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Rwanda government has confirmed that it shot a warplane belonging to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for violating its airspace.

On Tuesday, a video circulated of a projectile shooting a Sukhoi-25 fighter plane. Other videos and pictures also circulated of Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers putting off the fire using firefighting vehicles at Goma airport.      

Later, Rwanda released a brief statement confirming that its soldiers shot at the plane. In a statement, released by the office of the government spokesperson, Rwanda claims that the plane crossed from its airspace of Goma to Rubavu in Rwanda.

Rwanda says that it shot at the plane in form of defensive measures since this was the third time, DRC was committing the same aggression. Rwanda also asked DRC to stop the aggression.  

“Today [Tuesday] at 5:03 pm, a Sukhoi-25 from DR Congo violated Rwanda airspace for the third time. Defensive measures were taken. Rwanda asks the DRC to stop this aggression,” reads the statement.   

DRC also released a statement condemning Rwanda and denouncing the attack on its fighter plane by the Rwandan army with claims that it was in Congolese airspace. According to the statement, the fighter plane was attacked while it began its landing at Goma international airport. The statement adds that the plane landed without major material damage.

“The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo strongly condemns and denounces the attack on its fighter plane by the Rwandan army in Congolese airspace and does not intend to let it go. This fighter plane was attacked while it began its landing on the runway of the international airport of Goma. The Rwandan fire was directed at a Congolese aircraft flying inside Congolese territory. It did not fly over Rwandan airspace.

The aircraft landed without major material damage. This attack is in addition to the offensive launched this morning by the Rwandan army towards Kitchanga and immediately repelled by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC),” reads part of the statement.      

This is not the first time Rwanda accuses DRC of violating its airspace. In December 2022, Rwanda claimed that another fighter jet from DRC had briefly violated its airspace. A Congolese warplane also briefly landed at a Rwandan airport in November 2022 while on an investigation mission near the border, in what Congo argued was by accident.    

Tuesday’s incident happened on a day when heavy fighting between FARDC soldiers-militia coalition and the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels resumed in Bishusha, Bwiza, Ngesha and Bishakishaki, Bambo, Kishishe, and Kitchanga localities straddling the territories of Masisi and Rutshuru. Detonations with heavy and light weapons were also heard even in the city of Kitshanga, causing panic among the population according to Tobi Tobolwako Kahangu, a local resident. 

According to Kahungu, M23 rebels are targeting to cut off the Kitchanga-Goma road from the locality of Burungu. Last week, a section of civil society activists held a demonstration in Goma demanding FARDC to resume assault against M23 rebels.

The protest was against the deployment of South Sudan soldiers in DRC under the East African Community Regional Force. The protestors also demanded the departure of Kenyan Forces under the East African Community Regional Force failure from Congolese soil arguing that they have failed to confront M23 rebels. By URN, The Observer

Former IEBC commissioners Boya Molu (left), Prof Abdi Yakub Guliye(centre) and former Chair Wafula Chebukati during the launch of the Post elections evaluation report at Safari park hotel on January 16, 2023.

 

This is after former vice chair Juliana Cherera alongside former commissioners Justus Nyang’aya and Francis Wanderi resigned after they were suspended from office by President Ruto last year.

Ms Cherera, Mr Nyang’aya, Mr Wandera and Ms Masit were on December 2, 2022 suspended and a tribunal was formed to probe their conduct after they disputed the presidential election results declared by Mr Chebukati in August 2022. 

 

Nation Newsplex breaks down the process to be followed before a new commission can be formed.

First, the President is expected to form a  selection panel that will consist of two nominees- one man and one woman- from the Parliamentary Service Commission, one person nominated each by the Public Service Commission, the Political Parties Liaison Committee, the Law Society of Kenya and two persons- a man and a woman representing the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.

The need to set up a new selection panel follows the signing into law the IEBC Amendment Bill 2022 by President Ruto on January 23. 

The new law states that a person is qualified to be a member of the selection panel if the person is a Kenyan citizen, meets the requirements of leadership and integrity as enshrined in Chapter Six of the constitution and holds a degree from a recognized university.

In its first sitting, the panel will select its chairperson and its vice chairperson after which they will have the task of inviting applications from Kenyans who meet the requirements to be members of the IEBC. 

The panel will then consider the applications, shortlist candidates and then conduct interviews in public.

After the process is complete, the panel forwards two names for the chairperson and nine names for the commissioners slots to the President after which the President is then expected within seven days to send to Parliament the names of the Chairperson and six commissioners for approval.

