Posts tagged as: nation

Election Body Officials Off The Hook

Photo: Jeff Angote/Daily Nation

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

By Nairobi

Kenya — Commissioners and officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are breathing a little easier after the Supreme Court on Wednesday found itself unable to impute criminal intent or culpability against them, based on the evidence placed before them by Raila Odinga in his presidential petition.

The court declared that while the IEBC as a whole had failed to conduct the August 8 presidential election within the strict confines of the law, it was not in a position to point any fingers at specific individuals.

“No evidence was placed before us to prove that electoral offences were committed by officials of IEBC. What we saw in evidence was a systematic institutional problem and we were unable to find specific fingerprints of individuals who may have played a role in the commission of irregularities,” Chief Justice David Maranga ruled.

“We are therefore unable to impute any criminal intent or culpability on either the IEBC Chairman or any other Commissioner or member of IEBC,” CJ Maraga pronounced at the end of the delivery of their full presidential petition judgement.

The September 1 damning indictment on the conduct of the August 8 presidential election fissured the Commission as blame was traded.

Immediately after that ruling for instance, Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati was quick to point out that the Commissioners had only been in office for seven months in what was seen as a finger pointed at the Ezra Chiloba led secretariat.

He later, in a memo, demanded an explanation from IEBC Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba for the failures that led to the nullification of the poll

The memo was later leaked and laid bare for the public to see, the divisions within the Commission; Vice Chair Nkatha Maina led four other Commissioners in making clear that any personnel changes that had been alluded to by Chebukati needed sanction of the Commission as a whole.

The National Super Alliance however insists that the IEBC headquarters is a “crime scene” and demanded that the Director of Public Prosecutions move in and investigate its officials.

Kenya

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

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Major Hurdles Ahead of Election Rerun

Doubts are growing over Kenya’s ability to hold a rerun of its presidential election in just one month as key players remain unable to agree on how to conduct a credible vote.

Legalbrief reports that there have been several significant developments over the past week which indicate that the chasm between all the key role players is widening.

Riots last week broke out in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu city after a rumour spread about alleged efforts to rig the election. Several people were injured as police clashed with youths who blocked roads in the south-western city and threw stones.

In another significant development, opposition MPs boycotted the opening of Parliament to protest against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to address it after a court annulled his election win.

BBC News reports that they say it should not have been convened until after the election rerun slated for 17 October.

Kenyatta, however, said he still had the power to convene Parliament. ‘The set term of a President is embedded until a new one is sworn in as per the constitution,’ he told lawmakers. ‘I want to assure every Kenyan and the world that every arm of government is in place and operational,’ he added. Full BBC News report

Analysts say bickering on all sides and confusion over the process have only increased as the clock ticks down to the fresh vote which was called after the Supreme Court annulled the initial election.

A report on the News24 site notes that the opposition has vowed to boycott the election if its list of demands is not met, including staff changes at the electoral commission (IEBC), which it accuses of rigging the poll.

‘ The challenges are pretty extraordinary,’ said John Githongo, a prominent anti-corruption campaigner in Kenya.

A key hurdle is that the Supreme Court has yet to deliver its full judgment detailing why exactly it decided to annul Kenyatta’s victory. Chief Justice David Maraga mentioned only ‘irregularities and illegalities’, notably in the transmission of election results.

The court has until Friday to deliver the full ruling, which would give the IEBC little time to make any necessary changes. ‘It is very uncertain,’ said Nic Cheeseman, a professor of African politics at the University of Birmingham in England. Full report on the News24 site

An audit of the electronic system used to tally votes in the cancelled poll showed no manipulation of data, the French biometrics firm that supplied the system has confirmed.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has accused the company, OT-Morpho, of being complicit in alleged rigging of the election.

OT-Morpho said an ‘in-depth audit’ of the system showed the opposition’s claims about hacking were untrue. The Nation reports that COO Frederic Beylier said the audit, undertaken with help from external experts from security software companies, had shown the system ‘in no way suffered manipulation of data, attacks, attempts to penetrate the system or anything of that kind’.

OT-Morpho supplied the 45 000 tablets used to identify voters biometrically and an associated system used to transmit the results of votes counted by electoral officials as well as a photograph of the paper form 34A on which votes were tallied. Full report in The Nation

Kenya’s electoral body must be transformed before the election rerun as its credibility to hold a free and fair vote ‘is seriously questionable’.

That’s the view of political analyst Benji Ndolo who told News24 that the IEBC must be ‘sincerely reformed’ before the election rerun to avoid a serious ‘negative impact on the east African country’s economy’. Ndolo said that there were a lot of issues at stake if the election rerun was again disputed.

