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As the Bishops of Eastern Africa hold their 20th plenary assembly, the President of Tanzania praises their desire to protect the environment and promises to work with them to improve our common home. 

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan told the Bishops of Eastern Africa that she was pleased to discover that Pope Francis stresses the issue of environmental protection.

She addressed participants in the 20th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) on Tuesday, 12 July.

"It should be part of your mission and strategic plan to be more inspiring, and as the Holy Father stated, the Earth is our common home. Certainly, we here in Tanzania value the social life that is in line with the Catholic Church's strategy, that we now build our own home."


The President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, called on religious and political leaders and Catholic faithful in the region to ensure that they maintain peace and take care of the environment everywhere.

President Samia said the presence of peace in the country helps to preserve ecology and protects against environmental degradation and deforestation, as well as reducing sea pollution.

It is therefore everyone's responsibility to protect the environment and not jeopardize overall development.

President Samia also said Tanzania must take care of water sources and forests, and plant trees to ensure that the environment is clean in all cities, as outlined in the National Environmental Policy.



On the other hand, President Samia said that the Government of Tanzania is pursuing an integrated development policy, and is therefore ready to work with non-governmental organizations, including religious and social organizations to achieve a better future for human life and development.

"It is great to think and implement the goals of sustainable development which do not concern only the world but also they are our goals in the African Union. So, congratulations to all the Bishops, Cardinals and Religious Leaders,” she said.

President Samia lauded Pope Francis’ desire to address the issue of environmental protection "as part of your mission and strategic plan to be more inspiring. It is for this reason the Holy Father stated, the Earth is our common home."

“Certainly, we here in Tanzania value the social life that is in line with the strategy of the Catholic Church, so we agree that we should now build our own home.”

In this regard, President Samia called upon religious leaders to continue implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the world at large, but also in the African Union (AU), including environmental protection.

“As you know, our government is a responsive and receptive government,” she said. “Bring your feedback on environmental stewardship, so that we can set up forums. Today, as you are discussing the issue of the environment, we would like to get your resolutions and see how we are integrating them in our national policies. We all want to protect our treasure, our home that God created for us.”


All bishops and participants in the 20th AMECEA Confederation Conference had been invited to dinner at the State House.

The meal was also attended by political leaders and council elders.

After the reception, the prayer before the meal was led by Bishop Flavian Kasala, Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference of Tanzania.

The meal was followed by an exchange of gifts, among which were those given by the AMECEA Cardinals, Archbishops, and others.

President Samia reiterated her message to bring their views on environmental protection so that together they can come to a common agreement.

The Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) is a regional institution of Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa with nine member countries, namely Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. By Angella Rwezaula – Dar Es Salaam

What you need to know:

  • Ms Mary Komen says occasional evictions had turned into a humanitarian crisis.
  • Ms Komen, 45, says women and girls bore the brunt of evictions because when houses were burned down, most of them became victims of sexual violence. 

Bothered by occasional eviction of indigenous Sengwer community from Embobut Forest in Elgeyo Marakwet County, Ms Mary Komen took a bold step to remedy an unending crisis. 

Ms Komen, 45, said evictions by the government had subjugated families, causing the minority group untold suffering.

“In all this crisis, women and girls suffered the most because when houses were burnt down, a majority of them became victims of sexual violence. They had no one to stand up against the injustices meted out to them because men had wandered off,” she reminisces.

“The girls were married off at a tender age after being subjected to the retrogressive female genital mutilation, which was still very rampant in the area. And with no education, they could not be independent and within no time they had babies that would soon be married off even before celebrating their 15th birthday and the vicious circle continued.”

Ms Komen decided to join Defenders’ Coalition to fight for the rights of the people. This was a decade ago. She says the situation has since been changing, with more girls now joining learning institutions.

“We have successfully sued several pedophiles and some have been jailed for over 10 years. Also, there has been a clamour for land rights and the government cannot just evict people without an alternative land for settling the Sengwer community.”


She says society is beginning to appreciate women's leadership, unlike before when they were treated like children, adding that this is a result of heightened human rights activism.

“Women are now being included in various community committees and their voices are heard. No decree is passed without the input of women, especially on land rights. This is a step in the right direction and we shall soldier on to advocate women rights.” 

Ms Komen said that through human rights activism, she, together with others, has successfully blocked billions of shillings, which the government had sourced to rehabilitate Embobut Forest.

