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ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Kanu leader Gideon Moi during a meeting with Oka officials and Mt Kenya delegates on October 7, 2021. Image: MERCY MUMO

 

Kalonzo says co-principals will pick him as flagbearer.

In Summary
  • The agreement will be inked at a public event by mid-November.
  • Kalonzo has criticised Raila, saying age has caught up with him and he should retire.

One Kenya Alliance principals could sign a pact binding them to work together in next year's polls, dampening hopes of a reunion with ODM boss Raila Odinga. 

It was hoped the Oka chiefs would agree to a political deal with Raila to cobble together a political movement that would face off against Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance. 

The Star has established that the Oka technical committee has prepared a coalition agreement that could be signed as early as mid-November, formally ushering in the third horse in the 2022 polls.  

Oka brings together Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Kanu's Gideon Moi, Musalia Mudavadi of ANC and Ford Kenya chief Moses Wetang'ula. 

Cyrus Jirongo has also joined Oka in what was seen as part of a bigger plan to ring-fence Western Kenya vote bloc away from Raila, who is believed to hold a firm grip. 

On Thursday, Kimilili MP Chris Wamalwa, a ranking member of the Oka political board, said the technical team has finalised the alliance's instruments, which also bind the chiefs together. 

“The principals have had an opportunity to look at the agreement and they will be signing it as soon as their dairies allow,” Wamalwa said. 

Kalonzo yesterday fired a salvo at Raila, saying he should retire with President Uhuru Kenyatta next year as "age has caught up with" him. 

“My thinking is that Uhuru should go home with Raila. If you look at the ages of all the others who want to contest for the presidency, Raila is way ahead of us,” Kalonzo said in an interview with Emoo FM. 

He expressed confidence that other Oka principals will pick him as the flagbearer.

“Oka is emerging everywhere. We now have Kadu Asili on board and before December, you will see wonders,” Kalonzo added.

Analysts say Raila has the best chance of taking on Ruto as opposed to any of the Oka principals.

It has emerged that apart from the coalition agreement, there is a detailed agreement committing the five principals to Oka until the 2022 election.  

The legally binding pact is part of a strategy to avert betrayal and deal with issues of trust that bogged down Nasa.  

Raila, Musalia, Wetang'ula and Kalonzo formally disengaged from Nasa at the end of August.  

Raila had been accused of ignoring a secret agreement to step down and support Kalonzo in the 2022 polls.  

This means that once Oka puts pen to paper with regard to the deal, neither of them will jump ship to any other coalition, including that led by Raila until a review is made after the next polls. 

“The agreement is ready and it legally commits our principals to work together under Oka with the view of forming the next government,” Wamalwa said. 

However, as Wamalwa skirted around on the nitty-gritty of the agreement, Kanu secretary general Nick Salat said the Oka leaders will soon commit themselves to their 2022 plans. 

“The agreement will provide that Oka will field a presidential candidate in the 2022 presidential election and for us as Kanu, we have already endorsed Gideon,” Salat said. 

The Kanu point man stressed that the agreement may not affect the party’s resolve to go all the way to the ballot, especially after its national delegates congress green-lighted the Baringo senator. 

Gideon was on September 30 endorsed by the party’s NDC to be the flag-bear and also given the mandate to negotiate with other like-minded leaders in light of the 2022 polls.  

The latest details come at a time when Oka has been seen as largely indecisive and lacking steam to compete with Raila and Ruto. 

Raila and Ruto are scouring for votes across the country, with analysts saying the Oka bandwagon is dithering and would be ‘donkey’ if it goes all the way. 

There have been reports that some Oka chiefs are quietly negotiating with Raila over their place in the 2022 power matrix. 

Last week, the Oka chiefs cried foul over what they claimed is a plan by the Mount Kenya Foundation—a panel of tycoons and influential businessmen from Uhuru’s turf—to favour Raila. 

The team said it was mandated by Uhuru to scout for his successor.  It has held separate sessions with Raila and Oka chiefs to listen to their views and agenda for Mt Kenya before recommending one of them to the President. 

However, there have been questions about why the group is not meeting all the 2022 presidential candidates. 

On Wednesday, religious leaders under the Federation of Evangelical and Indigenous Christian Churches of Kenya asked the MKF to be fair and genuine as they search for Uhuru's successor. 

“Even those who have not been called to the meetings have a following too, and you never know how tomorrow will be. It’s wise to hear out everyone who is in that race,” Bishop Samuel Njiriri, the federation’s chairman, said.  Edited by A.N By James Mbaka, The Star

Image: Gerardo Menoscal/Agencia Press South/Getty Images 

The offshore links of presidents Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador and Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine will be officially scrutinized, while Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is due to discuss financial transparency with U.S. President Joe Biden. 

