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We Must All Adhere to the Law, Says CJ Maraga

By Wanjohi Githae

Chief Justice David Maraga on Wednesday warned that democracy would be under threat if Kenyans did not follow the Constitution and laws passed by Parliament unquestioningly.

In a long lecture after reading the main body of the judgment, Mr Maraga said citizens regardless of their stature in society ought to adhere to all provisions of the Constitution.

And in a signal that the court would lead from the front and won’t succumb to intimidation on how it should rule, he declared that the court would not hesitate to overturn the October 17 presidential election if the litany of omissions of law, the majority decision set forth, are not resolved.

“Whenever called upon to adjudicate, the court will reach the same judgment if the anomalies are not rectified irrespective of who the aspirants may be,” said the CJ.

Mr Maraga seemed to buttress his Tuesday press briefing where he put his foot down, declaring that the Judiciary would not be intimidated through what he termed as persistent attacks on individual judges.

CONSTITUTION

In his address from the bench on Wednesday, he said the moment Kenyans ignore the Constitution they fought for, then they lose it.

“It is also in our view that the greatness of a nation lies not in the might of its armies, important as that may be, not in largeness of its economy, important as that may be, the greatness of a nation lies in its fidelity to the Constitution and the strict adherence to the rule of law and above all the fear of God,” he said.

In noting the emotional investment Kenyans put in presidential elections, “then they should not fail to understand that the law must be followed up to the time their candidate win or loses,” said the Supreme Court president.

HIGH PRESSURE

“Candidates for elective office and political parties often do anything to be elected besides the candidates, the citizens themselves hoping for an improved standard of living get equally agitated,” he added.

Mr Maraga noted that the said factors render elections high pressure events and if mismanaged or candidates do not respect the rule of law and stakeholders don’t perceive the polls as free and fair, the elections can cause instability as seen in 2007/08 skirmishes.

The CJ said the court would not shy away from putting its foot down whenever it felt that the Constitution was not followed even where the will of the people is clear.

Kenya

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 »

Angola: Cunene – Expert Calls for Responsible Use of Social Media

Ondjiva — A sociologist Garcia de Jesus Ndaepele Wednesday in southern Cunene province advised young people to make more responsible use of the social media.

Garcia de Jesus was speaking to ANGOP on pros and cons in the use of social media.

According to academic, young people should take most advantage of the information and communication, but avoid the negative things.

Social media help increase access to communication and information on social interaction, but should not be seen as a means and an opportunity to promote actions harmful to the good society.

Families, as the main nucleus of society, should step up control of their members, by teaching them on how to take advantage of internet.

Young people should not expose themselves not even hurt the sensitivity of the others but respect for the elders, preserve their own dignity and build a society characterised by educated youths, he said.

Angola

Migration Service Repatriates Congolese Over Illegal Stay

At least twenty-five citizens from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) , including 18 women and seven men, were… Read more »

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.

Kenya

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 »

Ethiopia: Long Delayed Ne’kemite Stadium Nears Completion

The construction of Ne’kemite Stadium which cost 154 million Br has reached 94pc completion. The construction of the Stadium began in 2009 with an expected completion period of two years.

Oromia Water Works Construction Enterprise (OWWCE) is the main contractor for the construction under MH Engineering Plc’s supervision.

The Stadium, located 331Kms from Addis Abeba, was designed to have a capacity of accommodating 30,000 spectators at once. Currently, the civil works have been completed, and final touches on electrical installations and other items used for different sports games are going on.

Various items needed for athletics competitions, running, jumping and discus throwing have already been procured. But, laying the running track was not possible due to continuous downpours in the town, according to Teshome Gemeda, Ne’kemite, project manager of the stadium.

The six-year delay of the project is linked to the under-performance of the contractor, according to him.

Ethiopia

Exercise Restraint at Upcoming Festival

Ethiopian government and security officials should act with restraint and take concrete steps to prevent injuries and… Read more »

August Inflation Drops in Uganda, Rises in Kenya

By Maryanne Gicobi

Uganda recorded a drop in headline inflation in August due to a fall in food prices.

Kenya, on the other hand, saw a rise during the same month, driven by an increase in food prices occasioned by depressed rains and low supplies.