“The money, partly, was to be used to evict the Sengwer community from their homes, besides subjecting them to more torture like before. We, as a community, have never been against environmental conservation, but when the funds are used to cause human suffering, then we feel aggrieved,” she says.

The mother of seven states that to keep abreast of her activism work, she had to undergo training, more specifically in women's and children's rights, including land ownership.

“I have been to Cameroon to learn more about indigenous and marginalised communities still living in forests. I have attended several court cases in Tanzania on indigenous people and land rights and this gave me vast experience in my advocacy. I also attended training in Kenya and we now argue from an informed point of view.”

She has also secured a social protection programme under which 40 people aged 60 and above are given a monthly stipend of Sh5,000. But her work, despite winning the 2020 human rights defender of the year, has been curtailed by inadequate funds, which are sourced through the organisation.

“A lot of advocacy is still needed on gender issues, as well as land rights, but you cannot do much because you access little money. Rural communities need emancipation on various issues; on several occasions, I have been holding radio talk shows to educate the public on issues that affect them.” 

Her work has also been curtailed by society, which maligns her because of the advocacy work, sometimes abusing her.

“We have been branded derogatory names, which, sometimes, is spiteful and we have been nicknamed. There have also been threats, especially from suspects, and even when we seek police protection, we are never accorded any,” she says.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  By Fred Kibor, Daily  Nation

  • Catherine Kibirige poses for the camera while in a medical laboratory.  HIV PLUS MAG 
  • Kenyan-born scientist Catherine Kibirige joined the class of global geniuses after she made a breakthrough with her new invention to revolutionise the testing of HIV virus.

    Her interest to pursue the field was shaped by her childhood experience following the late 20th-century break out of HIV infections in her native Uganda and parts of the Republic of Kenya.

    After her father moved them to the UK, Kibirige developed an interest in pursuing science-based subjects and returned to Uganda as a volunteer where her interest in developing a better HIV testing kit was pricked. 

    She noticed that the widely used kit, majorly in African countries, was unable to detect some strains of the disease that devastated the East African nations in the 1990s and in the aughts.

    Catherine Kibirige who invented an assay to test HIV
    Catherine Kibirige who invented an assay to test HIV. IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON

    Two years after her volunteer period, she earned a scholarship to the United States where she concentrated on developing a new testing kit, known as an assay in medical circles. 

    The then assay, which is a lab test used to find and measure the amount of a specific substance, could not easily detect emergent variants of the virus.

    “I was working in a technology assessment laboratory and my supervisor had been involved in developing viral load tests and other kinds of tests for HIV…and was involved in helping the different companies test out new versions of the assays and making sure that they covered all the different strains.

    "The military, having troops deployed all around the world, had a very diverse repository [of HIV strains], so they were able to provide all sorts of different strains for companies to kind of test and upgrade their assays," Kibirige stated in an interview with HIV Plus Magazine.

    She hit the lab and emerged with a better assay capable of detecting a wide array of HIV strains but she is concerned with making the kit financially affordable - especially in African nations.

    Throughout her childhood, Kibirige lived through the devastating effects of the epidemic, coupled with a civil war in her native Uganda that forced her parents to flee to Kenya - where she was later born.

    She noted that her family, which was based in Kenya, lost a number of relatives. 

    “The first cases of HIV were actually recorded or reported in Uganda, in a town called Rakhi — tents near the border with Tanzania and it really devastated our country because we’d just come through a series of civil wars. And actually, I think they trace the way the virus spread to some troops that had come in to help depose one of the dictators, so the route it followed into the country was associated with that.

    “It was very, very devastating…. We ended up losing a lot of people, even within the Uganda community in Kenya, so it really did affect me…(we) lost close cousins, relatives and science being my strongest subject…it just piqued my interest," she remarked.

    A HIV specimen
    An HIV specimen. FILE  BY Derrick Okubasu,
  • An aerial image of the Ksh88 billion Nairobi Expressway. FILE 
  • Nairobi has been named among the world's 50 greatest places of 2022 in a new ranking by TIME Magazine.

    In the ranking, TIME noted that the Expressway was among the major reasons why Nairobi made it to the list due to the advantage it has brought in solving the traffic jam crisis in the east African city.

