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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan held a phone call on Thursday to discuss the efforts of their respective countries to calm the situation in Sudan and return to dialogue. 

"The call touched upon the intensive efforts to stop the escalation and return to dialogue and the political process," according to a statement by the spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency, Ahmed Fahmy.

The statement highlights Egypt and the UAE's support for the "brotherly" Sudanese people in their efforts to achieve their aspirations towards enhancing security, stability, and development in the country, the spokesperson continued.

The spokesperson stated that the two leaders also exchanged greetings on the occasion of the blessed Eid El-Fitr, praying that both countries and their brotherly peoples would continue to prosper and maintain stability, and that peace and security would prevail in the entire Arab, Islamic, and the whole world.

Earlier on Thursday, both the Egyptian Armed Forces expressed appreciation for the UAE and Saudi Arabia for contributing efforts to the evacuation of part of the Egyptian troops who were detained in Sudan.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the coordinated efforts with the UAE allowed for the transfer of the remaining group of troops to the Embassy of Egypt in Khartoum. Arham Online

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Eric Theuri.[Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has moved to court to challenge the appointment of Christine Agima as the chairperson of the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC).

In its case before the High Court in Mombasa, LSK terms the appointment illegal and want it revoked

Lawyers are also asking that the naming of Mary Gaturu as a member of the commission be reversed. Agima and Gaturu have been appointed for six and five years respectively. 

Through lawyer Willis Oluga, LSK says the appointments were done in violation of the Kenya Law Reform Commission Act, 2013, and the Constitution.

They say the appointments are also in violation of the statutory timelines and are therefore illegal, null and void. The case argues that the hiring for the position of chairman must be subjected to a competitive process.  

LSK Chief Executive Officer Florence Wairimu, in an affidavit, says Gaturu did not even apply for the position, neither was she interviewed..

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The lawyers want Justice Olga Sewe to nullify the two appointments made on August 1, last year.

“An order of mandatory injunction be issued compelling the respondents herein to undertake fresh recruitment and appointment for the position of the chairperson and member of the Kenya Law Reform Commission in a manner that strictly conforms to the law,” says Wairimu. 

The recruitment process by the selection panel, she argues, was materially affected by the midstream amendment to the Kenya Law Reform Commission Act.

“However, the amendment to section 8 (1) (b) introduced on December 11, 2022, vide Statute Law Act, 2020, dictated that the number of members of the commission that could be recruited through a competitive process be reduced from two to one, while the appointing authority was changed from the Cabinet Secretary to the AG,” argues Wairimu.

The process should therefore restart under the revised Act.

She points out that despite the interviews having been concluded by the selection panel on July 24, 2020, the process went into a lull for over two years until the appointment of the two.

Agima and Gaturu took oath of office on August 15, last year. By Joackim Bwana , The Standard

 

 

The Ministry of Trade and Industry on Wednesday, April 19, announced a value added tax waiver on maize flour and rice in an effort to help ease food price inflation.

The directive, which took immediate effect, comes at a time when the government plans various interventions designed to further address soaring food prices on the market.

Food prices increased at an average of 13.9 per cent between January and December 2022.

Price hikes have largely been attributed to unpredictable weather conditions, Covid-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine.

According to the trade and industry ministry, an inspection conducted in different markets across the country revealed that some traders had signficantly increased food prices, unreasonably.

“After analysing different reasons that have affected current food price increases and following discussions that the trade ministry held with several public institutions and private sector partners, Minicom (the ministry) would like to inform the public that the value added tax has been removed off on maize flour and rice,” it said in a statement signed by Trade and Industry minister Dr Jean-Chrysostome Ngabitsinze.

The ministry also announced maximum prices for maize, maize flour, rice and irish potatoes. These foodstuff are among Rwanda's staple foods.

Increases in commodity prices have one overall implication: rising cost of living. And, it is the low-income earners who suffer the most as they find it difficult to make ends meet.

The government is optimistic that food prices will eventually stabilise. - Edwin Ashimwe, The New Times

What you need to know

  • The survey on the state of gender equality on the continent reveals that in sub-Saharan Africa, 40 per cent of women are married as children.
  • It also indicates Africa is home to 15 of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world, six of which are in West and Central Africa.

