Posts tagged as: state-house

Nigeria: Edo House Petitioned Over ATM Dispensing Fake Naira Notes

By Simon Ebegbulem

Benin — MR Charles Ajiboye, a federal civil servant in Edo State, has petitioned Edo State House of Assembly, alleging that the Automated Teller Machine, ATM, of a new generation bank in Benin, was dispensing fake Naira notes.

According to the petition, which was read during the House’s proceedings yesterday by the Clerk of the House, Mr. James Omoataman, the petitioner said he used the ATM close to Oba Market, as he needed to purchase some goods at the market, adding “Sir, to my ruddiest shock, on presenting N3,000 for payment after buying some food items, the seller observed that one of the notes was fake.

“I immediately went back to the bank and accosted some security men on duty who blatantly told me to go away as there was nothing they could do, that I would not be the first person to withdraw a fake note from an ATM in Nigeria.

“Irked by this response, I went to Oba Market Police Station, where I formally reported the matter. The bank’s act, for dispensing fake Naira notes via its ATM, is a crime– short and simple.

“I may not be the first person to have fallen victim of this crime by the bank. Perhaps, other victims may have considered fake notes so insignificant to belabour themselves over.

“Arising from the above, it is my belief that if this practice is not checked by appropriate sanctions, including sanctions by the supervising bank, the CBN, there are tendencies that fake Naira notes will continue to be dispensed alongside genuine bank notes by the bank.

“I, therefore, seek the intervention of the Edo State House of Assembly by investigating the matter with a view to recommending appropriate sanctions on the bank to serve as deterrence to other banks.”

Speaker of the House, Alhaji Kabiru Adjoto, referred the matter to the House Committee on Finance to investigate and report to the House within two weeks.

Nigeria

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Inside Museveni’s New Love for Wakiso and Kampala

opinionBy Stephen Kafeero

President Museveni has made more than Shs2b donations in cash and pledges since the end of the 2016 presidential elections in just Kampala and Wakiso.

The figure based on State House press reports could be much higher given that some donations and handouts are never officially reported.

The fact that he lives and works between the two districts aside, the incumbent has also made at least 20 “wealth creation” trips in the two urban districts within the same period with artisans lately being the apple of his eye. They have taken more than 90 per cent of the donations either in cash or tools donated to use in their trade.

Also, apart from visits abroad, receiving delegations in the country and commemorations of international days, President Museveni has not been active in any part of the country as he has in the two districts.

“Maybe these [visits to Wakiso and Kampala] are the more publicised but it doesn’t mean the President is not paying attention to other districts. He’s President of the entire country,” senior presidential press secretary Don Wanyama says when asked why the district seem special to his boss.

“But anyway, the Presidential Initiative to Skill the Youth, where some of these projects fall, is piloted in the districts you have mentioned,” he adds.

When perfected, Mr Wanyama says, the projects Mr Museveni is championing will be rolled out to other places in the long run.

He explains that Mr Museveni’s mission is to get urban youth, re-skill and re-tool them and give them minimum equipment, support and have them join the small scale manufacturing sector.

“Statistically, most of these urban unemployed are in the capital city and its environs,” he says.

Mr Wanyama’s explanation is, however, betrayed by a State House move in July.

Last month officials from State House closed down Najjera Presidential Initiative Youth Training Centre after Dr Besigye attended an introduction ceremony in the same area it is located. The beneficiaries of the Shs340 million projects took photos with the Opposition leader which is said to have angered the State House officials.

On the face of it, President Museveni’s activities look like those of a hands-on leader, on the frontline working to give his people a shot at a better life.

Interactions with beneficiaries, observers and those hoping to catch the president’s eye, however, points to a well-structured, deliberate and calculated campaign by the incumbent to get support in the two most populous districts. The latest campaign starts with lessons from the 2016 presidential and parliamentary polls.

Police and the military were heavily deployed ahead of the polls and immediately after to quell any uprisings and dissent expected especially in Kampala and Wakiso. Many Opposition activists were covertly or overtly picked and detained for varying lengths of time, some in the dreaded Nalufenya detention centre.

When President Museveni was declared, for example, by the Electoral Commission as the winner of the 2016 presidential election, Kampala and Wakiso remained ghost towns. A handful of supporters donning yellow T-shirts were mobilised with food, drinks and cash to take to the streets and celebrate but even this did not last.

Observers say the President seems to have come alive to the fact that intimidation and even persecution only serves to embolden genuine Opposition against his rule and alienate other would-be supporters. It also does not go down well with the international community, including those seeking to invest in the country.

“The kind of political games of disenfranchising voters they played in 2016 have come to haunt them. I think after that debacle he has realised that the people don’t want him,” Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago says.

Citing a recent directive by the President to have taxes on the informal sector harmonised which has been used, Mr Lukwago says President Museveni’s “pandering” in Kampala and Wakiso will amount to nothing.

