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President Paul Kagame during the interview with Rwanda Broadcasting Agency on July 4, 2022. PHOTO | URUGWIRO

The problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo can be solved without Rwanda’s involvement, President Paul Kagame said on Monday.

The Rwandan leader said his country is okay not deploying following the recent decision under the East African Community (EAC) Conclave on DR Congo to deploy a regional force to end armed conflict in the country’s troubled mineral-rich eastern region.

“That is fine (not to deploy RDF). We are not begging anyone to participate. I would, actually, be happy for the problems there to be solved without (our) involvement,” President Kagame said in an interview with the national broadcaster, Rwanda Broadcasting Agency.

Read: Kagame, Tshisekedi meet for first time since fresh fallout

“If anybody has a solution, why would I have a problem…. If the force is going to support that political process to find a solution, I have no problem,” he said. Rwanda also needs assurance of its security concerns, including addressing the presence of the FDLR on Congolese territory and stopping attacks and shelling on its territory, the head of state added. 

“DRC has problems it has to deal with, just like we have as sovereign countries. What is unacceptable, however, is to watch as armed groups from the DRC attack us and kill our people.”

Mr Kagame reiterated Rwanda’s stance on political dialogue to resolve the conflict. In particular, he singled out the issue of the Kinyarwanda-speaking Banyamulenge and the Banyarwanda of North Kivu, who have faced a rising contestation of citizenship and belonging.

“They speak Kinyarwanda, but they are Congolese citizens. How they became citizens of DR Congo can’t be blamed on Congo or Rwanda.”

Hate speech and hostility against Rwandans and Rwandan-speaking Congolese have risen in recent days after Kinshasa accused Kigali of backing M23 rebels who are behind the armed conflict. Kigali denies any role.

Read: Rising hate speech in Congo conflict alarms UN

Two weeks ago, regional leaders endorsed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s call to deploy boots on the ground — the East African Standby Force, EASF. EAC military chiefs agreed on the Concept of Operations for troop contribution to the force by the bloc’s member states, which was endorsed by the heads of state. The actual deployment date is yet to be decided, although a dispatch from the meeting in Nairobi indicated details would be shared early in July.

Kinshasa agreed to the deployment but without Rwandan troops. By BERNA NAMATA, The East African

Collage of Raila and Ruto. PHOTO/(RailaOdinga, WilliamRuto)Facebook 

The Presidential Debate Secretariat has announced a schedule for the debates for candidates seeking the presidency in the August 9 polls.

In a statement to newsrooms on Monday, July 4, 2022, Cliff Machoka, the Head of the Secretariat, said the presidential debate will be held on Tuesday, July 26.

Candidates to participate in Presidential Debate

All the four candidates eyeing the presidency in the August polls have been invited for the debate. They are William Ruto of Kenya Kwanza Alliance, Raila Odinga of Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya, George Wajackoyah of Roots Party and David Mwaure of Agano Party.

The presidential running mates' debate will be conducted a week earlier, on July 19.

Machoka further announced that in addition to the traditional presidential and deputy presidential debates, the Secretariat will also have a Gubernatorial Debate for the County of Nairobi this year.

"This is in recognition of the central place held by devolution in our governance and the growing need to ensure greater accountability at the county level," Machoka said.


"We are encouraged by the overwhelming interest shown by members of the public, so far, in the debates initiative. We are gratified that Kenyans have embraced the debates as a key avenue for catalysing issue-based elections and facilitating informed electoral choices."

The gubernatorial debate will be held on Monday, July 11.

All the debates will be held at the Catholic University for Eastern Africa (CUEA) main campus situated in Karen, Nairobi, from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. 

The Nairobi Gubernatorial Debate, Machoka said, will proceed in two tiers. The first tier will feature gubernatorial candidates whose popularity ratings, based on three recent opinion polls, stand below 5 per cent, while the second tier will involve candidates who have polled above 5 per cent in the same opinion surveys.

"The first debate will run from 6:00 pm and end at 7.30 pm while the second debate will go on air at 8:00 pm and end at 9.30 pm," he added

The first-tier debate for the Nairobi governor hopefuls will be moderated by Serfine Achieng' Ouma of KBC and Ayub Abdikadir of K24.

