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A “tremendously lucky” Kenyan teenage stowaway has survived freezing temperatures while clinging to the landing gear of a freight plane that flew from London to the Netherlands, according to reports coming out of Maastricht. 

 

The Dutch Royal Marechaussee – a police branch of the Netherlands’ armed forces – tweeted that they believe the stowaway is a 16-year-old boy from Kenya who is now in hospital being treated with hypothermia.

The boy clung onto what is reportedly a Turkish Airlines cargo flight operated by an Airbus A330 from London’s Stansted Airport, though the aircraft had flown from Nairobi via Istanbul the day before.

The flight schedule raises the possibility that the 16-year-old could have begun his daring feat in the Kenyan capital. 

 

PLUCKY, LUCKY AFRICANS

“He had tremendous luck to get through this,” a spokesman for Maastricht Aachen Airport told netherlandsnewslive.

“Stowaways on airplanes are rare, and most people sadly don’t survive the journey.”

TSA recently reported on the exploits of a 30-year-old South African man who clung to the undercarriage of a jumbo jet and survived an 11-hour, 9000 km flight from South Africa to London. 

Themba Cabeka had been starved of oxygen and subjected to temperatures of -60C as the British Airways jet flew from Johannesburg on June 18, 2015.

He was unconscious in hospital for six months after being discovered on the grounds of Heathrow Airport.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

The Kenyan boy was found on the jet that landed at Maastricht Airport after crossing the North Sea from Stansted at 19,000 feet. 

A spokesperson for the Marechaussee said the teenager is doing incredibly well considering the circumstances.

Dutch aviation publication Luchtvaart Nieuws reports that the only flight to land from London at Maastricht yesterday was TK6305, operated by a Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-200 freighter.

The aircraft had flown to London Stansted from Nairobi via Istanbul raising the question that the individual could’ve boarded the aircraft the day prior given his nationality.

A flight from London to Maastricht takes about half an hour and reaches an outside temperature of -30 degrees, Afrinik reported.

“A plane from London flies a bit lower than longer flights,” said Dutch aviation specialist Benno Baksteen. 

“On long flights, it will be -50 degrees, and there is not enough oxygen in the air to survive. At a temperature of -30 degrees, there is more oxygen in the air, and it can be maintained longer.”

Dutch police said they are trying to trace the the boy’s exact route and investigating whether this is a case of human trafficking. By  Riyaz Patel, The South African

 

 

Image Hoover Institution/Stanford University

 

African nations’ efforts to expand economic prosperity and defeat jihadist extremism underline the continent’s need for strong and stable governance, argued Rwandan president Paul Kagame in the latest episode of Battlegrounds, Hoover’s foreign policy video series hosted by Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow H. R. McMaster.

Kagame’s rise to power came as a consequence of Rwanda’s bloody civil war in the early 1990s. When he was a child, Kagame and his family, members of the Tutsi tribe, fleeing the violence of Hutu extremists, escaped to bordering Uganda in 1959. Similarly, tens of thousands of other Tutsis also fled to neighboring states. At that time, Rwanda was on the verge of independence after nearly eighty years of colonization, first by Germany from 1884 to 1916, then by Belgium. In 1962, Rwandan autonomy was fully realized and became dominated by Hutu rule.

Kagame explained that the Hutu-Tutsi conflict was perpetuated by a classic divide-and-conquer strategy imposed by their colonial overlords. Those divisions reached a crisis thirty years after independence, when Kagame and other exiles formed a rebel military (the Rwandan Patriotic Front, or RPF) in Uganda and invaded Rwanda in 1990. Despite peace accords forged between the Rwandan government and the RPF after three years of war, the fighting ensued after a plane carrying Rwanda’s then Hutu president Juvénal Habyarimana was shot down. The Hutus immediately blamed the RPF for Habyarimana’s death and subsequently organized a genocidal campaign, which would eventually result in the murder of well over 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis, in 100 days in 1994.

After taking command of the RPF, Kagame successfully led an assault against Hutu forces and set up a new government. Since 2000, Kagame has officially held the title of president.  Although he has subsequently been reelected for three terms, he has been accused of running an authoritarian, one-party state.

In this interview, Kagame told McMaster that his objective since assuming power was to establish good governance built on trust with the entire citizenry, including the rival Hutus. Similarly, he believes that for Rwanda and other states in Africa, the best strategy for thwarting jihadist extremism from such groups as Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and al-Qaeda is to not only confront them with military power but also to address the root causes of their resentments. This whole-of-government approach, Kagame believes, also includes expanding the capacity of governments to capably serve diverse segments of their populations and to forge security cooperation among African states via diplomacy.