The Kampala minister has reportedly written a letter to the city management rolling back on the directive.

Soft power

In Kampala alone, there were thousands of officers of the Field Force Unit, deployed to quell riots and conduct patrols in the city by the time the 2016 polls came to an end.

One of President Museveni’s first actions in his new five-year mandate was to order them off the streets. The President sought to pacify and bring the Opposition in the two districts back to his fold peacefully.

In this pursuit, Mr Museveni has adopted strategies of his main rival, Opposition leader Kizza Besigye and has in some instances campaigned against his own government. He, for example, will vent about the service delivery failures before presenting his latest strategy as the solution.

Unlike Dr Besigye who has to struggle with police and other security organs to meet the electorate in public places such as markets and trading centres, President Museveni is only escorted to the same.

A sight of Dr Besigye in trading centres such as Kalwere and other towns in Wakiso and Kampala brings work to a standstill as people rush to welcome him. Some give him money, other food stuffs, some prostrate while others clean the streets among other activities.

In some of President Museveni’s recent tours, his handlers seem to have adopted the strategy.

At one of his stop overs on August 21 in Kawempe, Bwaise, Kibuye, Ndeeba and Nateete he is pictured head and hands out of his armoured SUV carrying a child handed to him by one of the people gathered to listen to him.

In an earlier August 3 photo, he is seen in his S500 Pullman Guard receiving bunch of matooke, a resident of Banda gifted him. Many times when the photos are posted, anti-establishment social media users rush to the archives to pull out photos of Dr Besigye to compare the two. Some have even accused the President of being a copycat.

The President also seems to have abandoned the ruling NRM structures and other State workers and decided to take on the mission by himself.

Kampala Capital City Authority executive director Jennifer Musisi was once President Museveni’s blue-eyed girl in the city. She always took centre stage, including at one time giving President Museveni a night tour of the city and sometimes riding in the same vehicle with the President.

After the February elections, Mr Museveni blamed her methods of causing him and the ruling NRM loss in Kampala. She has since been publicly sidelined with either Kampala minister Beti Kamya taking a prominent role in Mr Museveni’s activities or Museveni going it alone.

Even in Wakiso where NRM controversially defeated Democratic Party candidates in constituencies such as Busiiro South and Entebbe Municipality, the President has mostly reached out to the citizens alone with the MPs in the area mainly playing an observer role.

Will soft power deliver?

President Museveni is officially 73 and will be 77 in 2021 and therefore ineligible to contest in 2021. While he has dismissed the age limit debate as speculation peddled by “undisciplined members”, some argue that he is merely deflating the debate to later. The ground, those who hold that view, is being prepared for his 6th elective term.

Wakiso and Kampala have at least a combined population of four million people, making them every presidential candidate’s dream. In 2016, they had a combined total of at least 1.9m voters but the role of the two was watered down when several delays to deliver voting materials ensured that many voters in the two districts did not vote.

Mr Wanyama dismisses the notion that the President is trying to regain his balance in the two districts ahead of the 2021 election.

“Do we have an election looming? Why wouldn’t the President campaign when no election has been announced? The President is simply doing what he was elected to do: improve lives of citizens,” Mr Wanyama says.

“Opposition people should stop panicking. The next election is four years away, we don’t even know who the candidates will be!”

But Mr Lukwago says the actions of the President “fit well in the hypothesis that he is all out to do politicking in Wakiso and Kampala” and that the President is “using a carrot and stick method”.

In Kampala, for example, Sunday Monitor understands that the Kampala ministry has been given Shs7.9b even without the required ministry personnel such as an accounting officer.

Some of this money is said to be part of President’s mobilisation drive in Kampala. We were unable to speak to Ms Kamya, but she has previously promised to help President Museveni and NRM to mobilise 80 per cent support for them in 2021.

In the face of President Museveni’s onslaught, sources in the Opposition indicate that several meetings have been held and they are due to start a counter campaign.

UK Pledges U.S.$450 Million to Boost Infrastructure

Photo: State House

President John Magufuli bids farewell to DFID Country Director, Elizabeth Arthy, who accompanied the visiting British Minister of State for Africa, Stewart Rory and High Commissioner to Tanzania, Sarah Cooke, at State House in Dar es Salaam.

AS part of its continued support to Tanzania, the UK government has pledged US 450 million dollars (about 1.026trl/-) support, to improve roads and port infrastructure, education and industrialisation.

According to a statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communications, the announcement to that end was made by the United Kingdom’s Minister of State at the Department for International Development, responsible for Africa affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Rory Stewart.

The visiting minister announced the funding after meeting with President John Magufuli at the State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Mr Stewart said the aid would be channeled into projects for improving the quality of education and enrolment of pupils, as well as strengthening road and port infrastructure.

In addition, the funding would help boost commercial farming and improve meat and cotton processing factories. Speaking at the occasion, Mr Stewart praised President Magufuli for his staunch moves to curb corruption and opening up access to education for many young Tanzanians.