A survey by the African Union (AU) and UNDP Africa shows that 10 per cent of girls in East and Southern Africa are married before the age of 15. The survey on the state of gender equality on the continent reveals that in sub-Saharan Africa, 40 per cent of women are married as children. It also indicates Africa is home to 15 of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world, six of which are in West and Central Africa.

The report adds that female genital mutilation (FGM) remains prevalent in parts of West, East, Central and North Africa. It is estimated that 55 million girls under the age of 15 in 28 African countries have experienced, or are at risk of undergoing, FGM.

The prevalence of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Africa also features prominently in the survey report. The most notable type of VAWG is listed as domestic violence, which includes intimate partner violence, physical assault and battery, marital rape, neglect, emotional, and verbal abuse.

According to the World Health Organization, a quarter of women aged 15 to 49 globally who have been in a relationship, have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner at least once in their lifetime. The global health body estimates that the rate of intimate partner violence in African is 33 per cent.

VAWG in Africa also takes the form of harmful practices such as FGM, child marriage, honour killing, maiming, and forced abortion. Armed conflicts in at least 15 sub-Saharan African countries contribute to increased sexual violence, forced sexual servitude and prostitution, sexual exploitation, and trafficking in women and girls. 

Gender-based violence (GBV) on the continent has also been on the increase, with East African countries registering a 48 per cent increase in reported cases. Countries that have for the last several years witnessed a spike in GBV include Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Algeria and South Africa.

Drop in child marriage

However, despite the grim picture painted by the statistics, the report notes a slow and steady decline in child marriage. The AU has also been at the forefront of fighting GBV through treaties touching on gender equality that member states are to ratify.

Regional human rights commitments relating to gender and the war on violence against women and girls include the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

 

There is also the African Youth Charter, the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, the African Human Rights Decade 2017-27, and the Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children.

Key challenges faced in the fight against violence against women and girls include lack of political will, which has slowed down the domestication and implementation of the treaties at both the regional and national levels. For instance, there is little or no evidence of standalone campaigns on GBV in the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development region; this often explains the absence of attention and resources.

Despite legal and policy frameworks prohibiting GBV and continental, regional and national campaigns on harmful cultural practices, violations persist.

Low regional and national budgets allocated to gender equality efforts are a fundamental challenge that make it difficult to roll out programmes in an efficient and timely manner

Weak accountability mechanisms at all levels are also named among the greatest challenges. The report complains about the lack of specific mechanisms for reporting on the progress of implementation. By Kamau Maichuhie, NMG

 

Agriculture and Livestock CS Mithika Linturi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has sent warning shots to local maize millers who are yet to reduce their maize flour prices, threatening to revoke their permits.

The Agriculture CS has scheduled a meeting with millers this Friday, April 21, to solve the unga pricing issue. 

Linturi, in an interview with Citizen TV last night, expressed disappointment in the millers’ inability to reduce the prices of maize flour, as directed by President William Ruto.

“I will give millers a notice on Friday. If they are given a permit but are not able to provide the Unga, then they should notify the Ministry because the duty-free waiver extends up to August 6. The millers and any other beneficiary of the permit will be able to discuss any challenges they are facing in the foreign trade” the CS noted. 

Linturi said that the government has waived duties on imported maize and rice and gave permits to all millers at the same time.

“Ajab is selling at below Sh170 because it’s one of the beneficiaries of the permits that we gave to millers to bring maize into the country. That means, the Ajab and Umi consignments have started coming in,” he added.

He reiterated the government’s plan to lower the cost of production to cushion Kenyans from the high cost of living. 

“When we made these promises, we knew we would deliver.  The government’s priority right now is to make sure the country is stable, and that is why we are asking Kenyans to be patient,” said Linturi.

A spot check by The Standard on Tuesday, April 18, identified only two millers, Umi and Ajab who had lowered their prices.

 A statement by Statehouse Spokesperson Hussein Mohammed on Monday alluded that unga prices had come down to between Sh159 and Sh160.

 “Unga prices have started going down just as President William Ruto had assured Kenyans over the weekend. Prices have dropped to Sh159 and Sh160, depending on the millers. When the president assumed office last year, a 2kg packet was retailing at approximately Sh230,” Mohammed tweeted.

This came in the back of a statement by President Wiliam Ruto, who promised a reduction in the price of maize flour last week. By Sharon Wanga, The Standard

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