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South Africa:Treatment Waiting Times Continue to Surge As KZN Cancer Services Fail

Watch how waiting times for life-saving cancer treatment has grown as KwaZulu-Natal’s cancer services crumble. As the crisis grows, patients wait longer and longer for treatment. This information comes from the SAHRC’s report but Democratic Alliance spokesperson for health in KwaZulu-Natal Imran Keeka says he doubts the veracity of the information. Keeka alleges the data does not reflect patient backlogs at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital fuelled by a breakdown of treatment machines at Addington Hospital.

KwaZulu-Natal cancer patients are now waiting nine months for treatment, alleges Democratic Alliance spokesperson for health in KwaZulu-Natal Imran Keeka.

In a statement, Keeka said South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) chairperson Bongani Majola revealed this new information during a recent provincial health portfolio committee meeting. Previously, the average waiting time for treatment was seven months.

The news comes almost four months after the SAHRC released a scathing report detailing the collapse of cancer services in the province. The document accused the KwaZulu-Natal health department and its MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, of failing patients.

After more than a year of investigation, SAHRC revealed that the province lost one oncologist each month over a five-month period. From October to December 2016, a breakdown in cancer treatment machines forced Durban’s Addington Hospital to refer its patients to the nearby Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital for treatment.

Durban lost its last public sector specialist in June, leaving only two such professionals in the province at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

As of August, health minister Aaron Motsoaledi had launched a two-week plan to resuscitate cancer services, taking over some of the province’s procurement and human resources functions, said national health department spokesperson Joe Maila.

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South Africa

ANC Presidential Hopeful Dlamini-Zuma Denies Gupta Business Links

African National Congress MP and presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has denied media reports linking her to… Read more »

Zimbabwe:Raising Hope – From Street Child to Mother

Abandoned as children, women in Harare are now teaching one another to fight for their futures.

A bright pink comb is perched jauntily on Edith Kanengoni’s head. It bobs and weaves defiantly as she stirs a pot of maize porridge bubbling on an open fire, while jiggling the toddler strapped to her back to sleep.

Her three older children are playing around the fire. Kanengoni (25) is raising them in a shack on the banks of the Mukuvisi River – it coils, putrid and heavy with industrial waste and raw sewage, through the densely populated suburb of Mbare in Harare.

Nobody taught Kanengoni how to be a mother.

Her own died before she reached puberty, as did her father. Left with relatives, who beat and mistreated her, Kanengoni eventually ran away from the rural village of her birth, without much schooling and no money. She was 15 when she came to Harare – naive, if not clueless, scared and not knowing anyone.

By that time, the capital’s streets had already become home, or a source of income, to thousands of children, as Zimbabwe’s battered economy and persistent droughts plunged families into poverty and parents succumbed to Aids.

In 2007, almost one in three children in Zimbabwe – 1.6-million – had lost at least one parent and were orphaned, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said in a statement.

A 2004 report by the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children – in collaboration with the Harare Task Force on Children Living and/or Working on the Streets and Unicef – says an estimated 5 000 children were on the streets of Harare during this period.

Researchers found that many of these children turned to the streets because of a breakdown in the family or sexual or physical abuse, only to then be treated with scorn or once again subjected to rape or other violence. Some participated in sex in exchange for goods or protection.

Now a new generation of children is being raised on the streets by mothers who were street children themselves and are ill-equipped to be parents, explains Enias Marama, a child protection officer at the Italian humanitarian organisation Cesvi.

The nongovernmental organisation runs the House of Smiles in Harare, a drop-in centre for abandoned or orphaned children.

“These street mothers had no role models. Most of them lack basic life skills and parenting skills – knowledge we would take for granted,” says Marama. “The majority of these young mothers come from broken families, particularly if their own mothers died. When the father remarries, they are pushed out to the streets to beg.”

Marama says many young women are sexually molested as soon as they arrive on the streets. There is no one to protect them.

“You can imagine how vulnerable a girl in puberty is. She can be forced into unprotected sex by outsiders or other street children. Many then get sexually transmitted diseases or fall pregnant.”

Within two years of Kanengoni’s arrival in Harare, she had a child with a man who also lived on the street. Their son is now eight years old.

“I gave birth here because I didn’t have the money to visit a clinic,” she says, gesturing in the direction of the Mukuvisi shores where, among piles of dirty plastic containers, more makeshift shelters are knitted together against wind, rain and sun.

The baby fell ill when he was a few months old.

“[His] head started swelling and blood-like seepage started oozing from his head,” Kanengoni explains.

Not being able to a afford a doctor or hospital – and, in fact, not realising it was even an option – Kanengoni took the baby to a faith healer. The young mother trusted him, implausible as his advice would seem.

“[He] prayed and gave my son some holy water and gifted [us] stones together with prayer instructions.” This, Kanengoni believed at the time, healed her son.

She now says she was deceived. Not only is she a regular at the local clinic these days, run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), she also encourages other street mothers to take their children there.

Kanengoni is a peer educator – one of 10 women recruited and trained by the House of Smiles to help the other street mothers get medical help and improve their parenting skills. It is part of an outreach programme to women on the Mukuvisi that has been running for about two years.

Marama explains: “They are making a big difference because the other women trust them and confide in them. Edith has become a real leader in her area.”

“Our life skills [training] start with the mothers. They will not be able to look after their children if they can’t take care of themselves,” Marama says. “A big issue is to provide them with sanitary pads – it is important to help restore their dignity.”