“I visited one school in Dar es Salaam yesterday (Tuesday) and I was impressed how the free education policy in Tanzania has played a significant role in increasing enrolment of pupils.

“During the visit I had an opportunity to speak to parents and teachers; enrolment of pupils has increased two times within a short period and has brought major reforms; education is everything,” Mr Stewart remarked.

1.026trl/- a big booster

He pledged his country’s continued support for cementing bilateral relations, expressing optimism that the just announced aid would improve the welfare of Tanzanians.

Dr Magufuli was also impressed and thanked the minister for visiting Tanzania, requesting him to send his regards to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May, for the support the UK had been extending to the country for development projects.

Apart from aid to support development endeavours, the United Kingdom remains the leading country with investments in Tanzania, a fact that Dr Magufuli acknowledged during the meeting with Mr Stewart.

The Head of State explained that the anti-corruption drive was yielding positive results, stressing that the funding from the UK would be put to its intended use.

“It is the responsibility of every Tanzanian to support the government’s efforts to curb corruption and this will enable our country move forward. Corruption is a deadly vice. “In addition, we must nurture a culture of paying taxes for our development rather that depending on our development partners,” Dr Magufuli stressed.

The meeting at the State House was also attended by the United Kingdom High Commissioner to Tanzania, Ms Sarah Cooke, Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation Minister, Dr Augustine Mahiga and his counterpart in the Finance and Planning docket, Dr Philip Mpango.

Also in attendance was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Dr Doto James.

Tanzania

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Government Duped in U.S.$42 Billion Investment ‘Deal’

Photo: Daily Monitor

Privatisation and Investment State Minister, Evelyn Anite.

By Ibrahim Manzil & Yasiin Mugerwa

Kampala — A shadowy investor from the Philippines and a South Sudanese national working with a Burundian associate duped the President and his ministers into thinking they had found a panacea for the country’s problems.

Sir Marcos Al-Ameen Starimona, the man in the eye of the storm, presented himself to President Museveni as a Filipino tycoon worth $42b (about Shs150 trillion) and Mr Solo Chaplain, one of his agents introduced himself as director of academy Transportation and Freight Inc. USA/Africa.

A former MP who works at State House introduced the two men to the President. This newspaper has seen correspondences with details on how the ‘investors’ duped government officials, who with hindsight now call ‘impostors’ had agreed to invest Shs150 trillion in Uganda’s economy with initial investment of Euros200 million (about Shs840b).

Before the President agreed to meet the two men, Marcos wrote to him through a State House fixer about his intended plan to invest in the country’s critical areas of the economy such as infrastructure development, energy, telecommunication, irrigation, health, among others. At some point, the ‘investor’ who, according to sources spent two weeks in jail together with his colleague on accusations of forgery and uttering false documents, had offered to buy off Uganda’s debt portfolio of about $11.6b, invest in Uganda Airlines and undisclosed humanitarian activities.

They had also offered to buy Uganda Telecom Ltd and were in the process of signing the deal yet they didn’t have the money. However, before signing the deal, Privatisation and Investment minister Evelyn Anite wrote to their bankers; United Bank of Africa and Barclays Bank to confirm whether the two men had the money in the bank.

After the banks confirmed that their accounts had no money, Ms Anite immediately asked authorities at Financial Intelligence Authority to investigate the duo on accusations of forgery and uttering false documents. She also directed Interpol, working with CID to arrest the duo from Sheraton Kampala Hotel. They have since been released on police bond as investigations continue.

Speaking on behalf of Marcos, Mr Chaplain, who introduced himself as his business partner, declined to delve into the details of their dealings with government and referred this newspaper to Interpol.

“I have talked to Marcos, he has told me that you (Daily Monitor) can access all his information (sic) from the police. The whole of his file is in Interpol, so you can access Interpol. They are people who are doing due diligence on him from the economic crimes office,” Mr Chaplain said.

When contacted, police spokesperson, Asan Kasingye referred this newspaper to Interpol spokesperson, Vincent Sekate, who also asked for more time to cross check the details.

In trying to sway the government on the availability of the funds for the planned projects, the ‘investors’ also claimed that they transferred a total of Euros200m as “initial funding for the intended activities,” according to the August 1, letter written by Ms Anite.

Ms Anite, in the same letter marked ‘confidential,’ however, wrote to the managing director of Barclays Bank informing the authorities that “the ministry has also held discussions with the investor and have been informed about funds deposited in your bank. I would like your bank to carry out proper due diligence on the customer in accordance with your customer rule, and Anti-Money Laundering act 2013… . to establish that the funds are clean and clear.”

Speaking to Daily Monitor last evening, Ms Anite confirmed having authored the letter, but added that her office has since established that the alleged investors are not genuine. She also said that she was the one who invited Interpol, CID and FIA to investigate Marcos and his friend Chaplain on accusations of duplicity.

