Posts tagged as: democratic

Kenyatta Asks Odinga Not to Block Kenyans From Voting

By Abdimalik Hajir and Kitavi Mutua

President Uhuru Kenyatta has dismissed the mass protests by opposition leaders, saying no candidate should be allowed to dictate the terms of participating in an election.

The President and his deputy William Ruto, who campaigned in Garissa, Kitui and Machakos counties, asked residents to come out in large numbers on October 26 to vote and re-elect him for a second term while urging them to ignore the calls by Nasa to boycott the poll.


They said the Nasa leader was hiding behind mass protests for fear of defeat and sought to scuttle the repeat presidential election.

“If you are not ready to participate in this election, nobody is forcing you to.

“Just stay at home and don’t bother Kenyans who want to exercise their democratic right,” the President told Nasa leader Raila Odinga, adding that he (Mr Odinga) was the one who went to the Supreme Court to have the August 8 presidential election nullified.


The two, who spoke at Garissa Primary School at Zombe in Kitui and Masii in Machakos, condemned the demonstrations by Nasa that have mostly turned violent.

President Kenyatta said Kenyans had a constitutional right to participate in an election and he should respect the verdict of the Supreme Court that ordered repeat presidential poll to be conducted within 60 days.

The President said one disgruntled player in a match cannot dictate to the referee, saying Mr Odinga’s demands on the electoral agency will not be allowed to deny Kenyans a chance to choose their leaders through the ballot.

President Kenyatta told Mr Odinga to “stop wasting time on fruitless street demonstrations” and instead seek votes from the electorate.

“The Opposition is free not to participate in the fresh October 26 election but they should not prevent those who want to exercise their democratic right of choosing their leader from doing so,” he said.


Mr Kenyatta termed comments attributed to Siaya Senator James Orengo that Nasa will conduct their own poll a sign that the Opposition was consistent in efforts to derail the election.

He urged the communities in Ukambani region to turn out in large numbers and double the votes they gave him on August 8, so that the country can continue on the path of growth.

The President assured Kenyans that his focus will remain trained on implementing policies and projects that will continue lifting the lives of all Kenyans.

He cited construction of roads, expansion of electricity connection to households, improving health and education as key platforms of his development agenda that would be interfered with if the Opposition has its way.


Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto hosted Kamba leaders and residents at Zombe public park as part of the homecoming ceremony for Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai who was elected on a Jubilee Party ticket.

Mr Kenyatta said firm action would be taken against those who choose to loot or vandalise property, and rob or injure innocent Kenyans under the guise of demonstrations.

Mr Ruto asked Mr Odinga to wait and prepare to face him in the 2022 presidential election if he is not ready for this month’s fresh election.

He claimed that Jubilee was right in its assertion that Nasa co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka was misplaced in the opposition coalition as “Mr Odinga has already started scheming for 2022 elections”.

The DP said this was proof that Mr Musyoka will not be endorsed by the former Prime Minister in 2022.

Additional reporting by Stephen Muthini

Police Swoop on Opposition Financier’s Homes

Photo: Jeff Angote/The Nation

Businessman Jimi Wanjigi follows proceedings during the presidential debate at Catholic University on July 24, 2017.

By John Kamau

When police raided city billionaire Jimi Wanjigi’s homes in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi on Monday, it was a sign of how far the wheeler-dealer has fallen from the top echelons of power into the center of a political storm.

The Muthaiga, in Nairobi, raid came hours after police ransacked a villa in Malindi and confiscated five AK-47 rifles and 93 rounds of ammunition.

While some of the arrested workers alleged they were employees of Mr Wanjigi — an allegation we could not independently verify — police said the house on Ngowa Road at Mtangani, belongs to two Italians: Mr Franco Fantani and Mr Giovanni Ferliga.


Mr Wanjigi, a tenderpreneur of presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki, and the early years of the Uhuru regimes, is credited with being a key financier of Mr Raila Odinga’s Nasa and having played a key role in its campaigns as the funds mobiliser.

The raid came on a day Nasa leaders announced that they would start a nationwide series of rallies starting Tuesday, to mobilise their supporters not to participate in the October 26 presidential election.

It also came as Nasa accelerated its push to stop the poll unless there are electoral reforms.


