By Moses Havyarimana
Burundi’s main opposition leader and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Agathon Rwasa has claimed his life is in danger following attacks of several of his supporters by unknown people.
He said the attacks and a plot to assassinate him are linked to the coming elections in 2020.
Mr Rwasa pointed an accusing finger at members of the ruling party, Council for the Defence of Democracy – Forces for the Restoration of Democracy, CNDD-FDD, and the police.
Mr Rwasa is one of the few opposition leaders who have remained critical of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government. Several of his supporters have lately been killed and others kidnapped and he says these incidents have left him fearing for his life. But the government has dismissed the claims, saying he had not even made an official complaint.
“We suppose that he is well protected by the police and the army because he hasn’t yet reported any abnormal situation of his security,” said Burundi police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye.Video footage surfaced on social media showing the ruling party youth wing Imbonerakure jogging while chanting that they would “impregnate” opposition members so as they “could give birth to Imbonerakure.”
The video stirred up reactions from the international community, with the latest condemnation coming from the UN human rights office.
“The grotesque rape chants by the young men are deeply alarming, particularly because they confirm what we have been hearing from those who have fled Burundi about a campaign of fear and terror by this organised militia,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.The ruling party condemned the Imbonerakure, saying it was contrary to the “rules and the mission of the party.”
“CNDD-FDD condemns the use of that language and the disciplinary commission is investigating and whoever involved will be sanctioned,” a statement read from the ruling party.
Efforts have been made by the East African Community to put an end to the political crisis that continued to dog the country since 2015, although the regional mediated dialogue under the facilitation of former Tanzania president Benjamin Mkapa is yet to produce tangible results.
“We had said this before and we will continue saying it that the Burundi government will not sit on the same table with the coup plotters… they only have to face justice,” said Will Nyamitwe, special ambassador of Burundi.
As the country steadily gains stability and the focus turns to the 2020 general elections, the ruling party CNDD-FDD is said to still have the upper hand. The absence of main opposition leaders and weak opposition justifies the dominance of CNDD-FDD.
The intra-Burundi dialogue commission (CNDI) released a report on the findings in the six-month period on what could restore peace.
According to the findings, Burundians called on their lawmakers to scrap term limits that can see the incumbent stay in power.
Burundi is relatively gaining stability after the violent protests in 2015 that led to more than 500 people losing their lives. The country’s Constitution has been at the centerstage of the political crisis the country has faced since the 2015 polls.
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Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Burundi
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By Cewhy Kwanue
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that Liberian health authorities are taking rapid precautionary measures after 10 people died of a mystery illness, 10 months after the end of a catastrophic two-year Ebola virus outbreak.
Liberian authorities said initial scientific investigations have ruled out Ebola as the cause of the deaths. Residents say the people died of suspected ‘food poisoning’ from food eaten at the funeral repast of a pastor (not named). The pastor’s death was attributed to high blood pressure.
The Liberian National Police is also investigating the causes of the deaths.
“The corpse of the person who died today (yesterday) reportedly decayed within a short time,” a female resident told the Daily Observer via mobile phone last night.
Accounts from Greenville have meanwhile described the situation as being tense and confusing. As a result, health workers are reportedly wearing personal protection equipments (PPEs) similar to what healthcare givers used during the deadly Ebola outbreak in the country.
One account said some of the victims were literally dropping dead and that officers of the LNP are using megaphones to warn residents to report all sick cases to the hospital and not to churches or shrines.
“Yesterday, WHO received a report from Liberia health authorities about a cluster of unexplained illness and deaths in Sinoe County, southern Liberia,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in an email.
“According to the report, since Monday, 14 people have fallen sick. Eight people have died and six are seriously ill and still in the hospital.”
He gave no indication of what might have caused the deaths, but said specimens from seven bodies had been sent to the national laboratory for testing and that results were expected Wednesday or yesterday, Thursday.
Samples were also being taken from water sources to test for chemicals and bacteria, he said.
“Health authorities are taking immediate precautionary measures such as isolating suspected cases, tracing contacts and engaging with the community and their leaders,” Jasarevic added.
The Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Nah Kateh, told a news conference in Monrovia on Wednesday that rapid response teams have been activated at district and county levels.
Kateh, however, did not respond to this newspaper’s phone call last night; neither did he reply to a text message the Daily Observer sent to him.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that “initial tests conducted by the Liberian Institute of Biomedical Research in Charlesville, Margibi County, has ruled out Ebola virus disease as the cause of the deaths.”
