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KIGALI, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The Rwandan government has lifted a midnight-to-4 a.m. curfew on people's movement, effective Saturday for the first time since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020.

"Curfew is lifted. However, nightclubs, live bands, bars, receptions, and betting activities shall close by 2 a.m.," said a cabinet communique issued by the Office of the Prime Minister late Friday.

The cabinet also decided that citizens and Rwanda residents must be fully vaccinated in order to access public places.

According to the communique, private businesses and public offices including social gatherings will operate at full capacity.

However, wearing a face mask in public places remains mandatory.

Physical conferences, services held at places of worship, restaurants, bars and gyms are to be conducted in full capacity of venues, while outdoor settings are highly encouraged.

Attendance to any social gathering and event will require a negative COVID-19 test taken at least 48 hours before.

All sports activities and sports fans in stadiums will be permitted as long as they are fully vaccinated.

Land borders shall reopen starting Monday March 7 and people may be subject to random COVID-19 testing by the ministry of health upon entry, according to the communique.

Arriving and departing passengers at Kigali International Airport must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure.

All departing Rwandans must be vaccinated, said the communique.

Public buses will also operate at full capacity with seated passengers and 75 percent of non-seated passengers, operators must ensure that all passengers are fully vaccinated and penalties shall be applied in case of non-compliance, according to the communique.

The new measures take effect on Saturday, March 5 and will be revised after one month upon health assessment.

The Rwandan health ministry announced on Thursday that the 60 percent of the Rwandan population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Rwanda has witnessed a fall in COVID-19 infections since the beginning of 2022. - Xinhua

Workers during wheat harvesting in Moiben, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

East Africa is staring at a ballooning import bill for petroleum products and a long spell of imported inflation from the Russia-Ukraine war.

The economic outlook for the region has seen inflation rise for Uganda, with the consumer price index inflation expected to peak at 3.8 percent, from 3.5 percent, while in Tanzania annual inflation has eased to 4.0 percent. In Kenya, it is projected at 5.08 percent and in Rwanda 2.0 percent.

Kenya, the largest supplier of flowers to Russia after Ecuador and Colombia, will not export flowers and import grains and fertiliser from both Russia and Ukraine.

“Passenger and cargo aircraft cannot travel to the region. You cannot enter the Ukrainian airspace and largely our exports to Russia reach Moscow through Poland.

“And Poland neighbours Ukraine. Definitely, our trade with Russia will be affected by that closure of the airspace by NATO,” said Johnson Weru, Principal Secretary in the Trade Ministry.

“Russia and Ukraine are part of the region with the highest world supply of grain, including wheat and yellow maize, and fertiliser, which is also an input in the production of grains. The effect may not be immediate but it is going to be there.”

Global wheat prices have gone from $345 per tonne to $460 over the past week, according to a survey by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.

Fertiliser prices in Kenya are also set to skyrocket above Ksh7,000 for a 50-kilo bag on fears that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will impact global supply.


Ugandan and Tanzanian trade with Russia and Ukraine have also suffered a setback. Ugandan coffee exports estimated at $7.0 million to Russia as well as wheat imports ($25.5m) have also been affected.

Flowers are the largest source of foreign exchange earnings for Kenya after tea, with production in 2020 estimated at 140,000 tonnes. The flower sector earned about Ksh108.7 billion ($983 million) in 2020, according to the Kenya Flower Council.

The Ukraine crisis has also affected trade in the East African region as prices of wheat have increased in the past few days. The crisis has also affected the importation of farm equipment and fertiliser.

“Kenya relies on both Ukraine and Russia for grain, particularly in the second half of the year, since other sources such as Argentina and Australia harvest in December,” said Phylis Wakiaga, chief executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.

“Depending on the availability of wheat, prices are projected to cross $500 per tonne, which translates to $550 per tonne upon landing in Nairobi. This would then translate to approximately Ksh5,650 per 90kg bag, approximately between Ksh180 and Ksh200 for a 2kg packet and approximately Ksh60-67 for a loaf of bread. Undeniably, there is a threat to wheat supply, and this is set to affect the general population.”

Russia and Ukraine are part of the region with the highest world supply of grain including wheat and yellow maize. “In 2020, Kenya exported goods and services worth Ksh8,008 million to Russia and imported goods and services worth Ksh37,996 million, representing a trade deficit of Ksh29,988 million,” said Ms Wakiaga.

“This means that Kenya will most likely feel economic heat as a net importer if the crisis persists. Kenya is a net importer of wheat, maize and fuel from Ukraine and Russia.”

Kenya’s Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said that fertiliser prices in Kenya were set to skyrocket above Ksh7,000 for a 50kilo bag.

“We get most of our fertiliser from Russia and China and this war may see the price of fertiliser hit Ksh7, 000 if there will be no subsidy in place,” said Mr Munya.