A well-known Mr Fix-it, Mr Wanjigi was once untouchable, thanks to his past links to the security apparatus and senior politicians, including the late former Vice President George Saitoti.

He is also believed to have brokered the deal between Mr Uhuru Kenyatta (TNA) and Mr William Ruto (URP) and the formation of the Jubilee administration.

He later fell out with both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto — over what his friends say was the standard gauge railway tender, which the government decided to give to the Chinese Government and not to the companies lined up by Mr Wanjigi’s Tyl Limited.

A man who lives like a king at his 44 Muthaiga Road house, which is lined with splendid palm trees, signs of opulence and modern security system, Mr Wanjigi has of late been living under fear after he became the subject of attack by Jubilee politicians annoyed with his dalliance with the opposition.


So frightened is the billionaire that on September 10, he drove to Gigiri Police Station and reported that his life was in danger.

He later wrote to the Inspector-General asking police to provide him with security at his own cost.

His father, former Moi Cabinet minister Maina Wanjigi was seen entering his son’s home, where journalists were kept out.

Others who went in were former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, and Nasa lawmakers James Orengo and Junet Mohammed, a sign that this raid is going to take a political angle.

Police sources also said they intended to raid another house in Nyali, Mombasa.


For years, Mr Wanjigi was the most feared businessman, with a reputation to rival that of legendary barons.

His hold on multi-billion government contracts and cutting deals with Chinese infrastructure companies was well known and was highlighted in a recent investigative series by the Nation.

The question that many political observers are asking is what next for the billionaire who is Nasa’s Mr Moneybags and whose closeness to Mr Odinga is now well known.

During the campaigns, Mr Wanjigi was a regular guest at Mr Odinga’s Karen home.


He sat with family members during the presidential debate, and was present during the launch of the Nasa manifesto.

He also hosted a small party secretariat at his up-market Caramel Restaurant at ABC Westlands, where he had hoped that the victory party would be held.

Why Mr Odinga embraced a man who was going to injure the anti-corruption agenda of his fourth bid on the presidency might not be known soon — but Nasa insiders admit that Mr Wanjigi’s wad of notes did the magic.

During the campaigns, Nasa dared Jubilee to arrest Mr Wanjigi if indeed he had committed any crime.


A man who made his billions through government supply and as a wheeler-dealer, getting a 10 per cent cut from the multi-billion tenders that he fronted for various Chinese companies, Mr Wanjigi opened his vault to the party, hoping to have a say in the Nasa government in case of an Odinga victory.

Jubilee mandarins took advantage of Mr Wanjigi’s presence in Nasa and dismissed its campaign as being funded by “corruption cartels” — a reference to Mr Wanjigi who prominently featured in the Anglo-Leasing scandals during the Mwai Kibaki presidency, though was never convicted of any crime.

Whether the raid on Mr Wanjigi’s house is related to this past politics is not clear – and the guns found in the Malindi villa adds another twist to the political story.

That Mr Wanjigi was the other principal in the Nasa line-up was known by the strings that he pulled within the outfit.


He was alleged to have his own manifesto, which had created tension within the Secretariat, and which Mr Odinga was at pains to defend after one of his advisers, David Ndii, dismissed it as the work of tenderpreneurs.

Mr Wanjigi’s story is that of a rich man who plays Kenyan politicians like pawns in a chess game and who was the super-glue that maintained the rapport between Uhuru and Ruto and later on between Mr Odinga, former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, and former Cabinet ministers Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi.

An IT man, Mr Wanjigi was the brain behind the setting up of the Nasa tallying centre in Nairobi’s Westlands’ suburb and which was brought down by hooded gunmen – Nasa says by police – before the voting commenced leaving the party without any place to coordinate the tallying of the numbers from the constituencies.


Although Siaya Senator James Orengo had said that this was one of its smaller tallying centres, details later emerged that the same gunmen raided two other secret locations and carted away more computers.

The tallying centres were to be manned by an American John Phillips, chief executive of political consultancy Aristotle, and Canadian Andreas Katsouris, a senior executive at the firm.

They were to be joined by two Ghanaians among them Mr Peter Mac Manu, touted as one of the best brains when it comes to election results tabulation and his research assistant and activist, Evans Nimako – a man who had taken Ghana’s electoral commission to court demanding that it cleans-up voters register while acting on behalf of the now President Nana Akufo-Addo, but then an opposition politician.


