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ODM leader Raila Odinga with Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium Kisumu during Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2021.[Collins Oduor, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has ceded ground over the contested political parties funding in a last minute effort to woo back his estranged partners in the opposition coalition. Raila yesterday wrote to the four partner parties in NASA, agreeing to share funds attributed to Members of Parliament.

This was a climb-down by the former premier, who has previously insisted that he does not owe his coalition partners even a cent. Raila wrote to Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress (ANC), Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and Chama Cha Mashinani’s Isaac Ruto. 

 

“The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is appreciative of the constructive consultations that have taken place among the leaders of our respective parties,” said Raila in the letter obtained by The Standard.

“Consequently thereto, our party has deliberated internally and resolved that, without prejudice, we share with our coalition partners ODM’s share of the Political Parties Fund attributed to parliamentary (and excluding presidential, gubernatorial and county assemblies) votes for the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/2020,” added Raila.

Raila expressed optimism that the decision would bring to closure the “unhealthy exchange of words that has been attended to the matter”.

 

The latest development comes even as Wiper yesterday unanimously resolved to quit the coalition. Mudavadi’s ANC also made a similar decision last Thursday.

Kalonzo said the decision to severe links with ODM would not make them enemies, since they were still free to join forces in the new formation ahead of the next poll. The former Vice President said had Raila taken the move to resolve the money standoff earlier, NASA would not have disintegrated.

This, as he accused “extremists” in the party of misleading Raila to take a hard stance on the matter. “I have received a letter signed by Raila, and ODM has now agreed to share the political parties funding with the partner parties,” Kalonzo said yesterday at a press briefing. “I always knew there were extremists that always misled him. He had not seen salient clauses of the agreement that we signed on revenue sharing,” he added. He said the four parties would separately file the letter with Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP).

An agreement by the Opposition coalition indicates that partner parties were to benefit equally from the political parties funding attributed to the presidential candidate. The details are contained in a document filed with the ORPP on April 27, 2017.

“All votes accruing to the presidency shall be shared among the coalition parties. Funds due to the party from which the coalition presidential candidate has been attributed to the presidential vote shall be shared equally among the coalition parties,” states the agreement.

Previous efforts by the trio to engage Raila on the matter flopped, forcing Kalonzo to threaten court action. In a letter dated May 21, Kalonzo wrote to Raila over his lack of commitment to address the standoff’.

The outfit singled out ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna for fomenting mistrust and wrangles among the partners by besmirching “national leaders”. Wiper party yesterday welcomed the move by ODM, but indicated that they would still require negotiations to agree on what each party should get.

At the same time, Wiper also indicated that they would still engage ODM so that its members can continue holding parliamentary leadership positions.

Senate Minority Whip Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, Deputy Minority Leader in the National Assembly Robert Mbui and Jessica Mbalu, the Public Accounts Committee vice chairperson stand to lose their positions once Wiper formally exits NASA.

Yesterday Kalonzo said ODM should not be quick to kick them out of the positions for the sake of a “bigger political future”.

“Where the law is specific that the seat goes to the minority coalition, then we will consider negotiations with ODM. You see we are not divorcing ODM partners. This is not divorce, this is reconstitution,” he added.

Addressing the Press after chairing a Parliamentary Group meeting at the party headquarters, Kalonzo vouched for the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) that he said was determined to capture power when President Uhuru Kenyatta exits.

The emerging alliance has convened a joint meeting in the coming days to put in place a strategy of making inroads in various parts of the country. The joint meeting had initially been scheduled to take place today, but was postponed following a request by Wetang’ula.

“We have had a very useful consultation culminating into a decision to exit NASA and welcome a new formidable coalition. In making this decision, we have no hard feelings and are cognizant of the prevailing political environment,” said Kalonzo.

“At One Kenya Alliance, we are open to receive and work with other like-minded political players. One Kenya Alliance will be working with Jubilee and we also welcome ODM. I want to welcome ODM as we start a new alliance because this country is at a crossroad,” he added. By Moses Nyamori, The Standard

A worker checks the temperature of travellers at the border post with Kenya in Namanga, northern Tanzania, on March 16, 2020. Photo AFP

 

Tanzania on Thursday banned "unnecessary gatherings" nationwide and urged those holding necessary meetings to take precautions to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

“I announce that from today I have prohibited of all the unnecessary activities,” Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima said in a statement.

