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Seventeen young people were found dead at a nightclub in the South African city of East London on Sunday, with three others dying later in hospital, officials said.

Authorities are trying to establish the cause of death as none of the bodies bore signs of injury.

"We got a report about 17 [people] that died in a local tavern in Scenery Park which is based in East London," said Brig Thembinkosi Kinana, police spokesman in Eastern Cape province.

"We are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident," he told AFP.

Later on Sunday, head of the provincial government safety department Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe said the death toll had risen to 20. 

"The number has increased to 20, three have died in hospital. But there are still two who are very critical," she told local media.

Unathi Binqose, an official at the provincial community and safety department, said there was no indication that a stampede caused the deaths.

"It's difficult to believe it's a stampede as there are no visible open wounds to those dead," Mr Binqose told South African channel Newzroom Afrika

"Maybe a stampede would have happened afterwards when people saw others were collapsing ... which may have led to the death of some, but we're finding it hard to believe that some have died due to a stampede."

Regional newspaper DispatchLive reported that the bodies were found "lying strewn across tables, chairs and on the floor; with no obvious signs of injury". 

Mr Binqose said some of those found at the scene were under the legal drinking age of 18. He said he understood the patrons were pupils "celebrating 'pens down', a party held after writing [high school] exams".

The owner of the club will "have a lot to answer to", he said.

Local television showed police officers trying to calm a crowd of parents and onlookers gathered outside the venue in East London, a city on the Indian Ocean coast nearly 1,000 kilometres south of Johannesburg.

"Parents whose children did not sleep at home are gathered here and they want to enter the tavern to look for their loved ones," said Mr Binqose.

"This is a crime scene and we cannot allow anyone to walk in."  N World

  • A grisly road accident along the Nairobi Expressway Mlolongo Toll station involving multiple vehicles on Saturday, June 25, 2022. MA3 ROUTE 
  • One person died and several others were injured in an accident at the Nairobi Expressway Mlolongo Toll station involving a speeding motorist.

    In a statement released by Moja Expressway Company on Saturday night, June 26, the motorist crashed into the toll plaza and ran over vehicles being cleared at the exit.

    Among those injured was one of the company's staff and other motorists and were rushed to the hospital for treatment. 

    A grisly road accident along the Nairobi Expressway Mlolongo Toll station involving multiple vehicles on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
    A grisly road accident along the Nairobi Expressway Mlolongo Toll station involving multiple vehicles on Saturday, June 25, 2022.

    "The Nairobi Expressway is committed to providing a safe and reliable toll road service and would wish to assure the public that we are putting measures in place to avert such unfortunate incidents from occurring," read part of the statement.

    The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) also issued a statement condemning the incident and advised road users against defying traffic rules.  

    "Motorists are advised to avoid overspeeding and be cautious while on the road. Road Safety starts with you," KeNHA stated. 

    Reports had initially been released of a document containing stiff penalties for motorists who damaged property along the expressway. The charges ranged from Ksh100,000 and went as high as Ksh8 million. 

    According to the document, damaging the cantilever variable information board would cost a motorist Ksh8,766,742 while damaging the microwave vehicle detector would cost Ksh1,221,809. 

    Damages on lane cameras will cost Ksh167,506 and the plate detector Ksh249,994. Replacing a flower box will cost Ksh5,905 while the lawn below the elevated section costs Ksh645 per square meter.

    "Road property polluted by gasoline, diesel, engine oil or other types of oil; industrial wastewater, oil, alkali, and other chemical substances will cost Ksh6,939 per square meter," read part of the document.

    The document however is still being discussed and is yet to be gazetted. 

    Watch the video below: courtesy NTV

    Multiple vehicles crash along the Nairobi Expressway on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
    Multiple vehicles crash along the Nairobi Expressway on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
    A vehicle knocks over the Nairobi Expressway Mlolongo Toll Station on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
    A vehicle knocks over the Nairobi Expressway Mlolongo Toll Station on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
    MA 3 ROUTE
    Multiple vehicles crash along the Nairobi Expressway Mlolongo Toll station on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
    Multiple vehicles crash along the Nairobi Expressway Mlolongo Toll station on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
    MA3 ROUTE  By Brian Kimani


Kenya Kwanza Alliance leaders continued with their whirlwind tour of the Coast where they promised to lower the cost of living and audit all capital-intensive project undertaken by Jubilee administration.

Deputy President William Ruto said if elected he will reintroduce a subsidy to bring down cost of fertiliser to Sh2,500 to promote agriculture which will in term lower cost of food.

Speaking at Tononoka Grounds in Mombasa, Ruto said the cost of living was unbearable. He accused President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga of turning a blind eye to problems bedeviling Kenyans.

“President Uhuru told us that he gets advice from Raila. If Raila has failed to tell the president to bring down the cost of living, how will he do so if elected?,” posed Ruto.

He said his government will set aside Sh1 billion to buy land from absentee landlords to settle squatters at the Coast. He also promised an executive order to return port operations to Mombasa.

“I want to promise people of Mombasa that once elected I will sign an executive order to return all port operations to Mombasa,” said Ruto who early in the morning toured Kwale County.

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi said the Kenya Kwanza Alliance administration will conduct an audit to find out the cost of all capital-intensive projects undertaken in the last 10 years.

He said no one will be spared in the audit and that anyone found culpable of stealing public funds will be arrested and charged. Mudavadi said the government was in the last-minute borrowing spree to invest in big projects at an inflated cost.

“Kenya Kwanza will audit all national projects which we feel have been done at an exaggerated cost. We must go to the root cause of our debts,” said Mudavadi.

Earlier in Kwale, Ruto promised Sh100 billion to revamp the cashew nuts and coconut industries. He said he will compulsory acquire vast tracks of land from absentee landowners to ensure the land is used to farm and build industries and give squatters land. 