Women are also given sexual and reproductive health advice.

Kanengoni says she doesn’t want more children. “I discussed with my husband which family planning methods to use and had an implant as my family planning method, to which my husband agreed,” she says.

It is this confidence to assert her rights that she now imparts to the other women, many of whom are sex workers.

Sensitive matters

Rusty rail wagons in an abandoned locomotive yard in Harare is where Privilege Zvirevo (22) came as a teenager to earn a pittance. Having left school early, she had no skills.

“I was going to a disused National Railways of Zimbabwe site to work as a sex worker,” she says.

That was before she fell pregnant with her first child, Zvirevo explains. Her daughter, now six, was taken to a children’s home when Zvirevo – who claims her own mother beat her up before she fled home – couldn’t look after the child.

The girl ended up with Zvirevo’s grandmother. Her nine-month-old baby and a child of three are still in Zvirevo’s care, who says she sells sweets, beer and airtime.

Marama says it is important to empower the young women to negotiate for safer sex. “It is not an easy process. The abuser will always ‘dangle a carrot’ such as the promise of more money for sex without a condom. She is in the weaker position, so we have to empower her to insist on protection.”

The women are helped to get tested for HIV and to use antiretrovirals correctly if they test positive. The peer educators make sure street mothers also know to have their children tested for HIV if they are infected themselves.

“We tell them to immediately take their children to the clinic if they aren’t well,” Marama says. “We also work with them to get their children immunised [against childhood diseases].”

He explains: “You have to approach these matters with sensitivity. So a peer educator will explain informally that you can’t leave a sick child in a shack and go looking for your boyfriend all night if they have noticed that happening.”

If there is an outbreak of diarrhoea, for example, they will get the mothers together and tell them how to sterilise water.

“They need to be able to respond to what they see,” Marama says.

So popular has Kanengoni become that even the men in the community are seeking her confidential advice.

Kanengoni and the other peer educators are all volunteers, but get their “reward” in the higher status they enjoy in the community.

“The difference in the educators is incredible. We have seen such a tremendous change in the way they look at issues and assume authority. They now have pride and the more knowledge they get, the more they gain in confidence.”

It is not only this knowledge they are slowly imparting to the other mothers, Marama says, but also self-belief in their parenting.

Outside her shack on the river bank, Kanengoni has dished up a small bowl of maize porridge for each of her bigger children. The family is gathered around the fire. “Eat,” she smiles, and strokes the back of one of her girls. “You have to grow strong and healthy.”

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Nigeria:Special Report – How a Nigerian Law Is Suppressing Citizens’ Freedom On the Internet

Photo: The Nation

Social media.

By Samuel Ogundipe

When Emenike Iroegbu set up his news platform three years ago, he saw it as a starting point in the future of quality community newspapering for an audience long deprived of alternative views and balanced reportage.

Mr. Iroegbu, 39, works full-time as the editor of Abia Facts Newspaper, a small-scale platform with a primary focus on Abia State. Although he’s based in Uyo, the capital of neighbouring Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Iroegbu spends his typical workday working the telephone and trawling through the Internet for the most recent happenings in Abia.

Abia Facts’ political reporting is well read amongst middle-aged men and senior citizens; while its entertainment section is popular amongst women, who have long been identified as avid consumers of lurid content.

“I launched Abia Facts as a platform where all factual sides of what is happening in the state would be presented,” Mr. Iroegbu told PREMIUM TIMES in a recent interview. “I felt it was time for someone to start beaming light on the state’s activities, away from the cover-up by state media houses that residents were used to.”

Abia State, whose population hovers around three million, was amongst the 12 states created in 1991, but its media space is still largely dominated by pro-government voices, Mr. Iroegbu said.

This left a void for Mr. Iroegbu to tap into. A few weeks after Abia Facts commenced operation, it broke the news that former Governor Theodore Orji had “anointed” incumbent Okezie Ikpeazu, then a senior aide to the governor, as his successor.

The platform was also the first to report that a former banking executive, Alex Otti, had concluded plans to run as the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, even as he was openly averring allegiance to the Peoples Democratic Party.

The two reports, and many others afterwards, turned out accurate, and, for several months, it “looked like the paper’s fortunes were turning up much earlier than we had expected,” Mr. Iroegbu said.

NOT SO FAST

But two years on, something happened that imperilled Mr. Iroegbu’s streak. The event was so pivotal that Mr. Iroegbu not only scaled back his ferocious reporting, he considered closing his news business for a new career.

On September 6, 2016, operatives of the State Security Service swooped on Mr. Iroegbu at his residence in Uyo, taking him away on allegations of criminal defamation and blackmail. He was subsequently driven to the SSS field office in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, where he was interrogated about a story he had published on his platform which detailed alleged diabolical and sharp practices by Mr. Ikpeazu.

Emenike Iroegbu

Mr. Iroegbu said he learnt at the SSS detention facility in Umuahia that his activities contravened the Cybercrime Act, its Section 24 specifically.

He said he was devastated, but not so much as he was confused.

“It was during interrogation that I first learnt of the repressive nature of the Cybercrime Act,” Mr. Iroegbu recounted to PREMIUM TIMES.

The SSS did not respond to requests for comments, but the Ikpeazu administration said Mr. Iroegbu deserved time behind bars because his claims against the state were reckless and untrue.

