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FILE - A Total petrol station is seen in Kampala, Uganda, Jan. 28, 2020. A fuel shortage in the country has sent prices skyrocketing.
 

Ugandans were struggling Monday with a fuel shortage that has sent prices skyrocketing, as hundreds of trucks remain stuck in huge tailbacks at the border with Kenya.

Energy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa said the border delays were caused by a faulty scanner used by custom officials to check vehicles, and "issues regarding COVID-19."

Truck drivers have been complaining of massive queues at Uganda's eastern border as officials carry out mandatory coronavirus testing.

In the western district of Hoima, ironically the area where Uganda discovered large oil deposits earlier this century, a liter of fuel was selling at $3.40 (12,000 Ugandan shillings) — up from $1.13 (4,000 Ugandan shillings) previously.

The pumps had run dry at other petrol stations in the north and west of the landlocked East African country, according to checks by Agence France-Presse.

"I call on the dealers not to use this chance to cheat Ugandans," Nankabirwa said.

"I know we are following a liberalized economy where goods follow market demand to determine prices, but you can't put fuel (up) from 4,000 to 12,000 Ugandan shillings. That is cheating."

Ugandans were also reporting hikes in taxi and bus fares in many parts of the country, which is a net oil importer.

One truck driver, Mohammed Abubaker Kayima, told AFP there were queues of goods vehicles stranded at the Malaba border crossing between Uganda and Kenya.

"There are hundreds of trucks clogged at the border waiting for clearance from customs and COVID-19 task forces," the 57-year-old said. "Some have been there for days." AFP/VOA

Heavily armed security officers raid businessman Jimi Wanjigi's offices in Westlands.  Image: COURTESY

Heavily armed police officers on Monday night stormed businessman Jimi Wanjigi's Westlands offices. 

The police raided the offices around 9: 30 pm and as per CCTV images, they were still at the premises as of 10:30 pm.

His Lawyer  Willis Otieno has confirmed the raid. 

Comedian Eric Omondi who was in a meeting with Wanjigi at the offices at the time of the raid said the officers were from the elite group flying squad.

"Flying squad wako kwa gate na sisi tuko ndani meeting( Fly squad are at the gate and we are inside holding a meeting," he wrote on his social media handle.

The office hosts official activities of Kwacha Group of companies and is located off General Mathenge Road in Parklands.

It also coordinates Wanjigi's campaign activities. The businessman is eyeing the presidency.

The tycoon was reportedly holed up in his office together with his son during the raid.

Armed police officers at businessman Jimi Wanjigi's Westland offices.
Armed police officers at businessman Jimi Wanjigi's Westland offices.
Image: COURTESY

A section of Kenyans took to social media to protest the raiding terming it unconstitutional and inhuman.

Lawyer Ahmmednasir Abdullahi condemned the police for the incident and called on the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to follow proper channels when pursuing suspects. 

Ahmednasir linked Wanjigi's woes to his presidential ambitions saying he is being harassed to back down in his bid to dislodge ODM leader Raila Odinga as the Orange party's flagbearer.

"It's very obvious that Jimi Wanjigi is being harassed by the police in order to allow Hon Raila to have a free run in the ODM Presidential nominations," he said.

Lawyer Miguna Miguna also weighed in on the developments and said: "If you want to arrest anyone, attend at their homes during day time and serve them with a warrant of arrest. Don't attack in darkness in civilian clothes".

The raid comes years after the police raided his home in Muthaiga in October 2017 in a dramatic incident that saw the ODM leader Raila and his allies pitch a tent at the home the whole night.

The raid saw five AK 47 guns and hundreds of bullets recovered. Attempts by police to arrest the billionaire that night failed as police could not locate him in his house.

The billionaire had been accused of smuggling guns into the country with accomplices.  By Bosco Marita, The Star

ODM leader Raila Odinga when he acknowledged greetings from the people of Ongata Rongai, Kajiado County on January 10, 2021.
Image: RAILA ODINGA/TWITTER

ODM boss Raila Odinga has once again hit out against Deputy President William Ruto's hustler campaigns, saying he is determined to agitate for class war.

The former prime minister said the best way to empower the poor is by providing opportunities and not fighting the rich. 

"In an economy, there will always be the rich and the poor, but you don't deprive the rich to give the poor," Raila said. 

He went on: "..but what this one (Ruto) is doing is purely agitating for class war."

The DP has been insisting that the country is ripe for a radical shift in its economic management saying the bottom-up model is the best remedy to empower the poor.

He has trashed the current system which he has termed as a trickle-down economic model that he argues has only enriched a few Kenyans.

The ODM boss said his government, under the Azimio La Umoja, will create opportunities for the poor to create wealth and broaden the middle-income bracket.

"The Azimio journey is on to unite the country and bring all Kenyans together," he said.

The ex-PM spoke on Monday in Naivasha after a meeting with nearly 30 governors supporting his Azimio La Umoja movement.

He said his administration will seek to strengthen devolution and push for the establishment of industries in every sub-county. 

"We will have one sub-county, one industry, one product to spur the country's industrialization," he said.