She also directed regional and district commissioners to cooperate with regional and district chief physicians in carrying out their duties in accordance with the Health Act and set procedures for those applying for permits for mandatory activities.

Dr Gwajima further said that though many citizens have been following health guidelines, the response has been unsatisfactory in some areas.

“This situation has continued to contribute to the increase in the number of hospitalised patients. As of July 21, 2021 in healthcare facilities across the country there were 682 patients suffering from Covid -19 diseases,” she said.

Dr Gwajima praise health professionals for continuing to provide quality care.

She added that the Ministry of Health in collaboration with all stakeholders will continue to provide education on health measures and monitor the implementation of all guidelines.

The minister said health professionals are being trained on Covid-19 vaccination and assured Tanzanians that the vaccines that will be made available are safe and certified by the World Health Organization (WHO). - DOROTHY NDALU, The EastAfrican

Goretti Njagi, a Master's student, said it was "a setback" when Kenya was added to the red list Image: BBC
 
In Summary

• Hundreds travelling from countries including India, Egypt and Kenya must spend 10 days at a quarantine hotel in England, under the current rules.

• The Welsh government urged students to ask their universities about support.

It is "unacceptable" some international students face studying remotely until they can afford to pay quarantine costs, a students' group has said.

Some universities in Wales have offered to pay the £1,750 (Sh260,568) costs for students coming from red list countries. 

Hundreds travelling from countries including India, Egypt and Kenya must spend 10 days at a quarantine hotel in England, under the current rules.  

The Welsh government urged students to ask their universities about support. The National Union of Students (NUS) Wales said it was wrong that support varied, despite all international students paying the "same high fees" - often between £10,000 and £20,000 per year, depending on the course.

Wales' eight universities have more than 25,000 overseas students. Bangor University, Cardiff University, the University of South Wales and Swansea University have all said they would fund the costs of quarantine in full for red list students.

Aberystwyth University has offered to pay up to £1,000 per student, but Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) have only offered remote learning until students can pay themselves.

Neither Cardiff Met nor UWTSD replied to a request for additional comment, while Wrexham Glyndŵr University has not revealed its policy on quarantine fees.

"International students already pay far higher tuition fees, without which universities would face financial collapse," said NUS Wales president Becky Ricketts.

"It is also wrong that some international students will have their quarantine paid for, some will have to pay, and others will have to wait and learn online, all the while paying the same high fees as students in the classroom.

"Financial support should not be dependent on which institution you choose to attend."

She called for the Welsh government to pay the costs, saying if it failed "to do the right thing" then universities must "step up".

Goretti Njagi, 31, a postgraduate student at Swansea University, opted to start her psychology course online from home in Kenya last year, because of concerns over travelling in the pandemic.

"I decided to start my learning in my country first, but one month into it, I realised that I may have to do this for a long period, so I decided just to come anyway.  

"I was looking forward to face-to-face learning, but I ended up actually completing almost my entire course online.

"Sometimes it kind of makes you wonder whether you made the correct decision."

Kenya has since been placed on the UK's red list.

Ms Njagi said if she was looking to travel from Kenya this year, she would seriously consider studying online for longer.

"I have never relied on the internet, WhatsApp and Zoom calls so heavily as I have this year. It does get quite lonely and you need sometimes to get the reassurance from your family, but it's not the same as having them there with you.

"It was quite a setback when Kenya was red-listed for us. You think that you might get at least a break to visit home, even for your mental health it's quite important.

"But now with Kenya being on the red list it means that you cannot take a break and visit your family."

Cardiff Metropolitan University's vice-chancellor, Cara Aitchison, said: "There will be students arriving from red list countries. That's obviously much more complicated.

"Not least because they'll be arriving into England and then coming on to Wales [after quarantine]."

Prof Aitchison said it had to be left up to individual students to decide when they wanted to travel to Wales, with many facing unique and changing circumstance in their home countries.

She said the UK government had now given permission for international students to delay their journey until April 2022, if they felt it necessary, and would start their course online from their home country.