Mr. Iroegbu was freed the following day without charges. He said this is because there was no evidence that established his wrongdoing.

“It was like using a double-barrelled gun to kill a mosquito,” Mr. Iroegbu said of his predicament. “It was disproportionate and unnecessary.”

The SSS operatives broke into Mr. Iroegbu’s apartment with his wife and children present.

“Some neighbours even thought I was an armed robber or a kidnapper,” the journalist said. “It was too traumatic for my family to bear.”

A WORRISOME STRING FOLLOWS BIRTH OF CONTROVERSIAL LAW

At a glance, Mr. Iroegbu’s ordeal might seem improbable if not unwarranted: how could someone be arrested in such a disruptive manner over a matter whose nature is so glaringly civil?

Yet, experiences like Mr. Iroegbu’s are becoming increasingly common as jurisdictions across the country have embraced expansive powers of the Cybercrime Act as a tool for curbing potentially critical speech of citizens on the Internet.

Citizens have been held over infractions arising from a Facebook update or WhatsApp group comments.

The Cybercrime (Prohibition & Prevention) Act 2015 provides a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework ‘for the prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of cybercrimes’ in Nigeria.

President Goodluck Jonathan signed the law in the waning days of government to promote cybersecurity as well as protect critical national information infrastructure, computer systems and networks, electronic communications, data and computer programs, intellectual property and privacy rights.

Nigerian Senate

Security experts have long warned of the perils of an unregulated or monitored cyberspace in the country.

Several attacks were reportedly targeted at hundreds of government websites and servers between 2008 and 2014. During the 2012 protest against the removal of government subsidy on petroleum products, some hackers launched a cyber-rampage against the Nigerian government, defacing several websites and shutting off even more with denial-of-service attacks.

Federal authorities have praised the law for helping them stay ahead of some would-be criminals, especially those plotting nefarious acts over the Internet or via the telephone.

But critics say law enforcement agencies have also used the Cybercrime Act to clamp down on citizens, even when they didn’t necessarily engage in acts that could be considered inimical to the national interest.

‘CYBERSTALKING’

One problematic aspect of the Cybercrime Act that has been deployed by authorities is the Section 24, which proscribed ‘cyberstalking.’

The section prescribes up to three years imprisonment or a fine of N7 million or both for anyone found guilty of “causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another.”

That section is part of the law’s sweeping attempt to curtail freedom of expression of citizens online, making it difficult to issue criticism, cost or organise mass action against government policies, critics say.

Since May 15, 2015, when Mr. Jonathan signed the law, PREMIUM TIMES identified no fewer than 15 cases in which Nigerians have been detained for alleged violation of the Cybercrime Act.

Although a few of the cases are currently pending in the courts, no conviction has been recorded under the Cybercrime Act. Arrests have been made in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Ogun, Kogi, Abia and the Federal Capital Territory.

Those cases likely represent only a fraction of arrests linked to Cybercrime Act, because few of such matters ever make it to court or become public knowledge.

They nonetheless offer a strong suggestion of the law’s sweeping implications. A PREMIUM TIMES review showed that the police carried out most of the arrests, with SSS carrying out two, one of which involved Mr. Iroegbu.

The other case was the arrest of James Emeh, who runs IgbereTV, on October 14, 2016. The SSS accused him of publishing pro-Biafra materials on his website, with alleged ties to the Indigenous People Of Biafra, which has now been outlawed.

He was released the next day without charges, after being questioned on the basis of violating the Cybercrime Act.

The police were responsible for the arrest of Audu Maikori, CEO of Chocolate City Entertainment, in March. He was charged under the Cybercrime Act for allegedly inciting the public through false information.

Audu Maikori [Photo credit: www.trendysturvsblog.com]

Mr. Maikori had propagated a bogus claim that Fulani herdsmen killed some Southern Kaduna students as part of a bloody violence that had simmered there for years.

After learning that the claim was false, Mr. Maikori admitted wrongdoing and apologised, but the matter continues at the Federal High Court after Governor Nasir El-Rufai vowed to ensure a thorough prosecution of the music label executive.

In at least one incident, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested a citizen using the Cybercrime Act. The anti-graft agency cited ‘cyberstalking’ for detaining Abubakar Usman in the morning of August 8, 2016. Mr. Usman, a pro-government blogger, was released the next day without charges, after posting stringent bail conditions, his lawyer said.

Some officers who had participated in arrests bordering on cyberstalking said only a few officers have a good grasp of the intricacies of the Cybercrime Act.

In many cases, police prosecutors would see a criminal wrongdoing where a civil redress would suffice, the officers said.

“We don’t know anything about this new law and we have not been trained on how to make a proper use of it,” said a police superintendent who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak about shortcomings in the force. “That’s why we have so many arrests but no one has been convicted.”

Officers’ struggle with the Cybercrime Act was evident in the retroactive application of the law against Desmond Ike-Chima. Mr. Ike-Chima, an entertainment blogger, was arrested in October 2015. The police arrested him for “publishing malicious claims” against Phillips Oduoza, the MD of UBA, and arraigned him before the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on November 2, 2015.

Court filings said Mr. Ike-Chima allegedly detailed an amorous affair Mr. Oduoza had with actress Genevieve Nnaji in a March 2015 article published on his blog.

But a cursory check at the timeline of events showed that the piece was first published in August 2014, about nine months before the Cybercrime Act was enacted.