“We have found that most of these [terror] activities are cross border,” Kagame explained.

He said that such measures need to be more effectively deployed in East African conflicts such as the two-decade war in the Eastern Congo principally between Hutu rebels and the Congolese Armed Forces, as well as escalating violence between the Ethiopian government and ethnic Tigrayans of that country’s north. Kagame added that he is willing and able to commit Rwanda’s forces to help stabilize the region.

“We also bring a bit of experience from our own country during the ‘tragic days,’ where we can share with the people how to dissolve some of the causes of conflict,” Kagame noted.

Kagame, who served as chair of the African Union in 2018, touted Africa’s potential as a global economic power bloc. Among continents, Africa has the youngest population (40 percent of people are 15 years old or younger) as well as the largest free trade zone (with a GDP valued at $4.3 trillion) in the world.  In the case of Rwanda, Kagame said his country is focused on diversifying investments in various industries, particularly the expansion of its health care system to capably handle crises such as COVID-19.

In regard to the pandemic, Kagame explained that Africa is still waiting for the delivery of newly developed vaccines from the United States. However, to provide for the health security of Rwanda, Kagame maintained that he welcomed a strengthened trade and investment relationship with the United States.

“The United States has a lot to offer in these areas to make Rwanda, and Africa, be able to stand on their own,” Kagame explained. 

Kagame also addressed concerns that China’s expansive investment in Africa may endanger the sovereignty of individual nations like Rwanda. China has invested in the development of Rwanda’s infrastructure, including the construction of housing and industrial complexes, to accommodate its growing economy. One such complex, worth $27 million, was presented as a “gift” from China to the Rwandan people.

Kagame pushed back against such concerns. He argued that Rwanda’s commercial ties with China have not created a debt trap, maintaining that he would welcome investment from anywhere in the world provided that prospective financial arrangements contribute to the prosperity of the citizens of Rwanda, without placing constraints on his nation’s sovereignty.

“[China and Rwanda] deal with each other in consideration of each other’s terms. If we are in agreement, then we [will] go along,” Kagame said. “And that should apply to any other person [with whom] we engage.” - Hoover Institution, Stanford University

The Jubilee Party’s Disciplinary Committee has summoned nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura to answer to charges of disloyalty to the party.

The outspoken Lawmaker is accused of pledging loyalty to another political party and acting in a manner that is disloyal to Jubilee.

In a letter dated February 1, and seen by KDRTV, the party also wants Mwaura to answer to charges of contravening the party’s code of conduct.

Mwaura is accused of publicly announcing that he had joined the United Democratic Alliance. The alleged offence happened during the homecoming ceremony of Msambweni MP Feisal Bader in December last year. Jubilee claims that the Senator also work UDA attire on the same day.

The Party has also quoted several media incidences where Mwaura is alleged to have proclaimed that Jubilee is dead. This includes a post he made on his official Twitter account in April last year where he claimed that Jubilee was functionally dead. 

Reacting to the letter, Mwaura claimed that he had been served via WhatsApp and asked for particulars of the charges.

Mwaura joins a growing list of Jubilee politicians who are facing persecution for siding with Deputy President William Ruto.

There have been questions on the manner in which some members of the party are facing Disciplinary action while others are not. 

For example, President Uhuru Kenyatta was pictured with Msambweni ODM candidate Omar Boga just days to the elections. 

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and Jubilee Nominated MP Maina Kamanda campaigned for ODM candidate Imran Okoth in the Kibra by-elections in 2019. This was despite the party fielding a candidate in that race.

Jubilee Vice Chair David Murathe has declared publicly that he supports ODM leader Raila Odinga’s presidential bid, a direct conflict with Jubilee. All these leaders have never been summoned by the party. Source: KDRTV

In this Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 file photo, opposition presidential challenger Bobi Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, gestures as he speaks to the media outside his house after government soldiers withdrew from it, in Magere, near Kampala, in Uganda. Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni in Feb. 2021 has ordered the suspension of the multimillion-dollar Democratic Governance Facility fund backed by European nations that supports the work of local groups focusing on democracy and good governance. Photo AP/Nicholas Bamulanzeki

 

“Gen. Museveni, like all dictators, is not moved by words,” said Wine, a 38-year-old singer and legislator whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. He spoke via video link from his house on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, where, he said, he effectively remains under house arrest.

