Posts tagged as: number

Maraga Refers Aukot Case on Repeat Poll to High Court

By Sam Kiplagat

Chief Justice David Maraga has directed Dr Ekuru Aukot of Thirdway Alliance to go back to the High Court for an interpretation on whether he can run in the repeat presidential election.

Dr Aukot is seeking to be included in the repeat presidential race.

Dr Aukot filed the case after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced that the repeat poll, which is scheduled for October 17, will only be a contest between President Uhuru Kenyatta and National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga.

In his response, Mr Odinga has supported the inclusion of Dr Aukot in the repeat poll saying it is discriminatory to lock him out yet he participated in the August 8 presidential poll.

OPPOSED SUIT

Both President Uhuru Kenyatta and IEBC are opposed to the suit arguing that the court has already determined who should run in a repeat poll.

Dr Aukot says he has a direct, legitimate and inalienable constitutional right to participate in the fresh presidential election, having been a contender in the last poll and that the gazette notice which announced the race is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

But IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati says Dr Aukot is not eligible to contest the fresh poll, having conceded defeat in a press conference immediately after the August 8 election.

Dr Aukot says the electoral agency can only limit the number of candidates in a presidential election when the court orders a re-run.

“I believe that my political right and that of my constituents as enshrined in the Constitution are threatened, violated and infringed [on] by the decision of IEBC and Chebukati to exclude me in the fresh election without lawful justification,” adds Dr Aukot.

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 »

Kenya: Railway Set to Cut Down Cargo Freight Costs

By Allan Olingo

Kenya recently approved freight tariffs for the standard gauge railway, as the government seeks to meet its target of transporting 40 per cent of cargo from Mombasa port by rail.

Kenya Railways Corporation (KPC) managing director Atanas Maina told The EastAfrican that the corporation has received approvals of the tariffs from the Ministry of Transport, which will be half the road haulage rates, and will now begin discussions with transporters.

“We had to go through the process of the approval of the freight tariffs, which the Cabinet Secretary approved last week. We will now start engaging the freight players on the implementation, and possibly enter into contracts with them to move their cargo,” Mr Maina said.

KRC will charge $500 to transport a 20ft container between Mombasa and Nairobi, half of the $1,000 that truck owners charge.

However, traders say they will spend an additional $200 on the last mile transport to industries and other destinations in Nairobi.

Last mile talks

The SGR cargo line will run freight trains with 54 double-stack flat wagons, carrying 216 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per trip, with a load of 4,000 tonnes on each train.

“One of the key issues we will be engaging the stakeholders on is the last mile. This discussion will include whether the customers want us to do a full package that will see us deliver the goods to their doorstep or to the inland container depot,” Mr Maina said, adding that they hope to start signing contracts with cargo firms over the next three months before officially rolling out services in January.

From next month, Kenya will also scale up the cargo service and undertake a three month trial period to allow business people and cargo freighters to do pilot runs on the SGR line.

“We want to start more trials with commercial customers next month so that we can get honest feedback from them over the next three months. We already have 1,620 freight wagons, and we will receive 620 in January and February next year.

“What we have is sufficient to get the cargo line going,” Mr Maina said.

Since June, Kenya Railways has been doing a daily eight hour cargo trip from Mombasa to Nairobi but only with government supplies. The cargo is then distributed to the rest of the country.

Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said that improvement of the inland container deport is critical, and that the government is looking for more land to upgrade Kenya’s overall cargo-handling capacity.

“The expanded ICD can only serve the country up to 2023. In the next five years, we will be expecting to see an upward spiral in cargo traffic from the current 30,000 TEUs to 500,000. That is why we need to start thinking of a bigger handling centre to accommodate this cargo growth,” Mr Macharia said.

“We have been paying the same rate to transport a container via Rift Valley Railways, so Kenya Railways will have to offer competitive rates to attract the freighters and also address the last mile issues in order to remain competitive,” William Ojonyo, the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association chairman said.

Railway extension

In Mombasa, ongoing works to build a railway extension line from Berth Number 10 to Number 1 to ease access to cargo are being undertaken by China Railway and Bridges Corporation. The expansion will extend the fast train tracks to cover the 10 berths.

Meanwhile, Uganda hopes that cargo operators will use the SGR network from the port of Mombasa to the Nairobi inland depot, then move the cargo from there using trucks.

Ugandan traders

Uganda’s SGR project executive director Kasingye Kyamugambi said that traders were losing up to $1.2 billion annually transporting their goods from Mombasa to Kampala due to inefficiencies.

“We have seen traders spending up to $5,000 to bring a container from Mombasa to Kampala. This is incurred in high insurance premiums and costs paid to trucking firms. The SGR will definitely cut down this cost drastically, including the delivery timeline,” Mr Kyamugambi said.