In June last year, the WHO declared Liberia free of active Ebola virus transmission, the last of three West African countries at the epicenter of the world’s worst outbreak of the disease.
The epidemic killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 from 2013, as it swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to WHO data. (Reuters).
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Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Health
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Photo: The Observer
IGP Kale Kayihura chats with some police officers at Lubaga cathedral recently.
By Zurah Nakabugo & Johnson Taremwa
Gen Kale Kayihura, the inspector general of police (IGP), has deployed and transferred more than 150 police officers within the last one month, The Observer has established.
The action followed a directive from President Museveni to Gen Kayihura to clean up the police following the grisly March 17 murder of Assistant IGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, who was also the police spokesperson.
Since then, Kayihura has rung a multitude of changes that have affected a number of senior police officers, and has dismantled his inner circle, sending some of them on courses.
Among the changes that the police chief made early this month was to sack all his assistants, including Jonathan Baroza, his long-serving aide.
Baroza is scheduled to go for training abroad.
Yesterday, police spokesperson Asan Kasingye downplayed the transfers, saying they were a “normal” exercise aimed at improving the effectiveness of the force. He said the force also disciplines its errant officers through charging them in the police disciplinary court and dismissals.
“We have so far charged more than 100 police officers in both the police disciplinary court and public court,” he said.
However, some critics of the police such as Francis Mwijukye, the MP for Buhweju, say Kayihura is simply window dressing the problem through the transfers.
Mwijukye told The Observer that transferring police officers to different stations will not clean up a Force that criminals openly identify with and which is shamelessly partisan.
“Police has become partisan and any officer who fails to participate in [NRM] politics ends up getting transferred,” he said.
Other critics from within the police, who declined to speak on record, argued that transfers are merely a way of recycling criminal elements within the force, not getting rid of them, as Museveni had instructed Kayihura.
Kasingye said police is tackling the recent surge in criminal attacks by stepping up night patrols, arresting suspected criminals, as well as involving residents through community policing and neighborhood watch initiatives. The table above shows some of the officers deployed or transferred.
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Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Uganda
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By Simon Ndonga
Nairobi — There was drama at the Nyayo Stadium Jubilee tallying centre Thursday, when Nairobi Woman Representative Rachael Shebesh stormed the venue, alleging a plot to rig her out.
Shebesh who was accompanied by her supporters claimed that votes were being stolen at the Embakasi North polling station in favour of her rival Millicent Omanga.
Shebesh vowed that she would not allow the exercise to proceed before the matter was settled.
“We will not allow this to happen. I was leading and the Returning Officer decided to reverse my votes. That is not acceptable,” she complained.
She was later escorted out by police and taken to the Nyayo Stadium Police Station where she was advised to direct her grievances to the party.
“This is very bad and cannot be allowed to go on. Now I am going to the Jubilee Party headquarters to express my grievances.”
Even as she protested, Shebesh had taken the lead in the Woman Representative post with 15,545 votes while Omanga followed with 7,185 votes.
Karen Nyamu is third with 5,434 followed by Janet Muthoni who has 2,039 votes.
In the tallying that is ongoing, Nairobi Senator Mie Sonko maintained a steady lead in the Jubilee gubernatorial race after securing 68,208 votes in nine constituencies tallied so far.
In the votes counted in Kibra, Embakasi South, Langata and Dagoretti North, Peter Kenneth garnered 28,861 votes while Bishop Margaret Wanjiru had 5,282 so far.
County Returning Officer John Rotich also announced the Senate count for the nine constituencies where former TNA Chairman Johnson Sakaja is in the lead with 24,774 votes.
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Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Kenya
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Photo: The New Times
Pesticide spraying to fight against armyworms in Kirehe District.
Food security situation remains under control despite fall armyworms ravaging maize plantations in parts of the country, Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana, the minister for agriculture and animal resources, has said.
First reported in Nyamagabe District at the end of February, the pest has so far ravaged an estimated 15,699 hectares of farmland (a quarter of the country’s total area of 63,499 hectares planted with maize).
This represents about 5 per cent of the total cultivated land countrywide this season.
“The armyworms will not seriously impact food security because maize was not cultivated in large areas during season 2017B,” Mukeshimana said.
“Up to 95 per cent of the total cultivated land this season (1,300,000 hectares) is covered by other crops, which will sustain food security.”
