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More than 10,000 passengers were stranded as Kenya Airways pilots went on strike to demand better pay and working conditions.

The strike called by the Kenya Airlines Pilots Association (KALPA) started on Saturday, grounding more than 15 flights.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has termed the strike as “illegal” an act of “economic sabotage.”

“I visited the JKIA and was saddened to learn that so far, over 15 flights have been canceled and 10,000 passengers stranded,” he said after visiting Kenya’s main airport, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) where he met the airline officials.

“I have been briefed by the Kenya Airways management that they working with other airlines to reroute some of the connecting passengers even as we seek a lasting solution to the challenge at hand,” Murkomen said.

The airline, partly owned by the government and Air France-KLM, is one of the biggest in Africa, connecting multiple countries to Europe and Asia, but it is facing turbulent times, including years of losses.

The Kenya Airlines Pilots Association (KALPA) said that no Kenya Airways flight flown by its members had departed Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport starting from 6:00 am (0300 GMT) on Saturday.

“The strike is fully in force,” KALPA union secretary general Murithi Nyagah said in a statement released on Saturday.

The pilots announced the strike in defiance of a court order against the industrial action and have given no indication of how long it will last.

 

Frustrated passengers described huge queues at the airport, with many travellers only learning about their cancelled flights when they showed up to check-in.

“We have been told nothing,” American tourist Jill Lee told AFP as she waited in line to figure out her next course of action after her flight to Dar es Salaam was cancelled at the last minute.

The 65-year-old had booked a safari in Tanzania but said she had no idea where she would spend the night after her connecting flight from Nairobi was cancelled.

“Many people here have nowhere to go. It’s pretty horrible.”

Kenya Airways on Saturday reported high call volumes at its service centre due to the “ongoing unlawful industrial action”, urging customers to only contact the airline if they were travelling in the next 48 hours.

The pilots, who have had a particularly fraught relationship with management, are pressing for the reinstatement of contributions to a provident fund.

They also want back payment of all salaries stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic.

KALPA representatives said Friday that a series of meetings with airline management had failed to resolve grievances.

“Kenya Airways management’s actions have left us with no other option,” Nyagah said, adding that a 14-day notice on the industrial action had ended without a solution. 

“We had hoped that the management of the airline would soften its stance and engage in negotiation on the issues raised.”

On Monday, the airline won a court injunction stopping the strike, but an official at KALPA, which has 400 members, told AFP the pilots “were acting within the provisions of the law” and that they were yet to be served with a court order.

The carrier warned earlier this week that the strike would jeopardise its recovery, estimating losses at $2.5 million per day if the pilots went ahead with their plans.

The airline was founded in 1977 following the demise of East African Airways and flies more than four million passengers to 42 destinations annually.

But its slogan “The Pride of Africa” rings hollow as it operates thanks to state bailouts following years of losses.

Like other carriers around the world, Kenya Airways saw its revenue nosedive after the pandemic grounded planes worldwide because of stringent travel restrictions, devastating the aerospace and tourism industries. By Ken Osoro, Capital News

 

Photo Courtesy Sky News

The lower house of the French parliament was suspended on Thursday after a far-right MP shouted "go back to Africa" at a black politician.

Carlos Martens Bilongo had been challenging the centrist government over a maritime rescue boat carrying hundreds of passengers in the Mediterranean that has not received an assigned port.

The outburst came from Gregoire de Fournas, a 37-year-old member of Marine Le Pen's National Rally, who said later that his words were not aimed at Mr Martens Bilongo, but at migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.

Other MPs had shouted angrily at him and each other after he had spoken. 

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said: "There is no room for racism in our democracy.

"The Bureau of the National Assembly will convene and should decide on the necessary sanction."

Stephane Sejourne, who leads President Emmanuel Macron's centrist party, called for Mr de Fournas to resign, while the left-wing Nupes alliance said he should be expelled.

"The National Rally has shown its true face today," Nupes said in a statement.

"This racist slur is characteristic of the far-right: stigmatise according to the colour of your skin, divide the French people."

But Ms Le Pen insisted that her colleague said nothing wrong, adding that he "obviously spoke about the migrants transported in boats.

"The controversy created by our political opponents... will not deceive the French."

Mr Martens Bilongo, a 31-year-old who was a teacher and activist before entering politics, responded to the incident by saying: "I asked a question to the government, as is done every week in the Assembly.

"Except that I couldn't get to the end of my question, because a deputy from the National Rally interrupted me by shouting at me 'Go back to Africa!'

"I didn't think I would ever hear these words in the National Assembly. But racism always catches up, even in the most prestigious places of the republic."

The French-born politician said that even if the words were aimed at the migrants rather than him, they would still have been "unjustifiable", adding: "Has racism become so commonplace that this sentence has become acceptable?"

"This episode reminds us of what the far-right is in France: the contempt for institutions and the detestation of millions of our French compatriots.