According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the country’s year-on-year inflation edged down to 5.2 per cent in August from 5.7 per cent the previous month.

In Kenya, inflation increased to 8.04 per cent in August from 7.47 per cent in July attributed to an increase in the food and non-alcoholic drinks index.

Inflation in July 2017 had returned to the Central Bank’s desired band of 2.5 per cent either side of the five per cent target — at 7.47 per cent.

This was driven by a reduction in food prices including a range of fresh produce as well as cheaper sugar, milk and maize flour relatively to June 2017.

Energy prices also fell over the same period with kerosene, electricity and fuel becoming more affordable.

Same lending rate

Uganda’s central bank maintained its benchmark lending rate at 10 per cent in August, saying that while economic activity was picking up, inflation remained on course for its medium-term target of 5 per cent.

Uganda Bureau of Statistics said prices had declined mainly for fruits while core inflation was driven down by a slower rise in the prices of services without elaborating.

In the basket of goods used to calculate inflation, food takes up the largest share — 36 per cent — making it the main driver of the cost of living, followed by utilities such as rent, water, electricity, gas and fuels at 18 per cent.

In Tanzania’s year-on-year inflation slowed to 5.2 per cent in July from 5.4 per cent a month earlier, largely due to slower rises in food prices of cereals, fish, beans .

Rwanda’s inflation fell to 3.5 per cent year-on-year in July from 4.8 per cent a month earlier.

Uganda

Inside President Museveni’s Radio Talk-Shows

Behind the scenes at the ongoing presidential live radio broadcasts meant to sensitise people on the controversial… Read more »

El Molo Community Sues Wafula Chebukati and IEBC

By Sam Kiplagat

One of Kenya’s smallest ethnic community has sued the Independent Electoral and Boundaries after they were left out of the nomination list for the Marsabit County Assembly.

The El Molo, who reside on the shores of Lake Turkana, are accusing IEBC and its chairman Wafula Chebukati of discrimination.

2,800

In the case heard before Justice Roselyn Aburili on Monday, the community argues that it was unfair to fail to consider them for nomination, at least in the Marsabit County Assembly.

Through lawyer Elias Mutuma, the community said they are only 2,800 of them in Kenya and are described as a minority and marginalised community in the entire north eastern part of Kenya.

Led by Ms Danila Lenatiyama, the community argues that there are completely discriminated and marginalised with no form of representation in both the national and county governments.

In a sworn statement, Ms Lenatiyama says her party– Frontiers Alliance Party– nominated her to represent the minority and the marginalised in the county.

IEBC

Her name, she added, was published in the initial list submitted to the commission for consideration.

She accuses the commission of deliberately omitting her name and instead nominating other persons from majority communities.

She said the move by IEBC was open discrimination, unfair and made in bad faith and without regard of due process.

Ms Lenatiyama said by allocating special seats to other communities like Borana, Somali, Rendile and Gabbra– who are already “over-represented” in the county government through elective positions–is detrimental to the El-molo.

It is her argument that her community can only participate and get an opportunity to be represented in governance by being allocated a special seat in the county.

14 DAYS

The move to deny the El Molo representation will deprive them of opportunities to fully participate and integrate into the social and economic life of Kenya as a whole, she argues.

Justice Aburili directed Mr Mutuma to file and serve the main petition within 14 days.

She said the case will be mentioned before Justice John Mativo on September 27 to confirm compliance.

Kenya

Odinga – Nasa Ready for Polls but Concerns Must Be Addressed

Kenya opposition National Super Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga has said his team is ready for the October… Read more »

Local Firms to Reap Sh60 Billion From SGR Phase II

By James Kariuki

Local companies in joint venture agreements with a Chinese company constructing the 120-kilometre Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge

Railway (SGR) are expected to rake in up to Sh60 billion.

National Construction Authority (NCA) executive director Daniel Manduku said the main contractor, China Road and Bridge Construction (CRBC), had forwarded a list of sub-contractors it entered joint venture agreements with for the Sh153 billion project.

The construction will see Nairobi connected to Ol Karia geothermal fields through a railway line traversing Nairobi, Kajiado, Narok and Nakuru counties.