During Ghana’s election, it was Mac Manu – who was President Akifo-Addo’s campaign manager -who declared results in his favour even before the Electoral Commission did the same and was the man who had set up a parallel vote tabulation system Ghana.

He had hoped to replicate the same tallying in Kenya and train the Nasa coalition personnel on the parallel collation of results to avoid rigging as then opposition NPP in Ghana did to thwart the rigging ploy of National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Whether the raid on Mr Wanjigi’s house is related to this past politics is not clear – and the guns found in the Malindi villa adds another twist to the political story.

Turkey Wins Bid to Finance, Build U.S.$1.9 Billion Second Phase of Tanzania Railway

By Allan Olingo

In January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Dar es Salaam on a state visit.

A month later, Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi, through a joint venture with Portuguese company Mota Engil, won the first contract under the Tanzanian railway modernisation programme, worth $1.2 billion.

The Chinese had been the favourites, complete with a $7.9 billion funding promise from Beijing.

Now the Turkish firm is back in the news after being awarded a second project to build a 422-kilometre high-speed electric standard gauge railway line. This is the longest section of the project, which has been divided into four phases.

In the January meeting, Tanzanian President John Magufuli asked for funding from President Erdogan. Last week, the project was awarded to the Turks, beating 15 competitors.

“We sought financing from Turkey. I am confident that we will secure the loan as President Erdogan said that’s a ‘small’ matter to him. We have also received a bid from a Turkish company that is keen on executing the project,” President Magufuli said.

First 205-km phase

Yapi Merkezi, which has already embarked on the first 205-km phase between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, will now construct the second phase between Morogoro and Makutupora. The contract is worth $1.92 billion.

“After assessment of the bids, Yapi Merkezi met the technical and financial requirements. It will now design and construct the railway line,” said Tanzanian state-owned railway infrastructure authority Reli Assets Holding Company Ltd in a statement.

The deal is understood to have been pegged on Tanzania’s April request to the Turkish state-owned Export Credit Bank of Turkey (Eximbank) to help finance the 400-km stretch of the new railway.

Erdem Arioglu, the vice president of Yapi Merkezi, said the agreement is the largest ever signed by a single Turkish firm abroad.

“We will singlehandedly build this project, complete with accompanying technology and infrastructure. We will deliver within the agreed timelines,” Mr Arioglu said.

Chinese contractors are modernising Kenya’s and Uganda’s railway infrastructure.

The EastAfrican understands that in both phases of Tanzania’s project, the Chinese submitted their bids. Although the first contract had been awarded to them, it was cancelled over “ethical concerns”.

“In the first contract, out of the 39 firms that bid for the Dar to Morogoro 205-km line, there were seven Chinese firms. In this second one, out of the 15 firms that placed their bids, we had four Chinese firms. They still have strong interest and we expect to see them in the other bids,” a government official told The EastAfrican.

Four parts

Tanzania divided construction of its railway into four parts, and put out separate tenders to design it. The three remaining sections are Makutupora to Tabora (294 km), Tabora to Isaka (133 km) and Isaka to Mwanza (248 km).

Tanzanian state-run railway firm Railway Assets Holding Company is expected to award at least one more contract before the end of the year, with the others slated for early next year.

The country plans to spend $14.2 billion over the next five years to build the 2,561-km standard gauge railway connecting its main port of Dar es Salaam to land-locked neighbours, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda.

Securing soft loans

“As a country, we have already set aside $500 million dollars for the project. We are now expecting to secure soft loans from development partners and financial institutions for implementation of the plan,” said Makame Mbarawa, the Works, Transport and Communication Minister.

The new developments leave in question the role that China will play in the project.

In July 2016, China, through its Exim Bank, agreed to advance Tanzania $7.9 million for the railway project, despite its key contracting firms having been blacklisted by President Magufuli’s administration over malpractices in the tendering process.

In addition to Tanzania, the Turkish firm has shown interest in running the 751-km Chinese-built Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line. In February last year, Yapi Merkezi bid for the project jointly with Turkish State Railways TCDD.

The project also attracted Chinese companies; the consortium of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and China Railway Engineering Corporation won the bid for management of the line for six years.

