Posts tagged as: country

Africans Should Decide What Is Best for Them, Kagame to the West

By Collins Mwai

President Paul Kagame spoke out against the tendency by Western countries and a section of the international community to impose their wishes on African countries.

Kagame was speaking at a session hosted by the Council of Foreign Affairs, a think tank specializing in American foreign policy and international affairs.

President Kagame is in the US attending the ongoing United Nations General Assembly underway in New York.

President Kagame revealed that he too has experienced attempts by certain western powers trying to impose their wishes on Rwanda including prior to the elections.

In one of the most recent scenarios, prior to the referendum that saw article 101 of the constitution amended, Kagame said that he was approached by ‘friends of the country’ who urged him not to contest in the elections.

Their advice to him was to groom a successor or pick from one of the westerners’ preferred choices for the position.

Pointing out the flaw of such interferences, Kagame said that it fails to reflect the wishes of ordinary citizens.

“How about the people of Rwanda, I have not heard about them in this decision,” was Kagame’s reply to the attempts to interfere in choosing Rwanda’s leaders.

Highlighting the irony of such incidences, he said that it is contradictory that the same powers that were involved in preaching democracy were partaking in denying countries the freedoms and rights to choose their preferred leaders.

“How I am going to be free when you want to dictate to me how I should live my life?” he posed.

The president added that democratic models cannot be imposed across the world without taking into account different backgrounds, histories, cultures and contexts.

“Democracy is democracy, this whole thing of adding ‘western’ is okay but what does it mean? All countries can hardly fit into that sort of definition because we come from different backgrounds, histories, cultures and contexts.”

“That is the principle all of us would like to associate with. But associate with as far as the history, the culture and context allows us and to what extent,” he said.

On foreign aid

Foreign assistance, Kagame said has played a big role in the development of the country largely due to the understanding that Rwanda strived to work in partnership with donors.

The approach involved agreements that Rwanda would have a choice in the decision of where and how to invest the assistance to ensure that it addressed Rwanda’s development plan.

“Foreign aid played a big role in the development of the country, in fact we tried to engage the aid donors to modify how they understand aid and the use of it. We tried to engage them on the basis that we the people of Rwanda should be given some space on how and where to invest rather than them bringing the money and deciding where they put it and in the end they are not bothered about the outcome. Fortunately some of them agreed to it. We wanted Rwanda to remain in the driving seat,” Kagame said.

Economic recovery

On the country’s economic recovery and progress, president Kagame said that much of the progress was linked to deciding what was right for the country and laying out plans towards it.

“We had a vision for the country that spanned from 2000 to 2020. Top of that was how we were going to invest in our people, in education, health, security and so on. We spelled it out and it was clear and even sold to the donors,” he said.

Other aspects that he said played a role in the development journey was investments in infrastructure, private sector development and regional integration.

All this was done with the sole aim of developing the country and improving welfare of citizens.

“We were really focused on how to improve ourselves and how we can get our country from where it has been, at very low base on everything and take the people of Rwanda where they deserve to be. This is what we concentrated on,” he said.

Regional integration

On regional integration, the president said that it is obvious to most that it will speed up and fast track development but often politics get in the way and frustrates the process.

Human rights

Addressing a question on his take on reports by a section of human rights organisations, Kagame said that he has and will always serve Rwandans to give them the best.

“Half of my life I’ve been living in the trenches, not sure of living to the next day. I didn’t fight to be the president of my country, never. It came by accident. So I was fighting for my own rights, which anyone in any human rights organization could not give me. And even now, cannot give me or cannot give Rwandans,”

” As the leader of my own people, to be accused of violating their rights is just an absurd insult. But my answer is simple, is to do my best to serve my people the best way they can be served,” he said.

President Kagame had earlier in the day attended the opening session of the UN General Assembly as well as featured in a session hosted by Corporate Council on Africa on US Africa relations.

Follow @ByCollinsMwai

Income From Coffee Rises 10% on High Price

By Gerald Andae

Coffee earnings in the year to August rose by 10 per cent on strong pricing, helped by a scramble for the smaller volume available at the weekly auction.

A prolonged drought into the first-half of the year affected production in key growing areas, lifting demand of the commodity.

Data from Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) showed the country earned Sh15.3 billion in the period under review compared with Sh13.9 billion realised in a corresponding time last year, representing a 10 per cent growth.

The volume of coffee offered for sale at the auction was however lower at 31 million kg as at August, down from 35 million sold over a similar window last year.

“Better prices were realised in July this year resulting from high competition as traders competed for the little volumes of coffee available at the auction,” says NCE in a statement.

NCE attributes the decline in quantities on drought mainly in the main growing regions of Mount Kenya.

The exchange is suffering low volumes of coffee to trade, a move that saw the auction suspended last month after it had resumed from a one-month break.