‘ Heads must roll. The institution has to be outside of the influence of any outside players. This is why the opposition has moved to have the chairperson moved and held accountable,’ Ndolo is quoted in the report as saying. Full report on the News24 site

Meanwhile, Jubilee MPs and senators are planning to trim the powers of the judiciary following the Supreme Court’s ruling which annulled Kenyatta’s poll win.

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen confirmed that they will enact laws which will deny the Supreme Court powers to overturn presidential election verdicts.

‘ We shall pass laws to protect the decision of the voter to stop some institutions from making decisions that annul the decision of a voter,’ he said. A report on the allAfrica site notes that the senator said the purpose of the law will be to protect the right of citizens where their sovereign right is robbed through ‘legal technicalities’. The law will clarify the foundations of our democracy because the decision of the Supreme Court is unacceptable,’ Murkomen added, according to the report.

Kenyatta says his criticism of the Chief Justice should not be viewed as an attack on Maraga’s Kisii community.

The Standard reports that he was addressing a delegation of more than 15 000 members of the Abagusii community at State House. Kenyatta said the Supreme Court decision to nullify his presidential election win was the most painful moment of his life.

He said his attack on Maraga and the three judges was justified because he believed the highest court in the land had erred in its ruling. Odinga claimed that the criticism of Maraga – who was part of the panel that nullified the election result – was an attack on his community. Full report in The Standard

Bees Attack Police, Protestors Outside Supreme Court

Photo: Brian Moseti/Daily Nation

St Johns Ambulance attendants assist a beggar who was stung and injured by bees outside the Supreme Court.

By Brian Moseti

Police and protestors outside the Supreme Court were forced to flee after they were attacked by bees.

One person was said to have been injured after being stung by the bees that attacked around 11.40am.

The police and protestors had to stand at a safe distance but away from the Supreme Court gate.

It is not clear where the bees came from.

The bees attacked as the Supreme Court judges delivered the full ruling that nullified August 8 presidential elections.

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 »

Nigeria: Nurses to Join Other Health Workers in Shutting Down Hospitals Thursday

By Senator Iroegbu

Abuja — The nurses and midwives in federal health institutions across the country are set to abide by the decision of the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) to embark on industrial action tomorrow if the federal government fails to accede to its demands at the expiration of the ultimatum given to the government by midnight today.

Rising from a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja tuesday, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), as a bonafide collaborator with JOHESU, called on its members in federal health institutions which include teaching hospitals, research centres and federal medical centres to down tools and stay away from hospitals and other health facilities nationwide on the order of the umbrella body.

The National President of NANNM, Abdulrafiu Adeniji, while briefing journalists on the development said: “By yesterday’s expiration of our ultimatum, all federal health institutions will remain closed.”

By extension, he said: “All states and local government health institutions are hereby put on red alert. If nothing is done after one week that the strike might have commenced, they should also go on strike”, adding that the only language that the Nigerian government understands is the strike.”

According to him, the meeting, which had in attendance members of the national executive council of the association, representatives of the chairmen’s forum, executives of NANNM in federal institutions as well as state executive officers, was “occasioned by the looming crisis in the nation’s health sector with a view to review the situation and come up with resolutions.”

Stressing that the federal government has taken the association for a ride, the president vehemently said NANNM was not satisfied with the condition of healthcare infrastructure in the country and as a result, asked the government to implement the report of the December 2016 Inter-Ministerial Committee in which contains the solution to industrial crisis in the health sector.

The association, therefore, called on the government to expedite action of the proposed gazetting of a well-deserved scheme of service for nurses and midwives who have to bear the pains and brunt of remaining on the same salary scale for long, while it also asked for the commencement of the scheme of Internship for nurses and midwives. “If this is not done, it will demotivate nurses and other health workers.”

Other resolutions reached at the meeting he said, the association condemned in entirety the non-inclusion of nurses in the position of decision-making by the Federal Ministry of Health and federal health institutions, saying such position of Directorate cadre should be created for nurses and such be filled with qualified candidates.

Adeniji blamed the festering of quackery in the health sector especially the nursing profession on the inability of the government to recruit more nurses to fill existing vacancies and to fill the job deficit gap.

He said out of about 170,000 licensed nurses and midwives turned out by training institutions across the country, only about 22,000 are gainfully employed in federal institutions, while a majority of Nigerian trained nurses and midwives work outside the shores of the country.

While charging non-governmental organisations and faith-based organisations to desist from engaging non-qualified nurses for health related campaigns and programmes, he said, “there must be a red alert on the issue of quackery. We must join hands together to ensure that quackery is reduced to the barest minimum.”

Angola: Chinese Business Group Invests U.S.$1 Million in Tilapia Production

Caxito — Two hundred tanks for the production of tilapia are being built in the Barra do Dande commune, north-western Bengo Province, by the Chinese firm RSI Su-Lda, a project that is to absorb one million US dollars, the company’s spokesman, Pedro Panzo, revealed Monday to ANGOP.

