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Kenyan climate and environment activist Elizabeth Wathuti, 26, shaking hands with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in  Dharamshala, India, on April 22, 2022. 

Pool/Photo Courtesy Daily Nation

Kenya’s 26-year-old climate and environmental activist Elizabeth Wathuti on Friday met His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the world commemorated this year’s Earth Day, an annual event held in more than 193 countries on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. 

Ms Wathuti, who is on a visit to Dharamshala, a city in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh on the edge of the Himalayas and home to the Dalai Lama, is the founder of the Green Generation Initiative, a non-profit youth led organisation that aims at creating a generation of environmentally conscious individuals by educating and empowering children and communities to love nature.

The initiative runs programmes focused on tree growing in bid to help communities implement nature-based solutions to the climate crisis while simultaneously addressing food insecurity.

“Today I had the great honour of meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I asked @DalaiLama how we can appeal to world leaders to open their hearts, feel the suffering of frontline communities and act urgently to save lives from the worsening impacts of the climate crisis,” she said in a tweet.


On Thursday the climate activist opened the Dialogue for Our Future: A Call to Climate Action conference organized by Dialogue for Our Future, a global platform which aims at calling on leaders to work together and save the earth from runaway climate change in which she shone a spotlight on the devastating climate-driven drought in the Horn of Africa and other climate impacts currently affecting countries across the African continent – saying that compassion and collective action must lead the fight against the climate crisis.

“I was invited to give a keynote address at the Dialogue for Our Future and then have a private audience with the Dalai Lama with   other delegates from the conference,” Ms Wathuti told the Nation in an exclusive interview. 

The climate activist who is inspired by the late Professor Wangari Maathai while planting trees with local children in the Asian country reminded that no one is too small to make a difference. 

“Stockholm +50 spans two of my lifetimes. It should be a moment to reflect honestly on what has been achieved for all those years. We have an opportunity to stop sidelining and subsidizing the destruction of nature. We also need to put in place policies that protect and restore nature.

 I look forward to an outcome that puts an urgent focus on the protection and restoration of our natural systems. An outcome that will not threaten our own survival and commit a gross injustice against future generations who will inherit the mess we leave behind,” she told the Nation.

Multilateral environmental action

 “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity” (Stockholm+50) will take place five decades after the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.

The event will provide leaders with an opportunity to draw on 50 years of multilateral environmental action to achieve the bold and urgent action needed to secure a better future on a healthy planet,” the United Nations explains on its official website while announcing that the main event will take place between June second and third this year though other related side events will officially commence on 31st May 2022.

“When we talk about urgent action, we are talking about the present needs of the most impacted. People need food, water, shelter and a livable planet. But that is threatened by rising climate impacts such as droughts, and extreme floods. 

The current drought across East Africa for instance will push approximately 25 million people into extreme hunger by July.

In addition to stopping investments in fossil fuels, we also need real and tangible solutions that protect and restore nature.

Wealthier nations that have contributed the most to historical emissions must also honor their climate finance pledges to support developing countries,” Ms Wathuti urged. By Leon Lidigu, Daily Nation



The editor-in-chief of South Sudan’s oldest English-language newspaper, the Juba Monitor, has been arrested for allegedly defying a court order to stop publication over alleged malpractice.

Anna Namiriano was arrested Tuesday afternoon after not acting on an order issued last week by Juba’s Kator High Court to shut down the paper. She reportedly was being held at Juba’s central prison.

The case involves a dispute between the newspaper’s management and the family of its late founder, veteran journalist Alfred Taban, who died in April 2019. Taban’s family had filed a lawsuit in 2020 against the independent newspaper’s managers and its publisher, Grand Media Africa, accusing them of mismanaging the paper’s ownership and resources.

The family has sought restrictions on the newspaper’s activities until the case is resolved.

Last week, the Kator High Court suspended the Juba Monitor’s activities, said Becu Pitia Lagu, an attorney representing the Taban family.

“Anna deliberately refused to implement the court ruling which was passed on the date 13th of this month asking her to close down the newspapers, cease the activities of the company,” Pitia told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

Lazarus Yuggu, an attorney representing Namiriano, said the court never informed his client or the publisher of the shutdown order. He called his client’s arrest illegal.

“There is no reason why the judge issued that order,” Yuggu told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus. “There is no court contempt at all, because all of us were present at the court. I think this company is not actually a foreign company, whereby a judge may suspect [someone] of absconding or running away from the jurisdiction or something of that kind. The parties are present before the judge.”

Yuggu said the paper’s management had already paid printing fees for a week in advance, so they continued publishing. “They just wanted to print for the one week that has been paid for,” the attorney said.

Namiriano plans to appeal the court orderYuggu said.

The Juba Monitor was established in Juba roughly a decade ago after Southern Sudan seceded from the rest of Sudan. - Viola Elias, Voice of America


Elderly persons line up to get SAGE money at Midigo Town Council headquarters in Yumbe District on April 20, 2022. PHOTO/ROBERT ELEMA/Photo Courtesy


What you need to know:

  • The elderly persons in Yumbe say the prices of commodities have been increasing and the Shs25,000 is nolonger enough to sustain them.