The second-tier debate involving candidates, who have polled above 5 per cent in three recent opinion polls, will be moderated by Zubeida Koome of KTN News and Mark Masai of NTV.

"Panel discussions for both debates will be moderated by Waihiga Mwaura of Citizen TV," Machoka said.

He added: "The moderators have been selected based on rigorous criteria that, among other things, endear the principles of impartiality, fairness and objectivity, a strong understanding of the Kenyan political landscape and the major issues of this election, particularly in Nairobi County."

Under the rules of the presidential debates, the moderators will select the questions to be asked, and shall not share the same with the candidates.

Further, the moderators have been prohibited from meeting with any of the campaign teams or candidates and the participants in this case candidates.

The Secretariat is a joint organ comprising representatives from the Media Owners Association, the Media Council of Kenya and the Kenya Editors' Guild.

It has been organizing debates on elections in the country since 2013. By Wycliffe Nyamasege, K24 Digital

President Museveni with his Russian counterpart Vladmir Putin at the Africa-Russia summit in Sochi in 2019. Photo/PPU 

What you need to know:

  • A new legislation that would oblige Washington to punish African governments that abet Russian ‘malign’ activities on the continent is in the offing. Emmanuel Mutaizibwa assesses how the continent, specifically Uganda, will be affected.

During the war on terror, the George Walker Bush administration enunciated the Bush Doctrine, which, among other things, affirmed the legitimacy of an American preventive strike and emphasised the notion that, “If you are not with us, you are against us.”
As Ukrainians writhe in the death throes after Russia invaded their country in a war of attrition, America could invoke this policy— a carrot and stick approach—reward those who condemned Russia’s invasion and punish those who sided with the aggressor. 

With the brazen commitment of war crimes and crimes against humanity inside Ukraine, the West and its armada of weaponry continues to isolate Moscow. 

On March 2, 2022, the United Nations voted on a resolution to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Twenty eight out of the 54 African countries voted to condemn the invasion, while 17, including, Uganda voted to abstain.

Justifying its neutral position, Uganda’s Ambassador to the UN Adonia Ayebare proffered that ‘as incoming chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), neutrality is key. Uganda will continue to play a constructive role in the maintenance of peace and security both regionally and globally.’ 

Critics though say the decision may bear parallels with the words of freedom fighter Martin Luther King Jr, who said: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

A United States (US) Bill that would oblige Washington to punish African governments that abet Russian ‘malign’ activities on the continent is in the offing. Fears abound that it may have expansive powers to target African countries ‘that sided with the oppressor.’ 

The Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act passed through the House of Representatives on April 27 by a huge, bipartisan 419-9 majority, and is now sure to be passed by the Senate and become law soon. It would direct the US Secretary of State ‘to develop and submit to Congress a strategy and implementation plan outlining United States efforts to counter the malign influence and activities of the Russian Federation and its proxies in Africa.’ 

The Bill broadly defines such malign activities as those that ‘undermine United States objectives and interests.’ The Secretary of State would have to monitor the actions of Russia’s government and its ‘proxies’ – including private military companies (clearly Wagner is in the sights) and oligarchs.

The government would have to counter such activities effectively, including through US foreign aid programmes. It would need to ‘hold accountable the Russian Federation and African governments and their officials who are complicit in aiding such malign influence and activities.’

The Bill was introduced to Congress on March 31, and was clearly a response to Russia’s 24 February invasion of Ukraine. New York Democrat Gregory Meeks, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Bill was designed to thwart Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to ‘pilfer, manipulate and exploit resources in parts of Africa to evade sanctions and undermine U.S. interests,’ and to finance his war in Ukraine.

Meeks also presented the Bill as supportive of Africa, intended to protect ‘all innocent people who have been victimised by Putin’s mercenaries and agents credibly accused of gross violations of human rights in Africa.

It is specifically in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali that a Russian-linked mercenary group, Wagner has been accused of committing human rights violations to prop up dubious governments and thwart Western interests. 

