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At least 72 people have been killed in ongoing riots across South Africa, despite the efforts of heavily outnumbered authorities to quell the violent unrest sparked by the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.

At least one police officer was killed in an attack on law enforcement, while seven others were injured while responding to the riots, police said.

So far, 1,234 people have been arrested, according to police, but the chaos has continued. Looters were seen ransacking warehouses and supermarkets in the port city of Durban on Tuesday, while rioters set fire to a chemical plant near the town of Umhlanga, just north of Durban.

The South African Police Service has recalled officers from leave and rest days, while the South African National Defence Forces has deployed thousands soldiers to assist the overstretched law enforcement agencies on the ground.

 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to "restore calm and order," describing the unrest as the worst the country has witnessed since the 1990s, before the end of the apartheid regime,

"Over the past few days and nights, there have been acts of public violence of a kind rarely seen in the history of our democracy," Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation on Monday evening. "Let me be clear: We will take action to protect every person in this country against the threat of violence, intimidation, theft and looting. We will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute those who perpetrate these actions and will ensure that they face the full might of our law."

The lawlessness has disrupted South Africa's COVID-19 vaccination program, which Ramaphosa warned will have "lasting effects on our ability to consolidate some of the progress we were already witnessing in our economic recovery." Vaccine shots are urgently needed in the country, which -- along with other nations in Africa -- is fighting a new wave of COVID-19 infections. The South African government recently reimposed and extended tight restrictions, including a nightly nationwide curfew, school closures, a ban gatherings and limits on alcohol sales.

Violence and unrest has gripped parts of South Africa since Zuma turned himself in to police on July 7 to begin his 15-month jail term for contempt of court. South Africa's highest court handed down the sentence after Zuma failed to appear before an inquiry examining corruption during the nine years that he served as president. Zuma has maintained his innocence, saying he is the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt, and his supporters took to the streets last week. But the protests appear to have reawakened deep-seated grievances over persistent poverty, unemployment and inequality, some 27 years after apartheid ended.

"There is no grievance, nor any political cause, that can justify the violence and destruction that we have seen in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng," Ramaphosa said. "The path of violence, of looting and anarchy, leads only to more violence and devastation. It leads to more poverty, more unemployment, and more loss of innocent life. This is not who we are as a people." ABC News

Sir Keir Starmer: Boris has failed in leadership over racist abuse of England players

Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of trying engaging in a "culture war" as he criticised his response to racist abuse aimed at the England team.

During a fiery PMQs clash, Starmer claimed the Prime Minister had given the "green light" to racism by failing to take a tougher stance against fans who booed England players.

It comes after a growing number of England players criticised the government on racism, with Tyrone Mings accusing Home Secretary Priti Patel of "stoking the fire" after she called taking the knee "gesture politics" and refused to condemn people booing platers for doing so.

Speaking on Wednesday, Starmer said: "Football is a game, racism isn't. That is why many of us have been involved in the charity, Show Racism The Red Card, for years.

"But far from giving the racism the red card, the Prime Minister gave it the green light. And I'll tell you the worst kind of gesture politics, putting an England shirt on over a shirt and tie whilst not condemning those booing is the worst kind of gesture."

He pointed towards comments made by the PM's spokesperson who said earlier in the competition that Johnson "fully respects the right of those who choose to peacefully protest and make their feelings known".The spokesperson had added: "On taking the knee, specifically, the prime minister is more focused on action rather than gestures. 
 

"We have taken action with things like the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities and that's what he's focused on delivering."

Starmer said the comments suggested Johnson was trying to have it "both ways" over the issue of taking the knee.

"This is really simple, either the Prime Minister is with the England players in their stand against racism or he can defend his own record, those of his ministers and some of his MPs, but he can't have it both ways," he continued.

"So can he tell the House, does he now regret failing to condemn those who booed England players for standing up to racism, yes or no?"

He added: "We can all see what is happening here, the government has been trying to stoke a culture war and they have realised they are on the wrong side. And now they hope that nobody has noticed."

But Johnson fired back, saying he was not engaged in a "political culture war" as he claimed he "utterly condems and abhor" the racist abuse aimed at the England squad.

The PM also claimed the government were taking tougher action to force social media firms to crack down on the vile messages and said further steps would be taken to ban those who send racist abuse from attending future football fixtures.

"I want to reiterate...our total support for our fantastic England team, and I support them in the way they show support with their friends who face racism," the PM said.

"We love and admire the England side and what they did. They represent the best of our country."

Johnson defended the home secretary over her comments, saying she had herself received racist abuse during her career.

"Nobody defends booing the England side but what the Home Secretary has been trying to do is not just to fight racism, but to take practical steps to advance the cause of black and minority ethnic groups, which she has done successfully," he added. Politics Home

The South African military has deployed forces in two provinces following violence and looting that has seen a mall set ablaze, several killed and over 200 arrests after the imprisonment of ex-leader Jacob Zuma.

Violence and looting broke out for a fourth day on Monday following the high court’s decision to jail former president and anti-apartheid veteran Zuma over contempt of court.

Military personnel were sent out to Gauteng, where major cities Pretoria and Johannesburg are situated, and KwaZulu-Natal, the former president's home province, where he has many supporters.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) issued a statement on Monday stating it sent troops to “provide safety and a safe working environment for members of the SAPS [South African Police Service]”. 