Kenya’s exports to Russia and Ukraine include tobacco and its substitutes, coffee, tea, mate and spices, live trees, plants, bulbs, roots, cut flowers, edible fruits, nuts, peel of citrus fruit and melons.

Trade between East Africa and Ukraine and Russia will be affected as trade and routes face more security scrutiny and logistics intermediation.

Economists are studying the impact of this on the region’s economies.

“Inflation remains well behaved, with spare capacity and a strong currency helping to contain price pressures,” wrote Razia Khan, the Managing Director and Chief Economist at Africa and Middle East Global Research, a division of Standard Chartered Bank.

The economist gave an updated consumer price index (CPI) inflation profile to reflect higher energy prices, forecasting inflation to rise from 3.5 percent in 2021 to 3.8 percent in 2022 and 3.7 percent in 2023.

At the time, global crude oil prices were below $80 a barrel but started to rise after Russian president Vladimir Putin set conditions to deescalate the tensions with Ukraine and her North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, failure of which led to more confrontations, and now war.

Experts are yet to explain the extent to which Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine will impact the region’s economies, but what is clear is that it will increase inflationary pressures on energy, food and other products.

After Russian tanks crossed into Ukrainian territory, global benchmark Brent crude crossed the $100 mark per barrel, for the first time since 2014, and this week touched $110, as experts say the prices are not about to retreat.

Closer to home, oil marketing companies say their finances were already constrained by tensions between Russia and Ukraine and feared the worst if the two European countries went to war – a reality that has come to pass when Putin ordered his troops over the border.

Boniface Kipchirchir, the Head of Operations at Stabex International Uganda, explains that Platts – the price benchmark for the oil industry – rose from an average of $648 per metric tonne of crude in December 2021 to $820 per tonne in February.

In liberal EAC markets like Uganda, which has seen fuel prices skyrocketing over the last two months, the rise in the international benchmark translates into an increase by over Ush600 (15 cents) per litre at the pump. By The East African

  • Deputy President William Ruto at the Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice, Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland, United States DPPS
  • Deputy President William Ruto is prepared to testify on election rigging claims he made during a tour of the United States.

    His office stated that the DP was willing and ready to shed light on the claims after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) confirmed that it will be probing his remarks to establish what he knew about the said plans.

    According to reports by the Nation, the DP's Director of Communication, Emmanuel Talam, told the publication that Ruto will cooperate with the IEBC as it conducts the investigations.

    File image of Emmanuel Talam, Director of Communication in the Office of the Deputy President
    File image of Emmanuel Talam, Director of Communication in the Office of the Deputy President

    Ruto made the comments while addressing a congregation at the Karson Institute for Race, Peace and Social Justice at Loyola University in Maryland.

    “The DP is ready to cooperate with IEBC to ensure the August 9 General Election results are not compromised,” Talam stated. 

    The Communications Director further noted that it will be prudent for the IEBC to also investigate remarks by Murang'a Woman MP, Sabina Chege, and East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) Member of Parliament, Oburu Odinga, that the deep state will ensure Raila Odinga of Azimio La Umoja wins the August polls.

    He added that the IEBC should probe the two, accusing them of making remarks that were construed to mean that there was a plan to rig in Raila. Talam further noted that it is crucial for the electoral body to be thorough with their investigations as well as reigning in on politicians making reckless remarks.

    “What do COTU boss Francis Atwoli and Jubilee Vice Chair David Murathe mean every time they tell the country that President Uhuru Kenyatta will not hand over power to some people? Aren’t we a democracy where voting determines leadership?” Talam posed. 

    On Friday, the IEBC noted that it had launched an investigation into the Deputy President's remarks. The DP while in the US, claimed that Kenya's democracy was on trial and that he was a victim of threats, blackmail, and intimidation. 

    Speaking during a meeting with the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) and Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ), IEBC Chairperson, Wafula Chebukati, noted that the commission will probe the remarks made by the country's second-in-command.

    IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati During the Official Opening of the Political Parties Liaison Committee Engagement Forum Held On Friday, October 1
    IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati During the Official Opening of the Political Parties Liaison Committee Engagement Forum Held On Friday, October 1

    "As a commission, all aspirants are bound by the Elections Code of Conduct and we shall look at his statement and investigate after which we shall give a report. The investigations team will tell us how long that will be but we are aware that time s of the essence," the IEBC chair stated. 

    "IEBC is fully prepared for the elections and the purpose of signing the MoU today is to ensure transparency, especially in the area of the announcing of the results. I am very sure that the chances of rigging elections this year are almost nil." By Washiington Mito,


South Sudan’s minister of presidential affairs Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin speaking to Al Jazeera. [Photo screen-grab from Al Jazeera TV]

South Sudan's presidential affairs minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the decision by the head of the Catholic Church is not only an honour to President Salva Kiir Mayardit, but for the people of South Sudan who have endured the brunt of the 8-years-old conflict.

