Posts tagged as: republican

Tanzania Denies Prying in Kenya’s Politics Ahead of August Elections

Photo: The Citizen

Tanzanian President John Magufuli, Raila Odinga and Kenyan President President Uhuru Kenyatta (file photo).

By Florence Mugarula

The government yesterday rubbished reports by some Kenyan media that Tanzania is prying in Kenyan politics ahead of the August general election.

For sometimes, there has been misleading reports in some Kenyan media that Tanzania is backing some politicians in Kenya. The recent misleading article, which was published in the weekly newspaper ‘Citizen’ with the title ‘Magufuli lures Museven to back Raila,’ is one such report.

The Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Aziz Mlima, told the ‘Daily News on Saturday’ that Tanzania has never thought to meddle in Kenya or any other country’s internal affairs.

He said the accusations that are levelled against Tanzania that it has entered into an agreement with some politicians are not true.

“We understand that during election campaigns, many things happen, some candidates follow principles of democracy and others decide to play dirty game. I want to assure the public that the government of Tanzania is not involved in anyway in Kenyan politics,” he said.

According to Dr Mlima, Tanzania respects and believes in the principles of democracy and good governance and thus there is no way it could stick its nose into Kenyan internal political affairs.

He added that Tanzania will be the last country to interfere in other countries’ businesses. The PS said the two countries have good relationship and that the misleading media reports should be ignored to maintain the historical good relationship.

“We all remember that in 1960, the founding father discussed the possibility of delaying Tanzania independence until Kenya becomes free too,” he said.

He asked the public to ignore the misleading reports in some of Kenyan media saying they were unhealthy for the growth of democracy and good relations in the region.

“We are asking both Tanzanians and Kenyans to understand us, our aim is to see the East African Community (EAC) moving forward and business growing,” noted Dr Mlima.

He added: “Media organisations must research and publish information that helps our countries’ to move forward instead of creating tension by misleading the public.”

East Africa

President Al-Bashir Issues Republican Decree Approving Employment Structure of General Prosecution

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Regional Body Should Improvise With the Available Funding

opinion

The 2017/18 East African Community (EAC) budget will be relatively smaller compared to that for the current financial year. The decision was reached by regional ministers based on the current economic situation in member states. They also agreed not to increase contributions to the 2017/18 Budget from partner states.

The development presents a big challenge to the EAC Secretariat because it needs resources to implement many of the programmes aimed at fast-tracking the integration process. There is no doubt that poor funding affects the operations of the EAC, but the challenge should also be seen as an opportunity for the Secretariat to adjust accordingly and ensure that even with the limited funding, work is still done.

Poor funding should not be an excuse for the EAC not to deliver as the region moves towards forming one economic bloc to boost trade. 52 per cent ($57.3 million) of the bloc’s next budget is expected to come from internal resources, mainly partner states’ contributions, which were set at 54 per cent previously. Development partners provide the rest.

The EAC Secretariat should come up with unique strategies to be able to deliver using the available limited funds.

The Secretariat should also reach out to the private sector and forge partnerships aimed at supporting the work of the EAC.

However, partner states should endeavour to pay their contributions on time. To fund activities of key organs of the bloc including the EAC Secretariat, East African Legislative Assembly and the East African Court of Justice for the next financial year, each Partner State should try as much as possible to pay their contributions on time. Delayed payment affects proper implementation.

For example, the Secretariat is currently finding it hard to facilitate activities as some funds for the previous financial year are yet to be paid.

Partner States should hold each other accountable to ensure that they pay their contributions in time.

East Africa

President Al-Bashir Issues Republican Decree Approving Employment Structure of General Prosecution

President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, Thursday issued a republican decree approving the employment… Read more »

East Africa: Oracle Rethinks Modular Java Plan After Red Hat’s Objections

By Paul Krill

Oracle’s chief Java architect has proposed tweaks to Java’s modular plan. The revisions were said to be not in response to recent objections by Red Hat and IBM, but they do appear to address one of the concerns.

In a post to an openjdk mailing list on Thursday, a proposal by Oracle’s Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group, centers on an “AutomaticModuleNames” feature. He also referenced the plan on his twitter feed, tweeting, “Module names should be reverse-DNS and so automatic modules can be given stable names.” An Oracle representative said the proposal was just ongoing work on issues that continue to be under discussion and was separate from Red Hat and IBM’s issues.