For a second week, findings drawn from the largest-ever leak of offshore data are roiling parliaments, tax authorities and transparency groups.

And in a remarkable coincidence, U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, this Thursday, Oct. 14, to discuss “the need to bring transparency and accountability to domestic and international financial systems”.

Kenyatta is one of more than 330 current and former politicians and high-level officials named in the Pandora Papers as beneficiaries of secret accounts.

The Associated Press reported that the Pandora Papers revelations are expected to be brought up during the Oval Office meeting.

Since the weekend, new countries joined more than a dozen nations that had already vowed investigations stemming from the Pandora Papers, a groundbreaking investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 150 media partners in more than 110 countries around the world. 

On Sunday, Ecuador’s legislature voted to launch an investigation into the offshore finances of President Guillermo Lasso to determine whether the head-of-state may have broken the law by moving money into tax havens, according to news reports.

Reporting by ICIJ and its partners showed that Lasso has had ties to 10 offshore companies and trusts in Panama, South Dakota and Delaware.

In response, Lasso told ICIJ that “all past use of any international entity” was legitimate and none of the offshore entities were related to his public service. Lasso also reportedly said that he dissolved his offshore entities in order to enter the presidential election.

The legislature said that the investigation of Lasso’s offshore activity would examine whether Lasso went against the norm that “prohibits candidates and public officials from having their resources or assets in tax havens,” according to AFP. The investigation will reportedly occur over the next 30 days.

In Ukraine, the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption is examining declarations by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the head of Ukraine’s Security Service, Ivan Bakanov. NAPC Chairman Oleksandr Novikov said the agency would take into account information published as part of the Pandora Papers investigation. 

The Pandora Papers revealed that Zelenskyy and some of his close associates owned shares in an anonymous offshore entity. Documents show that Zelenskyy owned a stake in a shell company registered in the British Virgin Islands called Maltex Multicapital Corp, which is described in leaked records as holding shares in film-production and distribution companies. Zelenskyy did not respond to ICIJ partners’ repeated requests for comment during the reporting of the Pandora Papers.

In Canada, national tax authorities announced they were examining Pandora Papers information about local taxpayers. The Canada Revenue Agency said it was currently “identifying how to integrate Pandora Papers information” with the agency’s data and was “working with our international partners to pool resources and share information to develop an accurate picture of what the data is telling us,” according to Canada’s CTV News.

Last week, the Toronto Star, one of ICIJ’s partners in Canada, revealed the offshore holdings of numerous high-profile Canadians, including billionaires, an Olympian, and a pornography magnate. The CRA’s announcement follows calls from Ottawa legislators for investigations in response to those reports.

“According to the parliamentary budget officer, we lose over $25 billion each and every year to overseas tax havens,” said finance critic Peter Julian of the New Democratic Party, according to the Toronto Star. “It’s simply an untenable situation when you have the ultra-rich getting away with so much, and so many Canadians struggling with so little.

In Costa Rica, authorities announced that the local tax agency will address the involvement of Costa Rican taxpayers using offshore maneuvers revealed in the Pandora Papers.

In authoritarian Azerbaijan, where elections are rigged and political opponents repressed,  an opposition party is demanding an explanation  from the country’s president, Ilham Aliyev, over the naming of Aliyev and some of his family members in the Pandora Papers

According to the website JAMnews, the Movement for Democracy and Prosperity, an Azerbaijani opposition group led by a U.S. based activist, has called on the Aliyevs to publicly explain significant real estate deals with offshore connections.

“No one doubts that dirty corruption money is the source of this business. For the reason that it would take Ilham Aliyev 3,070 years to accumulate such an amount, given his average salary for the reporting period,” said the statement from the group. By  and , ICIJ

 

Vaccination exercise by the Nairobi Metropolitan Service targetting matatu operators at the Central Bus Station on September 17, 2021. MERCY MUMO

Vaccine divide hurting low income country economies - IMF

In Summary

•Covid had affected consumer demand and overall, "risks to economic prospects have increased."

•The biggest risk is a resurgence of Covid variants, especially in countries with slow vaccination progress.

 

The economic recovery has weakened in most rich nations due to the impact of the Delta variant of coronavirus, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says.

The fund cut its 2021 growth forecasts for advanced economies - in particular the US, Japan and Germany - blaming continued health risks, supply chain issues and high inflation.