Mr. Ike-Chima was freed on April 15, 2016 after spending more than six months at Ikoyi and Kirikiri correctional facilities, both in Lagos. But details of his release remained spotty and Mr. Ike-Chima said a non-disclosure agreement was entered into as part of conditions for his release.

He also declined PREMIUM TIMES’ request seeking clarification on whether his lawyers argued against potential retroactive implementation of the Cybercrime Act in his case.

To the security agencies, the arrests are one prong of a broader crackdown on voices critical of politicians in high places, said Martin Obono, executive director of Cybercrime and Fraud Awareness Foundation, a public-policy think tank.

Martins Obono

“Section 24 criminalises civil offences,” Mr. Obono told PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday. “This is clearly wrong.”

Mr. Obono said his organisation made inputs that helped shape some aspects of the Cybercrime Act, but that lawmakers managed to “smuggle in” some controversial sections to shield themselves, and partly because they were in a haste.

“The current law was not what we laboured for, but because politicians were in a hurry to regulate activities of Nigerians online in order to shield themselves, they came up with a controversial law,” Mr. Obono said.

He argued that lawmakers added Section 24 because they knew the law enforcement agencies could be easily manipulated.

But police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, denied that police were being used or ill-equipped to implement the law.

“We were never instigated to arrest anyone under the Cybercrime Act,” Mr. Moshood told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone. “We’ve conducted ourselves in a manner that can be deemed ethical and professional.”

Mr. Moshood could not explain why the police have not been able to record a conviction despite, saying officers’ responsibility ends at taking a case to court for trial.

“It is the duty of judges and magistrates to hand down convictions,” the spokesperson said. “And no one has to instigate us to do our job.”

But that’s not how Mr. Iroegbu and others who have been detained within the last year see the police’s conduct with respect to the Cybercrime Act.

Almost all the arrests made in connection with the law involved either the government or powerful individuals.

The arrest and arraignment of Emmanuel Ojo in Ogun State on September 27, 2015, for example, was in connection to a Facebook post which Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s wife, Olufunso, considered defamatory. The case was later dropped following an apology by Mr. Ojo, who had initially countersued for a fundamental rights enforcement.

Similarly, on August 4, a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Umuahia remanded Daniel Kalu, a 29-year-old blogger, in custody for allegedly contravening Section 24 in a Facebook post.

Court documents seen by PREMIUM TIMES show that Mr. Kalu is being tried for posting “rumours” about the Deputy Governor of Abia State, Ude Oko-Chukwu.

Mr. Kalu allegedly committed the offence in a December 11, 2016, update on his Facebook wall. He’d alleged that Mr. Oko-Chukwu had made little impact on the lives of those in his constituency in Abia State, despite having spent several years occupying different public offices.

Based on the pattern of arrest, “the police have clearly shown that they’re working for powerful authorities individuals,” Mr. Obono said.

But lawmakers say the Cybercrime Act is not to blame for the crackdown.

Mojeed Alabi, vice chairman of House Committee on Human Rights, said the law is necessary to check abuse of cyberspace by Nigerians.

“The essence of the law is to engender good behaviour on the Internet,” Mr. Alabi, APC-Osun State, said. “We have had to deal with several cases in which people put false information on the Internet for the purpose of blackmail or revenge.”

The lawmaker said abuse by authorities is “a Nigerian problem” and not necessarily a manifestation of flaws in the law.

“The Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, so anyone who is illegally detained can get a lawyer to secure their freedom from the courts,” Mr. Akande said. “But we will not allow blackmail to stand.”

While most of the recorded cases, especially those involving public institutions, border on free speech, PREMIUM TIMES learnt of at least one case in which a suspect admitted wrongdoing and apologised.

The matter involved Seun Oloketuyi, publisher of entertainment blog Naija Hottest Gist, and Nnamdi Okonkwo, the CEO of Fidelity Bank.

Mr. Oloketuyi was arrested on August 25, 2015, over a publication that suggested an extra-marital affair which Mr. Okonkwo allegedly had with a female staff of the bank.

Mr. Oloketuyi regained freedom after Mr. Okonkwo withdrew the case from the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on June 29, 2016. Days preceding the withdrawal, Mr. Oloketuyi had published a retraction and apology to Mr. Okonkwo in two national dailies, including THISDAY.

Mr. Oloketuyi declined to speak on the matter with PREMIUM TIMES, citing a non-disclosure agreement which his lawyers entered on his behalf with Mr. Okonkwo.

Media analysts widely hold that Mr. Oloketuyi’s arrest was the first publicly-known case under the Cybercrime Act.

Yet, rights advocates hold that extremely rare cases of wrongdoing should not be enough ground for authorities to continue implementing the Cybercrime Act on such a broad scale.

“Even if someone is guilty of libel or defamation, even if intentional, there are existing laws that that could be activated,” said Adeboye Adegoke, programme manager at Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, a public policy think-tank.

Mr. Adegoke said the pattern of cases and the manner with which they were discarded show that “the aim was not to get justice but to intimidate and suppress.”

“By its nature, cyberstalking is strictly a matter for the civil courts,” Mr. Adegoke said. “But what we have is people in privileged positions simply telling the security agencies to go after those with whom they disagree.”

Mr. Iroegbu’s ordeal appears to have shaped his subsequent reporting methods.

“I now spend most of my day fine-tuning any story I know could be critical to the government,” Mr. Iroegbu said. “In some cases, I just drop a story altogether for fear of backlash.”