During the meeting, Raila asked governors to spearhead the ongoing mass voter registration in their regions which started on Monday.

"Today is a very important day because the exercise for voter registration has started, let us go down there and mobilize our young people to register to participate in the most important election in our history," he said. Edited by D Tarus/By James Mbaka, The Star

Photo The New Times

 

The Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday, January 17, reaffirmed her willingness to join the East African Community, as negotiations paving way for its admission into the six-member bloc were launched in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

This is after regional leaders last month recommended that the negotiations be undertaken with speed and efficiency.

In Nairobi, according to a statement from the EAC, DR Congo’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’Apala, said his country was looking forward to increased trade and investment, and strengthened relations with the EAC, adding that her relations with EAC Partner States had largely been at a bilateral level.

Pen’Apala said that DR Congo was keen on cooperating with the EAC for maximum exploitation of both natural and human resources in the region. 

As noted, Pen’Apala expressed hope that this would be the last round of negotiations before DR Congo is admitted into the EAC.

10 day window

The Minister said that DR Congo has a big population who can considerably expand the market for the EAC, adding that his country was also in dire need of investors and was therefore offering incentives for entrepreneurs who would like to invest in the country.

The Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers who is also Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for EAC and Regional Development, Adan Mohamed, said that the EAC and DR Congo negotiation teams were expected to conclude their negotiations within 10 days.

Mohamed said that the report of the negotiations would then be presented to the Council which would later submit it to the Summit of EAC Heads of State for consideration.

EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, said: “Once this phase is successfully concluded, it shall pave the way for the accession phase which literally concludes the admission process.”

Pen’Apala noted that DR Congo faces security challenges in the eastern part of the country, and was therefore keen on tackling these challenges together with the EAC.

The Congolese Minister disclosed that his country had embarked on a national programme of reconstruction in various sectors including infrastructure, agriculture, energy and environmental conservation. He said that DR Congo had the world’s second largest natural ecosystem in the Congo Forest and was keen on preserving this system from wanton destruction to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The EAC Summit on December 22, 2021, directed regional ministers to expeditiously undertake negotiations with the DR Congo in accordance with the bloc’s procedures for admission of new members.

The procedure for admission of the DR Congo entails four stages: a verification exercise; negotiations with the country on its admission to the EAC directed by Summit; eventual admission; and the final deposition of the instrument of acceptance of the terms of admission by the country within six months of its admission to the Community.

Mid last year, a verification team was deployed in the country and it submitted its report to the Council of Ministers last December. What follows now includes: negotiations at senior, PS and ministerial levels between January and February.

The next step will be the consideration of the negotiations report by the extraordinary Council of Ministers, by March.

If all goes according to plan, next will be the consideration of the recommendations of Council and decision on admission of DR Congo into the EAC by the Extra Ordinary Summit, by April 11, 2022.

So far, the EAC has undertaken seven out of the 10 agreed steps towards the admission of the DR Congo into the bloc.

Mathuki noted that DR Congo’s intention to join the Community is not by default as the vast country shares borders with five EAC Partner States – Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.

Leading the negotiation teams is Dr. Alice Yalla for EAC and Prof. Serge Tshibangu Kabeya for DR Congo.

The role of the negotiations with the DR Congo is to establish its readiness to comply with the set six criteria as stipulated under the EAC Treaty and the bloc’s procedure for admission. The six criteria include: acceptance of the Community as set out in the Treaty; adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice; potential contribution to the strengthening of integration within the region; geographical proximity to and inter-dependence between the foreign country and partner states; establishment and maintenance of a market driven economy; and social and economic policies being compatible with those of the bloc.

The negotiations will also take into account the country profile of the DR Congo and establish, among others, its level of compatibility with the EAC's stages of development in trade liberalization and development; co-operation in investment and industrial development; coordination in monetary and financial matters; development of infrastructure and services; development of human resources; and the development of agriculture and natural resources.

The whole process started when Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on June 8, 2019, wrote to the then EAC Chairperson, President  Paul Kagame, expressing his country’s wish to be a member of the regional bloc.

By DR Congo joining the six-member bloc, it is expected to bolster the bloc’s economic potential through various ways including opening the corridor from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, as well as North to South, hence expanding the economic potential of the region. - James Karuhanga, The New Times

South African Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo attends the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, where South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma is summoned to face a state corruption inquiry, in Johannesburg, South Africa, February 15, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

No self-respecting theatre critic would dream of reviewing a three-Act play during the interval at the end of the first Act. But that is what one is compelled to do after South Africa’s State Capture Commission released Part 1 of its inquiry report.

This is more so because those implicated by its findings will be doing all they can to undermine the credibility of its reports. And in keeping with this dramatic theme, spoiler alert: My view is that deputy chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chaired the commission, has nailed it. In response, many will ask the question: has he really? And, even if he has: so what? 

In light of the apparent weaknesses in South Africa’s state capacity and institutions, there is understandable scepticism as to whether the government has the technical capability, let alone the political will, to implement the many recommendations that are emerging from the painstaking labour of the deputy chief justice and his small band of support staff and lawyers.