Pedro Panzo explained that the project – which has 80 per cent of it already done – aims to contribute to the social and economic development of the country and improve the subsistence of families in the region.

He said so far the project has employed forty workers, both nationals and expatriates, but it is predicted to take more manpower in its next stage.

Angola

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Malawi: Cancer Awareness Initiative Reaches Out to 5,000 Women

By James Mwale-Mana

Think Pink Malawi, an initiative designed to reach out to rural women with breast and cervical cancer awareness has so far reached out to at least 5,000 women since 2014.

Think Pink founder, Blandina Khondowe, in an interview said under the campaign whose main message is “Early detection of cancer is key for survival”, a total of 2,000 women had so far been physically examined, 50 of whom had been sent for further diagnostic testing having presented suspicious lumps.

She said: “Since 2014 we have managed to reach out to over 5000 people with the message of screening and examining for cancer, and we have lobbied for complete treatment of cancer in all public hospitals.”

She further disclosed that of the 50 who were sent for further diagnostic testing at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH), eight were treated for breast cancer while 12 were treated for cervical cancer.

She also explained that the awareness campaign targeted women in rural areas because they were more at risk due to lack of knowledge, as opposed to those in towns most of whom have access to mainstream media.

She, however, said: “The challenge has been not having enough resources to reach out to as many rural women since they are the ones that need more knowledge on cancer issues.”

Khondowe, a breast cancer survivor herself, founded Think Pink Malawi with the aim of saving women, especially those in rural areas from the agonies she went through having failed to detect the signs in time.

The campaign is intensified every whole month of October and according to Khondowe: “We usually take the message to them in their areas and last year we were in Lilongwe rural, Lilongwe urban and Dowa. This year we are going to Salima in the area of Chief Khombedza and Lilongwe urban.”

She also disclosed that the campaign is on-going and plans are in order to spread the message across the nation.

Malawi

Presidents Call for Accelerated Action to End Child Marriage

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Socialite Huddah Monroe Shows Off Nipple

Photo: The Nation

Huddah Monroe.

Socialite Huddah Monroe is at it again. She has given her fans a sneak view of one of her nipples.

The picture posted on her Instagram on Monday show her wearing an off shoulder white top that is pulled lower on the right breast to reveal a nipple.

In August, the socialite had appeared on the Talk Central show on K24 and announced that will no longer post semi-nude pictures of herself on social media.

Huddah declared that she would instead focus on her cosmetic brand.

Questions have been asked about how the socialite supports her lavish lifestyle compelling her to state that she is involved in real estate business

“I made my money when I used to do relocation, real estate because I used to know a lot of expatriates. So I would get a house, furnish it and then rent it out to these people coming here and that is how I used to make my money,” explained Huddah.

Kenya

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

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Nigeria: CBN Gives Banks Four-Week Ultimatum to Open Fx Teller Points

By Obinna Chima

Piqued by the failure of the banks to comply with an earlier directive asking them to open teller points for retail foreign exchange (FX) transactions at various locations, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a four-week deadline for them to comply or face stiff sanctions.

Banks that fail to comply with the directive before October 13, would among other severe sanctions be barred from all future CBN FX interventions.

The central bank stated this in a circular signed by its Director, Banking Supervision Department, Ahmad Abdullahi, a copy of which was obtained by THISDAY yesterday.

In a bid to ensure that FX was easily accessibly by travellers, the central bank had directed all banks to open FX outlets to sell dollars and other hard currencies at major airports.

The CBN had explained that the initiative would also ensure that transactions were settled at much more competitive exchange rates.

However, the circular revealed that most banks were in breach of the directive.

It said: “The attention of all banks is drawn to the CBN Circular dated March 3, 2017 with reference number: FMD/DIR/CIR/GEN/08/006 wherein all authorised FX dealers were directed to, among others:

“Open a teller point for retail FX transactions (PTA/BTA and SME) including buying and selling, in all locations in order to ensure access to foreign exchange by their customers and other users, without any hindrance,” it read.

In addition, the banks were expected to have an electronic display board at all their branches, showing rates of all trading currencies, and customers must insist on processing FX transactions (for all the above windows) based on a display rate.

Continuing, the circular added: “The objective is to create awareness among members of the public regarding the availability of such facilities in branches of the banks at clearly disclosed prices.

“Unfortunately, our observation has been that most Deposit Money Banks are in breach of the above directives.

“You are, therefore, given a period of four weeks up to October 13 to fully comply with the above directives or face stiff regulatory sanctions, including but not limited to being barred from all future CBN foreign exchange interventions.”