However, the Institute for Security Studies, a regional human security policy think-tank with a focus on Africa, says some African governments suspect there’s more at play than protecting ‘fragile states in Africa,’ as Meeks put it. ‘Why target Africa?’ one senior African government official wondered. ‘They’re obviously unhappy with the way so many African countries voted in the General Assembly and their relatively non-aligned position.’

Prof Ogenga Otunnu, a history scholar based in the United States, shares the same fears, “Once it becomes law, the intention is to try and contain the interference of Russia in Africa, to try and undermine Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, which in the eyes and minds of western governments, including United States, is likely to be protracted and is likely to spread beyond Ukraine. The sanction regime has not been able to bite as much as they had expected. They thought it would undermine Putin’s popularity at home, it may do once western countries have been able to find alternative to energy sources coming from Russia.”

As the war in the far-flung Ukraine continues to reverberate across the World, it has cast a long shadow on US ties with some of its African allies.
But Prof Ottunu says the law may largely be symbolic. “It will only be applied in a very selective way, in the case of Uganda much of it may not be applied.” 
His views are premised on the basis that America’s foreign policy interests are prioritised ahead of human rights.

“Foreign policy has never been constructed based on protection and observation of human rights or promotion of democratic pluralism, it is only if and when the national interests coincide with that they can actually begin to enforce sanction regimes against governments that violate human rights, governments that are not democratic at all,” Prof Otunnu argues. “They will simply say words, they will have resolutions, they will condemn but they will not do anything,” he adds.

Prof Otunnu opines that Uganda’s neutral position may not be pragmatic in light of gross human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russia.  

“It is a tricky one because I understand that a number of African countries were going to remain non-aligned in this conflict, which is a tricky position because non-alignment doesn’t mean you should not see, you should not hear, you should not condemn injustices, violation of international law, the way the invasion is taking place in terms of a massive extermination, destruction of Ukraine, carnage of ordinary people, those are things that non-alignment does not protect you from condemning,” he proffers.

However, he believes that the United States will likely take a properly weighed decision not to alienate Africa.

“It is a tricky one for the United States, because on the one end, the United States wants to ensure that Russia does not gain a strong foothold in Africa. How do you do it? Maybe we create this regime that threatens some sanctions [and] at the same time the US knows that it is actually losing Africa to China, which is a bigger threat to America and western interests than Russia. So by trying to impose sanction regimes on African countries, you are actually driving them into the arms of the other opponent, which is China,” Prof Otunnu says.  With Africa up for grabs by imperial powers, Russia’s charm offensive continues to take shape in Africa. 

However, some of Russia’s tactics have raised concern as mercenary bands such as Wagner passes itself off as a private military contractor and the Kremlin denies any connection to it or even, sometimes, that it exists. In sub-Saharan Africa, Wagner has gained footholds for Russia in the Central African Republic (CAR), Sudan and Mali.

Russian flags waved in Burkina Faso’s capital following January’s military coup in the West African nation. A statue unveiled in the Central African Republic last fall shows local soldiers, backed by Russian fighters, protecting civilians, as Moscow attempts to counter the West in supremacy fights. 

Africa is a foreign policy priority, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the first Russia-Africa summit of political and business leaders in 2019.

“We are not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth,” he said. “Rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa,” he added.

A second summit is planned for St Petersburg in October. The first, at the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, resulted in diplomatic agreements and billions of dollars in deals involving arms, energy, agriculture, and banking. 

 A report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change shows how Russia is reviving Soviet-era ties with African states to extract resources from the region, and in exchange, become a security provider. Mr Putin now appears to consider Africa an arena of his imperialist ambition, and hopes to lure the continent away from Western influence.

It is not yet clear yet how Uganda will attempt to placate these super powers. For long spells, President Museveni has been the point-man of the West in the Great Lakes, one of the most restive pockets in the world. 

Uganda also crafted a major alliance with the United States in its war against terror when it deployed its troops in the Horn of Africa enclave in March 2007 against the Al-Shabaab insurgents.

This turned into a boon as the United States provided significant development and security assistance to Uganda, with a financial war-chest exceeding $970m (about Shs3.4 trillion) per year. 