“It is very true the police came and picked our statements to verify if we had an interface with these guys and if I had actually written a letter to these banks,” said Ms Anite. “At first, we thought these people were serious investors. But we have since established that they are fake and I have asked police to arrest them over forgeries. We are also investigating the people who introduced them to government.”

She added: “These guys are fraudsters and they got arrested. The police have to do their investigations, but the police are telling us that these guys are heavily guarded by the army. This investor came to State House, and met with a one Solo Chaplain. They went and had a meeting with His Excellency [President Museveni]. The President’s Private Secretary, Ms Molly Kamukama, wrote to the senior minister (Matia Kasaija) to do due diligence,” Ms Anite said.

Executive director of the financial Intelligence Agency, Mr Sydney Asubo, confirmed that the army has been according protection to the “investors”, but added that the military guards have since been withdrawn. Asked why the army could be deployed to protect people he describes as “con men,” Brig Asubo said the deployment could have been made with the knowledge that the trio were actually in possession of huge sums of money. “The only logical explanation I can think of is that they (Army) didn’t know that they are conmen because for someone to have known that they were conmen, they needed to have seen the documents they were presenting to the banks. Maybe the ones who made the decision to offer them protection were not aware of the facts,” said Brig Asubo.

Mr David Bahati, the State minister for Planning and Ms Anite have also recorded statements with CID. Mr Bahati and other officials in the Ministry of Finance and State House met Marcos and Chaplain and discussed the projects. Mr Bahati was not available for comment.

In the process of investigating the duo, police authorities found that after Ms Kamukama wrote to Secretary to Treasury Keith Muhakanizi, a meeting was convened at the Ministry of Finance boardroom on July 31, in which Mr Bahati, Ministry of Finance Undersecretary, Betty Kasimbazi, a special presidential assistant Florence Hashaka and unnamed adviser to Defence Minister Adolf Mwesige met with the “investors”. Ms Anite did not attend this meeting. The investors had, in one of the documents suspected to be forged, alleged that the Shs840b has been channeled through an account belonging to Bank of Uganda, in names of governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile.

Ms Christine Alupo, the central bank’s spokesperson, dismissed the claims, stating that no such money was ever received.

“I can confirm that the Bank of Uganda (BoU) has never received the alleged Euros200m from GSP Banco Fomento Mercantil of Brazil,” Ms Alupo stated in an email.

In an email to this newspaper, Barclays Bank’s head of marketing and corporate relations Harriette Kasirye declined to comment, citing client confidentiality.

Dfcu bank, whose Managing Director was also contacted by Ms Kasimbazi recommending Mr Marius Ntamagara, another associate to Mr Marcos to remit Euros200 million to the bank, also declined to comment, citing customer confidentiality.

Mr Muhakanizi, however, defended the Ministry of Finance officials, whom he said were not at fault to recommend an investigation into the investors by the banks.

“All they said is you people, these people have approached us, I don’t have a problem with those letters. They said please investigate these people, I have no problem with that,” he said in a telephone interview.

Kaluyu Concedes Defeat in Kenya Presidential Election

By Jeremiah Wakaya

Nairobi — Independent candidate Japheth Kaluyu has become the first candidate to concede defeat in the 2017 Kenya presidential election.

Kaluyu told reporters at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s National Tallying Centre that he had reached the decision after coming to the realisation that he stood no chance of winning the State House race given the clear lead by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

By mid Wednesday afternoon, President Kenyatta had garnered 7.9 million votes against Raila Odinga’s 6.5m votes, while Kaluyu came a distant sixth with 11,250 votes in provisional results.

“For us to come from 11,000 to 7 million votes it is going to be a long night. Given the way the figures look, we’re going to concede and so far it looks like President Uhuru Kenyatta is going to carry the day,” Kaluyu said on Wednesday accompanied by his running mate Eliud Kariara.

Describing his decision to quit the race to love for the republic, Kaluyu however told reporters that his bid had attracted significant traction given the fact that it was his first time to stand for the presidency.

He said he was willing to work with the candidate who wins the race to State House for the common good of Kenyans.

“I want to thank President Kenyatta for a great race because we did not see a lot of insults or disrespect for those of us who are first timers. We’ve been accommodated all along,” he said.

From his interactions with Kenyans on the campaign trail, Kaluyu said he had inspired many to aspire for greatness and more importantly the next administration to ponder on issues he raised during his campaigns.

According to Kaluyu, the nation needs to move forward from this election, saying citizens will have yet another opportunity to elect leaders of their choice in 2022.

“There was peace, processes worked and we believe the electoral commission will do all things right,” he said with regards to the credibility of the General Election held on Tuesday.

“I will support the winner. It is a hard thing to swallow but maturity demands that we’re able to move on. Hitches happen the world over but that doesn’t mean a whole process is compromised,” he stated.