Since February, the CBN has sustained its intervention in the interbank FX market, which has helped in eliminating currency speculators and pushed FX demand away from the parallel market.

CBN spokesman, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor recently said the CBN had taken measures to check the activities of speculators and shield the currency from attacks, while also maintaining the value of the naira.

Okorafor maintained that authorised dealers have enough funds to meet the FX needs of customers and urged all to adhere to the extant guidelines on the sale of FX in the market.

He advised those in genuine need of FX to continue to approach their respective banks for purchase, adding that the CBN remained optimistic that the Nigerian currency will fare strongly against other convertible currencies.

In this regard, the CBN yesterday sustained its interventions in various segments of the interbank FX market with the injection of $545 million, the largest weekly injection by the central bank in recent weeks.

Giving a breakdown of the Bank’s latest intervention, Okorafor said the retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) got the largest intervention of $285 million.

Other components of the released figures included $100 million offered for Wholesale SMIS, $90 million for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) window and $70 million for invisibles such as basic travel allowances, tuition fees and medical payments.

According to Okorafor, yesterday’s intervention underscored the CBN’s avowed commitment to ensure a liquid interbank FX market where all genuine requests will be met in line with extant FX guidelines.

He expressed optimism that with the accretion in the nation’s foreign reserve, the Bank would continue to fulfil its mandate of safeguarding the international value of the naira.

He further disclosed that the Bank’s management also remained optimistic about achieving a convergence between the forex rates at both the inter-bank and BDC segments of the market.

Kenya: Firing of Striking Nurses Begins in Counties

Photo: Diana Ngila/Daily Nation

Striking nurses protest outside Afya House in Nairobi.

By Silas Apollo

County governments have begun advertising positions for the nurses who are on strike even as the caregivers continued their push for better pay and promotions.

At least two counties– Kirinyaga and Kiambu– have put up notices calling on interested candidates to apply for the positions.

CONTRACT

The Kirinyaga county government, in a notice in the local dailies, said the positions to be filled competitively will be on renewable contracts.

“Successful candidates will be appointed on contract renewable subject to proven performance,” Kirinyaga County Public Service Board said in the notice.

Last week, Kiambu County Public Service Board announced plans to fill the vacancies left by the striking nurses.

The health workers, whose job boycott has entered the third month, are agitating for improved pay, better working conditions as well as promotions.

NO NOTICE

Their demands are contained in a Collective Bargain Agreement they signed with the Council of Governors and the national government.

Appeals by President Kenyatta and governors to the nurses to resume work and return to the negotiation table have failed to yield much fruit, with the workers accusing the county chiefs of dishonesty and failing to honour the agreements signed.

The caregivers also say they are frustrated with the government’s lack of commitment to effect the deal reached with both the national and county governments in June.

Governors have, however, termed the ongoing strike illegal since the right procedure was not followed in calling it.

Council of Governors Chairman Josphat Nanok said even as the strike continues, no county government has received any legal notice on it from the Kenya National Union of Nurses.

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 »

Nigeria: NPA Reiterates Concern About Safety of Nigeria’s Territorial Waters

By Eromosele Abiodun

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman has reiterated management’s concern over the safety and security of operations and activities on the nation’s territorial waters.

She said this through the organisation’s Executive Director in charge of Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello Koko, who represented her when the federal government team for the implementation of the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure on the Arrest, Detention and Prosecution of Offenders in the Maritime Environment, paid a working visit to the corporate headquarters of the NPA in Marina, Lagos.

Addressing stakeholders during the session, the Managing Director pledged to synergise with the committee in order to holistically harmonise issues from stakeholders towards covering all areas of concern in respect of the subject in the front burner.

She stated that the NPA management was paying premium towards contributing effectively in the area of providing arrested vessels location on the nation’s waters while calling for swift actions to be taken in order to evacuate such vessels, an activity she said would create a better enabling environment for greater operational efficiency admit a safe and secured environment, restoring sanity at our anchorages.

She added that it would help generate more funds for the nation.

Furthermore, she stated that the NPA was soliciting support from stakeholders on the subject adding that the place of information sharing in attaining a successful task in this respect cannot be over emphasised.

Earlier, the chairman of the committee Rear Admiral FD Bobai informed the NPA management that the committee came as part of sensitisation efforts at parleying with stakeholders to ensure adequate collaboration and cooperation in efforts aimed at coordinating the agenda and targets set before them so as to bring about a safe Maritime Harbours in line with best practices.

Bobai told stakeholders that the major agenda facing the committee was to partner regional and sub-regional governance on Maritime safety and security for the nation to harness plausible natural endowment accruable to her by nature and consequently join the comity successful of Maritime nations.

He commended the NPA for the milestones achieved in various facets and enjoined that they should not relent as the task of lifting the nation up was for all.

Nigeria

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