JUBA – South Sudan presidency has welcomed the decision of the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, to visit the world’s youngest country, the first of its kind in the war-torn country.

In a statement on Thursday, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will visit South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in July, making a trip he has repeatedly had to delay because of security concerns in a country still emerging from a post-independence civil war.

South Sudan’s presidential affairs minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the decision by the head of the Catholic Church is not only an honour to President Salva Kiir Mayardit, but for the people of South Sudan who have endured the brunt of the 8-years-old conflict. 

“This is an honour not only to his Excellency as the President but to the people of South Sudan as well. It is an indication that the efforts of the president and the government to reconcile people are being heard by world leaders,” he told Paris-based Sudan Tribune.

July will mark the 11th anniversary of South Sudan’s secession from Sudan. Civil war erupted two years later in 2013, causing 400,000 deaths, Reuters reported. 

The two main sides signed a peace deal in 2018 but hunger and deadly clashes are still common across the country.

Minister Marial said that the government recognizes and grants the freedom of religion and does not interfere in the church in pastoral activities. Sudans Post


Photo Courtesy The Standard


To Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, it is important that people who have hurt him acknowledge doing so.

This search for an admission made the former vice president call a press conference at his party’s offices in Karen on Tuesday and produce a sheaf of papers laying out a power-sharing pact with ODM leader Raila Odinga, his partner in the defunct National Super Alliance. 

Kalonzo, flanked by party members, asserted his right to Raila's support in his State House bid.


In 2017, said Kalonzo, he had agreed to support Raila on the condition that he would reciprocate in 2022, whether their coalition clinched power.

The 2022 election is here and Kalonzo is demanding his pound of flesh. To ask Raila to drop his own bid in favour of Kalonzo's, especially at a time when Raila has received President Uhuru Kenyatta's backing and can almost see himself in State House, is to demand the impossible.

Kalonzo placed a condition on his talks with Azimio la Umoja, the coalition party bringing together Raila’s ODM and President Kenyatta’s Jubilee. 

Raila is a firm favourite to be Azimio’s presidential candidate, but Kalonzo, who is working on having his One Kenya Alliance formally join Azimio, said if that coalition takes shape, his candidature should take precedence over Raila’s. There is a contract to which Raila agreed to the arrangement, he said.

"Raila should just endorse me," Kalonzo said in interviews with KTN News and NTV later in the day. "He has two options, adhere to the agreement or defy it."

But his proclamation is not really a threat to Raila. He said regardless of what the former Prime Minister decided, he would still work with him.

That speech was Kalonzo’s parody of himself.

In one sentence he issued an ultimatum that Raila must drop his bid and support him, in the next he said it did not mean they won't work together. 

One instant he said OKA was in the Azimio movement, a moment later he said the discussions with Azimio had to be based on the 2017 document.

Kalonzo has lamented often that he was called names such as ‘indecisive’ but with the new revelations is attempting to recast himself as a victim of politics.

The upshot of his statement was that Raila had made a promise he never intended to keep and that he was right that the ODM leader could not be trusted.

“I will sleep very well tonight because I have told Kenyans what they need to know," he said.

Gnawing at the back of Kalonzo’s mind is a statement he made last year where he said he would be the ‘stupidest man’ if he supported Raila for a third time.

In November 2021, Kalonzo's Wiper Party endorsed him to run for office. However, there have been no real signs that he intends to run. Rather, the lean has been towards forming a coalition and support one of their own.

The former VP is also one of the front runners in OKA. Analysts say Kalonzo's demeanour has been that of a man denying reality – that he was on his way back to supporting Raila’s ticket.

When the press conference ended he told some flustered journalists: “You have a lot to unpack.”

And there was a lot to unpack.

The ramifications of Kalonzo's statement began the same day when Narc Kenya, one of the affiliate parties in OKA, said they needed more time to study the coalition agreement before committing to it.

But does Kalonzo’s pushing forward with his affairs with Raila complicate the equation for OKA?

Yesterday, OKA postponed the signing of the coalition agreement to early next week, citing legal issues. 

But whether he has boxed himself or Raila into a corner, is yet to be seen.

The governors from Kalonzo’s base in Eastern Kenya believe he is taking the region in circles.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana said the agreement could not have been implemented since Raila did not win the election.

"Hence the two most critical terms of the agreement were frustrated by turn of events,” he said.

Kibwana, as well as Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and Kitui's Charity Ngilu are aligned with Raila and have been swaying Kalonzo in the same direction. 

Tom Mboya, a political analyst said it was difficult to bind someone to an MoU and could not see how Kalonzo would have Raila honour it. Source: By Allan Mungai, The Standard

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