According to NCE, there is a significant drop of coffee from farmers in the eastern part of the country which is supposed to be supplying beans now.

The auction took a break on May 23 as the main crop from Central Kenya came to an end, which saw a sharp decline in the quality of coffee at the auction.

About 85 per cent of the Kenyan coffee is sold through the auction with the remaining percentage sold direct to buyers in overseas.

The government has been pushing for direct sales to enable growers earn much from their crop by eliminating the middlemen who exploit farmers when their crop goes through the auction.


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Maina, Jebet to Defend Mombasa Marathon Titles

Nairobi — Paul Maina and Nancy Jebet will be out to defend their titles when the 34th edition of the Safaricom Mombasa International Marathon will be held on Sunday in the coastal city.

The two will be among the over 1,000 local and international athletes expected to participate in the event under the Safaricom Athletics Series with registration for the race which is taking place at the Mombasa Municipal Stadium closing on Friday.

“We are committed to ensuring that we give a platform to our athletes to hone their skills through the different athletics events that take place in different parts of the country under the Safaricom Athletics Series,” Director – Consumer Business, Safaricom, Sylvia Mulinge said.

Other upcoming races in the Series include: Kericho Road Race, Isaiah Kiplagat Memorial – Ndalat, Madoka Half Marathon, Imenti South Road Race and the Kisumu County National Marathon which will wind up this year’s edition in December.


Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

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Kenya: CBK Optimistic About Economy Despite Repeat Election Jitters

By Brian Ngugi

Favourable weather for agriculture and sustained public investment in infrastructure development will help cushion the economy against knocks of prolonged electioneering, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has projected.

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said the economy will grow at 4.7 per cent as recorded in the first quarter of the year.

“We don’t see any factors that would combine to shave growth projections for 2017… let’s say upwards of 0.5 per cent,” he told a press briefing in Nairobi.

The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) has projected good rains in the main food basket areas for the rest of the year.

“Enhanced rainfall is expected over most agricultural areas of the country. It is also expected that the rainfall will be well distributed making it favourable for agricultural activities in most of the areas.

“Farmers are, therefore, advised to take advantage and make use of the good rains to maximise crop production, ” the weatherman said in a forecast for the October-December short-rains season.

A prolonged drought early this year affected food production leading to a sharp rise in inflation. The country’s overall inflation peaked at 11.7 per cent in May but dropped in June and July as the return of rain improved food supplies.

Inflows from the peak tourism season between June and October and the projected expenditure on the repeat presidential election tentatively scheduled for October 17 are further expected to boost growth.

“This is additional stimulus that was completely unexpected. That will stimulate growth,” he said. The election will cost more than Sh15 billion, according to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has presented a Sh12.2 billion budget to the Treasury for review. Mr Rotich last week however said the total budget for the repeat poll could cross Sh15 billion when related activities – largely security measures – are factored in.

Dr Njoroge however warned that extended low activity in the post-election season would affect the economy.

“Consumers will delay their decisions if there is too much uncertainty,” he said. “That has ripple effects if you think of trade. If there is more noise there will also be delay in terms of government execution of products.”

The economy takes a dip every five years as businesses hold back investments awaiting elections outcome.

The violence witnessed following the disputed 2007/08 presidential election results has caused uncertainty in successive general elections in 2013 and 2017.


Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

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Morocco: Video Blogger Sentenced to 10 Months in Prison

A Moroccan court on August 18, 2017 sentenced video blogger Mohamed Taghra to 10 months in prison for criminal defamation after he published a report on local police corruption in the country’s central Souss-Massa region, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information and the Arab Bloggers Union reported.

Taghra, who publishes his work under the pseudonym Hamza Lhazin, was found guilty of “insulting and defaming” officials of the Royal Gendarmerie police, according to local media.

The charge is related to a YouTube video that features interviews with eyewitnesses who claim Royal Gendarmerie members forged a report for a traffic accident that resulted in a fatality. In the video, which was viewed over 50,000 times, Taghra said the Royal Gendarmerie took a bribe to forge the traffic report.

Police arrested Taghra on August 4 at his home in the town of Ouled Teima, according to news reports. Since his arrest, the video blogger has been held in the Ait Melloul prison, located approximately 20 miles southwest of Ouled Teima, according to a Facebook post from Taghra’s account. CPJ was unable to determine who was posting from Taghra’s account.

Starting in 2015, Taghra regularly posted about cases of alleged corruption in several towns in the Souss-Massa region on his social media accounts, and has drawn the ire of local officials in the past.

Moroccan government spokesperson Moustapha Khalfi did not respond to CPJ’s request for comment sent via email.

In June 2016, security officials in the city of Taroudant, also in Souss-Massa, summoned Taghra for questioning after an education ministry official filed a defamation complaint against the blogger, according to news reports. The complaint came after Taghra accused officials of leaking high school exams in exchange for money, according to the reports. CPJ could not determine more details about the status of the 2016 complaint.