Earlier in the day, Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot told the press that there was no cause for alarm, urging other presidential candidates to desist from issuing alarmist remarks.

Kenya

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What Uhuru Will Do If He Gets Another Five Years At the Top

opinionBy Mutuma Mathiu

When we got a call last Friday from one of our colleagues, saying State House was offering a 15-minute interview with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday, we were taken aback.

Weeks earlier, he had not shown up for the national debate and the media generally is not Jubilee’s most popular demographic.

But, it is not every day that you are offered an interview with the big man himself.

EDITORS

In the Nation tradition and as a courtesy to the presidency, the President is always interviewed by the managing editor.

A panel of senior editors is preferred, but rarely accepted by interviewees.

So a chilly Friday morning found my colleagues and I — Investigations and Special Projects Managing Editor John Kamau and Sunday Nation Editor Mike Owuor — at Gate D at State House Nairobi.

EMPLOYEES

Michael was not too thrilled because he had a pile of work in the office, Saturday being the Sunday Nation’s busiest day.

The plan was for all of us to shoot the questions and for John Kamau to write.

So we waited with other folks on the way to making deliveries of cabbage and onions to the State House kitchen.

I was happy to see that most of the State House staff, especially the press, looked happy and prosperous.

INVITATION

There is good life outside the newsroom after all.

Finally, we were issued with visitor’s badges and allowed to drive in.

“Are you armed?” the guard asked. “No, I left my bazooka at home,” I cracked, but obviously State House guards are not selected for their humour.

We waited some more in the office of the Press Secretary, Mr Manoah Esipisu, who kindly allowed us to drink his government tea — it was surprisingly good tea.

SCHEDULE

John Kamau also ate his cake. So this is where my friend Isaiya Kabira spent all those years.

“There is some time pressure,” Mr Esipisu told us. He meant the President is busy, cut out the small talk and ask the most important questions.

We were taken to another waiting room. This one had a new coat of paint and some plaster work.

INTERVIEW

The Chesterfield sofas were in good leather.

The rest of State House is like the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris — restoration is urgent.

It is an old building with history in every nook. I wish I had taken a tour.

Mr Esipisu came back for me. “You are going first,” he said.

What he didn’t reveal was that there was no time for the kind of plenary interview we had planned for.

COURTYARD

I was taken to another waiting room. As we walked across the courtyard we see on TV all the time, I could see the presidential motorcade ready with the doors open and important people standing around, waiting.

So I chatted amiably with another visitor, also waiting to see the President, as were hundreds of other people in rallies across the Rift Valley.

Things happened rather quickly. The door was flung open and a tall man with a gentle stoop burst in — there is no other description for it.

He was freshly showered, looking rested in a fitting overcoat and the handshake firm; not steely, but dry, the fingers soft and long.

HISTORIC

The retainers hustled the other visitor elsewhere and closed the door.

“So what do you want from me?” he asked.

And for the first time in a career of 20 years, I was face-to-face with the President of Kenya, for an interview I had not prepared for, with time in the seconds.

I have no talent for small talk, I am not the most diplomatic man on earth and here I was with a powerful politician who would rather be out working up adoring crowds than sitting across from an ageing reporter with an attitude.

JOBS

I took a quick decision: I was going to deal with the media and how public procurement affected the ability of the economy to create jobs for young people.

But I did the “soup” first, the soapy questions, which are supposed to prepare the interviewee for the hard business: You have had hundreds of campaign meetings, what are you people on? Long silence, wistful look. “We believe in what we are doing.”

CAMPAIGNS

Do you have a last pitch? “I have made the argument almost 600 times. It’s all there for you to see.”

After all this frantic activity, what will you do tomorrow without rallies and campaigning?

There is still a lot of work to do, agents to organise and so forth, he said.

And what’s going to be your priority if re-elected? Here there was common ground, as a matter of Nation Agenda, and my own passion about youth and jobs.

YOUTH

If re-elected, he said, he will spend time preparing the youth to take over the management of the affairs of the country.

He said in his close to 600 campaign gatherings, he was surprised at the hordes of young faces readying to take leadership in Tuesday’s election.

“They are telling even those of us in our generation to get the job done and make way,” the President, who turns 56 in October, said.

Mr Kenyatta is an impressive guy.

ASSERTIVE

He does not have retired President Moi’s imperious presence, but he has his father’s big face and distinctive eyes.

He thinks well and though guarded, he is engaging, forthright and eager to get in your face, which I liked.

When I saw Philip Murgor and Ekuru Aukot on TV, I regretted not having taken a keener interest in them.

Their thinking may not have been profound, but it was fresh and bold.

Similarly, I thought I should have tried harder to get interviews with all the candidates; I wish I had interviewed the President and his rival, Mr Raila Odinga a month ago.

IMPORTS

I blew the interview at the next, and second most important, question.