Hours after Mr. Iroegbu’s story about alleged diabolical practices of Mr. Ikpeazu was published on Abia Facts’ website, the page crashed under a deluge of hits. But no story had come close to being as popular as that ever since because he has “toned down so much” that his audience has “started shrinking,” he said.

Mr. Adegoke said even though the Cybercrime Act was enacted using a democratic mechanism, it has been serving a purpose that has not been witnessed in Nigeria since the Protection Against False Accusations Decree.

Also known as Decree 4, the law was promulgated by the military junta led by Muhammadu Buhari in 1984. Several journalists were detained under the law, with many receiving long sentences for their stories.

But while the statutes under the military regimes only forbade works that were critical of the government or public officials, the Cybercrime Act was designed to protect all Nigerians, status notwithstanding.

“We can’t be using military tactics to enforce civil laws in a constitutional democracy,” Mr. Adegoke said.

‘STILL AN IMPERFECT LAW’ — INITIATOR

For Gbenga Kaka, a former senator who sponsored the Cybercrime Bill in 2014, the law was designed to be tested.

“Like every other law, the Cybercrime Act is not perfect and its subject to judicial rigour that will test its conformity with the Constitution,” Mr. Kaka, who represented Ogun East Senatorial District from 2011 to 2015, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday.

“For the most part, the law addressed a lot of problems in the country, including the protection for every Nigerian from gruesome invasion of privacy, but that is not to say that we can’t amend controversial aspects of it that are prone to abuse,” he added.

EXPLORING A FAIRER LEGISLATION

Spurred by the alarming rates of arrests associated with the Cybercrime Act, the Netrights Coalition, a body of civil liberties advocates led by Paradigm Initiative, has approached the Federal High Court to challenge key sections of the law, especially its Sections 24 and 38.

Section 38 is equally frightening because it empowers security agencies to gain access to citizens’ private data with little checks for excesses, said Gbenga Sesan, a capacity development expert and executive director of Paradigm Initiative.

The coalition is also pushing a Digital Rights and Freedom Bill to address key shortcomings of the Cybercrime Act, urging the Nigerian parliament to expedite passage. The bill is expected to be debated by lawmakers this week.

Amongst the things Paradigm Initiative and its partners hope to achieve at the court is the confirmation of the legal status of Cybercrime Act. They hold that the law has not been gazetted and, as such, should not be used to prosecute citizens.

“We’ve made several efforts to verify if the law was gazetted, but no luck,” Mr. Adegoke said.

A gazette is the publication of a newly-signed law. While some lawyers hold that gazetting a new legislation is required as the final process in lawmaking; others see presidential assent as the final stage and a gazette merely to notify the public, which is why a lack of prior knowledge of a law cannot be admissible as defence.

2019 FEARS

Even though the courts have continued to decline sentencing anyone to jail for ‘cyberstalking,’ there are still fears that security agencies might deploy it against dissenting and critical voices as 2019 election nears.

Some bloggers say they would welcome a regulatory body that will supervise their activities if the government could guarantee fairness.

President Muhammadu Buhari during the Campaign prior to the 2015 Presidential election

“We know getting the government to create another bureaucracy won’t be hard, but how do we ensure accountability from such body?” Mr. Iroegbu queried.

Bail for Man Charged with Sedition for Facebook Post about Mining Negotiations

By Tausi Ally

Dar es Salaam — Investigation of a case facing a Chato resident in Geita Region, Mr Obadia Kiko, who is charged at the Kisutu Resident Magistrates’ Court with publishing seditious content on social media is not yet finished.

The accused allegedly published seditious content on negotiations between the government of Tanzania and representatives of Acacia. However, the accused pleaded not guilty is out on bail until November 14.

The accused is alleged to have committed the offence on August 3 in Chato District by publishing the seditious content on his Facebook account.

According to the charge sheet, the post reads “Information from Tanzania-Acacia negotiations, our lawyers are failing to interpret some of the legal technicalities to the extent of seeking assistance from Acacia… a thief is providing legal aid”.

“Discussions are still taking place, but our lawyers are in hard time for the Acacia lawyers have got all documents concerning the signed contracts; we need to pray hard because if the government breaches the contract we will pay a big sum of money”.

“Moreover, partisanship will cost us a lot; it would have been better if President Magufuli involved credible advocates such as Tundu Lissu, Peter Kibatala and Fatma Karume in important issues like this one… ” reads further his post.

According to State attorney Adolf Mkini, the post aimed at misleading members of the public on negotiations between the government and Acacia mining company.

Tanzania

Maputo Envoy in Court On U.S.$133,000 Theft Charges

A FINANCE attaché at Tanzania’s High Commission in Maputo, Mozambique, Joyce Moshi, appeared before Kisutu… Read more »

MP Anthony Kiai Gives Sex Tips On Whatsapp, Says ‘Ignore’

Photo: Daily News
By Grace Gitau

A first-time MP has shocked his constituents on social media after posting sex tips on a constituency WhatsApp group.

Mukurwe-ini MP Anthony Kiai, alias Highflyer, posted a lewd text that gave a blow-by-blow account on how to give a woman an “utterly fulfilling intimate time”.

GIKUYU

The message posted on “Mukurwe-ini Newsroom Group” was written in Gikuyu language.

It gave men tips on how to connect and satisfy a woman in bed.