Kenya, Egypt Renew Rivalry in Nations Cup Semis

By Brian Yonga

Defending champions Kenya renew hostilities with arch-rivals Egypt Friday evening in the first semi-final of women’s volleyball Africa Nations Championship at the Palais des Sports Indoor Arena in Yaoundé.

The other last four encounter will see hosts Cameroon battle much-improved Senegal as the competition reaches fever pitch.

At stake will be a place in Saturday’s final and the two slots reserved for Africa at the 2018 FIVB World Championship in Japan.

Focus will however be on Malkia Strikers’ clash with Egypt as the two nemesis renew their rivalry on the continental stage once again.

Kenya beat the North Africans 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-17) in the CAVB Zone V World Championships Qualifiers held in Nairobi in the teams’ most recent clash in August.

It was however the Egyptians who ousted Kenya from last year’s Rio Olympics qualifiers after defeating Malkia Strikers 3-2 in the semi-finals held in Yaoundé. Cameroon went on to beat Egypt in the final to qualify for the Olympics.


Kenya, who are chasing a record 10th title, have impressed so far in the competition topping Pool B with 4-0 ratio after wins against Senegal, Nigeria, Tunisia and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Japheth Munala-led side have not dropped a set and will be aiming to maintain the good form as they look to reach another final.

“This is where the real competition starts and we have got to be better as the opposition is also very formidable,” Munala told Nation Sport from Yaoundé on Thursday.

“We have a good record against Egypt but we are not taking any chances as we want to reach the final and win the title,” he added.

Centres Edith Wisa and Brackcides Agala have impressed so far in the competition and Munala, who is chasing his first title with the team, is hoping they will hit top form against Egypt.

Skipper Mercy Moim was the team’s top scorer in wins against Tunisia and DR Congo with setter Janet Wanja also influential in the team.

Three-time winners Egypt finished second in Pool A after losing 3-1 (20-25, 30-28, 25-17, 25-18) to Cameroon in their final preliminary match on Wednesday. The North Africans will bank on attacker Aya Elshamy, who scored 21 points against Cameroon, as they look to reach their first final since 2003.

In the second semi-final, Senegal, who finished second in Pool B, will be hoping to get the better of the hosts as they look to reach their first final.


Play off 5-8

Algeria v Nigeria

Tunisia v Botswana


Kenya v Egypt – 6pm

Cameroon v Senegal – 8pm


US Regrets Opposition Leader Odinga’s Move to Exit Poll

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South Africa:Tshwane Unveils Free Bus Ride for Youth Job Seekers

press release

The unemployed youth in Bronkhorstspruit were given a helping hand by the City of Tshwane when MMC for Roads and Transport, Cllr Sheila Lynn Senkubuge, unveiled a free bus ride to the youth job seekers in the area this week as part of the pilot project to enable them to access job opportunities.

The city kick-started the programme with the provision of three busses which will service Kangala, Zithobeni and Rethabiseng townships until Thursday, 12 October 2017, this week. On Monday, more than 200 youth job seekers from the three townships took advantage of the city’s initiative to relieve them of the burden of travel costs.

“We are providing these busses for four days this week as part of our pilot project of which its data will be used to identify any challenges or any loose ends that need to be tied up before we roll it out to the rest of the city’s regions.”

– MMC Senkubuge.

With 9,3 million South Africans unemployed, DA-led Tshwane wants to promote access to transport for job seekers to enable them to access opportunities more easily.

More than 200 youth job seekers taking advantage of the City’s pilot project.

The Democratic Alliance Youth are taking a stand!

How can we call ourselves free when half of the South African population have no access to the internet?

Internet access is more fundamental than rights. It is an economic necessity.

South Africa

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Odinga Says Taking Part in Oct 26 Poll Entirely His Choice

By Simon Ndonga

Nairobi — NASA leader Raila Odinga says he is free to boycott the October 26 election if he feels that his demands will not be met by the electoral commission.

Odinga, who spoke after a meeting with Kajiado leaders in Nairobi, stated that it is becoming increasingly clear that the irreducible minimums by NASA will not be met, but he was not categorical if he will take part in the poll or not.