Ruto said already Kwale Deputy Governor Fatma Achani who is seeking to succeed Governor Salim Mvurya on UDA ticket has found an investor willing to invest in the cashew nuts and coconut processing.

“We have agreed that we shall pump Sh100 billion into the cashew nuts and coconut farming and processing industry to create employment, add value and look for outside markets,” said Ruto. 

Ruto held an economic forum with Kwale residents to understand their needs that will be part of the manifesto.

“We need to understand what small traders and farmers need to get more revenue. We will sign a charter with the Kwale people on the issues they feel are of priority,” said Ruto.

A farmer Ali Mondo said the government decision to ban sale of raw cashew nuts outside Kenya has limited their produce market leading to poor prices and huge post harvest losses. “There was an order banning the sale of cashew nuts outside the country which has limited the market reach leading to a waste of the produce and low prices,” said Mondo. He said they need the cashew nuts to be recognised as a cash crop like tea, coffee and khat. 

Ruto also said he will set aside Sh120 million annually for fishermen in Shimoni and Vanga areas to buy modern fishing gears. - Joackim Bwana, The Standard

  • Interior CS Fred Matiang'i speaks to Nakuru residents on Saturday, June 25, 2022. TWITTER FRED MATIANG'I 
  • Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i has ordered a sting operation to flush out a gang that has been terrorizing Nakuru residents. 

    Speaking in Nakuru county, Matiang'i affirmed that Inspector General of Police, Hilary Mutyambai, had taken up the matter with the assurance that the police force would brutally deal with the gang. 

    He added that adequate measures had been put in place to contain the radical group.

    Police officers at a kidnapping scene
    DCI officers combing through a crime scene   KENYANS.CO.KE

    "Yesterday, we talked to Inspector General of Police, Hilary Mutyambai and police officers based in Nakuru. We have already placed enough measures to flush out this confirm gang. But this time around, we are going to confirm you," Matiang'i stated. 

    Media reports indicate that the group targets young girls, sexually assault them, kills them by strangulation and burns their bodies to conceal evidence. 

    Susan Wambui, a mother of three, became the latest victim of the gang after she was killed and her body burnt beyond recognition this past Tuesday. 

    According to Wambui's family, she worked at a mobile money shop in Mawanga, Nakuru county, and was killed in the presence of her child. The family says that the postmortem revealed she was strangled with a rope.

    "The results say that she was strangled from behind, either with a rope or a wire of four millimeters. The fingers were pale blue and her hands were already stretched showing signs of struggle. They stole cash box and TV." 

    Diana Opicho, 23-year-old, was also murdered by the attackers who were in the process of burning her body before her brother showed up. 

    According to Jotham Opicho, Diana's father, her body was covered by mattresses and clothes by the time her brother arrived. 

    "My son informed me that she was covered in mattresses and clothes indicating that they were ready to burn the body like they were doing in other places," he stated. 

    Grace Wambui, 21-year-old, was the gang's first victim as she was attacked at her family's home. Her parents, who were away at the time, found their kin's body burnt beyond recognition. 

    "Many of us thought that she had died by suicide but by the way the house was burnt and the way the postmortem results, my daughter was killed and then burned,"Peter Kariuki, Grace's father, stated. 

    Nakuru North Police commander Samson Abanji, affirmed that they had arrested one suspect in connection with the crimes and were speeding investigations in order to apprehend the gang. 

    A Kenyan police officer pictured at a crime scene.
    A Kenyan police officer pictured at a crime scene.  KENYANS.CO.KE

Rwanda President Paul Kagame speaks during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali on June 24, 2022. PHOTO | CHOGM

As Rwandan President Paul Kagame takes charge of the Commonwealth for the next two years, he faces a daunting task of reviving an association that faces an existential threat due to its colonial history.

President Kagame took over chairmanship from Britain under PM Boris Johnson at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Kigali.

As chair, he is expected to oversee the work of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the implementing organ of the 56-nation club, whose memberships is drawn from those predominantly with colonial ties to the then imperial British Empire. In recent years, the club has admitted countries with no such historical ties including Rwanda, Mozambique and most recently Togo and Gabon.

“Countries join the Commonwealth because it has many meetings at Heads and Ministerial level and is thus a forum that provides political legitimacy. These French colonies, as are some Caribbean Commonwealth countries, are also Francophonie members. All this strengthens their political legitimacy, deepens the impression that they are recognised and accepted by the global community,” a diplomat told The EastAfrican.

The Commonwealth values enshrined in its charter include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace. 

Crown vs sovereignty debate

Critics argue that despite the increasing membership, the club has failed to live up to its values as member countries continue to violate these principles without being held to account partly because it has no binding framework to impose sanctions.

The Commonwealth, which is headed by Queen Elizabeth II, 96, is under pressure as more countries seek sovereignty and break ties with the British monarchy.

In 2020, Barbados became the fourth Caribbean country to replace the Queen as its Head of State, joining Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Dominica who did soon after gaining independence in the 1970s. Eight other former British colonies in the region, however, still pledge allegiance to the Crown.

But, most recently, in March, Jamaica formally expressed its intention to become independent amid protests calling on the monarchy to pay reparations for slavery during a visit to the country by Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne and his wife Kate Middleton.

Now, speculation is rife that Britain is attempting to persuade Jamaica to shelve the plans by endorsing Kamina Johnson Smith, their candidate for the position of Commonwealth Secretary-General.

But Ms Smith’s candidature has also created a rift between members in particular with the Caribbean, which had previously endorsed the current Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland who has had a controversial and extended tenure.

Read: Scotland retains Commonwealth SG seat in rare contest  By BERNA NAMATA, The East African

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