The crops include beans, Irish potatoes, banana, rice, wheat, soybeans, and cassava that have been prioritised under the Crop Intensification Programme (CIP). Other subsistence crops, such as sweet potatoes, have also been grown during this season to ensure food security, the minister adds.
Mukeshimana said the Government stepped up efforts to fight armyworms in the beginning of 2017 after the pest was reported in some Southern African countries.
Farmers across the country were alerted and a campaign was conducted to inform them on how to identify and fight armyworms, she said.
The Ministry of Agriculture initiated radio talk shows to raise awareness about the pest, the minister said. In addition, massive training of farmers, agronomists and local leaders at the district and sector levels have taken place on differentiating fall armyworms from maize stalk borer for better targeted control measures, according to the minister.
The Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) has provided insecticides to affected farmers who have limited means, in order to facilitate quick intervention, she added.
Some farmer cooperatives and individuals have taken the initiative to purchase chemicals from agro-dealers on their own.
The ministry also sought support from other institutions, mainly Local Government, Rwanda Defence Forces and Rwanda National Police, in the exercise to spray pesticides and collect armyworms from affected farms.
The pesticides being used are eco-friendly to avoid further adverse effects to the environment, agriculture experts said.
“From the time the ministry and other institutions started spraying pesticides, the armyworms have reduced. However, efforts are still underway and will continue for a long time to ensure that the pest is completely eradicated,” Minister Mukeshimana said.
“The ministry is working hand in hand with local leaders countrywide to support farmers in getting rid of the armyworms,” she added.
The fall armyworm was first reported in West Africa in January 2016. Between December 2016 and March 2017, it was reported in several countries in Southern, and Eastern Africa.
On Wednesday, Mukeshimana informed Cabinet that, as of this week, the pest has been reported in all districts of the country.
Cabinet called upon all the population and stakeholders to help fight the pest.
Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Rwanda
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National and District coordinators of Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (RYVCP) have committed full support toward the forthcoming Police Week activities.
Police Week, an annual event, promotes the role of community-police partnership, crime prevention campaigns, supporting government programmes and social protection programmes, among others.
The youth made the commitment, on Wednesday, during their meeting with the Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel K. Gasana, at RNP General Headquarters in Kacyiru.
This year’s Police Week will be marked under the theme, “17 years of vibrant partnership in policing: towards sustainable safety and security.”
It is scheduled to run for one month, from May 15 to June 15, and climax on ‘Police Day’ (June 16) the day the Force will be marking its 17th anniversary.
During the meeting, Gasana lauded the youth volunteers for their partnership in ensuring public safety and urged them to continue to play a significant role in policing activities.
“Your effort in ensuring public safety is highly commendable; always use your networks to strengthen the community policing activities,” IGP Gasana said.
“Always aspire for innovation, teamwork and real time information sharing.”
He urged the youth to exploit all means of communication, especially social media, in engaging with the public to collectively ensure a safer Rwanda.
Among the human security activities planned during the Police Week include distribution of solar home systems (SHS) to 3,000 households in remote areas, and 30 health centres across the country, which will be conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Others are launch of the construction of a football pitch in Gasabo District, and holding several anti-crime awareness campaigns.
The national coordinator of RYVCP, Justus Kangwagye, said youth volunteers are ready to provide necessary support during Police Week activities mainly through enhanced anti-crime campaigns, and sustaining gains made.
“As Police’s main partners, we have committed to go beyond just sensitisation campaigns in the upcoming Police Week activities and ensure that the solar panels that RNP will give out are well maintained,” he said.
The youth forum has also been actively involved in constructing and renovating houses for the underprivileged, environmental protection, awareness campaigns against crimes especially those that are said to be of high impact like illicit drugs, corruption, genocide ideology, gender based violence, child abuse, among others.
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Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Rwanda
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By Ludovick Kazoka
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), will facilitate training of police and security forces on the guidelines on the conditions of arrest, police custody and pretrial detention in Africa.
ICRC Head of Regional Delegation, Thierry Meyrat said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the guidelines will also be distributed to regular trainings organized by the ICRC for police, judicial and detention authorities.
He was speaking during an event to launch the Swahili version of the guidelines which were adopted by the African Charter on Human and People’s Right (ACHPR) during its 55th Ordinary Session in Luanda, Angola in 2014.
Since its adoption, the Luanda Guidelines have represented a significant step forward towards ensuring that law enforcement agencies exercise their power of arrest only when necessary and uphold the rights enshrined in the African Charter in their pre-trial practices and procedures.