Members of Taghra’s family did not immediately respond to CPJ’s request for comment sent over social media.

Communication Can Save or Endanger Community

By Bella Lucia Nininahazwe

The Ombudsman office in partnership with UNFPA has organized a workshop in Kirundo province this 19 September 2017. Participants were youth from different political parties and the focus was on non-violent communication, gender-based violence prevention and mutual respect.

In his speech, Burundi Ombudsman Edouard Nduwimana mentions the role of non-violent communication in the country’s development and peace-building. He says everyone should think twice before delivering a message. “You have to think about your audience and the circumstance in which you deliver your message. You remember the video that spoke about raping and impregnating female enemies. It created problems because of the context in which it was produced,” the Ombudsman has told participants.

He has also said the youth are the foundation of the country. “According to some surveys, Burundian youth constitute more than 65 % of the whole population. This shows that youth have a great influence on the life of the whole country,” he said.

Edouard Nduwimana recognises that youth have been used by politicians and appeals to them to avoid political manipulation and use their potential to develop their nation.

UNFPA representative, Ms Suzanne NGO-MANDONG says factors that increase violence include violent communication, ignorance and non-respect for human culture and religious values. She encourages young leaders from different political parties to be guided by exemplary attitudes. “As young leaders of different political parties, you are the agents of change. Ensure better coaching of your peers, members of political parties, by using positive communication during your political and entertainment activities”

Abel Ahishakiye, the representative of Imbonerakure (youth of the ruling party CNDD-FDD) in Kirundo province, who attended the workshop, says it is of paramount importance. He says politicians use young people especially during a pre-electoral period. “Politicians use us as instruments for their own interest. I will use what I learned to communicate smoothly with others.”

As for Jean Baptiste Rugemintwaza, representative of the youth from Amizeroy’Abarundi political coalition in Kirundo province, what he has learnt will help him live in harmony with other young people “I will sensitize other youth from Amizero y’Abarundi to use non-violent communication. As there are sometimes confrontations between youth from different political parties, I will teach them how to avoid them”.

Rugemintwanza also says there should be training sessions for all the youth. “For example, some Imbonerakure youth and I have met here and become friends. We have understood that we are brothers despite our political differences,” he said.

The workshop was attended by 65 young leaders of political parties from northern provinces of the country and 4 young leaders at the national level.


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Namibia Hints At Readiness to Move Embassy to Dodoma

By Ben Patrick

The Namibian Embassy has made it clear over its intention to relocate to the country’s capital of Dodoma.

This comes a year since President John Magufuli vowed to shift the entire government to capital in phases.

Speaking over the weekend during her one-day official tour of Dodoma, the Namibia Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Theresia Samaria said her country was supporting and appreciating President Magufuli’s stance on shifting the government to Dodoma.

Ms Samaria disclosed that the intention of her visit was to see how the embassy’s staff would stay in the region, expressing that all important services available and that there was no hesitation for them to reallocate.

“Dodoma currently has all crucial services for human beings, I have visited the Benjamin Mkapa Hospital, which is one of the best hospitals in the country. Congratulations,” she told Dodoma regional officials led by the Regional Commissioner, Mr Jordan Rugembana.

However, she revealed that the existence of the University of Dodoma would be a convincing factor for the Embassy staffs to shift there because they could have an opportunity for academic development as the university is considered as one of the best in the East Africa.

Ms Samaria spoke openly that any day the Tanzanian government will decide to allocate a piece of land on which to erect their embassy and residential houses for its staff, Namibia would be ready to start the process.

For his part, the Mr Rugimbana received the message positively and he promised to allocate the land for the Embassy. “We have already allocated the plots for embassies. The ministry of Land and Human Settlement Development in the country has been tasked to design it. Therefore, by October, this year, the area will be ready for development,” Mr Rugimbana told his visitor.


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Gulu University Fails to Clear Arrears for Non-Teaching Staff

By Julius Ocungi & James Owich

Gulu — Gulu University administration has come in the spot light over its failure to clear arrears for non-teaching staff, despite government remitting the money to the university account last year.

Last year, the government remitted Shs28.5b to pay non-teaching staff in all the public universities in the country after they went on strike over salary enhancement.

Gulu University received Shs3.2 billion in two batches between October 2016 and April this year to clear the more than 200 non-teaching staff it employs.

However, only Shs1.9 billion was paid to the staff, raising questions on how the remaining balance of Shs1.3b was spent.

Information Daily Monitor obtained indicates that the university management on July 15, submitted an annual budget performance for the year 2016/2017 to the Finance ministry but they were instead tasked to account for the money submitted to pay salary arrears for non-teaching staff.