The lawmaker, from what appears to be a message he innocently forwarded, describes how a man should go about bed business.

It does not end there.

Men are taken through the nitty-gritty of a love-making session.

The text also gives men advice of what to do after the session.

‘IGNORE’

Upon realizing his mistake, Mr Kiai told the group’s members to ignore the message.

But some members of the group demanded apology from the lawmaker for making “unacceptable statements”.

A screenshot of the MP’s post has circulated widely on social media groups and sparked debates.

Mihango Wa Kiambati wrote on Facebook; “I keep saying, Nyeri elected (redacted) and funny characters as leaders.”

Shiku Ngure wrote; “With such advice from an honourable MP, Mukurwe-ini men will up their game, do a survey after one month.”

But Linase Mwee took issue with those attacking the first-time MP.

REACTION

“The MP is alright, why accuse him? There is nothing wrong in that. Is sex sin!!?? Don’t deny the facts friends. I don’t see anything wrong or misplaced there. The one who exposed it is the one misplaced,” she said.

Tonny Gachuru also defended the MP asserting that “we voted a human being not Angel nothing wrong unless we are pretending”.

The group admin Bernard Chege on Monday said that he asked the MP to apologise for “naughty language”.

Instead, the lawmaker’s personal assistant apologised to the group members.

“Of course we do not allow that kind of language but after we requested for an apology only, the MP’s personal assistant responded,” he said.

Attempts to reach the MP for comment were unsuccessful as our calls went unanswered.

Kenya

Donors Ask Odinga to Rescind Decision to Boycott Poll

Western donors want National Super Alliance leader, Raila Odinga, to rescind his withdrawal from the upcoming repeat… Read more »

Number Two in the Ride Market, Start-Up Little Eyes 8-10 New African Markets

The large international start-ups like Jumia and Uber may attract the lion’s share of the investment but they’re not having it all their own way. Craft Silicon launched Kenyan start-up Little to compete with Uber. Russell Southwood talked to Kamal Budhabatti about his ambitions for Little and how it fits into the payment system ecosystem he is building with Craft Silicon.

Kamal Budhabatti launched Little because he thought he could do it better than Uber:”We saw there was an opportunity with the things that were happening on Uber. But the drivers didn’t always like what Uber was doing so we wanted to build a product that was appreciated by drivers. It would be an Uber for Africa. We ran a small pilot and it worked out well so we launched 8 months back”.

Little takes 15% from its drivers that is probably less than Uber is charging them:”Drivers can withdraw money from their Little wallet at any time. They go to the app and move money to their mobile money account.”

According to Tech Loy, it has also said in February 2017 that it will launch a mobile phone-based Savings and Credit Co-operative Society (Sacco). Known as Little Sacco, it would be the first virtual Sacco in Kenya, and on the continent, when launched, and will cover Little’s 5,000 drivers.

The Little app works in a very similar way to Uber’s but has several significant differences. It can be used on pretty much all phones as it’s not just a smartphone app but also can work with USSD by dialing a short code. The call to the short code generates a menu and the call uses adjacent cell towers to triangulate where the rider is. It also has a wallet that comes with the app and this means a rider can pay for a ride and send it to someone else. The rider can also use the app on Facebook Messenger and Little has got an IoT device that you can stick on a fridge and just press a button to get a cab.

Using this combination of smart, feature and basic phone users, it has got to the number two position behind Uber in Kenya. In doing so, it has attracted close to quarter of a million riders. There are two other ride apps in the market: Mondo Ride from the Middle East and Taxify from Estonia. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has invested in Taxify Kenya’s parent company through a ride company he partly owns called Didi Chuxing.

Little’s parent company Craft Silicon is probably the second biggest payments processor in Kenya after Safaricom’s M-Pesa. Last year it handled US$4.4 billion in payments. It does between 1-1.5 million transactions a day and has 9-10 million active customers.

So how does Little as a start-up fit into this kind of payment processor play?:”We wanted to start building verticals. So we launched Little for rides. We’ve invested (US$0.5 million) in Eat Out Kenya for hospitality and we’ll be launching something in the healthcare space.” It also wants to roll out the Little as a fintech product as “a small bank that sits inside the wallet.”

Thus far Craft Silicon has self-funded these verticals but it is out in the market looking for US$100 million series B funding to expand Little across the continent. It’s already started in Nigeria where it’s carrying out tests and will do the same in Ghana before too long. It’s also looking at a couple of countries in both Southern Africa and Francophone Africa so that it will then have an 8-10 country presence by mid next year.

As Budhabatti told me, the biggest challenge has been going from a B2B business with Craft Silicon to B2C with the new start-ups:”These are market businesses, transacting directly with customers. So we’ve had to learn from the experience. You need enough money to promote the product in the right way.”

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Africa:Worldwide Famine Averted, but Numbers of Hungry Growing – UN Chief

Photo: Khalid Albaih/RNW

According to a top UN official South Sudan is facing a “humanitarian catastrophe”. A famine is looming with almost 4 million people facing food insecurity. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 50,000 children could die from malnutrition in the course of this year. Cartoonist Khalid Albaih has two visions of the problem. On Facebook he said: “#SouthSudan people may face famine while the government buys weapons worth $14.5 million from #China.”

By Margaret Besheer

The United Nations secretary-general says early action by the international community has helped avert widespread famine, but the number of people in need is continuing to grow.