“As far as we are concerned, the IEBC has not responded positively to most of the issues we had raised. In as far as the notice is concerned, this is a democratic society and there is what we call freedom of choice. If I choose not to participate in a pre-rigged electoral process it is my democratic right, no court can order me not to do so,” he stated.

He spoke soon after President Uhuru Kenyatta said in Mombasa that there is a plan by the NASA leader to boycott the fresh election.

“We hear that he wants to announce that he has removed himself from the elections on the 26th of this month. I do not know what reason he will give. The excuses are not ending and I want to tell him, Kenyans are tired. We want to move forward and I want to tell you if you do not want to participate, step aside and let us move forward,” he said.

President Kenyatta said Kenyans want the issue of elections done with once for all and if Odinga is not ready to participate in the poll, he should withdraw as soon as possible.

He criticized the Opposition leader for waiting for so long if his only plan for the fresh presidential election was to withdraw at the last minute.

“Kenyans are tired and want to move forward. If you do not want elections, step aside so that the country can move forward,” said the President.

The President said Odinga has been looking for excuses to withdraw from the poll. He criticised him for waiting until more than Sh12 billion has been spent to organise the election before reaching the reported decision to withdraw.

President Kenyatta said he is ready for the election because he is sure that Kenyans will rally behind him as they did in the August 8 election that was nullified by the Supreme Court.

“We know that we won the August 8 election fairly and that is why we are ready for the October 26 election,” said the President when he addressed more than 15,000 leaders from the coastal counties who gathered at Serani Grounds, Mombasa.


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

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Nasa Plans to Disrupt Repeat Presidential Election – Mike Makarina

By David Muchui

Former Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) point man in Meru Mike Makarina has accused the opposition of plotting to plunge the country into chaos.

He defected to Jubilee last week.


Speaking two days after he was received by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Makarina said the opposition’s push for changes in the electoral commission were aimed at disrupting the repeat election.

“I am fed up with supporting the opposition because of their obsession with demonstrations. We welcomed the Supreme Court ruling but Nasa leader Raila Odinga has refused to prepare for the election. I consulted widely with other Nasa supporters in Meru and we decided to cross over to Jubilee. Nasa’s demands may lead the country into chaos,” he said on Monday.


But ODM officials in Meru downplayed the defection, saying the opposition was intact and more organised than in the previous election.

Mr Makarina, who has been vocal on the rights of persons living with disabilities, said he ditched the opposition after President Kenyatta promised to address challenges affecting the disabled.

“What took me to the opposition was the failure by the government to help the disabled access education and government opportunities. President Kenyatta has asked us to meet him in State House so that we can express our concerns. He has also promised to deal with runaway insecurity in Tigania East,” he said.

Mr Makarina said the defection to Jubilee would substantially reduce Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s votes on October 26.


In the August 8 election, Mr Odinga garnered 55,000 votes in Meru County up from the 32,000 votes he got in 2013.

Nasa coordinator in Meru Joseph Mung’athia said those who have defected have always been pro-Jubilee.

“I can confirm that the Nasa leadership in Meru is intact. Some people who claim they are leaders are not. None of the Nasa officials have defected and Mr Makarina was a member and activist but not part of the county leadership,” the officials said in a statement.

Mr Mung’athia said Nasa supporters in Meru were prepared to ensure more people vote for Mr Odinga.


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Nigeria: What You Should Know About Monkeypox

By Sola Ogundipe

The recent Monkey pox outbreak in Bayelsa State ans parts of southern Nigeria is the third in the nation’s history. There were a total of 3 recorded human cases previously in 1971 and 1978 according to the Centres for Disease Control, CDC.

The Monkey pox virus was first identified in 1970 as the cause of a smallpox-like illness in humans in remote African locations first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name “monkeypox.”

The first recorded human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. There were also reports of cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The following year, 1971, there was 1 case in Cote d’ivoire and 2 cases in Nigeria. Then in 1976 there were 2 cases in Cameroon and again in Nigeria in 1978, 1 case was recorded. Since then monkeypox has remains strictly a disease of Central and Western African countries, except in 2003, when 47 cases were reported in the USA. The 2003 US outbreak is the only time monkeypox infections in humans were documented outside of Africa. Most of those affected had close contact with pet prairie dogs.