"This Thursday, I had invited children from my constituency to the Assembly so that they could attend my question to the government, with a certain pride.

"I'm thinking about them. It is for them that I will continue to exercise my mandate, without ever having to justify myself on the colour of my skin.

"And so that finally, they can live free of the racism that, by dint of complacency, is progressing in this country." Sky News/Yahoo News

From left: Joel Mwandiki, Eric Munene, Nicasio Njeru, Nicholas Karani and Christine Mwende before a Chuka court in Tharaka Nithi County on November 3, 2022. 

Alex Njeru I Nation Media Group/Photo Courtesy

Five people have denied breaking into Mutube Baptist Church in Chuka town, Tharaka-Nithi County and stealing music instruments on Tuesday night. Joel Mwandiki, Eric Munene, Nicasio Njeru, Nicholas Karani and Christine Mwende and others not before, the court heard, stole loudspeakers, guitar, amplifier, a mixer and other instruments worth Sh300,000.

Chuka Resident Magistrate Oscar Kinyua heard that the five were 'arrested' by members of the public and handed over to officers from Chuka Police Station together with the items that were found at a bar.

Stolen items

The five also denied an alternative charge of being found in possession of stolen items at a bar known as Gaza in Kibumbu estate on Wednesday morning.

The five were released on a cash bail of Sh80,000 each or a bond of Sh300,000 or a surety of similar amount.

The case will be heard on November 17. By Alex Njeru, NMG

Tanzania vs Rwanda Live Streaming of T20I series match: Here you can get all the details as to when, where and how to watch the T20I match between Tanzania and Rwanda

Tanzania will clash against Rwanda in the third match of the T20I series on Thursday. The match is slated to begin at 11:30 am IST and will take place at the Dar es Salaam stadium. Tanzania have secured the first two matches of the series and will be eyeing to complete a whitewash.

T20 World Cup 2022: Full Coverage | Schedule | Results | Points Table | Gallery

Rwanda haven’t batted well in the series. Their batters have not occupied the series for long and have failed to string partnerships. 109 and 83 were the scores that they managed in their first two games. Having lost the series already, they’ll be looking to salvage a win and end the series on a high.

Tanzania have looked like a pretty balanced side. They will be hoping to put up a strong performance and finish the series as invincible. Abhik Patwa, Salum Ally, and Jitin Singh have been the best players for the side.

 

The T20I series match between Tanzania and Rwanda will be streamed live on FanCode.

Tanzania vs Rwanda Possible XIs

Tanzania Predicted Line-up: Amal Rajeevan (wk), Abhik Patwa, Salum Ally, Jitin Singh, Kassimu Nassoro, Akhil Anil, Johnson Nyambo, Sanjay Kumar Thakor, Harsheed Chohan, Ally Kimote, Mohamed Yunusu Issa Sefu

Rwanda Predicted Line-up: Didier Ndikubwimana (wk), Emmanuel Sebareme, Orchide Tuyisenge, Eric Dusingizimana, Martin Akayezu, Ignace Ntirenganya, Jean Baptiste Hakizimana, Aime Mucyodusenge, Kevin Irakoze, Zappy Bimenyimana, Eric Kubwimana News18

 

About 60,000 households in Mandera are set to benefit from the county’s relief food.

This is after seven hundred and fifty metric tons of foodstuffs and 180,000 litres of cooking oil were flagged off by the county government to be distributed to vulnerable households and people living with disabilities across the county.

The countywide emergency relief food that was officially launched by governor Mohamed Kalif aims at assisting households that are affected by the ravaging long drought across the nine sub-counties.

Other beneficiaries include boarding secondary schools, special needs groups, special needs schools and registered orphanage centers.

Before mapping out and identifying the neediest in the ongoing drought, the county has ascertained their situation of the current drought, food insecurity, and impact on their livelihood and economic activities.

The program that was presided over by Mandera county commissioner, Onesmus Kyatha comes at a time when President William Ruto recently announced a release of 2 billion to mitigate the effect of drought in affected counties across the country.

Governor Khalif said the long drought has affected the economy at large and left more than one and half million livestock lost in the dry period.

“We have lost over 365,000 cattle, 30,000 donkeys, 500,000 goats, and 160,000 camels. The monetary value of livestock lost is over Sh11 billion, equivalent to our annual allocation from the national government”, he said.

According to rapid assessment report conducted by Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG), 500, 000 people have been left in dire need of emergency relief food and water.

The ongoing drought has affected most of the learning institutions in the far-flung areas of Mandera county forcing learners to miss classes as they travel to distant places in search of food and water.

Mandera governor said many schools are experiencing financial strain since parents cannot not afford to pay their children’s fees and as a result schools are unable to provide food to the learners.

The hunger crisis has also led to lack of concentration and malnutrition which could have a long-lasting impact on the education sector.

He said the food distribution will continue for one week to all identified beneficiary households. - Ibrahim Adan Ali, The Standard

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