Currently only five per cent of imported cargo destined for Kampala uses the railway line. The rest is transported by road, either through Kenya or Tanzania.

South Africa: Bogus Doctor Held for Fraud

A bogus doctor was arrested in Soweto for allegedly issuing fake medical certificates to motorists seeking to apply for public drivers’ permits.

The woman was arrested on Tuesday after law enforcement agents from the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit, the Hawks, the Health Professionals Council of South Africa, the Medicines Control Council and Home Affairs raided her surgery.

Medicines, patient files and government documents were confiscated during the arrest.

“The arrest brings to five the number of bogus doctors arrested in Gauteng in four weeks as part of Operation Recall.

“The doctors are all originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and use the practice number of a local doctor to conduct their business,” the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said in a statement.

Investigations by RTMC have revealed that there are more than 32 000 unlawfully issued public drivers’ permits.

“Holders of these documents are believed to be on the roads driving busses, trucks and taxis. These people are placing the lives of other road users at risk as they might not be medically fit to be driving vehicles,” RTMC said.

These documents will be cancelled as soon as investigations have been completed.

Members of the public are advised to contact the RTMC on 0861 400 800 to report traffic related corruption and fraud.

South Africa

Euthanasia Back in Courts As Doctor Fights for Right to Die

The right of terminally ill individuals to end their life when, and how, they choose has been a battle fought before… Read more »

Tigo Eyes Top Spot By Year’s End

By Stephen Nuwagira

Rwanda’s telecom industry has reached a critical stage in market dominance with the two top players separated by a less than 3-percentage point margin.

According to the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) Active Mobile Telephone Subscriptions report for August 2017, MTN controls 42 per cent of the market, Tigo enjoys a market share of over 39 per cent, up from 36.5 per cent in December 2016, while late entrant, Airtel Rwanda, trails with 19 per cent.

MTN is yet to recover from a 15.8 per cent reduction in active mobile users lost in January, which cut its subscribers to 3.4 million from 4.07 million in December 2016. The RURA report, indicates that the country’s mobile telephone penetration level is, however, once again on an upward trend following big drops in the first and second quarters of the year.

Presently, the penetration rate stands at 74.4 per cent, an increase of 0.5 per cent from 74 per cent the previous month. This growth is, however, lower than 97.2 per cent penetration level recorded in December 2016 before active subscriber numbers declined by 7.1 per cent in January to 8.28 million from 8.9 million users at the end of 2016. The report indicates that the total number of active mobile telephone subscriptions (90-days revenue generating subscribers) rose from 8.49 million in July to 8.58 million in August, an increase of one per cent. Postpaid user rose to 126,614 in August, from 124,714 the previous month, while prepaid subscribers inched up to 8.45 million people from 8.37 million at the end of July.

Sector analysts attribute the increases registered by telecom firms over the past three months (June to August) to customers promotions, where telecom firms are giving out millions worth of cash prizes while others have rolled out attractive, more affordable and client-centric packages for both data and voice.

These products, the experts say, are all geared at subscriber retention and acquisition. RURA figures of Tigo Rwanda has been the biggest gainers over the past three months, a development that has piled immense pressure on sector pioneers and market leaders MTN Rwanda. The telecom’s subscriber figures inched up by 94,852 or 2.9 per cent in July 2017 to over 3.3 million users and rose 1.2 per cent (37,091) in August to 3,395,930 from 3,356,951 in July.

MTN’s subscriber base grew by 0.8 per cent (27,628) to 3,574,598 users from 3,546,958 in July, while Airtel Rwanda customers rose by one per cent or by 16,442 new users to 1,609,995, from 1,593,553.

What sector players say

Commenting on the gains, Philip Amoateng, the Tigo Rwanda chief executive officer, said the firm’s positive subscriber growth over the reporting is driven by a highly motivated sales and distribution team “that we have on the ground”.

“This is also testament to customer confidence in the quality of the services we offer, such as the fast data and Tigo Cash mobile financial services… We are working towards becoming the market leader by the end of 2017,” said Amoateng.

However, MTN chief executive Bart Hofker said the firm is focusing on increasing its revenue market share and not just the number of customers, arguing that one can “pump up that figure cosmetically”.

“We clean our data base for non-users regularly… Besides, we have been able to grow total revenue in Q2 by over 10 per cent compared to the same period last year. So, the exercise hasn’t impacted our revenue,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday. Focusing on user numbers does not show a telecom’s ‘real performance’ per se.

Eritrea: Commendable Effort to Boost Bee Farming

Mendefera — In continuation with the effort being exerted to boost bee farming, the 13 youth in Adi-Qual that were trained in bee farming have been extended with modern bee hives with their accessories worth 260 thousand Nakfa.