[ The big 4 Java IDEs reviewed: See how Eclipse, NetBeans, JDeveloper, and IntelliJ IDEA stack up. | Keep up with hot topics in programming with InfoWorld’s App Dev Report newsletter. ]

Summarizing the issue in Thursday’s proposal, Reinhold mentioned revising the algorithm that computes the name of automatic modules to include the Maven group identifier when available in a JAR file’s ‘pom.properties’ file. This way, module names “are less likely to collide, or else drop the automatic-modules feature entirely, since it may be more trouble than it’s worth.” He then proposes not dropping the automatic modules feature, calling it a critical part of migration, aiding developers in modularizing code.

Reinhold suggests a JAR-file manifest attribute, ‘Automatic-Module-Name’, whose value is used as the name of the automatic module defined by that JAR file when placed on the module path. Reinhold also recommends that all modules be named according to the reverse Internet domain-name convention. He wants developers to be aware of risks of publishing, for broad use, explicit modules that require automatic modules. “An automatic module is unreliable, since it can depend on types on the class path and its name and exported packages could change if and when it’s converted into an explicit module,” Reinhold said. “It’s fine to declare and use explicit modules that require automatic modules in limited settings.”

Modularity is set to be the big feature of Java Development Kit (JDK) 9 due on July 27. But another Oracle official this week acknowledged that the complaints about modularity could actually delay the release of JDK 9, or, simply, Java 9.

East Africa

President Al-Bashir Issues Republican Decree Approving Employment Structure of General Prosecution

President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, Thursday issued a republican decree approving the employment… Read more »

Ex-AFC Boss Eyes Kakamega Senatorial Seat

By Collins Omulo

Former AFC Leopards chairman Sammy Aina Washiko has thrown his hat in the race for the Kakamega County senatorial seat on a Ford Kenya party ticket.

The ICT entrepreneur will be gunning to replace incumbent Bonni Khalwale who has decided to contest for the county’s governorship.

Speaking to Nation.co.ke on Friday, Mr Aina expressed confidence that he would emerge victor come August 8 banking on his managerial and entrepreneurial track record as a key advantage over his competitors.

“I must thank the party leader Moses Wetang’ula for giving the youths a realistic chance to make a shot at leadership. I have been a revolutionist and youth agenda has always been my focus,” said Mr Aina.

The 33-year-old had been touted to be the Amani National Congress (ANC) Nairobi County senatorial candidate but later opted for the Kakamega County seat after being convinced by the ideologies of Ford Kenya.

“Belief in the ideologies and ethos espoused by my party leader against all wind that had me running for the same seat under ANC in Nairobi County, convinced me otherwise. At only 33, this creates a big avenue for other hopefuls to step up and offer themselves for leadership at the highest level,” he said.

PROPAGANDA

He hit out at his opponents for the seat who have been running a campaign that he had quit the race insisting that he is still in the race and that no amount of propaganda would make him change his mind.

“My opponents have been saying that I have quit the race but I want to assure my supporters that here I am and fully in the race under Ford Kenya and let them not believe any rumours authored by my competitors,” he said.

Mr Aina, who was unopposed during the party primaries, was among 630 Ford Kenya candidates given certificates at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi on Thursday ahead of the General Election.

This will not be the first time the youthful politician will be seeking a political office having unsuccessfully contested for the Malava Constituency seat on a United Republican Party ticket in 2013.

Kenya

The Hidden Hand Resolving Jubilee Primaries Disputes

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s invisible hand in resolving Jubilee Party nomination challenges is playing out in the open… Read more »

Sudan: ‘Chlorination Reducing Cholera in White Nile’ – Sudan Minister

White Nile State — The Sudanese Health Minister, Bahr Idris Abu Garda, has announced that the number of cholera cases in White Nile state is decreasing, following chlorination of drinking water.

During a visit to the cholera-stricken area, Minister Abu Garda and that “the situation has been controlled in the White Nile state by interventions in the chlorination of drinking water”.

Cholera spreads easily via contaminated drinking water, especially stagnant water.

The minister said that “Um Jar area has only two cases and 20 cases at Kunouz area”.

Abu Garda claims that there have been no deaths for more than a week.

He stressed that “the fundamental solution is to solve the problem of contaminated water by chlorination of stations and water within the entire network”.

He said another challenge is the water sources outside the network which require considerable chlorination efforts.

Meanwhile the Health Minister of White Nile state, Babikir Al Makbul, has reported a total of 12 dead and 973 infections in the state since 8 April. His report does not mention the date of the last death.