Public procurement is a furnace, burning our taxes and even more insidiously, exporting the jobs that should be going to our children to China.

Are we going to institute measures to use taxes to import only what we can’t produce?

He said the import culture had grown because of corruption at the port.

UNEMPLOYMENT

This, he said, has already been tightened up and the procurement system will be made more transparent.

Also, a tight anti-money laundering regime was working and was part of the reason some businesses, which were operated illegally, were not doing so well.

I knew I had blown the chance to get him to reflect on the broader connection between our procurement culture and unemployment.

MEDIA

So we waded into the media question, the elephant in the room.

The President has strong views about the Press, not all of them flattering.

“We are sometimes condemned unheard,” I ventured, reflecting my conviction that leaders must interact more with the kind of journalists who don’t walk into their offices with an outstretched hand and a promise to run back and cook stories.

“No,” he said. “You convict those who are heard,” he answered.

FEEDBACK

And he launched into what in a communiqué might be described as a fluent, free and frank expression of his views.

It was probably not Alex Ferguson’s blow drier treatment, but it was close.

In summary: the media are trapped in the amber of prior glories, they must change with the times.

“You have a mentality problem,” he said.

I was happy to receive the President’s feedback and we parted on a cordial note, but it occurred to me that editors need to try harder to have structured dialogue with the country’s political leadership.

TENDER

As I was led through the deserted corridors of State House — half wondering in which of the many waiting rooms Martin Shikuku had eaten Ugali in 1992 — and in the car listening to the fury of an editor whose time we had wasted, I felt I had taken one for the team.

I couldn’t shrug off the feeling, though, that I was an old fool.

Which Kenyan finds himself alone in a room with the President and does not ask for a tender?

Tanzania: Puzzle of Anonymous Negotiators in Talks With Mining Company

Photo: State House

Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Professor Palamagamba Kabudi, welcomes Barrick Gold Corporation negotiations team members to the State House in Dar es Salaam.

By Athuman Mtulya

Dar es Salaam — As talks between the government and Barrick Gold Corporation over a mining dispute enter their third day today, the names of Tanzanian negotiators have yet to be made public.

The only known and visible face of the local team is its leader, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, who is also the Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs.

Prof Kabudi’s stewardship was confirmed on Monday in a statement released by State House in Dar es Salaam announcing commencement of the talks.

Prof Kabudi’s role was almost certain from the time he was tasked with drafting and tabling sweeping new mining and natural resources exploitation legislation, which was passed recently by Parliament.

What is puzzling, however, is the lack of information as to who else, other than Prof Kabudi, is in the team negotiating with Barrick.

Questions abound as to why the government is reluctant to reveal the identities of the people it has entrusted with the Herculean task of championing Tanzanians’ interests in talks with the mining giant.

It is worth noting that images of Barrick’s contingent comprising about a dozen members have been circulating widely, unlike those of the Tanzanian team.

The images, including video clips recorded during the closed-door meeting, all showed Barrick members, but not the Tanzanians. Prof Kabudi was shown escorting the delegation alone after the first day of talks. He has also given short interviews, but has never revealed who he was working with.

Efforts by The Citizen to reach State House and Prof Kabudi to explain why the identities have been kept under wraps did not bear fruit yesterday. However, State House spokesperson Gerson Msigwa was quoted saying Tanzanians should not be worried.

He said there was nothing sinister about withholding the names, adding that all would end well under Prof Kabudi.

Mr Msigwa’s assurance notwithstanding, speculation was rife about why a tight lid had been kept on the local negotiating team.

The Barrick team is led by a former British Special Air Service Commander, who is also the company’s chief operating officer (COO), Mr Richard Williams.

A political and diplomacy analyst, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said the decision not to identify members of the Tanzanian team showed that there was tension and pressure over the matter within the government.

“Indeed, it is a serious issue, but that doesn’t warrant such secrecy. Details of the negotiations at first might be a secret, but we all know what the problem is and how we got to this point.

“This shroud of secrecy shows, among other things, that there’s tension within the government. The negotiators up to this point are already known to the Barrick team, so one would wonder why they are being hidden from Tanzanians who have every right to be told who their ambassadors on this important mission are,” he said.

But political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Mr Richard Mbunda, said there could be concrete reasons for keeping the identities of Tanzanian negotiators secret.

He said while Tanzanians had every right to know who their representatives were, it was understandable why the government would want to withhold their identities.

“This is a very serious issue, we’re talking about a multi-billion dollar dispute…a lot is at stake here. The moment you make the names public you will be putting them under intense public scrutiny, especially on social media.

“They could come under intense public pressure and be distracted,” said Mr Mbunda.

He was also of the view that the government might not want to disclose their details in order to minimise the possibility of manipulation.

“We’re dealing with one of the biggest multinational companies here, and we know how good such people are in advancing their agenda. They might be mingling with our negotiators, but they know little or nothing about their lives outside the conference room, and that could help a great deal.”