In February, António Guterres warned that 20 million people were facing starvation in South Sudan, Somalia, North East Nigeria and Yemen, and he appealed for more than $5.6 billion for 2017.

“While we have succeeded in keeping famine at bay, we have not kept suffering at bay,” Guterres told a U.N. Security Council meeting Thursday on the issue.

He said while the international community responded quickly, and nearly 70 percent of the required funds have been received, lack of access has hampered distribution.

“In the past nine months, the need for humanitarian aid has increased in these four areas,” the U.N. chief said.

Guterres said conflict is the major force driving these food crises.

“Until these conflicts are resolved and development takes root, communities and entire regions will continue to be ravaged by hunger and suffering,” he added.

The U.N. says in South Sudan alone, the number of people deemed severely food insecure has risen by a million this year to 6 million. In Boko Haram-affected areas of northeast Nigeria, there are 8.5 million people who require humanitarian assistance.

In Somalia, where drought and insecurity are obstacles, more than 6 million people depend on aid for their survival. And in conflict-wracked Yemen, a staggering 17 million people are food insecure.

Hunger also is fueling outbreaks of cholera, malaria and measles, and adding to the migration and refugee crisis across the globe.

Security Council members expressed continued frustration with actors on the ground hampering aid and threatening those delivering it.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said there is no excuse for delaying aid deliveries.

“All members of the council and the international community must come together to hold all actors on the ground accountable,” she said. “When they block aid, we have to call them out.”

“Yes, we need more funding; yes, we need more access; but this will not end these crises or stop new ones from emerging,” said Swedish envoy Carl Skau. “There must be political solutions to the conflicts that are driving these entirely preventable humanitarian crises.”

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What Ugandans Think About Doctors’ Demands, Strike

By Clare Muhindo and Emmanuel Ainebyoona

As Uganda celebrated 55 years of independence early this week, medical doctors under their umbrella body Uganda Medical Association (UMA), voted to lay down their tools at all public hospitals at the beginning of November 2017 if government does not respond to their demands.

Doctors among other things, demand enhanced salaries and allowances, for overtime, housing, transport, medical risk and retention.

An intern doctor, currently earning a gross salary of Shs960, 000 will earn Shs8.5 million, if government endorses their demands.

They also want a medical officer or teaching assistant to be paid Shs15 million and accorded a two-bedroom house and a 2.5cc vehicle, while a senior consultant doctor or professor will be the highest paid health worker, with a gross salary of Shs48 million, a five-bedroom house, 4.0cc vehicle and three domestic workers.

Currently, a senior consultant doctor earns about Shs3.4 million, consultant Shs2.6m, and a medical officer Shs1.1 million.

Doctors also want salaries for nurses and midwives enhanced to about Shs6.5 million in addition to a three-bedroomed house, 2.0cc vehicle and one domestic worker.

This implies that at the beginning of next month, anyone walking into a public hospital at the beginning of next month, with a medical emergency will be headed for doom, stirring mixed reactions among social media users.

One person who goes by the names Roslands HC Sparrow, commenting on a post on the Daily Monitor Facebook page encouraged the health workers to strike, arguing that the government is dishing money to MPs.

“These doctors have staked their lives to treat people. Some even get infected by various diseases; they are over worked yet earn less. They should strike, that is when you will realize the importance of their work,” he said.

To Thadeous Hon, another follower of Monitor page, medical workers ought to set their own salaries.

“Parliament, KCCA, URA, the judiciary are setting their own salaries and are respected and I hope the medical workers do the same because the service commission failed it’s work and everything seems to be done by the President anyhow,” he said.

“Yeah they are right. Museveni wastes money on bribing the MPs and other cabinet Ministers, yet the relevant parts like doctors are left and isolated. He says Uganda is developed, let him prove it on doctors’ demand,” said Okech Benjamin.

“Let those who feel no pain laugh and ridicule the medical workers today but I’m sure at one point, they and or their loved ones will realise that the so called useless sector (health) was actually necessary, when they seek health service and never find it. I mean you can never know how useful something is until you lose it,” said Nelso Neli.

Ssekimpi John said: “Today, I will support doctors, not because it’s necessary to increase but because of failed system. You can’t have a S. 6 dropout earning 30m a month.”

“All our experts have left to abroad for a better pay, yet people are dying here because of lack of doctors to attend to them in time. I support the doctors; actually they took long to strike. Something should have been done a long time ago. I urge all other health workers to join the fight, such that a louder voice is made,” said Jackieline Joloba Mwesigwa.

“Doctors deserve a good pay. A lot is paid to these puppet Museveni MPs in form of bribes such as the Shs20m for age limit consultation. How do you explain there is no money? Let doctors force this government to realize we have more pressing issues than amending article 102,” said Jabi Edward

“Uganda has money but doesn’t spend it on the basic needs equally. Imagine a member of parliament earning 400k a day, which a nurse and primary teacher earn in a month. Life is very important and it needs to be prioritized. So I support our doctors,” Mutai Joap Arapkirenyi.

Akahumuza Goliyasi said “I think they are very right because when you look at how money is being wasted on NRM motives that don’t benefit. You really sympathize with these medical people after looking at these meager fingers of income at the expense of lives of Ugandans!”

Though doctors deserve better pay and decent accommodation, Nsubuga Eric, while reacting to a post on the Daily Monitor Facebook page said their demands are unrealistic as per the current state of Uganda’s economy.