The ACHPR Commissioner, Mr Med Kaggwa, noted that the Luanda Guidelines were developed to assist the governments in carrying out their obligations to provide all people with the rights to life, dignity, equality, security and independent judiciary in the context of arrest.
However, he said detainees in most African countries were still facing challenges, including congestion and access to healthcare, pointing out that the guidelines were vital to address such challenges.
Mr Kaggwa observed that the guidelines reflect the collective aspirations of the African states, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations in promoting a right-based approach to the critical area of criminal justice.
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Apr 27 2017 | Posted in Tanzania
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By Stella Cherono
One person has died and another seriously injured after being stabbed by supporters of a parliamentary aspirant in Pangani, Nairobi.
The two were posting campaign posters on a wall near the Pangani Girls High School Wednesday morning when a group affiliated to another aspirant attacked them.
Nairobi County Police Commander Japheth Koome said the two were stabbed using a knife and while they were crossing the road to escape from the attackers, one of them was knocked by a car and was rushed to hospital where he was confirmed dead.
However, Mr Koome said a post-mortem will be conducted to ascertain whether the death was caused by the stabbing or the knocking down by the car.
He said police have been directed to be vigilant and prevent youth from campaigning during the nominations as it is illegal.
The other victim of the attack is being treated in hospital.
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Apr 26 2017 | Posted in Kenya
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Photo: The Nation
Police recruits at Kiganjo Training College in Nyeri County March 3, 2017 (file photo).
By Fred Mukinda
The National Police Service will hire 10,000 officers who will be bonded for 10 years.
Interested Kenyans aged between 18 and 28 are required to fill an application form ahead of the recruitment on May 11.
Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet laid out measures that would ensure only qualified people are hired.
“An applicant who canvasses… or wilfully presents false academic certificates…or engages in any corrupt activity shall be disqualified and prosecuted,” he said.
Those arrested could be fined up to Sh200,000 or jailed for two years. NPSC is mandated to employ police officers but has delegated the duty to the IG.
SCORED D+ AND ABOVE
The service will be looking for Kenyans who scored not less than a D+ mean grade in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination.
The candidates must also have the same grade or better in English and Kiswahili.
The recruits should be cleared by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
On May 11, they will be required to present the filled application forms and academic certificates at the 292 recruitment centres countrywide.
Successful applicants will be inducted into the force after a nine-month training.
The announcement was made in My Gov, a government publication, and distributed in Tuesday’s Daily Nation.
It also encouraged professionals to apply. In particular, it mentioned forensic scientists, information and communication technology experts, sign language interpreters, video editors, clinical officers and nurses.
Application forms are available at police stations and divisions as well as the offices of county commissioners.
They can also be downloaded from police websites.
In his March state of the nation address, President Uhuru Kenyatta said sustained recruitment had reduced the police to civilian ratio from 1:800 in 2012 to 1:380.
The UN recommends one officer for every 450 citizens.
Apr 26 2017 | Posted in Kenya
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By Stephen Wandera
Kampala — More than 2,000 private clinics yesterday closed in the city starting on a three-day strike over what they described as unfair double tax.
About 20 representatives of the health workers, under their umbrella organisation, Kampala Private Medical Practitioners Association (KPMRA), yesterday turned up at railway grounds to march to the Constitutional Court in protest over the delay of their case challenging the tax. They were, however, rounded up by police.
“Trading License Act was recently amended that requires us (clinic operators) to pay trading license to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). On top of that, we pay professional fees to our respective professional bodies annually. This double taxation is what we have challenged in court but it is taking ages for even our case to be hard,” Mr Richard Kwizera, a member of KPMRA told Daily Monitor.
The suspects started trickling in at the venue as early 8am and by 9.30am, when they were about to start marching to the Constitutional Court, they were rounded up and taken to Kampala Central Police Station (CPS).
CPS district police commander Joseph Bakaleke said the health workers did not have permission to hold the demonstration. “This is an illegal gathering and we cannot allow you to proceed. Arrest all of them,” he ordered his men. Police encountered minimal resistance from the health workers as they were taken into custody. After several hours of questioning at CPS, Mr Aggrey Mushagara, the lawyer for the health workers, said they agreed with police to allow them march to court today and they were promised police protection.
He said five clinic operators were arrested at the weekend for operating without trading licenses. “We demand that they are unconditionally released because they are being forced to pay unfair taxes,” one of the striking colleagues said.
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Apr 26 2017 | Posted in Health
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