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Forty-three Facebook content moderators in Kenya are suing the social media site's parent company Meta for unfair dismissal.

The moderators say they lost their jobs with Sama, a Kenya-based firm contracted to moderate Facebook content, for organising a union, the Reuters news agency reports.

They also say they were blacklisted from applying for the same roles at another outsourcing firm, Majorel, after Facebook switched contractors.

In January, 260 content moderators working at Facebook's moderation hub in Nairobi were told they would be made redundant by Sama, the outsourcing firm which has run the office since 2019, said Foxglove, a technology rights group which is supporting the lawsuit.

"The redundancy being undertaken is unlawful because no genuine nor justifiable reason was given for the redundancy," the moderators said in their court petition.

Meta is yet to comment on the matter.

Last month, Meta filed an appeal in Kenya challenging a ruling which said it could be sued even though it has no official presence in the East African country. The New Times

Bank of Baroda in Kampala Uganda. PHOTO | NMG

Shareholders of Uganda’s Bank of Baroda are this week expected to vote on a rights offer meant to raise the lender’s capital base and be on the right side of financial regulations imposed three months ago.

Anne Tumwesigye Mbonye, Bank of Baroda company secretary, in a notice to shareholders, said the lender has opted to float 15 million bonus shares in rights offer to raise the Ush150 million ($39,900) at a ratio of 1:5 ratio priced at $0.0026 each.

The proposed cash infusion is subject to shareholders’ approval during the annual general meeting on March 23.

The move came just three months after Uganda’s Finance Minister Matia Kasaija signed a statutory instrument increasing minimum capital for banks by 500 per cent, from $6.67 million to over $40 million.

matia

Uganda's Finance Minister Matia Kasaija. PHOTO | COURTESY

 

The idea, according to the Bank of Uganda (BoU), is to prevent commercial banks from falling off the cliff when economic shocks hit their clients.

According to the new rules, regulated micro financiers’ paid-up capital also increased to $6.6 million from $267,636.

The new capital requirement has thrown a spanner in Uganda’s banking sector works. The industry has reported one exit — Afriland First Bank last year after 16 months in the market.

Top Finance Bank was bought by Djibouti-based Salaam African Bank after the original owners failed to infuse capital. Orient Bank was acquired by I&M Group for the same reason.

Regional convergence

Uganda last revised the paid-up capital for commercial banks in 2010 while that for credit institutions and deposit-taking institutions was last revised in 2004 and 2003 respectively, according to the BoU.

“The increase in paid-up capital is long overdue and is intended to match the dynamism in the economy, incentivize shareholder commitment, and enable institutions to withstand shocks and to converge with regional peers among whom Uganda effectively has the lowest paid-up capital,” Tumubweine Twinemanzi, the director in charge of supervision at BoU said.

The new rules follow trends in the region where some banks collapsed after reporting bad loans.

Read: Africa’s risk of debt piles as countries fight inflation

In 2018, Rwanda raised its paid-up capital requirement to Rwf20 billion from five billion francs. Kenya has also targeted both commercial banks and deposit-taking cooperative societies.

An earlier move, in 2016, however by Kenya’s Treasury to increase the minimum capital requirement for commercial banks from KSh1 billion ($7.69 million) to KSh5 billion ($38.43 million) was rejected with lawmakers arguing it would kill competition and make it difficult for small banks to grow. By KABONA ESIARA, The East African

 

Sudanese pastoralists and South Sudanese farmers concluded a cattle migration conference in Aweil town in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal State on Sunday.

When large herds of cattle, and their nomadic owners, move in search of pastures, there are sometimes tensions with land-owning farmers and the host community. 

Pastoralists from Sudan, mainly the Rizeigat from East Darfur State, have a long history of seasonal migration to Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.

To maintain friendly relations during the migration season, the Dinka Malual and Luo communities in Northern Bahr al Ghazal, together with the Rizeigat nomadic tribe, organised a peace conference in Aweil town.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Monday, Dut Majak, a Dinka Malual chief representing Aweil North and Aweil West counties, said they agreed that the Rizeigat herders should start grazing their cattle in Dinka Malual areas immediately and leave those areas in the first week of June.

“The main recommendation is that the Rizeigat representatives remain behind to see whether there are outstanding issues like blood compensations, debts, robberies and other problems. We will solve those things peacefully,” Majak said.

 “The other recommendation is that we don’t want an armed civilian. Guns are the government's responsibility, and if you are found carrying a gun, no one will ask from Dinka Malual or Rizeigat peace committees. The government from both countries will deal with a civilian holding a gun,” he added.

For his part, the Rizeigat paramount chief, Mahmud Musa Ibrahim Madibo, said: “We appreciate Dinka Malual and Luo communities, and we came here purposely for the yearly peace conference. The conference ended successfully, all the previous resolutions were reviewed, and we reached positive results with new commitments.”