President John Magufuli said earlier in the year that the leader of one of the committees he appointed to investigate alleged massive fraud in the export of mineral concentrate was approached and asked to doctor the findings.

He warned those who were intent on interfering with the investigations to keep off as they were being monitored.

MPs Question State House Shs 23 Billion Supplementary Request

Parliament’s budget committee has raised concern over the Shs 23.1 billion supplementary budget request from State House – less than two months to the end of 2016/2017.

The latest request is an addendum to an earlier request of the Shs 2.9 billion supplementary budget request from State House that was approved by parliament retrospectively.

State House received Shs 257.29 billion for the 2016/2017 financial year under Vote 002. According to the new supplementary budget request, Shs 200 million was spent as capital donation to Isingiro fruit factory and Shs 1.08 billion was given to the Federation of Uganda Football Association (Fufa) for the African Cup of Nationals football tournament preparations.

State House comptroller, Lucy Nakyobe appeared together with the Presidency minister, Esther Mbayo before the budget committee to defend the supplementary budget request.

Nakyobe told the committee chaired by Ntenjeru North MP, Amos Lugoloobi that State House exhausted its annual budget allocation on several recurrent items hence the need for additional funding to settle outstanding obligations as well as facilitate their operations through the remaining period of the financial year.

They include among others utilities such as telecommunications, electricity and water that require Shs 1.2 billion, classified expenditure of Shs 5.028 billion and insurance for the presidential helicopter and jet at Shs 1.4 billion among others.

The others include Shs 2.4 billion spent on Makerere University visitation, Shs 9.55 billion for inland travel and another Shs 3.5 billion for travel abroad.

“We have a helicopter and we have a jet but we only got money for the jet. We did not have the money for insuring the helicopter. We requested for additional funding from the beginning but they did not give us, so it remained an unfunded priority at the beginning of the financial year. But we had to insure the helicopter because it is mandatory.

Then the other issues, it is because of over activity. We did plan, for example, when you look at travel abroad, we planned for 25 visits outside the country, but as I speak we have already done 30 visits so we have consumed five extra visits. So we have already gone overboard… and also got some services on credit. When you look at the state visits we had planned for only 15 and as we speak we have already done 17″, Nakyobe said.

She defended the Shs 9.55 billion additional funding required for the president’s in land travel, saying the money will be used to facilitate local programs and settle fuel bills.

However, the committee members led by the chairperson Lugoloobi questioned whether the items for which State House requires that additional funding were of emergence nature.

Patrick Nsamba, the Kasanda North MP wondered how State House will spend such a huge sums of money in the remaining days of the financial year.

“The law clearly state the circumstances under which we should ask for supplementary, but what am seeing is additional, additional every where. The circumstances under which we should be asking for supplementary are clearly stated; under situations of emergencies, things that cannot wait for the next financial year. Look at item no.5, Mr chair, there is travel inland worth Shs 9.5 billion. So Mr chairman am just looking at the time period vs what is required”, Nsamba said.

Lugoloobi questioned why State House continues to request supplementary budgets even when it receives sufficient allocations. Nakyobe attributed the problem on emerging issues as well as under funding for some items. She explained that as the year closes, they need liquid cash to run State House as they wait for releases for the new financial year.

“The year closes on the 30th of June, but when the year closes, the other one doesn’t open automatically although theoretically is it supposed to, but it doesn’t. By the time you get to receive money for the other financial year, you still have to run because State House doesn’t close.

We’re supposed to facilitate the president at all times, come rain, come shine. So we still have to have some money to see us through that period when books have closed as we wait for new books of the other financial year to open. So it is things like travel inland that where we keep some money because the programs continue”, Nakyobe added.

The officials are expected to return back to the committee on Friday morning to discuss the classified expenditure funding.

Devolution Boss Denies Plot to Kick Out Mt Kenya MPs

By Bernard Namunane And Peter Leftie

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri yesterday denied claims by more than 40 legislators from Mt Kenya region that he plotted their downfall in the recent Jubilee Party nominations.

Mr Kiunjuri also dismissed allegations by the MPs who met President Uhuru Kenyatta about 10 days ago, that he was positioning himself to become Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate in the 2022 elections.

“I was not involved in any way in the nominations. I am a member of the Cabinet and my duty is to proclaim government policies and achievements. The MPs should carry their own cross,” he said on the phone.

NOMINATIONS LOSERS

He was responding to allegations that arose during the President’s State House meeting with disgruntled MPs from Mt Kenya.

The early morning meeting was arranged at the request of sitting legislators who accused Mr Kiunjuri of rigging them out during the Jubilee Party primaries.

The meeting lasted about 40 minutes as President Kenyatta was expected to attend the National Delegates Conferences of Jubilee-friendly parties that endorsed his re-election.

He was also scheduled to preside over the Jubilee Party’s NDC to formally get the endorsement from delegates.