    The publication noted that Nairobi offers a variety of outstanding sites and treats that visitors may enjoy. Moving away from the usual Safari that Kenya is popularly known for, TIME noted that the capital offered art and cultural experiences that newbies would enjoy.

    An image of the Nairobi Westlands toll station of the expressway.
    An image of the Nairobi Westlands toll station of the expressway. FILE

    "The brand-new Nairobi Expressway, the $650 million (Ksh76 billion) project, provides a long-overdue reprieve from congestion in the centre of the city, so residents and visitors can access it more easily and quickly than ever before," the magazine noted.

    "And although tourists may have previously opted to make a beeline into the bush, today Nairobi is offering visitors plenty of reasons to keep inside the capital. The Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute (NCAI) just celebrated its opening with an exhibit showcasing Nairobian artist Sane Wadu." 

    The growing food scene in Nairobi was also a key point in the recommendations by TIME. According to the publication, the city holds a variety of cultures and the food scene had grown to accommodate travellers looking to enjoy international cuisine.

    "In the food scene, a synthesis of global inspiration is heating up. Cultiva Farm Kenya is an exceptional example, where Ecuadorian restaurateur Ariel Moscardi renders East African ingredients and flavours with South American techniques."

    Kenya is among Africa's fastest-growing economies and a number of international start-ups and businesses have planted their roots in Nairobi, this has also expedited the growth of education with companies giving back to the local communities through CSRs.

    "In the district of Mukuru, Micato Safaris opened the Harambee Community Centre, providing resources and education to help ensure that the recent economic boom will be felt more equitably," TIME noted.

    Nairobi was among the only four other cities in Africa that made it to the TIME magazine ranking. Kigali, South Africa's Franschhoek, known for its wineries, and Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park were also recommended.

    An undated photo of Nairobi City's skyline.
    An aerial view of Nairobi City's skyline dated October 2020.  FILE  EYECONIC MEDIA

    The list was compiled by TIME's international network of correspondents and contributors. 

    The 50 cities to make the list include classic big-hitters and less-explored spots, but what unites them is that they are "thriving, growing and changing." By MUMBI MUTUKO,

  • File photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta meeting outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson FILE 
  • UK government has clarified its stance on funding Kenya's upcoming general election and its interests in the outcome.

    Through transcription of the British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott's speech posted on Tuesday, July 12, the UK government maintained that it is not participating in any way in the organising and funding of Kenyan polls.

    "I want to be very clear, therefore, that the funding and organising of elections is a Kenyan responsibility. Who Kenyans elect is a matter for the people of Kenya. The UK respects Kenya’s sovereignty. We remain neutral and impartial," Marriott explained.

    British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott giving a speech during the Kenya national elections conference held on Monday July 11, 2022
    British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott giving a speech during the Kenya national elections conference held on Monday, July 11, 2022.  MARRIOTT'S TWITTER

    In a meeting with other diplomatic heads and representatives from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Marriott made it clear that the UK is not interested in who wins the polls but in the shared interests between the two nations.

    This is in line with a deal that was sealed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

    "We have a Strategic Partnership, agreed by His Excellency President Kenyatta, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It is a five year partnership deliberately designed to span Kenya’s elections this year and the UK’s Parliamentary elections, due before 2025. Because the mutual interests of our two countries is greater than whoever is in power, in either place," a statement from UK government read in part.

    "Our fundamental interest is that Kenya becomes ever more stable and prosperous, and continues to be a leading democracy, setting standards across the region. We have enjoyed standing shoulder to shoulder on the world stage with Kenya – on climate change, on education, at the United Nations Security Council. And we want that modern friendship and partnership, based on mutual respect, to continue," Marriott added.

    In a message to all candidates, IEBC led by its chairperson Wafula Chebukati and other election stakeholders, UK reiterated the need for Kenya to hold free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.

    "As a friend of Kenya, the UK government calls on all present across all six types of election – and those whom they represent – to do their part in contributing to free, fair, credible and peaceful elections, before, during, and after the 9th August elections. We call on all candidates and political contestants to promote peace and unity, and not division or conflict."

    Other than the UK, European Union also announced its willingness to ensure a smooth transition. EU deployed election observers as part of their efforts in ensuring credibility in the polls.

    Responding to UK's sentiments, Chebukati assured the international community that the commission is ready to deliver credible polls. 

    IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati Addressing The Media In A Past Event  CAPITAL GROUP  BY Geoffrey Lutta,

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