The current outbreak in Nigeria is of West African origin and associated with milder disease, fewer deaths, and limited human-to-human transmission. Studies have shown that the monkeypox virus can cause a fatal illness in humans and, although it is similar to human smallpox which has been eradicated, it is much milder. Following are things you should know about monkeypox.


Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkeypox virus, that belongs to the same family of viruses that includes variola virus (the cause of smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.

The natural reservoir remains unknown. However, African rodent species are expected to play a role in transmission.

The Monkeypox virus can cause an illness with a generalised vesicular skin rash, fever, and painful jaw swelling. In previous outbreaks, it has led to death in about 1-10 per cent of infected cases.

There is no specific medicine to treat the disease, but intensive supportive care helps patients to recover fully.


Measures that can be taken to prevent infection with Monkeypox virus include avoiding contact with infected animals especially those that are sick or found dead in areas where Monkeypox occurs.

The public is advised to always wash hands with soap and water after contact with animals or when caring for sick relatives humans or soiled beddings.

Health care workers are strongly advised to practice universal precautions while handling patients and/or body fluids at all times. They are also urged to be alert, be familiar with the symptoms and maintain a high index of suspicion.

All suspected cases should be reported to the Local Government Area or State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers.

“As long as universal infection prevention and control practices are strictly adhered to by all clinical staff, the chances of transmission are minimal.”

Further information can be obtained from NCDC toll-free number: 0800-970000-10; SMS: 08099555577 Whatsapp: 07087110839. Twitter/Facebook: @NCDCgov



Usually by direct contact with infected animals or possibly by eating poorly cooked meat from an infected rodent or monkey.

Person-to-person transfer

Possible by infected respiratory droplets possible but not often documented. Although infrequent, can be reduced or prevented by avoiding direct physical contact with the patient and having the patient’s caregivers wear gloves and face masks.


A history of association with rodents or other animals and presence of pox lesions is presumptive evidence for a diagnosis of monkeypox. Infectious-disease consultants and personnel should be notified. Definitive diagnosis is urged.

Risk factors

Animal bites and scratches from infected animals. Eating any meat from such animals is advised. Several species of mammals can be infected with monkeypox, even though the species had never been associated with the virus in their normal environment.

Signs & Symptoms

Fever, sweating, malaise, cough, nausea, and shortness of breath. After 2-4 days a rash with papules and pustules develops most often on the face and chest including mucus membranes inside the nose and mouth. These pox lesions can ulcerate, and then begin to heal in about 14-21 days. In addition, lymph nodes usually swell and some pox lesions may die.

Rugby Federation to Organise Sevens Circuit Next Month

By Jejje Muhinde

Rwanda Rugby Federation (RRF) is set to organise a Sevens Circuit tournament in November, according to its secretary general, Tharcisse Kamanda.

Kamanda told Saturday Sport that the competition will be the premier stand-alone sevens event and they hope to invite other teams from the region.

“It’s going to be the first 7s tournament of its kind and we hope to invite teams from Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo,” Kamanda disclosed, adding that they have not decided the dates yet.

RRF came up with the decision to launch the 7’s circuit last year before the 2014 Commonwealth Games that were held in the Scottish capital Glasgow, after linking up with the East Lothian County.

Part of the objective is to help Rwanda qualify for future 7’s tournament in the Commonwealth Games, starting with the 2022 Games that will be staged in Durban, South Africa.

“Both can be played concurrently, but we need to focus more on developing the 7’s versions of the game instead of the 15’s to take advantage of the numerous opportunities like our rugby development programme for the youth players since there is more we can do in the 7’s than in 15’s,” Kamanda revealed.

In June, national league champions Remera Buffaloes won the Thousand Hills 7’s Festival and the Hills coach Jimmy Mugabo believes both versions can be played concurrently, but “the 7’s are more fun and easy to understand for those who do not know the rules.”

“The 7’s attract more fans due to the fun it brings. Clubs should be encouraged to organise the 7’s because it spreads the message easily and quicker, and many young players are more interested in joining the sport to have fun,” Mugabo said.


