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Rwanda-Burundi relations will improve when 2015 coup plotters, said to be hiding in Kigali, are handed over Gitega to face justice, said Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye.

Speaking last Tuesday at State House in Bujumbura, President Ndayishimiye said Burundi is already in talks with Rwandan authorities to normalise relations between the two countries that deteriorated seven years ago.

“We have had a lot of dialogue with Rwanda. They are our neighbours and they will always be our neighbours,” said President Ndayishimiye.

“What we know is that Burundians and Rwandans do not hate each other … I see a lot of Rwandans over the weekend in Bujumbura and some getting married to Burundians,” said the president.

The two countries have had sour relations for the past seven years, with Burundi closing its borders with Rwanda and banning the exportation of fruits and vegetables to Kigali from 2016.

However, since President Ndayishimiye took over power in 2020, relations between the two countries improved significantly.

High level delegations from the two countries, including intelligence chiefs, governors and other senior government officials, have met several times in efforts to normalise relations.

“When there is a dispute and both countries send envoys and we talk, it’s a great achievement and I hope we will continue doing so. One day, you will see Rwanda handing them over and it will be the end of the problem,” said the president.

In July last year, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente visited Bujumbura for the Independence Day celebrations. This was the first time a high profile official from Rwanda had travelled to Burundi since the political crisis erupted in 2015.

Last year, Burundi said that positive steps had been taken towards strengthening peace and security in the region. Burundi helped Rwanda when terrorists who were planning to attack Kigali were arrested and handed over to Rwanda twice.

Rwanda reciprocated in July last year by handing over 19 armed men who had conducted an attack in Burundi and fled to Rwanda. - MOSES HAVYARIMANA, The East African

A paediatric operating room set up by an Edinburgh-based charity – said to be the first in a refugee camp – will officially open today after the ceremony was delayed due to the pandemic and terrorist warnings. 

The facility in Kakuma, Kenya, was set up by the charity Kids Operating Room (KidsOR), which delivered and installed more than 3,000 items of equipment and surgical tools to provide safe surgery at the site. 

It has been in use for nearly a year and is expected to have capacity for operations on up to 1,000 children annually, providing life-saving treatments that were previously unavailable in Kakuma due to the lack of necessary surgical equipment and paediatric surgeons. The camp, which has a bigger population than Dundee, is home to around 40,000 children, KidsOR said. 

Dr Neema Kaseje, paediatric surgeon and KidsOR advisory member, has been training a surgical team in Kenya to maximise use of the operating room (OR), while leading the procedures that have taken place so far.

She said: "It's hard for most of us to imagine living in a refugee camp setting, let alone the thought of our child not being able to access the surgery that could save their life or alleviate them from terrible pain. 

"I am looking forward to finally commemorating the opening of this crucial facility and I am honoured to be able to play a part in these life-changing operations and the social and economic benefits the installation has brought to the area."

Jibril Hussein Imidi, 10, was one of the first patients to receive surgery from the doctor and her surgical team, having suffered from a debilitating and painful hernia since birth.

The Kids Operating Room of Dr Neema Kaseje and the surgical team at Kakuma.

The Kids Operating Room of Dr Neema Kaseje and the surgical team at Kakuma.

Jibril's condition was left untreated, causing him severe stomach pain and digestion issues.

After the 40-minute removal surgery finally took place, his mother, Aziza said: "We had so many challenges before he was operated on. We could not go a week without him falling sick.

"The operating room provided Jibril with the operation that he so desperately needed. The surgery has helped so much. He is now back at school and doing so well." 

Plans for the opening ceremony at Kakuma General Hospital in the camp had previously been put on hold due to pandemic restrictions and repeated local terrorist warnings. By Lucinda Cameron, Edinburgh Evening News

A queue of paediatric surgery patients awaits help.
A queue of paediatric surgery patients awaits help.

KidsOR representatives will join surgical teams, key figures from the UN Refugee Agency and the International Rescue Committee at the ceremony on Friday.