The beneficiaries stated that the bee hives will have significant contribution in boosting honey production and thereby stabilizing the local markets.

Commending for the support they were extended, they expressed readiness to live up to expectation.

Eritrea

Number of Health Professionals Increases

Owing to the substantial investment made the number of health professionals in different capacities has increased by… Read more »

Rwanda: UTB to Construct New Home at Rebero

By Eddie Nsabimana

The University of Tourism, Technology and Tourism Studies (UTB) plans to construct a new home at Rebero in Kicukiro District by November 2018, officials said on Friday.

The construction of the new premises worth Rwf 12.5 billion is set to start at the beginning of October, according to Dr Callixte Kabera, the University Vice Chancellor.

Speaking at a news briefing at the University, Kabera said their expansion plan would enable them to extend academic services to more local and regional students.

“There is growing demand from students but we are limited by our current facility’s capacity. The new premises will open doors to more students,” said Kabera.

The new facility, Kabera said, will almost double the number of students it used to admit from 4000 to 8000, targeting the 2018-19 academic year.

The university also plans to increase the number of staff when the new campus opens.

According to the University administration, Rebero campus will be a multi-service complex building with lecture halls, libraries, and other pedagogical facilities.

The three-year-construction project will be done in three phases with the first phase to build lecture rooms and administrative offices and library expected to start in October.

The next phase will see the construction of hostels with capacity to accommodate at least 400 students.

In the final phase, the university will build a Cultural Village and Community Tourism Center, home to the handicrafts exhibition, entertainment and cultural elaboration to tourists as well as a gymnasium that will harbor a variety of sports facilities.

The last two phases of the project will cost Rwf 10.5 billion.

Rwanda

Bank of Kigali Wins International Award for Best Bank

Bank of Kigali is the Best Bank in Rwanda, according to the 2017 African Bankers’ Awards for the East Africa region… Read more »

Zimbabwe: Women’s Empowerment Bank Ready to Roll

THE setting up of Women Empowerment Bank is at an advanced stage with the bank’s chief executive officer already appointed to kick start the financial institution’s operations before year-end.

The bank CEO who is part of the nine member committee, is already smoothening some rough edges to open the bank. This comes after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) set aside $15 million for the revolving Women’s Empowerment Fund, which supports projects owned and managed by women. The fund attracts an “all-inclusive” interest rate of 10 percent.

Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Nyasha Chikwinya, told The Herald Business that the bank is expected to officially start operations before the end of 2017.

“Almost every aspect is in place to roll out Women Empowerment Bank and a nine member committee, which includes the CEO has already started operations of the bank. What’s left is for some Information and Communication Technology connections to be set up so that the bank will digitalise its services to modern trends, while bringing convenience to its clients across Zimbabwe. We are putting in self-service centres to increase our convenience to female customers. Customers can come in, do all the transactions they want to do in this bank,” said Minister Chikwinya.

The Fund, whose operational modalities are currently being finalised, will be made available for on-lending through the new bank with the help of other commercial banks, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB).

RBZ has recently engaged Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation (SMEDCO) over the Fund. The central bank believes the lack of gender-disaggregated data is generally a major constraint in crafting policies that respond to challenges faced by women in accessing financial services and products.

Zimbabwe

Biometric Voter Registration – Mugabe Refuses to Give His Phone Number

President Robert Mugabe struggled to have his finger prints taken and refused to give his phone number to Zimbabwe… Read more »

NRM Wins Iganga Woman MP Seat Amid Violence

By Tausi Nakato, Ronald Seebe & Denis Edema

The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate Ms Brenda Asinde Suubi has been declared winner of the Iganga District woman MP by-election.

Ms Asinde garnered 43,197 votes while her closest rival Ms Mariam Nantale of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) got 24,077 votes.

The three independent candidates who include Ms Oliver Kwagala , emerged the third with 1,212 votes , Asha Babirye walked away with 7,052 votes and Ms Aziza Kakerewe was the last with 689 votes.

Ms Asinde was declared winner of the by-election at exactly 03:00am by the Iganga District Returning Officer Ms Mercy Ataho.

“As the returning officer of the area , in accordance with section 58 of the parliamentary Elections Act , I declare Ms Aside Brenda Suubi who obtained the largest number of votes winner and district representative to parliament,” She said.

Before declaring the winner, Ms Ataho announced that out of the 382 polling stations, ballot papers from 378 polling stations had been counted while those from the other four polling stations had been over violence.