"I think we're now pretty adept at this hybrid way of working, so that will be a distinction between international students and some of the home students that we absolutely want to see on campus come September."

The Welsh government said: "We understand the cost of quarantine may be a financial burden for some students and they should speak to their university about what support is available.

"Welsh universities are considering how they can support international students to start their courses remotely to allow them to delay travel while case rates and risks in their home countries are high."

Exchange rate used 1GBP= Sh148.90   Sourve BBC/Star

 

Burundi's government suspended the operations of several international mining companies, arguing that it was not receiving its fair share of income from the country's mineral wealth, local media reported on Saturday.

British, Chinese, and Russian companies are among the seven firms affected by the decision. The key company among them is the British-listed Rainbow Rare Earths, which runs the Gakara project, Africa's only rare earth element production in western Burundi.

The decision was made earlier this month following "numerous failures to respect the country's mining code," a report said, quoting Mines Minister Ibrahim Uwizeye.

"The state, which owns the soil and minerals, is not making a fair share profit as it should because of the unbalanced mining contracts," he said.

This followed a report by an evaluation commission on rare earth element deposits in Gakara, which Rainbow Rare Earths says has "numerous and extensive veins containing nearly pure bastnaesite and monazite minerals."

These minerals are used in many hi-tech products.

"We want to renegotiate all these agreements for the benefit of Burundian people who look to these minerals to finance the development of the country," Uwizeye said.

Other companies whose operations have been suspended are engaged in gold and coltan mining.

Uwizeye said the government wants a more equitable share of revenue from the Gakara project and has suspended exports of rare earth concentrates until this complaint is addressed.

The East African country expects to earn about $1.5 million from mining in the 2021 fiscal year -- a miniscule amount when compared to what is exported, according to the government.

Gabriel Rufyiri, president of Burundi's main anti-corruption watchdog OLUCOME, believes mining is one of the sectors that costs the state a lot of money "because those who should ensure the protection of public affairs do not do so."

Rufyiri has called for the prosecution of those who represented the Burundian government in the negotiation of the contract.

Under the country's controversial mining code, the firm that signs an agreement holds 51% of shares in the project, while 39% are held by other shareholders and 10% by the Burundian state.

Under these conditions, the "win-win principle is not possible," said Rufyiri, describing the situation as a "looting of resources."

Rare earth minerals are major components used in manufacturing magnets in such industries as wind turbines, robots, and electric cars, as well as consumer goods such as smartphones, computer screens, and telescope lenses. - James Tasamba, Anadolu Agency

  • Chief Justice Martha Koome appearing before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Wednesday, April 14
    FACEBOOK
  
  • Chief Justice Martha Koome on Friday, July 23, issued a statement following the arrest of two High Court Judges; Said Juma Chitembwe and Aggrey Muchelule on Thursday.

    In the statement, Koome lamented that she had not received a formal report as the Head of Judiciary or the Chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission on their arrests.

    She added that the two judges had notified her after making statements with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

    High Court Judges Said Juma Chitembwe (left) and Aggrey Muchelule
    High Court Judges Said Juma Chitembwe (left) and Aggrey Muchelule. TWITTER

    "The arrest of the two Judges has caused anxiety among Judges and Judicial Officers. I assure all Judges and Judicial officers that the independence of the Judiciary and their constitutional duties protected by the Constitution," she affirmed.

    "They should therefore continue discharging their duties without any fear in accordance with their oath of office," she added.

    She concluded by saying that she could not speak further on the matter since it was being adjudicated in the High Court, but pledged to make another statement after the findings of the investigations. 

    On Friday, July 23, DCI also issued a statement revealing that the entity engaged Justice Said Juma Chitembwe, Justice Aggrey Muchelule among other accomplices to assist with investigations.

    The investigative body added that the Judges cooperated with the investigating team, recorded their statements and left to continue with their duties. 

    "The investigations are ongoing. As soon as they are finalized, appropriate action will be taken in consultation with all the relevant agencies and authorities as provided by the law."

    Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association (KJMA) moved to court to stop any further arrest of the two judges.

    The petition prevented the two judges from taking a plea until the case is heard and determined.

    Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters along Kiambu Road
    Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters along Kiambu Road
    SIMON KIRAGU  KENYANS.CO.KE
 

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