But it thinks most rich countries will grow faster than expected in 2022. 

And it warned developing ones may fall back due to a growing "vaccine divide".

The global economy contracted sharply in 202, but rebounded strongly in the first half of this year as countries unlocked.

However, in its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF said "momentum had weakened" since then as the highly transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus stopped "a full return" to normality.

IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath pointed to the supply chain disruption that many countries have faced due to surging demand and supply chain bottlenecks, warning it was "feeding inflation in many countries".

She added that the health risks from Covid had affected consumer demand and overall, "risks to economic prospects have increased".

While the IMF cut its projection for global growth in 2021 only marginally to 5.9%, it said this masked large downgrades for some rich countries.

  • Notably it expects the world's largest economy, the US, to grow by only 6% this year, down from the 7% the fund forecast in July .
  • And it said Japan and Germany, the third and fourth largest, would expand by 2.4% and 3.1% respectively - down from 2.8% and 3.6%.

The UK's economy is forecast to grow by 6.8% this year, down from the previous forecast of 7.0%.

However, the fund expects most advanced economies to return their pre-pandemic growth trends next year as supply chain issues ease, and to exceed it by about 1% in 2024.

By contrast, it thinks most emerging and developing economies (excluding China) are likely to fall back next year and remain 5.5% below their pre-pandemic forecast by 2024.

"These divergences are a consequence of the 'great vaccine divide' and large disparities in policy support," Ms Gopinath said.

"While over 60% of the population in advanced economies are fully vaccinated and some are now receiving booster shots, about 96% of the population in low-income countries remain unvaccinated." 

The global community needed to "step up" to ensure equitable vaccine access for every country, she added.

The post lockdown recovery is getting messy. That is the message from the IMF's twice yearly review of the world economy.

"Longer than expected" supply disruptions are feeding into inflation, and led to downgrades to growth this year for the US and UK. The biggest impact though has been felt in developing economies where a lack of vaccinations, and exposure to rising commodity and food prices has hit prospects.

While global inflationary pressures should abate in general in the middle of next year, the IMF groups the UK alongside the US and some emerging economies as places where there are "upside risks" from rising prices.

The biggest risk is, of course, a resurgence of Covid variants, especially in countries with slow vaccination progress. The UK's vaccine rollout success is singled out in contributing to a rebound in the economy.

After a sharper downgrade to 2021 prospects for the US than UK, the PM and chancellor will be able to claim the IMF is predicting Britain has the highest growth in the G7 this year.

This should be taken with a pinch of salt. Certainly ground that was lost is being made up, but a bigger fall than any other G7 nation in 2020, because of having suffered the worst pandemic first wave, makes a reopening of the economy appear like a boom. Argentina is growing even more than the UK, but it also lost just under a tenth of the value of its economy last year.

But the big picture is now supply problems and price rises. The problem is that it makes central banks, including the Bank of England, more likely to raise interest rates more quickly.

On fiscal policy, the IMF said countries would have to tread fine between controlling inflation and giving their economies enough stimulus to recover.

However, despite "a high degree of uncertainty", the fund thinks current high levels of inflation globally will return to pre-pandemic levels by mid 2022.

It said that debt in many countries was at record levels due to emergency pandemic spending, and employment remained significantly below pre-pandemic levels.

The IMF added that once health outcomes improved, countries would have to adopt "credible" revenue and spending plans while seeking to balance their books.

The fund also warned against "unnecessary policy accidents" that might rattle financial markets and harm the global recovery - ranging from a failure to lift the US debt ceiling in a timely way to escalating trade tensions. Source: BBC/The Star

Credit: AP  Map shows the Kenya-Somalia coastline and disputed area.

 

Fishermen set out for their day's work in the Indian Ocean shortly after dawn in the former pirate village of Eyl, in Somalia's semiautonomous northeastern state of Puntland, March 7, 2017.

Credit:

Ben Curtis/AP

In the judgment, the court ruled largely in favor of Somalia by dismissing Kenya’s argument that Somalia had already agreed to its claimed boundary.

Instead, the court split the disputed triangular area — believed to be rich in oil, natural gas and valuable fisheries — in half.

Related: Somaliland celebrates 30 years of self-proclaimed independence

“When countries have seen the potential of either offshore hydrocarbon or fisheries resources, [it] is then making them to become more interested in their maritime boundaries and the resources within it."

Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood, lecturer, University of Saint Andrews

“When countries have seen the potential of either offshore hydrocarbon or fisheries resources, [it] is then making them to become more interested in their maritime boundaries and the resources within it,” noted Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood, a lecturer at the University of Saint Andrews who researches maritime security in Africa. 

She said maritime boundaries are becoming increasingly contentious across Africa as countries seek to grow their blue economies.

People online were quick to cast this as a major win for Somalia.

Related: US-based Somali Bantu face deportation to a nation they've never known

Somalia’s Minister of Information Osman Dubbe online celebrated with this tweet:  

But Kenya has been clear that it would not recognize any judgment by the court.

Last week, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Macharia Kamau called it “the culmination of a flawed judicial process,” that would have a profound impact on regional security and politics.

“If you can't talk through disputes over your boundaries, how can you then sit together and collaborate on other issues?” Okafor-Yarwood said. 

Cross-border collaboration on problems such as piracy, human trafficking and illegal fishing could be jeopardized by ongoing maritime disputes.

There are also concerns that a continued border dispute could impact the fight against terrorism in the region, as Kenya has troops in Somalia fighting against al-Shabab.

Related: Somali civilians bombed by US airstrikes, targeted by al-Shabab

Okafor-Yarwood said countries with disputed maritime borders need to consider solutions beyond expensive, unending legal fights over delineation.

Joint management zones are one possibility.

“Joint management agreement, or arrangement is two countries coming together to agree to manage resources in the disputed area jointly,” Okafor-Yarwood said. 

Countries like Senegal and Guinea Bissau have used this to solve maritime disputes in the past.

While the court verdict is final, it’s not enforceable. All eyes will be on what the two countries do next. Source: The World

Kenya High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu and Christie NHS Foundation Trust CEO Peter Roger sign a deal on cooperation in capacity building in oncology in London Image: COURTESY

 

Kenya to send 20,000 nurses on a three-year contract.

In Summary

• The deal was signed on July 29 on collaboration in the healthcare workforce.

• It allows Kenyan healthcare professionals to work in the National Health Service of the UK.

The first batch of Kenyan nurses to join the UK healthcare workforce is expected to leave at the end of this month.

Kenya will send 20,000 nurses on a three-year contract in an agreement signed between the two countries when President Uhuru Kenyatta visited the UK in July.

The bilateral agreement was signed on July 29 for collaboration in the healthcare workforce. It permits Kenyan healthcare professionals to work for the National Health Service.

The Labour ministry, through the National Employment Authority, has been mandated to recruit qualified nurses to the UK in collaboration with the Health Ministry.

Health PS Susan Mochache, her Labour counterpart Peter Tum and officials from the Nursing Council of Kenya have been to the UK to negotiate terms.

“The visit is also meant to explore ways of strengthening the health system back in the country to make Kenya have global standards in training and patient care in addition to addressing unemployment for our nurses,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The team held meetings in London with the Department of Health and Social Care, the National Health Service, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Oxford Hospital Foundation Trust and Manchester University and Christie Foundation Hospital.

The nurses are projected to earn about Sh450,000 a month. According to Chelugui, they will get three-month free accommodation on arrival for the three-year contract. The deal is renewable for another three years.

The UK government will pay for air tickets, with each nurse receiving a further Sh750,000 relocation allowance.

“Those willing to take permanent UK citizenship will also be eligible after working for five years,” Chelugui said. 

The aim of the deal is to capitalise on qualified but unemployed health workers in the country.

There are 894 Kenyans working across all roles in the NHS in England, making Kenyans the 30th largest nationality group.

A statement by the British High Commission in Nairobi said the special arrangement was part of a request by the Kenya government to capitalise on qualified but unemployed health workers.

In July, Kenyatta witnessed the signing of the Kenya-UK Health Alliance, which will bring together the UK and Kenyan universities and teaching hospitals.

“Our health partnership with Kenya is 30 years old and growing stronger by the month. This new agreement on health workers allows us to share skills and expertise even further, and is a fantastic opportunity for Kenyans to work in the UK,” British High Commissioner Jane Marriott said.

Among areas of interest in the new deal is improving treatment and prevention and management of cancer in Kenya.

“From Covid-19 vaccines and genomic sequencing to exchanges on cancer research and treatment to help Kenya treat more cancer patients at home, the UK has a long and proud history of support for Kenya’s health sector,” Marriot said.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses has since welcomed the deal, saying it will help create jobs for more than 30,000 unemployed nurses in the country.

Knun secretary general Seth Panyako said it will also diversify the skills of nurses who are currently in practice to gain experience in international standards of health practice. By Magdalena Saya, The Star

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