Sudan

President Al-Bashir Issues Republican Decree Approving Employment Structure of General Prosecution

President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, Thursday issued a republican decree approving the employment… Read more »

Rwanda Genocide Suspect to Serve Life Sentence

By Robert Mbaraga

A Rwandan court has sentenced Bernard Munyagishari to life imprisonment over the role he played in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

The special chamber of the High Court trying international crimes found Munyagishari guilty of genocide and murder as a crime against humanity. He was, however, acquitted of charges of rape charges.

According to the High Court, the prosecution failed to provide incriminating evidence proving that Munyagishari, planned, ordered, or individually committed rape.

“The court established Munyagishari’s individual criminal responsibility and criminal responsibility as superior through recruiting, training and leading the Interahamwe in killing Tutsis in Gisenyi and elsewhere” the judge said.

Munyagishari is a former secretary to the local chapter of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development – a political party linked to the ex-Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana – in Gisenyi.

He was transferred to Rwanda by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in July 2013 following his arrest in the Democratic Republic Congo in 2011.

According to the verdict, the former leader of the Interahamwe militias in Gisenyi established roadblocks in the lakeside city and its environs and personally supervised those located in the central areas of the city.

At the roadblocks that he supervised, the judge said, Munyagishari selected Tutsis and ordered his interahamwe to take them to be killed and buried at the “Commune Rouge.” The “Commune Rouge” was an infamous cemetery in Gisenyi and the adjective “rouge” (red) signifies the blood of those who were killed and dumped there.

The prosecution maintained that the accused “willfully and knowingly” ordered a special corps of young interahamwe called the Ntarumikwa, to rape Tutsi women and girls before killing them.

He was also accused of instigating his wife and a female group that she headed, to sexually torture female Tutsis before killing them.

Munyagishari’s lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

Munyagishari, 58, becomes the second individual sent to Rwanda by ICTR to be convicted, after Pastor Jean Uwinkindi, who was also sentenced by the same court to life imprisonment in December 2015.

The third transferred case of the former mayor, Ladislas Ntaganzwa is still pending in the High Court.

Eight cases were transferred to Rwanda by the ICTR but five of the accused, Fulgence Kayishema, Pheneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Ryandikayo, and Charles Sikubwabo are still at large.

Rwanda

East Africa’s Cecafa Moot Joint Afcon Bid

The Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) is in slumber as club and national teams’… Read more »

Africa: After Political Twitter Bot Revelation, Are Companies At Risk?

By Sharon Gaudin

With reports of Russia using social media and bots to push fake news to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, questions are arising over how these same tactics could be used against an enterprise.

“Twitter bots could absolutely be used against a company,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with OrionX. “Someone using bots could manufacture a fake groundswell of opinion against a company or a product.”

The subject of Twitter bots has made headlines since federal investigations into Russia’s interference with the presidential election unearthed evidence that the Kremlin used chatbots, particularly on Twitter, to seed fake news stories in order to confuse discussions and taint certain candidates, especially Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

A bot is a simple software program that uses artificial intelligence to perform automated tasks, such as sending out messages or reposting other messages.

During the presidential election, Twitter bots were used to pick up on tweets that included certain topics or hashtags, such as #HillaryClinton.

Once the bots detected those tweets, they would respond, often flooding the Twitter user or the hashtag with Twitter rants or even phony stories, such as promoting the falsehood that Clinton was in jail or about to go to jail.

A University of Southern California study last November showed that this tactic wasn’t simply a few rogue bots at work.

Between Sept. 16 and Oct. 21, 2016, researchers at USC’s Information Sciences Institute found that Twitter bots produced 3.8 million tweets, or 19% of all election tweets during that period.

The USC report also showed that social bots accounted for 400,000 of the 2.8 million individual users tweeting about the election, or nearly 15% of the population under study.

Researchers at Oxford University also reported last fall that bots were part of a concerted effort to influence what people were learning about the candidates, particularly Clinton, on social media.

There were, of course, Twitter bots working for both Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, but the Oxford study shows that the bot tide was heavily in Trump’s favor.

During the first presidential debate, for instance, pro-Trump bots generated seven tweets for every one pro-Clinton bot posted during the three presidential debates, according to the Oxford study. The study also found that 23% of the tweets on the first debate were from bots, while 27% were from bots during the third debate.

“Political actors and governments worldwide have begun using bots to manipulate public opinion, choke off debate, and muddy political issues,” the report said.

Now federal investigators are looking into whether Russia was behind the pro-Trump Twitter bots.

“Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as ‘bots,’ to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton,” the McClatchy news service reported, citing anonymous sources last month.

Last week, in testimony at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections, Clinton Watts, a former FBI special agent and senior fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security, said influencing debate on social media isn’t a role simply for bots.

Watts said the practice is a combination of automated bots and “humans that work in their psychological warfare groups” and command less-automated bots.

“That amplifies your appearance,” Watts testified. “It games the social media system, such that such a high volume of content being pushed at the same time raises that into the Trends … The goal is to get that in the top of Twitter stream so mainstream media has to respond to that story. When mainstream media responds to it or looks at it without commenting on it, it takes over organically and you’ll see it move over the internet like a virus.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said at the hearing that the disinformation being spread by Internet trolls and bots was designed to disparage Clinton and appeared to target key swing states in the weeks leading up to the November election.

Twitter bots are not new.

Sam Woolley, one of the researchers on the Oxford study, noted that bots are an important part of Twitter that have been used on the site since it was launched.

Normally, bots are used to send spam or tweets about a news story or event at a particular time of the day. They also can be used to be humorous. For instance, @Betelgeuse_3 sends automatic replies in response to tweets that include the phrase, “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice,” in reference to the movie Beetlejuice.

The difference is that bots are increasingly being used to flood discussions and sway opinion by appearing to represent massive groups of real-life users.

How bots could hurt a company

While bots were used to influence a presidential campaign, they also could be easily used to taint the image of a company or to plant phony news items about a corporate executive or enterprise.

“Malicious social media bots could feasibly be launched against any entity that has an online presence,” Woolley told Computerworld. “They have long been used as a marketing tool for spreading information on companies’ products … But there is no reason that social media bots couldn’t be used to launch a campaign of disinformation or slander at a company.”

Jenny Sussin, an analyst with market research firm Gartner, said she hasn’t seen bots used with any strength in favor of or against a particular company, but she has seen them used in online enterprise discussions.

“You can look at any trending topic associated with a particular event or organization and you’ll see bots slide in there with typically inappropriate comments,” she said. “Those bots work off volume prompts. If something is increasing in frequency of mention, tweet “xyz.” Again, because these are all rules-based, they could be used for or against to extend the reach of a message that may or may not be truthful.”

It would be easy to set up bots to try to harm a company’s reputation by making it appear that real people are complaining about a company’s product or making false claims about something a company has done.

Because of that risk, executives need to watch out for bots.

“All you can do is pay attention to the popularity of specific messages,” Sussin said. “What messages about your company are being retweeted the most? Where did they originate? All companies can do is try to disprove any false story that would come out about them.”

While Olds said he hasn’t yet seen any companies using Twitter bots against their competitors, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

“I think companies should take some time to consider exactly what might happen if they had a social media, particularly a Twitter, campaign mounted against them,” Olds said. “They need to be ready to investigate the social media claim, then respond as quickly and thoroughly as possible. A negative campaign could pick up traction very quickly with today’s social media, and the company in the crosshairs of such a campaign had better be ready to deal with it.”

Kenya’s Very Own ‘Arms Deal’ Scandal

By Njeri Kimani & Simon Allison

Kenya has ordered $418-million worth of border patrol planes from a US company. It’s the biggest arms deal in Kenyan history, but something doesn’t smell right, according to critics. By NJERI KIMANI and SIMON ALLISON.

On his very last day in office, in January 2017, former US President Barack Obama approved a $418-million sale of border patrol planes to Kenya. This is the biggest arms deal in Kenyan history. The 14 planes, effectively weaponised crop-dusters, are supposed to help Kenya in its fight against Somali militant group al-Shabaab. But before the deal can be finalised, US congressional approval is required. And at least one congressman is not happy.

“My office has received credible allegations of faulty contracting practices, fraud and unfair treatment surrounding this sale,” said Ted Budd, Republican representative for North Carolina’s 13th district. Budd went on to claim that Kenya was paying way over the odds, and that he knew a company that could provide the same planes for just $237-million – around 43% less, or a saving of a staggering $181-million.

Budd is not an entirely impartial observer. Situated in his congressional district is a company called IOMAX, which just happens to make exactly the type of…

Kenya

Govt Sets Aside $1,5m to Mitigate Drought Effects in Schools

The government has set aside Sh154 million to be disbursed to various institutions to bolster the school feeding program… Read more »

UK Withdraws Travel Restriction

By Paul Redfern

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office amended its travel advisory to Kenya, saying tourists from the UK should now be able to travel safely to Lamu and Manda Island.