“The contractor has gone beyond our 30 per cent project cost allocation threshold for local contractor involvement and this is the best way to enhance capacity of local contractors to handle large contracts as well as help Kenya workers gain the much-needed experience in handling big projects,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the fifth International LafargeHolcim Awards for the Middle East and Africa media briefing ceremony in Nairobi, Dr Manduku said another 40 Kenyan contractors had also benefitted from the 30 per cent share of local projects’ currently being implemented by foreign firms, mostly China.

Some of the projects include commercial and residential Highrise buildings in Nairobi as well as ongoing infrastructure projects in various parts of the country.

“NCA is strictly following up on all multibillion-shilling projects to ensure foreign companies incorporate local firms in executing them. This will facilitate technology transfer as well as help local companies enhance their ability to manage big projects and also build a name for themselves,” he said.

Mid this year NCA warned public and private firms against awarding contracts to foreign companies without local input.

Dr Manduku said the NCA would not licence any foreign contractors to undertake any project before providing details on their joint venture agreements with local contractors.

The NCA also warned foreign companies undertaking local projects against signing new projects saying licences issued were specifically for the projects that allowed them to operate in the country.

Kenya

Odinga – Nasa Ready for Polls but Concerns Must Be Addressed

Kenya opposition National Super Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga has said his team is ready for the October… Read more »

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ Set for a Return Show at KNT

Jesus Christ Superstar (JCS), the musical that was staged at Kenya National Theatre during the Easter weekend this year, has been revived for five shows running from September 14 to 17. The larger than life performance was a choreography of lighting effects, sound, dance and acting. It was a different experience from any professional production in the country before it.

There will be a change in the cast this time, as more than half of them will be new. The most notable change will, however, be in the main cast. Dan Aceda played ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ in the previous one, and this part will be played by Martin Githinji this time.

Nice Githinji takes over the role of ‘Mary Magdalene’ from Miriam Nyokabi. The actors had pulled out due to prior commitments. Mkamzee Mwatela still plays the eccentric ‘Herod,’ but with a more physically challenging performance, having already given birth to a wonderful baby she was expecting last time around.

Stuart Nash, the director of the musical, and Andrew Wambua, the voice coach, sat down with this writer to talk about the anticipated staging.

The rehearsals are going much smoother compared to the previous preparations around the same time before the show’s staging last time. How much of this is due to this being the second attempt and how much is it due to changes in the main cast?

Nash: I think that now people have experienced that feeling of being on stage in a big production, they can’t wait to do it again. Also having about 50 percent new cast has helped breath a new life into the show.

Besides the two main actors, what other changes have you made to the production, maybe from lessons learned from the last staging of JCS?

Nash: Having a second chance to stage JCS has given us a chance to really iron out any slight kinks we didn’t have time to sort out the first time. But we are also adding a really nice technical element to part of the show which will be amazing, though I can’t divulge any more information than that for now. You’ll have to come to see the show.

What pushed you to do this new staging of JCS?

Nash: We received such great reviews and positive feedback from the first time we were asked by KNT to revive it and make it bigger and better; which I think we have done.

How does this being the second attempt and changes in the main cast improve the play?

Andrew: We have a new intake every four months enrolling for our courses at Nairobi Performing Arts Studio. So half the cast had already done it before and that made it easier. Martin Githinji and Nice Githinji (no relation) were an injection of freshness. They actually also sing. Nice is a well-known karaoke host in various clubs in Nairobi, and Martin has been in various musicals before, so we cast them knowing they could hack the roles. It’s an interesting twist to what they are known for because not many people know that they are prolific singers as well as actors.

Besides the two main actors what other changes have you made to the production, maybe from lessons learned from the last staging of JCS?

Andrew: There are various twists and turns. For instance, Mkamzee is not pregnant any more so we’ve vamped the dances in her role as Herod. The “dream girls” are all new in the song Superstar with vamped up dances and other parts of the musical have been re-blocked (blocking is the positioning and movements that actors do on stage or in a film) to make them spicier.

We know Nice Githinji and Martin Githinji to be good actors, but how was it working with these two to get them vocally prepared?