VOTER APATHY

Several speakers at the State House meeting accused the Devolution CS of working in cahoots with members of the Jubilee Party elections board to rig the primaries in favour of their opponents.

Three MPs who spoke to the Daily Nation in confidence, said the agitated legislators warned that Mr Kiunjuri’s actions risked causing voter apathy in the Jubilee Party stronghold.

“Those who were given a chance to speak all pointed fingers at Kiunjuri because his hand in the shambolic nominations was very clear, especially in Laikipia, Nyeri, Nyandarua, Murang’a, Kirinyaga and even Embu.

“Cess (Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire), for instance, complained bitterly about the way she was rigged out, blaming Kiunjuri for her tribulations,” an MP who attended the meeting said.

DEPUTY PRESIDENT

“We are aware he was working with election officials at the county level to ensure most of us (sitting legislators) did not win the nominations.

“We know he wants to position himself as Ruto’s running mate in 2022 by locking out popular politicians from the region,” another MP from Nyeri said.

President Kenyatta is said to have listened quietly, once in a while asking some of the speakers to elaborate their statements before rising to address their concerns.

He is then said to have asked the aggrieved legislators, who included Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe, his Murang’a counterpart Kembi Gitura, Kiambu Woman Representative Anne Nyokabi, MPs Jamleck Kamau (Kigumo), Kabando wa Kabando (Mukurweini), Ms Mbarire, Dennis Waweru (Dagoretti South), Ndung’u Gethenji, Esther Murugi (Nyeri Town), Mary Wambui (Othaya) and Esther Gathogo, among others, to choose two people from among themselves to be channelling their concerns to him going forward. They settled on Mr Kamau and Ms Wambui.

“He appeared genuinely surprised by our revelations, but asked us not to stop campaigning for his re-election in our various constituencies and counties,” another source said.

ACCEPT DEFEAT

Yesterday, Mr Kiunjuri challenged the lawmakers to provide evidence to prove their allegations as he stated that the Jubilee Party National Elections Board can attest to his innocence.

“Anybody who claims I was involved should prove that I had a hand. They should stop drawing the President into it because even government intelligence can prove me right.

“If you lost in the nominations, don’t use me as a scapegoat. I will not allow it,” he said.

The Devolution CS asked how he could influence the outcome of the nominations in six counties and urged the MPs to go back to the voters and ask them why they rejected them.

“I am surprised that I have powers to interfere in all those counties in the region. If those claims were true, then I should be so powerful. They should carry their own cross,” he said.

2022 POLITICS

On allegations that he was positioning himself to become Mr Ruto’s running mate in 2022, Mr Kiunjuri said he was content with his ministerial post and accused some of those who went to State House of eyeing the deputy president’s slot in five years’ time.

“I challenge anyone to tell me one day when I uttered words that I want to be Ruto’s running mate. Kenyans know who is positioning himself and I hereby tell them that a drowning man can hold onto anything, including a snake.”

The MPs told the President that more than 20 legislators from the region had made up their minds to run as independent candidates during the August 8 election.

President Kenyatta is said to have granted their request to run as independent candidates but on condition that they would campaign for his re-election.

Those who have declared their intention to run independently include Mr Gitura, Ms Mbarire, Mr Kabando, former permanent secretary Thuita Mwangi and John Mututho, among others.

Govt Brushes Off Ex-Prime Minister’s Criticism Against Magufuli

Photo: allafrica.com

CCM’s John Magufuli and Chadema’s Edward Lowassa.

By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam — The State House brushed off former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa’s criticism on President John Magufuli’s failure to pay last respects to 32 pupils, two teachers and a driver who perished in a road accident in Karatu a week ago.

Presidential Communications director Gerson Msigwa told The Citizen that “the President doesn’t conduct his responsibilities to please Lowassa.”

Mr Lowassa, who is also a member of the Chadema Central Committee, told reporters here yesterday that Arusha residents were disappointed by the President’s failure to pay last respects to 35 victims of the bus crash.

President Magufuli was represented by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan during the event.

Mr Lowassa said the President, was supposed to attend since the accident touched the hearts of many Tanzanians.

He also accused the State House of failing to issue any statement on why the President failed to show up.

“As an Arusha resident and a leader, I’m seriously disappointed. His absence has saddened many people in my home region and the entire country.”

Social media has been critical of the President’s failure to attend the event.

Meanwhile, Mr Lowassa has condemned Dar es Salaam authorities for banning a meeting on democracy

He said the aim of the meeting was to bring Tanzanians together to discuss challenges facing democracy and the way forward.

“Ours is a democratic society and everyone has the right to express his/her feelings. CCM should know that one day this country will be led by another party and it will be in a position that we are in right now,” he noted.

Tanzania

Tanzania On High Alert After Ebola Outbreak Declared in DR Congo

The government has called on the people to remain vigilant as reports of ne Ebola outbreak emerged on Friday in the… Read more »

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