US role

It also plays a key role in supporting the professionalisation of the military; providing antiretroviral treatment for more than 990,000 Ugandans living with HIV/Aids; and working to boost economic growth and agricultural productivity, improve educational and health outcomes, and support democratic governance through inclusive, accountable institutions.

The US, which is the single biggest donor funder to the country, pools a sizeable chunk of Uganda’s health sector budget.  Of the $896m (Shs3.1 trillion) in assistance to Uganda in 2018, $511m (Shs1.8 trillion) went to the health sector, specifically interventions in HIV, malaria, Tuberculosis, maternal and child health, nutrition, and health systems strengthening. 

It has also donated millions of vaccines to Uganda to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. But as President Museveni’s halo began to slip, his erstwhile allies prodded him over the ruling party’s governance and human rights record. The government was prompted to build new alliances in the Far East with China and Russia.

Russia has since then been the major supplier of fighter jets that Uganda has relied on to ramp up its fire-power in the skies.  Uganda recently purchased about six Mi-28 “Havoc” combat helicopters from Russia. It is believed to cost about $18m (Shs67b).
In 2011, government raided the reserves and withdrew $740m (Shs2.6 trillion) for the procurement of six Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighters from Russia.

Rostec, one of the lead partners in RT—a state-owned Russian company, is a renowned supplier of military hardware to the Ugandan military. 

In 2016, Russian helicopters, a holding company of Rostec, supplied Uganda with a VIP version of the Mi-171E helicopter as part of a contract signed in 2015. Those who support the government military expenditure postulate that given the instability across the Great Lakes and among its neighbours, the Kampala regime must establish a cordon sanitaire to guard its borders from aggressive neighbours.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is using Belarus as a staging ground for his war. Observers, therefore, say while the NAM narrative offered by the Ugandan government was plausible, it also wanted to curry favour with two eastern European countries that help keep its military machines purring.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has also relied on Ukraine for repairs and training of its Air Force. 
In March 2020, a 14-man team of pilots, engineers, and technicians from Ukraine’s Odessa Aviation Plant (OAP) completed a major repair and upgrades of six of Uganda’s L-39 Albatross training and combat aircraft.  Eight Ugandan L-39ZA jets have since then been overhauled and modernised, by the Ukraine firm.

Uganda first received three L-39ZO trainers from Libya in 1987, which are reported to still be in service.  In 2002, Uganda also received a further four ex-Bulgarian Air Force L-39Zas, which were overhauled in Ukraine in 2009/2010.

Earlier on in 1997, Uganda purchased junk MI-24 attack helicopters from Belarus, a neighbouring state of Ukraine and Russia.  Upon inspection at the Entebbe Air Force base, it was discovered that the helicopters were not overhauled, had worn-out tyres, as well as rusted pipes and were not air-worthy. 
The helicopters were meant to be deployed in northern Uganda to fight Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) acolytes.

According to the 2002 findings of a commission of inquiry led by Justice Julia Ssebutinde, who is now a judge at The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ), this deal cost Ugandan taxpayers a substantial loss worth Shs14b.

It is not clear yet how the wide-ranging sanctions imposed on Russia could affect the continent—and specifically Uganda’s—ability to procure and maintain military hardware.  By EMMANUEL MUTAIZIBWA , Daily Monitor

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto at the Nyayo National Stadium on April 29, 2022. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate William Ruto has admitted to almost slapping his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, when Uhuru, as Ruto alleges, almost gave up on the 2017 presidential re-run.

Ruto was responding to a leaked audio where he is heard saying that he came close to slapping Uhuru in 2017 after the nullification of the election by the Supreme court following a petition filed by then NASA leader Raila Odinga and civil society groups.

In the recording, Ruto, who was speaking to a group of Kikuyu elders at his Karen residence on Friday, is heard saying that Uhuru almost gave up on the presidency and was ready to go back home in Ichaweri, Gatundu South, prompting his anger. 

But the Deputy President, while defending his remarks during a rally today at Central Imenti, Meru County, says he was only being a good and loyal friend. The deputy president and the president have been at loggerheads, exchanging brickbats sometimes without mentioning names.