Meanwhile, the Director-General at the Ministry of Peacebuilding in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Tong Garang, said: “The conference has ended, and an agreement reached in 2021 was reviewed, and both sides agreed upon some points. The total number of participants was 80 from Dinka Malual, Luo and Rizeigat communities.”

“I congratulate the Rizeigat, Dinka Malual and Luo communities on the success of the peace conference,” he concluded.

The conference was initiated by the government of Northern Bahr el Ghazal with support from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Coalition of Humanity (CH). - Radio Tamazuj

A wellness-based health system can only work if it is owned and driven by individuals in how they live their daily lives.[iStockphoto]

In Africa, primary healthcare (PHC) is failing too many people, especially girls and women, who die while giving birth.

A tragic case in point is Aisha (not her real name), who lost her life at the age of 22 years while giving birth at home because she couldn’t get transport to a health facility 56 km away.

Her newborn son, Jamal, is now at risk of dying from preventable diseases like malnutrition and malaria before his fifth birthday. 

According to the Global Monitoring Report on tracking universal health coverage (UHC) 2021 by World Health Organisation and World Bank, access to PHC in Africa ranges from 20 per cent to 59 per cent and averages at 48 per cent.

This means that 615 million people in Africa will require help receiving health services when and where they seek them. Africa’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that effective leadership, robust policies and guidelines, and an engaged population can move the continent towards UHC.

However, a shift is needed for UHC to be truly universal, from health systems designed around diseases and institutions to those designed for people and with people.

Amref Health Africa and Dalberg recently convened experts to discuss people-centred health systems redesign. They propose a framework of four bold categories of actions to power the journey to UHC through people-centred redesign of health systems. 

They call this the ‘LIFE’ framework: Authentic leadership by Africa’s health experts, strengthening Africa’s health and economic institutions; reforming health financing systems to support people-centred health care; and empowering communities to foster ownership and trust in the health system.

Authentic leadership

The LIFE framework is an opportunity to breathe life into Africa’s health systems. The first step is authentic leadership, where African professional associations, experts, and civil society organisations demonstrate authentic leadership for excellence.

This is done by applying their knowledge, skills, and influence to pursue effective health policies and scalable PHC systems strengthening programs.

For example, African governments must promote preferential procurement of locally manufactured essential drugs, vaccines, and medical equipment, which is the 10th lever. 

Several countries in sub-Saharan Africa have emulated these leadership levers for change. A good example is Ethiopia’s expansion of primary health care over the past 15 years.

The second step is to invest in strengthening African health and economic institutions, making sure that Africa’s issues remain visible and prioritised on the global health agenda. Political commitment and action are crucial to improving people’s health, including demonstrated and visible leadership from heads of state and governments.

African governments must develop strong national institutions with a full legal mandate to address their most pressing needs, including UHC and specific high-impact issues such as teenage pregnancy, non-communicable diseases (including cancer), and epidemic preparedness. Thirdly, financing health systems should be reformed to support people-centred healthcare.

This means increasing taxation efficiency, investing in human capital, including women and young people as Africa’s economic backbone, increasing domestic financing for health, reforming public finance management systems to reduce operational inefficiencies, and incentivising investments in health-related industries, including local manufacturing.

Finally, we must restore communities’ ownership and trust in the health system, ensuring they are at the centre of health systems. Governments, professional associations, and civil society must promote structures that ensure the community has the most meaningful say in health system development.

A wellness-based health system can only work if it is owned and driven by individuals in how they live their daily lives.

This means providing the population with information that creates a high level of health literacy and empowers people to make lifestyle choices that maintain and promote individual and community health and wellness.

In conclusion, the LIFE framework is a potential game-changer for Africa’s health systems. It is time for governments and stakeholders to prioritise people-centred health systems and empower individuals to take charge of their health.

We can create a more equitable and sustainable health system that benefits all by fostering a culture of health literacy and engagement. By Githinji Gitahi and Ndirangu Wanjuki, The Standard

THE Nigeria Police Force, Zone 2 Command in charge of Ogun and Lagos states, has urged politicians to caution their supporters against election violence.

The Zonal Police Public Relations Officer, SP Hauwa Idris-Adamu, issued the warning in a statement on Monday, March 20.

The warning followed reports circulating on social media platforms that supporters of an unnamed politician are planning to cause chaos in the two states.

In the statement, Idris-Adamu stated that the police would not tolerate any breach of public peace and that anyone caught causing violence would face the full wrath of the law.

She advised members of the public to disregard the message making rounds on social media and assured them of their safety and security.

According to her, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2 Command headquarters, Abiodun S. Alabi, has reiterated the police’s commitment to ensuring the safety of residents in the two states.

Members of the public were advised to go about their lawful businesses without any fear of intimidation  ICIR

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