“It has been reviewed and noted that you only spent 66.1 per cent for salary arrears that was advanced to you for payment of non-teaching staff salary arrears for FY2015/2016, yet you received 100 per cent release,” reads in part a September 6th letter signed by Mr Kenneth Mugambe on behalf of by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance addressed to the Gulu University Secretary.

Mr Mugambe in the letter gave a one-week ultimatum to the university management to address the issues raised and submit revised reports to enable the ministry finalise the annual budget performance report.

Non-teaching staff strike

The non-teaching staff, who had earlier this year been convinced to abandon a planned strike by the university management over the delayed payment of arrears, on Thursday went on strike after learning of the Ministry of Finance directives.

Under their umbrella body, Gulu University, Senior Non-teaching Staff Association [GUASA], they resolved to lay down their tools until the university clears their unpaid arrears.

Mr Mahmoud Khalid, the GUASA chairperson, said their resolution to lay down tools arose from unsatisfactory responses from the university administration regarding their unpaid arrears for the Financial Year 2015/2016.

“We have been re-energised to demand our money because the Finance ministry is querying why only 66.1 per cent of the money meant to clear us has been spent instead of 100 per cent. This is a clear indication that the money is somewhere in the university,” Mr Khalid said in an interview on Friday.

However, Prof Jack Nyeko Pen-Mogi, the university Vice Chancellor, criticised the non-teaching staff’s decision to strike.

Prof Pen-Mogi claimed the university had paid the non-teaching staff 100 per cent of their salary arrears, adding that the strike was uncalled for.


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Rwanda: Medics Urged to Assert Their Role in Improving Healthcare

By Donah Mbabazi

The Minister for Health, Dr Diane Gashumba, has called on medics to play their role in saving the lives of Rwandans.

Dr Gashumba made the call last Friday during deployment of medical interns to different hospitals across the country.

She urged the interns to embark on their new journey and undertake their duties with hard work and determination.

“Now that you have completed your studies, I urge you to work hard and, most importantly, make efforts to learn,” she added.

Gashumba applauded the efforts of the interns, saying that improving people’s lives as a profession is a fulfilling call.

“This is quite a challenging profession that requires passion and strong love for it. However, regardless of the challenges, it’s a fulfilling call to be able to improve people’s lives,” the minister said.

The deployment of the medical interns comes barely a week after the Ministry of Health dispatched 90 medics, including 44 doctors (general practitioners), to serve at provincial and district hospitals and 46 specialists to referral hospitals.

Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, the minister of state for public health and primary healthcare, urged the medics to be solution-oriented.

“We need new blood in the health sector. Rwandans expect solutions from you, not problems, be result-oriented,” he said.

The new medics come in as an addition to the 1,392 doctors and 10,795 nurses operating in the country’s health sector.

The interns expressed gratitude for being allowed to add their skills and expertise to the health sector.

“It is our delight to build our nation through improving health. We will do all in our means to deliver perfect medical services,” said Patience Nkusi, one of the interns.

Up to 92 medical interns were deployed to different hospitals across the country. They will serve for a year before qualifying as full doctors.

Among the interns, 83 graduated in Medicine from the University of Rwanda, while nine completed their studies abroad.

The interns will serve in 22 hospitals, including referral, provincial and district hospitals, and private hospitals such as Hopital La Croix du Sud and King Faisal Hospital, Kigali.

The doctors deployed last week included 46 specialists in psychiatrics, pediatricians, gynaecologists and internists.

Sprint and Field Events Camp to Be Set Up in Nyanza

By Ojwang’ Joe

Kisumu — Athletics Kenya (AK) is keen to nurture more athletes with focus on field events and sprints in Nyanza region to help the country renowned for its middle and long distance prowess get more medals in that category.

AK Nyanza North Region chairman Joseph Ochieng on Tuesday said the region was producing good sprinters in the past including the likes of Mark Otieno who represented the country at the Rio Olympic Games.

Ochieng declared that efforts are underway to revive the lost glory of the region in terms of producing sprinters.

“Nyanza is known for sprints and field events this is why we have been lagging behind while other people do other races. We have camps now where we want to train sprinters and field events so we are getting back and if Nyaza gets back on its feet the others will go back,” Ochieng said.

“We (Kenya) beat everybody in long and middle distance and we reach the world and wait when other people are still collecting medals one good example is Egypt they don’t win any race but they win all these things in the field and they beat us,” Ochieng added.

He noted that already some camps have been established in the region to nurture sprint talents.

Speaking in Kisumu during a press conference in preparation for Run for Rabies to mark World Rabies Day 2017, Ochieng said Kenya has failed to grab medals in sprints.

Run for Rabies will be marked in Kisumu in memory of Sharon, the daughter to Nairobi AK boss Barnaba Korir who died as a result of rabies.

Ochieng says participants in the 28th of this month event will be given cash prizes with winners taking home Sh40, 000 courtesy of the family.


Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

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