If Parliament approves, the President then appoints the seven member commission through an official Gazette notice. By Jackline Macharia, NMG

Image: GCIS  - President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at an event. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s initial plan to lead the delegates to the 53rd annual conference of the World Economic Forum (WEF), was interrupted by the country’s crippling energy crisis.

Although the president made a public announcement of his last-minute withdrawal from the post-COVID gathering at Davos in Switzerland in order to address the outcry by South Africans over excessive power cuts, SA’s team led by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana continued in their agenda to lure foreign investors into sustaining economic relations with the country and the African continent more broadly.

President Ramaphosa, who had formerly been accused of turning a blind eye to the Eskom power crisis when he decided to carry out discussions with US president Joe Biden last September, and another meeting with King Charles III later that November, has put a pause on his international visits to reprioritise a recovery plan against constraint power supply in South Africa (SA).

While devastated South Africans waited what implementation measures will come from the President’s urgent meeting with the Eskom board, several leaders of political parties and the National Energy Crisis Committee, the world also waited to hear from SA representatives at the WEF, who are tasked with the heavy mandate of demonstrating why SA should still be counted as a favourable investment destination, despite rolling blackouts which have threatened the future of both local and international companies doing business in the country.

Apart from the international scandal surrounding the Phala Phala farm robbery case, President Ramaphosa’s re-election rivalry with former president Jacob Zuma, and report warnings about SA getting grey-listed, other domestic challenges that are currently undermining SA’s efforts towards resolving the energy conundrum include: the resignation of Eskom’s Group CEO, Andre de Ruyter, the environmental implications of Eskom’s coal emissions, and the capture of the state-owned entities by corruption.

Without a stable leadership, the much-needed law enforcement to combat deeply embedded corruption practises that have become a norm in Eskom, cannot be executed to its fullest capacity. Furthermore, the Western corporate body in the WEF is aware of Eskom’s emissive contributions to climate change, and SA is aware of what an attractive source of power renewable energy can be on the international stage. Without sufficient capital to fund and monitor a renewable energy programme, SA may risk losing its credibility as an environmentally safe hub for business investors in the energy sector.

All this to say that while state visits to collaboration platforms such as the WEF are important to strengthen intercontinental partnership that promote foreign direct investment and trade, the South African delegation had a struggle to add value to future international deliberations on investment opportunities, if the internal issue of energy insecurity is not addressed.

Therefore, finding emergency solutions to reform the energy sector, and not just to reduce the effects of power outages, is a strategy that will positively benefit SA both at a national, as well as global level.  SABC News

Ahead of the visit of Pope Francis, the Vatican 'Technical Advanced Team' have been welcomed in Juba, South Sudan.

They are there to assess the preparation for the Papal visit which will take place from February 3 to 5.

Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, Metropolitan Archbishop of Juba on Tuesday (Jan.24) said almost 90% of the work that is supposed to be done ahead of the visit have been completed. 

Bert van Megen, Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan explained the purpose of his visit.

"We are here with the advance team of the Vatican who comes to check on the ground how the preparation are going for the visit of the Holy Father who will be coming here on an Ecumenical pilgrimage with the Archbishop to Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland. So, the visit is going to take place very soon in fact in 10 days’ time the Holy Father will be landing here in Juba together with Archbishop to Canterbury and the Moderator."

Pope Francis is set to travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan after having previously earlier forced to postpone his visit in July 2022 due to health issues. 

He'd be spending two days in South Sudan before returning to the Vatican   By Rédaction Africanews

The US representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, will travel to Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique in the course of the Week from 25th to 29th January.

The Ambassador seeks to affirm and strengthen partnerships with key current and former UN Security Council members.

This follows on the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, and her visit will advance priorities, including addressing regional security, reinforcing commitments to democracy and human rights, strengthening food security, supporting African resilience and recovery, and mitigating the effects of climate change.

In a press statement Monday  from United States Mission to the United Nations, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, in Kenya, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield will receive briefings from the UN country team on humanitarian programs, including the regional drought response and assistance to refugees.

Amb. Greenfield will also meet with refugees pending resettlement in the United States and highlight the Administration’s newly-launched Welcome Corps program.

She will also meet with Kenya-based entrepreneurs at the forefront of the country’s transition to a green economy as well as also focus on the impact Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to have on global food security, which has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the region.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. to be the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations as well as the Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations on January 20, 2021

She had earlier served as the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2013 to 2017. Capital News

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