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Let Religious Leaders Present Views to the Committee of Parliament

opinionBy Chris Baryomunsi

The Daily Monitor of October 5, had a screaming headline: ‘Removing age limit is treason – Odama’. This was in reference to a press release the previous day by religious leaders in Acholi leaders under their umbrella organisation – Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI). Indeed, this paper produced the full statement verbatim signed John Baptist Odama, the Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese. In the statement, the religious leaders assert thus “our role is to advise the citizens of Uganda to stand on the basis of truth in this matter since the Bible teaches that whoever has the truth and the courage is the majority”. I agree that the truth must be told to Ugandans. The truth in terms of what the law says and what is going on with respect to the proposed constitutional amendments.

The truth is that the framers of the 1995 Constitution included Chapter 18, titled ‘Amendment of the Constitution’, and carries Articles from 259 to 263. Articles 260, 261 and 262 are quite instructive as they elaborate on how the various articles of the Constitution can be amended, namely, those that require a referendum; those that require approval by district councils; and those that can be amended straight away by Parliament.

Article 102 that is under contention falls under the category that requires only two thirds support of parliamentarians to be amended. Further, Article 94(4b) of the Constitution states ‘A member of Parliament has the right to move a private member’s Bill’. A private member’s Bill is a proposed law introduced by a back bench MP as opposed to a government Bill, which is introduced by a government minister. A private members Bill can also be introduced by a committee of Parliament through its chairperson.

The rules of procedure of Parliament, particularly rules 110 and 111, give full effect to Article 94(4b) by elaborating the procedure for moving a private member’s Bill. Article 111(1) states ‘A private member’s Bill shall be introduced first by way of motion, to which shall be attached the proposed draft of the Bill”. The purpose of this motion is to seek leave of Parliament, which means seeking permission from the House to draft and table a Bill.

The above clearly indicate that Raphael Magyezi, the elected MP for Igara West in Bushenyi District, has a right to introduce a private member’s Bill in Parliament. He should be saluted for carrying out his duties diligently as an MP. I have personally moved private members Bills before I was appointed minister. These were successfully considered by Parliament and passed into law. These are the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2010 and The Tobacco Control Act, 2015. By the time I was appointed to Cabinet, Parliament had given me leave to introduce a Bill titled ‘The Medical Society Bill’ and I was also working on another Bill for a law to regulate the use of acid in Uganda.

What happened in Parliament on September 27, therefore, was a simple matter of listening to MP Magyezi present and justify his motion. He was granted leave by Parliament and has since tabled the Bill in Parliament and the Speaker has referred the Bill to the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for scrutiny. Anybody interested or affected by the Bill, is free to provide their views to the committee to enable it produce a meaningful report.

As the committee scrutinises the Bill, MPs are also free to consult their constituents to seek their views. This is not a legal requirement, but on a contentious issue like the age limit, it is necessary that MPs educate their constituents about the Bill and get their views before the final debate and vote. This raises the key question: Was it necessary for a section of MPs to turn disorderly and violent with an aim of stopping Magyezi from moving a motion in Parliament? Why should an MP stop his colleague from speaking in Parliament? Democratic practice and civility demand that we listen to each other even when we are disagreeable on an issue. An English author, Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in her 1906 book, Friends of Voltaire wrote: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it’. This was in reference to Voltaire’s attitude about the author of a book that was attacked, publicly burnt and resulting in the author going to exile. Parliament is an assembly for exchange of ideas as well as intellectual engagement.

It is not a place for showing physical might. It is awkward to see an MP abandon their role of legislation and turn into hooligans like was witnessed in Parliament. What is sad is that few commentators have condemned this behaviour. Why glorify such indiscipline?

The Acholi religious leaders pose a question whether someone who has reached the age of 75 years while serving as president ought to leave office. Article 102(b) says: ‘A person is not qualified for election as president unless that person is not less than 35 years and not more than 75 years of age. The key word here is ‘qualified for election’, meaning a president can be 76 or 80 years of age, but someone of 75 years and above cannot be nominated to vie for the position of president.

This matter was even clarified in the Constituent Assembly when this issue was being debated.

The reference by the religious leaders that 75 years in Article 102(b) means retirement age of a president in civil service sense is not only false, but also laughable. The statement that amending the Constitution by Parliament amounts to treason demonstrates either poor understanding of the law or deliberate efforts to drum up emotions on the side of the religious leaders. Let religious leaders and other stakeholders present their views to the committee of Parliament.

Dr Baryomunsi is the Member of Parliament for Kinkizi East in Kanungu District and minister in charge of Housing.

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