Elderly persons benefiting from the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) programme in Yumbe District have petitioned government to increase the money given to them from the Shs25,000 to Shs100,000 to cater for the increasing cost of living. 

Speaking during the visit of the State Minister for the Elderly Affairs, Mr Mafaabi Gidudu, in Midigo Town Council on Wednesday, Mr Ahumed Aliga Ujhoku, the chairperson for the elderly in the district, said: “We are experiencing high prices of commodities in the country. The Shs25,000 can’t do anything tangible in this season where prices of all the commodities have gone very high.”
Mr Mursali Adronga, a beneficiary of the programme, said money has lost its value.

“I have been using the SAGE money to pay school fees for my children but prices of commodities have gone high. Schools have also hiked school fees. We request the government to increase the money to at least Shs50,000 or Shs100,000 per month,’’ he said.

Ms Neisha Drabo, another beneficiary, said: “Through this money, I have bought some animals and I use part of it to buy things like sugar, soap, food items and medication since I don’t have any other means of earning money. If it is increased, this will make our lives better.”

The district chairperson, Mr Abdulmutwalib Asiku, said about 7,000 elders have benefited from the programme in the district in the last nine years now. 
He said Shs18 billion has been injected into this programme and the money has improved the livelihood of the elders in the district to some extent.

“Since this money is paid after every three months, there is need for the elders to plan to not only use the money for consumptive expenditure but also to see what specific investments they can put up,” he said.

Ms Catherine Mavenjina, the Member of Parliament representing Elders in Northern Region, said they have formulated a Bill appealing to government to reduce the SAGE beneficiary age from 80 years and increase the amount of money for the elders.

“In northern Uganda, many people die before reaching the age of 80 years, so for that matter, we are saying the age be reduced to at least 70 years. We also want the money to be increased from Shs25,000 to either Shs 100,000 or Shs50, 000.” By Robert Elema, Daily Monitor

 Sheikh Muhamadi Ngobi and Ms Irene Kabale (centre), both amputees, speak at a thanksgiving party in Iganga on Monday. PHOTO/TAUSI NAKATO

This will ease access to the artificial limbs, which later improves productivity

Amputees and people with physical disabilities have asked government to scrap taxes on artificial limbs. 

They say they are financially incapacitated yet they need the items for support to improve their productivity.

Sheikh Muhamadi Ngobi, the Imam of Buseyi Mosque in Iganga Municipality, who was amputated due to diabetes, on Tuesday said his prosthetic leg was made from Mulago hospital at Shs 1.2m, but it is “too heavy” compared to a normal leg.

“The prosthetic legs are very expensive and I can’t afford them; the one which I bought at Shs 1.2m is too heavy but I have nothing to do, except to appeal to the government to think about us as he does to other categories of people like the elderly,’’ he said.

Mr James Mudiba, a resident of Kasokoso Village in Iganga Municipality, who was amputated following an accident, said government should relieve them of the taxes to allow them resume daily activities. “Most of us had all the body parts, but accidents, diseases left us amputated. There are alternatives like artificial limbs but we can’t afford them,’’ he said.

Ms Irene Kabale, the chairperson of Busoga Rural Development Agency, who is one of the amputees, said the process of getting an artificial leg is not easy.

Ms Kabale, who survived diabetes after one leg was amputated, said the artificial limb was paid for by the Minister for the Presidency, Ms Milly Babalanda, at Shs3.5m.

Ms Kabale urged government to donate artificial limbs to all amputees who are financially-incapacitated.

“Government is giving out artificial limbs to army officers who lost their legs or arms in war. It should also do the same to other Ugandans who are amputees due to accidents and diseases by setting up a centre where they can receive them on a regional basis,’’ she said. 

Ms Betty Irene Tamwizanga, the Reproductive Sexual Rights Officer of Integrated Disabled Women Activities, an Iganga-based organisation, said they are requesting the government to remove taxes on artificial limbs so that they are affordable to the most-vulnerable person in the village.

“We [people who work with people with disabilities or amputates] face a challenge of acquiring those artificial legs or hands due to the fact that they are too costly to most of our people,’’ she said.

Ms Tamwizanga said taxes should be scrapped so that organisations can afford them and donate them.

She added: “We request the government to put aside some money for people with disabilities like it does for other categories of people”

Mr Derrick Mwesi, a health worker at Ortho Health services in Najjanankumbi, said the government should reduce the taxes on imported materials that are used to make artificial limbs so that they can be affordable to all amputees.

“Eighty percent of people with disabilities cannot afford those artificial appliances when the taxes are high,’’ he said, adding that when a person’s leg is amputated up to the knee, the artificial limb costs as much as Shs3m.

He added: “When taxes are reduced, we can import these artificial limbs in large quantities and donate even to the needy.”

Ms Esther Mirembe, a nurse in Buyende District, said many amputees in rural areas are finding it difficult to move because they can’t buy the [expensive] artificial limbs which cost between Shs2m and 4m.

As a result, she said some have resorted to buying locally-made artificial legs which cost between Sh500,000 and Shs1m.  “But because they are too heavy, they end up abandoning them in their houses,’’ she said. By Tausi Nakato, Daily Monitor

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