptually similar to encrypting the information in a block. With this analogy, the miner takes the information in a block, assumed arranged in a one-dimensional array, and pre-multiplies this array by a two-dimensional (2D) array. To make the mathematics more difficult, the pre-multiplier is made to depend recursively on the various pre-multipliers for all the previous blocks in the entire blockchain – that is, from the inception of bitcoin in 2009.

To be continued next week.

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