Footage from various parts of KwaZulu-Natal purported to show images of widespread looting and damage to property. According to local media, rioters even set fire to Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg early on Monday morning. 

Over 200 people in the riot hotspots have been arrested, and at least six have lost their lives in the turbulent crisis, according to the police.

The current South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has condemned the destruction of property and slammed the actions of the violent protestors, saying they are “endangering lives and damaging our efforts to rebuild the economy”.

Whilst many of the protests are a direct response to Zuma’s imprisonment, unfavourable economic conditions and the coronavirus pandemic are thought to have exacerbated the situation. RT

LSK President Nelson Havi has been accused of assaulting CEO Mercy Wambua. [File, Standard]

The President of the Law Society of Kenya Nelson Havi was on Tuesday mid-morning arrested at his Nairobi office and taken to the DCI Headquarters for questioning over alleged assault. Havi is accused of assaulting embattled LSK CEO Mercy Wambua on Monday, July 12. 

It is alleged the LSK President slammed a laptop lid against Wambua’s finger during an 8am Council meeting at the Society’s headquarters on Gitanga Road, Nairobi.

In her statement to police, Wambua said she sought treatment at the Aga Khan Hospital at 11:30am.

 

Havi, who was still at the DCI Headquarters on Kiambu Road by the time of publishing this story, said the complainant accused him of causing her grievous bodily harm.

“I’m being accused of breaking Ms Wambua’s legs and hands,” Havi said.

“I have recorded a statement, in which I said what transpired before, during and after the said-confrontation that I had with Ms Wambua. I’m now waiting to be advised on what next – whether I’ll be taken to court, or told that the matter has been closed,” added the LSK president. 

In the last one year, Havi and Wambua have been at loggerheads.

On June 26, LSK members voted to send CEO Mercy Wambua on compulsory leave in a special meeting.

One hundred and eighteen (118) members voted in favour of the motion, while 16 opposed it.

Thirty-three (33) of the 118 voted physically while 85 raised their hands in a virtual conference.

All the 16, who voted against Wambua’s suspension, did so virtually.

The members also voted to have the CEO’s position filled within 45 days from June 26 after Wambua gets a fair hearing.

One hundred and thirty-three (133) of the members voted in favour of filling the position within 45 days, while none of the members opposed the motion.

In October last year, Wambua was reinstated to her position by Council members after LSK President Nelson Havi suspended her in mid-September over alleged gross misconduct and incompetence.

Wambua, who was facing 17 charges of gross misconduct and incompetence, said there were no sharp divisions within the LSK but only differences of opinion based on the interpretation of the law. By Brian Okoth, The Standard

 

  • Chief Justice Martha Koome appears before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) in May 2012
    FILE
 
  • The Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya, Martha Koome assured Kenyans that courts will give priority to the over 400 cases of corruption that could see the recovery of assets worth more than Ksh11 Billion.

    Speaking to a team of members from the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) among them the commission's CEO Twalib Mbarak, she expressed that judges should take individual responsibility for proper case management system

    The Chief Justice also said that her team will make sure that there is timely delivery of justice to all the corruption cases sitting at the judiciary.

    Martha Koome came into the judiciary on May 21, 2021 to serve as Kenya's first lady Chief Justice, and the 15th since Kenya gained its independence.

    National Assembly majority leader Amos Kimunya, Chief Justice Martha Koome and Kirinyaga Governor pose for a photo during the CJ's thanksgiving party on Saturday, June 18.
    National Assembly majority leader Amos Kimunya, Chief Justice Martha Koome and Kirinyaga Governor pose for a photo during the CJ's thanksgiving party on Friday, June 18.
    TWITTER

    President Kenyatta congratulated Chief Justice Koome on her appointment and urged her to ensure justice is served at all times in accordance with the Constitution and the established rule of law.

    “Just to remind you of the oath you have taken to impartially do justice in accordance with the Constitution and by the law established, and the laws and customs of the Republic without any fear, favour, bias, affection, ill will, prejudice, and any political, religious or other influence in the exercise of the judicial functions entrusted to you,” President Kenyatta said.

     

    The Head of State assured her that he will at all times protect and defend the Constitution with a view of upholding the dignity and respect for the judiciary and the judicial system.

    The president expressed confidence in Martha Koome citing that she will succeed in her role having deep roots in the Judiciary where she rose through the ranks to the helm of the judiciary.

    Martha Koome was appointed the Chief Justice at a time when there are many cases of corruption pending in Kenyan courts.

    Some of the Governors who have been charged with misappropriation of public funds include; Migori Governor Zachary Okoth Obado, former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine and Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki.

    In 2019 Noordin Haji also ordered the arrest and prosecution of Former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, who became Kenya's first sitting Minister to be arrested for corruption

    Despite corruption being rampant in Kenya, the country has anti-corruption legislation dating back to 1956, the Prevention of Corruption act. This legislation was active till 2003 when the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act  No.3 became operational.

    v
    President Uhuru Kenyatta poses for a group photo with CJ Martha Koome and 34 judges at State House on Friday, June 4, 2021 PSCU, By Brian Mbuvi, Kenyans.co.ke
 
 
 
 

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