” We have cancelled four polling stations and cases are being handled by police. These include Nabitovu polling station in Nakigo sub county ,cancelled after the valid and invalid votes exceeded the number of registered voters at the polling station , Bupingo primary school polling station in ibulanku Sub County where polling was interrupted, ballot boxes with its content together with ballot papers , booklets were grabbed by un know persons,” she said.

“Another one is Bulubandi primary school polling station in Nakigo Sub County where a group of people disguised as voters raided the polling station, beat up the polling officials, grabbed the unused ballot papers, marked them, broke the seals of the ballot boxes and stuffed the box with marked ballot papers and Nakalama p/s M-Z polling station, we did not receive the results,” she said.

However, Ms Nantale refused to concede defeat saying the election was marred with intimidation, bribery and ballot stuffing.

Ms Nantale said she will sit with her party and lawyers to decide the next step of action.

Uganda

Man Killed Over Witchcraft: Five Family Members Held

Police in Namisindwa District have arrested five members of the same family in connection with the death of their… Read more »

Nigeria: CBN Reviews Limits On Mobile Money Transaction, Balance

By Yinka Kolawole

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reviewed daily mobile money wallet transaction and balance limit, as well as the Bank Verification Number (BVN) requirement for mobile money wallet holders.

In a circular to all mobile money operators, signed by the Director, Banking and Payments System Department, CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, the apex bank explained that it was reviewing the requirements in line with its initiative to enhance access to financial services through the Mobile Money Services.

CBN stated: “In line with the initiative of the bank to enhance access to financial services through the Mobile Money Services, the daily transaction limit and balance limit on mobile money wallets have been reviewed to afford users of Mobile Money Services, more flexibility in the use of mobile money wallet.”

The revised limits on transaction and balances, shows that for Know Your Customer (KYC) level-1, daily cumulative transaction limit is N50,000 while cumulative balance limit is N300,000, in line with the three-tiered KYC requirements. For KYC level-2, daily cumulative transaction limit is N200,000 while cumulative balance limit is N500,000.

The revised limits for KYC level-3, according to the circular, are: N5 million daily cumulative transaction limit while cumulative balance is unlimited.

The circular dated September 7, 2017 further stated that BVN is not required for wallet holders on KYC level-1, while those on KYC levels-2 and 3 are mandated to have BVN. “Furthermore, the bank hereby clarifies that the Mobile Money wallet holders on Tiered KYC level-1 are not required to provide Bank Verification Number as part of the KYC documentation, while BVN is mandatory for Mobile Money wallet holders on KYC-levels 2 and 3,” the circular further stated.

Nigeria

Nigeria’s Political Elite See Buhari As a Meal – Shehu Sani

Shehu Sani, a senator from Kaduna central, says the Nigeria political elite see President Muhammadu Buhari as a “meal”,… Read more »

Zimbabwe: Government to Boost Gold Production

By Ishemunyoro Chingwere

The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development will this week sign off at least 40 gold claims across the country as Government steps up efforts to boost gold production in the country. The claims will be bequeathed to small scale miners and are drawn from the 1 million hectares of mineral rich deposits, which Government said it will remove from the state protected areas for exploitation by miners.

The release is part of efforts by Government to boost export earnings to the $3 billion target set for 2017 from the $2 billion achieved in 2016. Some of these areas, industry sources say, were already being exploited anyway but produce was being smuggled out of the country as their exploitation was illegal.

Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development Fred Moyo, confirmed the signing off of the claims but said he would not know the exact number as these are handled at provincial level.

“We are progressively releasing gold deposits and mining land with other minerals as part of the one million hectares which we said we will release from state protected areas,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.

“But for me to then quantify the number of claims off hand is a bit difficult because these are handled by the provinces.

“What we are doing at our level is to sign off say a particular piece of land but then it becomes the business of the provinces and the miners how they go on to peg the land and the number of claims that will be pegged from a given piece of land,” he said.

But a senior official at the ministry confirmed this week will see at least 40 claims being released to miners. “At least 40 have been signed off and the beneficiaries will be given title and the green light to commence operations,” he said.

“Government has in the past been seized with happenings in the Chrome sector but for now the new frontier is gold where we believe we can boost production and accrue larger economic benefits.

“Going forward we will witness the freeing up of more of these claims to small scale miners who have applied for concessions,” he said.

The move is set to boost gold exports which last year totalled $914 million up from $737 million in 2015.

Signs of growth from last year’s figures have been telling and as at 12 May gold alone had risen by 3, 2 percent compared to the same period in 2016, with earnings totalling $275, 2 million due to firming commodity prices on the international market.

Total mineral exports, from the entire mining basket, for the same period also firmed by 27 percent this year compared to the preceding year.

Zimbabwe

UN Pledges to Support Mugabe Govt Programmes

The United Nations has said it will continue to work with the Government to spearhead several development programmes in… Read more »

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