“We hope that there will be more action following the strongly worded statements,” he said of international condemnation of the elections.

Wine said he was happy with MTV Base Africa's decision to postpone an awards ceremony that was due to be held later this month in Kampala, after pressure from activists who charged that the event would bolster the image of Uganda's government in the aftermath of the polls.

The 76-year-old Museveni is a United States ally who took power by force in 1986 and has been elected multiple times. He has collaborated with Washington to battle the Islamic extremist insurgency in Somalia, where Uganda was the first to deploy troops to defend the weak federal government there.

But Museveni's ties with the West appear to be cooling as criticism grows over alleged abuses by his security forces as well as his extended stay in power. Museveni is now accusing Wine of being a foreign agent, and has said that foreign meddling in Uganda “will not be tolerated.”

It emerged this week that in January he ordered the suspension of a multimillion-dollar fund backed by European nations that supports the work of scores of local groups —- including government agencies — focusing on good governance, human rights and accountability.

The U.S. and the European Union have noted concerns about Uganda’s elections. The U.S. ambassador, Natalie E. Brown, recently cited “deep and continuing concern about the extrajudicial detention of opposition political party members, the reported disappearance of several opposition supporters, and continued restrictions” of Wine’s party.

Ugandan attorneys for Wine this week filed a legal challenge with Uganda's Supreme Court seeking to nullify Museveni's victory and bar him from ever running for the presidency again. It remains unclear when oral arguments will start. Museveni has never lost in the courts, and analysts say the panel of nine judges is not likely to rule against him.

Wine's U.S.-based attorney, Bruce Afran, said on Thursday that he had compiled a report with evidence of the widespread irregularities that Wine has alleged were perpetrated in favor of Museveni. The report has been shared with members of the international community, he said.

One piece of the evidence of alleged electoral fraud, he said, is Museveni's 100% victories at multiple polling stations in his strongholds.

Wine said his legal team possesses evidence from 20,000 of the East African country's 34,000 polling stations. Evidence from at least 10,000 others was confiscated by security officials who conducted night raids or waylaid opposition agents, he said.

Wine's party, which says 3,000 of its members are in detention, has cited soldiers allegedly stuffing ballot boxes, casting ballots for people and chasing voters away from polling stations.

Museveni won the Jan. 14 polls with 58% of the vote while Wine had 35%, according to official results.

The elections were marred by violence ahead of polling day as well as an internet shutdown that remained in force until four days after the vote. Social media sites remain restricted.

Museveni has dismissed allegations of vote-rigging, calling the election “the most cheating-free” since independence from Britain in 1962. - Rodney Muhumuza, Associated Press/ABC News

Kenya National Private Security Workers Union secretary-general Isaac Andabwa with delegates following his endorsement for another term in Nairobi on Monday. Photo George Owiti

 

Thousands of security guards sacked due to the effects Covid-19 pandemic should be given back their jobs, their union has said.

The Kenya National Private Security Workers Union said the economy was recovering and the government should compel security firms to reinstate dismissed workers.

About 5,000 security guards lost their jobs, according to Isaac Andabwa, the union’s secretary-general. They were casualties as employers readjusted operations to remain afloat.

Most of them were sent home on unpaid or indefinite leave, which Andabwa wants reversed. The union says employers are not keen on recalling their members to work.

“We are calling on the Ministry of Labour to intervene and have our members back to work. They were sent home without any compensation and now some of them are unable to survive,” Andabwa said.

Those living in town are hardest hit since they can no longer afford basic needs especially food and shelter.

“Some have been kicked out of their houses for accrued rent arrears,” the KNPSWU boss said. 

He spoke during a special delegates meeting that endorsed him to defend his seat in upcoming national elections. He will run unopposed. 

All Cotu-affiliated unions are currently conducting elections for new office bearers as per labour requirements. 

Ahead of the national delegates conference slated for next month, officials from the 13 branches across the country met in Nairobi and extended the term of Andabwa's team. 

Buoyed by the endorsement, Andabwa revealed there was an attempt by some employers to have him kicked out.

“But we have successfully thwarted the coup orchestrated by a former employer who was sponsored by some security firms opposed to regulation and reforms,” Andabwa said.

He promised to ensure guards are properly remunerated and their welfare is well taken care of. 

Andabwa promised to fight security companies hell-bent on frustrating the Private Security Regulation Act, that seeks to professionalise the sector. - George Owiti, The Star

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