Without this, the Zondo Commission will merely have been an exercise in catharsis – not the first steps to delivering justice and accountability.

The hearings themselves, and the extraordinary range of evidence that was adduced before the Commission, certainly provided catharsis, but also ‘truth’.

For those with open eyes, the denuding of democratic state legitimacy was uncovered and the key protagonists – both perpetrators and victims – were identified.

The democratic state was captured; key institutions were looted as vast sums of public money were stolen. Former president Jacob Zuma and his motley network of exploited and exploitative allies were responsible.

That much is abundantly clear from just part one of Zondo’s report. Now they must be held fully to account. Justice will need to be done.

What is in it

Zondo was appointed to chair the Commission almost four years ago in January 2018. This was after then-President Zuma had tried and failed to prevent it from being established as a part of the remedial action required by then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her October 2016 ‘State of Capture’ report.

The Commission’s first hearing was six months later. Thereafter it sat for more than 400 more days, interviewing 300 witnesses and yielding 75,000 pages of transcription.

In all, 1,438 individuals and institutions have been implicated, according to the introduction to the document published on 4 January.

Given the cost of the inquiry – and the 1.7 million pages of evidence – a further question arises: was it worth the time, effort and expense? Having read through the 874 pages of this first part, a number of notable features emerge.

First of all, it is lucid and cogent, despite the regrettable absence of an executive summary. The public will have to wait until the publication of Part 3 of the report at the end of February to review the executive report.

Despite this unusual inversion, the executive report will still matter a great deal, and will require skilled wordsmithery if it is to provide the public with a clear story line.

This will, in turn, help ensure that the report remains ‘alive’ in the public eye and does not get pushed into the background by other events – as has happened with similar reports in the past, such as the Asmal report on Chapter Nine institutions as well as the Farlam report on Marikana massacre. To allow the report to gather dust would be a huge waste of the investment in the Zondo Commission.

Despite the absence of an overarching narrative summary, each chapter of part one presents an intricate and fascinating account of how three public entities – South African Airways (SAA), the government’s information arm (GCIS) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) – were systematically ‘captured’ with criminal intent, and how misinformation, both through the diversion of public funds to a puppet-media organisation, The New Age, and the subversion of GCIS, was used to try and cover up what was going on.

There were notorious key ringmasters, some well known already. These include Zuma, former SAA chair Dudu Myeni and Mzwanele Manyi, Zuma’s current spokesman and the man who was helicoptered in to head GCIS after the incumbent Themba Maseko was summarily dismissed, according to the report, at the behest of the Gupta family.

But, now, a much wider cast of accomplices and useful idiots are exposed. Private entities, such as the consulting firm Bain, where the evidence of whistleblower Athol Williams is applauded by Zondo, were also deeply complicit.

Secondly, it reads like a legal judgment, which is how it should be. The concern was that Zondo might fail to grasp the nettle and either shirk the most difficult issues or fudge its findings – as the Marikana massacre report did, on the core issues such as police culpability in the murder of the miners. He has not.

Assisted by some trusted former judicial colleagues, but under his attentive eye, Zondo has recognised the need to be both specific and precise. As a mountain of evidence was combined and the report constructed, the strategy was to provide a sound basis for prosecutions. The dots have now been joined.

A vast database of evidence can now be placed at the disposal of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, and the National Prosecuting Authority.

In due course, no doubt, the legal coherence and rationality of the report will be tested in court. There will be numerous judicial review applications that will seek to obscure the picture and delay justice. It may be another four years before the whole process concludes – the completion of the Commission’s work is just the start.

Thirdly, flowing from the findings, part one of the report offers concrete recommendations. Some recommend that certain implicated persons are either investigated or prosecuted. In other instances, the report addresses institutional failings or legal gaps.

So, for example, in chapter four of this first part – on public procurement – Zondo recommends that a new institution be created to which whistleblowers can go (a Public Procurement Anti-Corruption Agency), and, furthermore, that the new agency have authority to negotiate a financial incentive for potential whistleblowers.

These are very concrete recommendations. They should be taken seriously, but they are not uncontroversial, and will require further debate.

Nonetheless, what Zondo is doing, in addition to providing the evidential bedrock so that those responsible can be held criminally to account for their abuse of power, is setting out how the governance system needs to be strengthened. By the time part three is published at the end of February, a substantial reform agenda will have been laid out.

The end game

Even with two Acts of this play to go, it is reasonable to conclude that Zondo has played his part. Now it will up to the government to deliver, and for the public, civil society and the media to ensure that it does.

But there will be many more twists in the plot. There will be lawfare, attempts to subvert the criminal justice system, which is still recovering from state capture. The power struggle within the governing African National Congress in the run-up to its five-yearly national elective conference at the end of this year will be even more bloody as a result.

If the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the moral compass of the nation, then Zondo is constructing an ethical map. How South Africa navigates its course in the coming years will define its long-term future.The Conversation

Richard Calland, Associate Professor in Public Law, University of Cape Town The African Report

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