Edinburgh-headquartered KidsOR was founded by husband-and-wife philanthropists Garreth and Nicola Wood.

Mr Wood said: "The new safe surgical facilities, equipment and trained medical staff in Kakuma have already had a substantial effect and we are looking forward to finally recognising this achievement.

"Thousands of children can now access timely surgical care in Kakuma Refugee camp and this is something that should be celebrated.

 
 
 

"It will be rewarding for many of those involved in this milestone project to officially mark the occasion, especially after the long delays and understandable postponements of the event over the last year.

"This is only the start and we will strive to continue progressing this vital requirement not only throughout Africa but other developing countries."

Kakuma was originally founded in 1992 for people fleeing war in Sudan and has a population of around 185,000 people, according to UN data.

Tanzania is getting closer to launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC) which gives the country’s residents a “safe alternative,” the central bank governor has said. However, no date for the digital currency launch has been given.

Growing Interest in Cryptocurrencies

According to Florens Luoga, the governor of Tanzania’s central bank, his country is inching closer to the launch of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). When launched, the CBDC is expected to counter the growing interest in privately issued cryptocurrencies, a report has said.

In remarks made during an interview, Louga suggested the Bank of Tanzania (BOT) is also preparing for the launch of a CBDC because it cannot ignore the technological advances in money. The governor claimed that BOT’s digital currency will provide users with an alternative that is safer than cryptocurrencies. He said:

It’s important for us to provide a central bank digital currency as a safe alternative because many people are being affected by cryptocurrency speculators.

A Global Phenomenon

The governor added that the central bank has since sent officials to countries whose respective CBDCs have progressed. While many central banks have touted CBDCs as an alternative to cryptocurrencies, few have actually piloted their respective centralized assets. In Africa, only the Nigerian central bank has so far launched a CBDC, while a few others are still at the exploratory or research stages.

 

Meanwhile, when asked about the launch date of Tanzania’s digital currency, Luoga reportedly declined to state when this is likely to happen. He did, however, emphasize that the BOT cannot ignore this phenomenon.

“Almost worldwide, central bank governors are in training right now and holding discussions on how to bring it about,” Luoga argued.

AfricaCBDCcentral bank digital currencyFlorens LuogaNigeriaTanzania

 

Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route. by Terence Zimwara, Emerging Markets
  

Sir Richard Turnbull, the last governor of Tanganyika, once assured Denis Healey that “when the British Empire finally sinks beneath the waves of history, it will leave behind it only two monuments: one is the game of Association Football, the other is the expression ‘Fuck off’”.

This was unnecessarily pessimistic. The British Empire bequeathed to our former colonies not only the English language, the rule of law and parliamentary democracy, but many sports beyond football. Indians love cricket, South Africans love rugby, and this summer 43 countries will send their finest to Birmingham to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

But among Britain’s former colonies lies an anomaly: the United States. For despite their status as participants in the first international cricket match in which the Yanks lost to Her Majesty’s loyal subjects from Canada in a match played on Broadway and 30th in Manhattan in 1844, and despite the popularity of “soccer” among school children, sport is another thing to confirm the notion of American exceptionalism.

Cricket is played in America, but only really among Indian and Pakistani migrants. Rugby must seem barbaric without all the protective equipment and time-outs of American football. The governing bodies for soccer — or real football as we should call it — are forever told that if they truly want to break the American market, the game needs wider nets, more goals, more breaks in play and no draws.

The late Sir Richard proffered the only response to such crazy proposals. But why, when it comes to sport, is America so different? It cannot be, as some suggest, because Americans need everything faster and bigger than everyone else. American society leads the world in hit-demanding, instantaneous pleasure-seeking, give-me-what-I-want-and-give-it-to-me-now commercialism, but urgency cannot be the issue. Baseball is reassuringly slow. Basketball can go on for hours. It requires the patience of a saint to watch American football with all its stoppages.

Perhaps we need to explore an altogether more horrifying explanation. Might it be that Americans prefer American sports because they are simply superior? 