The news will be very welcome to Lamu hoteliers and tour operators who have suffered from a decline in arrivals since the advisory took place.

The FCO said it “no longer advised against travel to Lamu Island and Manda Island”.

However, the FCO told UK residents that if they did want to travel to Lamu Island or Manda Island, they should do so by air to Manda airport and not by road.

Tourism officials in Kenya have quickly moved to reassure tourists after the murder of former British army officer Tristan Voorspuy in Laikipia that all is well.

Mr Voorspuy was murdered on his Sosian ranch on Monday as he went to investigate damage caused by invaders.

The agency’s statement stopped short of advising tourists not to visit the area.

READ: Sosian ranch boss Tristan Voorspuy shot dead.

The KTB said in a statement: “We extend our condolences and sympathy to the family of Mr Voorspuy and to the other Kenyan farmers and ranch employees who have been caught up in the conflict over pasture in the affected area in recent weeks.

“The present unrest and insecurity are restricted to a few localities and a small number of ranches and that the well-known wildlife conservancies and tourism facilities in the rest of Laikipia are not affected and remain calm and peaceful. Tourism activity continues as normal.”

Kenya

American Congressmen Defend Controversial Kenya-US Arms Deal

Three Republican members of the US House of Representatives are pushing back against suggestions by a few of their… Read more »

American Congressmen Defend Controversial Kenya-US Arms Deal

By Kevin J. Kelley

Three Republican members of the US House of Representatives are pushing back against suggestions by a few of their colleagues that Kenya’s pending Sh43 billion weapons deal should be reconsidered.

The trio say they “have seen no evidence to support allegations” that the proposed purchase may have been handled improperly or unfairly by the US Air Force and potential suppliers of the aircraft and related items Kenya is seeking.

Anti-corruption campaigner John Githongo charged at a Washington press briefing on Wednesday that Kenya’s move to make the purchase “fails the smell test.”

EVIDENCE

A US company that was not invited to bid on the deal has said it can supply Kenya with a superior version of the equipment it seeks at a price about Sh20 billion lower than the proposed Sh43 billion purchase.

Mr Githongo suggested that corruption on the part of Kenyan officials could account for the government’s apparent willingness to pay what he described as an unnecessarily large sum for the planes. Mr Githongo acknowledged, however, that he has no evidence to support that suspicion.

Mr Githongo was joined at Wednesday’s press session by Republican Congressman Ted Budd, an organiser of opposition to the deal. Mr Budd represents a district in the state of North Carolina that is home to weapons maker IOMAX, the company that claims it can provide Kenya with combat-proven versions of the aircraft for less than Sh29 million.

SALE

The three congressmen — Bill Flores, Jodey Arrington and John Ratcliffe — who on Tuesday expressed support for the Sh43 billion deal did so in a joint letter to Vice Admiral Joseph Rixey, director of the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency.

That unit of the Pentagon had notified Congress in January of the possible sale.

The US State Department has approved the pending agreement, as has the US Congress.

The three congressmen noted that the US House committee that reviewed the deal did not take action on a resolution of disapproval that Mr Budd had introduced.

AL-SHABAAB

Under the terms of the envisioned agreement, Kenya would contract with two US companies — L3 Technologies and Air Tractor — for purchase of a dozen AT-802L Longsword aircraft and related components and services.

Kenya plans to use the missile-firing and intelligence-gathering planes in its campaign in Somalia against Al-Shabaab.

Congressmen Flores, Arrington and Ratcliffe all represent districts in Texas, the state where L3 operates a plant that manufactures these types of planes in partnership with Air Tractor.

Mr Flores’ district includes the city of Waco, the specific site of the L3 division that builds the planes and employs some 1400 workers.

ADVANCE SECURITY

A finalised agreement with Kenya “will help to sustain existing jobs,” L3 spokeswoman Jennifer Barton said in an e-mail on Thursday.

Ms Barton noted that L3’s “Waco facility is where we have successfully manufactured and delivered multiple AT-802L Longsword aircraft.”

In their letter to Vice Adm Rixey, the three Texas congressmen urged his agency “to continue to follow appropriate processes and procedures with respect to this pending [arms sale to Kenya].”

“It is our hope,” the three lawmakers added, “that this acquisition will further enable Kenya’s efforts to advance security and prosperity in eastern Africa and the greater Middle East.”

Kenya

UK Withdraws Travel Restriction

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office amended its travel advisory to Kenya, saying tourists from the UK should now… Read more »

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