“Am very sure even a half of this cannot be given to the doctors. Let their demands be moderate. My view is that the government must look into all salaries of civil servants and raise them by equal amounts, and then if it is 1 or 100% it should cut across. There is no big servant than the other,” Charles Muhumuza commented on the same post.

Gil M Phelps said; “have they found the cure for HIV, for them to demand “elephant” perks? These demands are too much. They should be considerate for their strikes to be relevant.”

“Let them resign and we see if there is any private hospital that will pay them just like the government. Had I been the minister, I would have given them a deadline to report to work. They are the most corrupt people. They can never treat a patient unless they are bribed,” said Sekalye Abdulla.

Kisakye Micheal said; “Trust me with the bleeding economy, even if we pay you 1 billion… Just demand for an economy that works for everyone, no corruption etc..

How come the pioneers in the medical field lived a happier life with an average salary and a house?”

Although we want Ugandan doctors’ salaries to be raised as soon as possible, Denis Banturaki said “this stupidity of demanding all that money and requirements as if they are the only ones educated is not going to help them. In fact we want them helped but they must be realistic.”

Ogwal Morrison said, “The demands by Doctors are unrealistic. How can an intern doctor be paid Shs8.5m? Much as I support that their salary be increased, I would think the lowest paid nurses and midwives should get like Shs2m. That is very reasonable.”

Although doctors are doing commendable work for this nation, Kateyenge Sam also said the demands are very impossible.

“If put in percentage I don’t know what percentage their demand will be. Maybe they can claim for a good salary but not all those. Think twice our doctors,” he said.

Doctors justify demands

When contacted by Daily Monitor, Dr Mukuzi Muhereza, the UMA secretary general, said their demands did not fall from heaven, and that they had made a comparison with all other government Ministries, agencies and departments.

For instance, Dr Muhereza said the General Manager of the National Medical Stores earns about Shs35 million, which is the same range they are asking for a senior consultant.

“A senior Consultant doctor is an equivalent to a High Court judge and they are all appointed by the President,” he said.

Prof Francis Omaswa, a senior consultant doctor and former director general health services at the Ministry Health said that the doctors’ demands are not “outrageous but set grounds for negotiations which the Ministry of Health should respond.”

“It’s true that the Director General Health Services used to be the highest paid civil servant and it’s also true that an appointment letter for senior consultants spells out benefits like chauffeur driven car, housing and domestic workers but are never made available,” Prof Omaswa said.

Vivian – I Survived on Sh500 a Month Yet I Was a Celebrity

Photo: Daily Nation

Musician Vivian Wambui on stage.

By Hilary Kimuyu

Musician Vivian Wambui hit the limelight after she collaborated with Starehe MP Charles Njagua aka Jaguar for the song Dream in 2015.

But her life was never rosy as people might think.

In a candid confession on Facebook, the Teren Teren singer said her life was a struggle before she released the hit song.

“At that time I used to earn Sh4,000 from my Karaoke gig, after deducting the rent, transport, I would survive on less than 500 for a whole month,” Vivian wrote.

COULDN’T AFFORD CLOTHING

“I couldn’t afford good clothing worth public appearances. I vividly remember there is a concert I was invited to perform but the promoter refused me to get on stage due to my dressing.”

According to Vivian, she was told she looked ghetto which broke her heart.

In her post, she thanks one Tamina for donating clothes to her and fellow musician DK Kwenye Beat for sharing his food.

“Sometimes I slept hungry. Yes, I was a celebrity but sleeping hungry. My songs were playing everywhere but deep inside I was in agony,” she adds.

NO SEATS

She also had no seats in her house

The musician, who was earlier this year proposed to live on air by her manager Sam West, says she now lives in God’s abundance.

“A good big house, a good car and enough for my fill!”

Vivian has done collabos with mega music star’s like Dr Jose Chameleone, Redsan, among others.

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Facebook to Hold Contest for 15 Africa Start-Ups in Nairobi

By Muthoki Mumo

Facebook is set to host in Nairobi a competition for 15 African start-ups that will culminate in the winner getting a Sh2.6 million ($25,000) award and a visit to San Francisco, the headquarters of the social media website.

The competition has been organised in partnership with the American news site TechCrunch.

It is the culmination of a months-long search for the most promising start-ups on the continent. Over 1,000 companies submitted applications to participate in the competition.

Facebook says the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield is part of broader efforts to localise its Africa strategy. It follows the visit by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to Africa last year.

“The whole aim is to continue the narrative, to bring the eyes of the world to see what is happening in the region,” said Chukwuemeka Afigbo, Facebook’s head for products partnerships.

GLOBAL PEERS

The winning company will also get an opportunity to participate in Disrupt San Francisco 2018, an event where start-ups will exhibit their products and go up against their global peers.

TechCrunch has been running similar competitions across the world since 2007. The news firm says that contestants at these competitions have gone on to raise over Sh722.8 billion ($7 billion) in funding.

In addition to the TechCrunch competition, Facebook’s Africa team is also hosting a training workshop for developers and a conference for women in the technology sector.

Facebook established its physical presence in Africa in 2014. Recently, the company has become especially active as it aims to get more people connected to the web and therefore use its products.

Most recently, the company partnered with Surf Kenya to provide cheap WiFi connectivity.

Facebooks says that there are now more than 600 Surf Kenya WiFi hotspots in Nairobi and its environs.

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