"Hio vitu mnazungusha kwa maredio ati William Ruto aliskuma Uhuru Kenyata namna gani. Kwani mlikua mnataka Uhuru Kenyatta awache kiti tulikua tumeamkia saa kumi na moja awe Rais tuwaachie watu wa kuzimia?

"Ati mnarecord Ruto alimskuma President Uhuru sijui namna gani, kwani mlitaka President Uhuru awache kiti ambayo sisi tuliamka saa kumi asubuhi kumchagua ili awe Rais? Awache kiti tulikuwa tumemtafutia, awachie mtu wa kitendawili? Atakama nilimlazimisha awe Rais, iko makosa?"

His statement can be loosely translated to; "What should I have done? Let Uhuru concede defeat yet Kenyans had woken up at 5pm to vote for him? You wanted him to give up and let Raila Odinga be sworn into the presidency? Was I wrong to force him into the presidency?" he posed. 

The Deputy President further said that he had traversed the country to campaign for the president and would not allow Odinga to easily grab the presidency.

"I was Kenyatta's biggest campaigner as I would wake up early and conduct three meetings before the president showed up. I helped him because he is my friend," Ruto added.

The Deputy President was responding after the Azimio la Umoja faction accused him of disrespecting the president in the remarks now gone viral on social media.

“Hayo maneno umesikia hapa deputy president akizungumza ni aibu kubwa sana… (It is an embarrassment for the Deputy President to utter such remarks),” Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka said.

“Anataka kupiga rais wa Kenya kofi jameni na akipewa majeshi na polisi atafanya nini… (If he can think of slapping the president, what would he do if he won the presidential election and became the chief of the armed forces)?" Suna East MP Junet Mohammed probed. By Stephanie Wangari, The Standard


Azimio candidate Raila Odinga converse with Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga and Kasipul MP Ong’ondo Were at Agoro Sare Secondary school in Kasipul constituency in Homa Bay County during Azimio rally on July 3, 2022 as Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo looks on.


Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga has revealed one of the reasons for the feuding between him and Deputy President William Ruto, the Kenya Kwanza State House hopeful. 

The rivalry dates back to the grand coalition government, when Mr Odinga was prime minister and Dr Ruto Agriculture minister.

Mr Odinga said Dr Ruto was a corrupt person who could not be trusted with public resources.

This, he said, once pushed him to suspend Dr Ruto from the Cabinet before President Mwai Kibaki intervened and reinstated him.

At a rally in Homa Bay town on Sunday, Mr Odinga revealed some of the triggers of their dispute, including a maize scandal.

Mr Odinga said the state had decided to import maize from South Africa because of shortages of the cereal in Kenya.


But Dr Ruto allegedly colluded with some of his friends, including MPs, to sell the maize to millers at high prices, more than what the government had directed.

"The maize was transported through the [Indian Ocean] to the Mombasa port before it was stored at National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores," he said.

The maize was to be bought by flour millers. According to Mr Odinga, a sack was to be sold to factories for Sh1,500 per bag.

He claimed Dr Ruto had a different plan on how to sell the maize and was looking to cash in.

"He colluded with his friends, including some in Parliament, to sell the maize to millers at higher prices," he said.

Mr Odinga reported that the maize was later sold to flour makers for Sh2,800.

But this was after Mr Ruto’s friends bought the maize from the NCPB for the original price of Sh1,500.

"He (Ruto) wrote them notices, which they used to buy maize from NCPB and later sold the grains to millers. It was not the government's plan to do this," Mr Odinga said. 

The former prime minister added that the cartel involved was only revealed when more Kenyans could not afford three meals a day.

At a rally in Kibera, Mr Odinga said his voters then complained about being hungry.

"We were surprised because we had just procured maize and the county was supposed to be food-secure. We had to investigate the problem and find solutions," he said.

According to Mr Odinga, investigations by PricewaterhouseCoopers pointed fingers at Dr Ruto as the person behind the problem.

He said he had to sack Dr Ruto, but President Kibaki reinstated him.

"He still cannot be trusted. The report of the investigation is still out and his name is there," Mr Odinga told his supporters in Homa Bay. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. By George Odiwuor,  Daily Nation 

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