It is certainly the case that in some respects American sports can be more advanced. Cricket has learned from baseball as fielding methods and training have grown more sophisticated. Football — real football — has borrowed ideas from across the Atlantic in the application of data. In planning trips across the Atlantic, I cannot be alone in rushing to book tickets to the baseball and basketball.

It is also true that American sports know better than sports elsewhere how to put on a show. English football clubs — most obviously Tottenham — have copied how American stadia work, hosting other sporting and live events. But nothing here can compare to the entertainment put on at almost any American sporting event. It is not just the Super Bowl: from the music to the hot dogs to the kiss cams, karaoke cams and celeb cams, every second of every event is squeezed for entertainment. Even high school basketball teams get cheerleaders. 

In England the lunchtime entertainment at a test match is the Yorkshire Tea brass band, where the musicians parade around the pitch dressed as giant kettles and tea pots. 

In football, a brief 1990s experiment with cheerleaders at Villa Park ended badly when oafish fans sang sexist songs. Even without that, it cannot have been much fun for the cheerleaders, since Birmingham on a cold January night does not much resemble California on a summer day.

But if American sports put on plenty of extra-curricular entertainment, it does not follow that their sports are better. While in the rest of the world we are entertained enough by sport, in America the sport requires something extra. We fans can be subjective about it: surely the skill of bowling in cricket is greater than pitching in baseball, real football more graceful and skilful than American football, and rugby more physically and technically demanding than anything produced the other side of the Atlantic?

Alternatively, we can try to be objective, inventing and comparing metrics to test skills: speed, strength, force, stamina, technique. But it would all be misleading and impossible to compare. Just as Michael Jordan was the greatest of all time in basketball, his switch into baseball was a flop; what works in rugby might not work in American football, and vice versa. The only metric we can really use to settle the argument is global popularity — and here American sports are behind.

Not that they care. For perhaps what America likes about American sports is America: it is after all the land of hype and hope, razzmatazz and self-sufficiency. Who else could get away with the ludicrously-titled baseball World Series? 

And for the rest of us, perhaps how we feel about American sports reflects our ambivalence about America. While in the States, we might attend a game, stuff ourselves with super-sized burgers and marvel at the show. But we also choose not to import it, preferring to stick to our own sports.

Our sporting identity, like our national and cultural identity, lies in the specificities of place, tradition and habit — and long may that be the case. 

By Nick Timothy, The Critic

 

 

An acute milk shortage has hit Kiambu County following prolonged drought.

A spot check by The Standard revealed that processing plants are not able to supply milk to supermarkets and retail shops. 

Milk hawkers and dealers have closed shops while some operate on minimal stock that get bought off early in the morning.

The shortage has now seen the price of packaged milk shoot up.

A half a litre packet that used to cost between Sh48 and Sh50 now sells at Sh67.

Farmers said they cannot supply enough milk to processing plants following the prolonged drought. 

James Karanja, a farmer, said he has three cows that used to produce between seven and a 10 litres of milk each morning.

He said the cows produced a similar quantity in the afternoon, but now the cows only manage half the quantity.

“I used to buy one 70-kilogramme sack of feed at Sh1500 and now it is retailing at Sh2200," said Karanja. "This price is high and  I have been forced to reduce the recommended amount that I give each cow."

Consequently, Karanja said his production has dropped significantly.

Karanja added that his farm that supplies enough forage is no longer able after the drought.

He said previously, he could even makes silage with the surplus nappier grass from his farm.

“I even dug a big hole in my farm for forage for later use when I have surplus but now I have exhausted the forage and the silage," Karanja said. "We will have some bad time in milk production before the rains return.”

Another farmer, Grace Nyambura from Lari said that there is a significant drop in milk production.

“We used to sell milk at Kimende and Lari shopping centres with a litre going for as low as Sh20. Now we cannot supply all shops in the area,” Nyambura said.

The farmers have also blamed high prices of dairy feed that have forced them to reduce the amount they give the cows. - George Njunge, The Standard

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