Andrew: They are great singers so not too much work apart from the usual individual rehearsals we always schedule with the principal cast members. The trick always lies in the casting which we seem to have a knack for.

14-Year-Old Girl Detained for 7 Days in Fire Probe

By Abiud Ochieng and Njoki Chege

A Form One student alleged to have started the Moi Girls School fire that killed nine of her schoolmates is likely to face three charges when police conclude investigations.

Senior assistant director of public prosecutions Alloys Kemo told the court that the student was arrested after preliminary investigations showed she could be liable for murder, arson, or assault.

He asked the court to allow the police to detain her for 10 more days to complete investigations. The 14-year-old on Wednesday followed court proceedings silently as her lawyer pleaded with the court to release her on bail.

Children’s Court Magistrate Theresa Nyangena allowed police to detain the student at Kilimani police station for seven days to allow the conclusion of investigations.

“It is only after investigations are concluded that the DPP will make a determination on which charges to prefer against the suspect,” said Mr Kemo, adding that P3 forms (used to report injuries) are still being processed.

ABSCONDING

Family lawyer Stanley Kangahi objected to the 10-day custody plea, saying the student and her mother, who was in court, have been cooperating with the police and that there were no sufficient reasons to detain her since the prosecution had not cited any fears of witness tampering or absconding.

But the magistrate allowed the police to hold her for seven days after which she can apply for bail.

“The court appreciates that the matter is of serious public interest and needs to be thoroughly investigated. It also involves a child hence the need for expeditious investigations and trial. Doing the best I can, I allow seven days in custody upon which an application for bail can be made,” said Ms Nyangena.

The case being investigated arises from a deadly fire which engulfed Kabarnet dormitory at the school, leaving nine students dead and several others injured last Saturday.

THOME ESTATE

Police arrested the student on Tuesday at her Thome Estate home in Nairobi. They carried away a laptop and a phone with a simcard registered in the mother’s name.

The girl was taken to court at about 11.45 am.

Her face was completely covered — except for the eyes — to conceal her identity because she is a minor.

Journalists found the suspect in the children’s waiting room surrounded by investigators who helped her cover her face and shoulders with a colourful scarf. Outside, waiting in the corridor, was her mother, also covered in a scarf and who seemed overcome by emotion.

The slim girl with a tiny frame — perhaps five feet two inches tall — was dressed in grey trousers and rubber shoes as she was escorted by female plain-clothes investigators and her mother.

When the proceedings began, the suspect finally removed the scarf, revealing her face.

NEAT PONYTAIL

Chocolate-skinned with her hair pulled back to a neat ponytail, her calm and collected demeanour belied the atrocious charges levelled against her. She did not show any emotion as the prosecutor read the charges against her.

Her eyes darted between the prosecutors and lawyers seated in front of her and the battery of journalists filming her and clicking away.

Investigators said they zeroed in on the girl after interviewing a number of students.

During the first few days of the investigation, the suspect was allowed to stay with her family but when it became clear to the investigators that she was the main suspect, she was arrested.

RUN AWAY

Police held her for the night prior to appearing in court, fearing that she might harm herself or run away.

Investigations reveal that the suspect is from a family of three. Her elder sister is a third year university student while her younger brother is in lower primary.

The suspect told police that she wanted to be a writer after completing school, with a special inclination to “magic and cultish” stories which she told the police were the kind of articles she would like to write some day.

Ethiopia: Five Gold Exchange Centres Break Ground

Ministry of Mines, Petroleum & Natural Resources (MoMPNR) has built five gold exchange centres in five regional states at a cost of one million Birr. The centres are expected to be operational this month.

The centres are built in Gambella, Benishangul Gumuz, Tigray, Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples’ and Oromia regional states with the main aim of solving the problem in the gold market exchange.

During the recently concluded fiscal year, Ethiopia earned 231 million dollars from gold export, showing a 33.7pc decline during the previous year.

Unavailability of gold exchange centres near the gold production site is mentioned as the major reason for the decline of foreign exchange earning from gold. It also abated the illegal transaction of gold.

Ethiopia

Rights Group Urges Saudis Not to Expel Ethiopians

Human Rights Watch is urging the Saudi government to halt its plan to expel hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian… Read more »

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