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A child’s body, clothed in pajamas, lies in the sands of a Libyan beach. Credit: Protectiva Open Arms
An empty boat beached on the Libyan shore. Children’s bodies were recently found washed up on shore there. Credit: Protectiva Open Arms. Disturbing photographs came to light on Tuesday showing children’s bodies (including babies and toddlers) washed up on the sands of a Libyan beach, depicting once again the human tragedy of the migration crisis along the borders of  Europe’s borders.

The charities whose workers shred the photos with the world on Twitter stated that the children had been with their parents on one of the many dinghies that had set off from Libyan shores in recent days.

They had been attempting to reach the shores of Europe as part of the wave of humanity that has tried to enter Europe to forge a better life. Oscar Camps, the founder of the group Proactiva Open Arms, wrote on Twitter “I’m still in shock for the horror of these images. These small children and women had dreams and life ambitions.”

Nancy Porsia, an Italian journalist and an expert on Libya, told reporters that the bodies had been discovered on a beach in the town of Zuwara on Saturday; they were then taken care of by members of the Libyan military. The victims were all buried in the cemetery located in nearby Abu Qamash. 

The images were tragically reminiscent of the photograph of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old toddler whose body was found face down on a Turkish beach in 2015. More than any other event, this photograph drew great attention to the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis the began in earnest in 2015.

Photographs of children’s bodies “unacceptable”

In response to the tragic scene, Mario Draghi, the Italian prime minister, declared “Images of bodies of babies and toddlers washed up on a beach in Libya are unacceptable.”

Draghi’s response was noted by the press as the Italian PM met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Brussels to discuss the migrant issue and the prospects for a political stabilization in Libya and central Africa as the hoped-for result of renewed cooperation between France and Italy.

Flavio Di Giacomo, the spokesperson for the UN migration agency in Italy explained to the press that it was not clear when the victims had set off from Libya and what had happened to their small, inflatable dinghy.

“These are dramatic images,” he acknowledged.

“We’re trying to get to the bottom of this with our colleagues in Libya. There are many shipwrecks that are never recorded. We can’t exclude that it may be one of those.”

It is well-known that thousands of migrants have taken off from Libyan shores for the coast of Europe recently as human traffickers take advantage of the calm seas of springtime to launch dozens of small, often rickety and unseaworthy, boats.

Many of these unfortunates never reach their European destination.

Last week, Tunisian authorities admitted that dozens of people had perished in a shipwreck off the coast of that country.

More than 130 people were known to have died in April when their rubber boat likewise capsized in cold and stormy seas off the coast of Libya.

According to the migration agency of the UN, approximately 630 individuals have lost their lives in the central Mediterranean this year while trying to reach Europe. Greek Reporter

The assumption of office of Chief Justice Martha Koome has completed the triumvirate leadership of the three arms of government; the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary raising concerns about regional balance and the face of Kenya in running the country.

Often viewed as a taboo topic, ethnic balkanisation for political gain remains Kenya’s biggest bane. Political exclusion and subsequent marginalisation have been attributed to past election disputes and are the substratum of fragile stability. 

One key requirement of the 2010 Constitution is for the President to table a report before Parliament yearly, on three issues during his State of the Nation Address is regional balance. According to Article 132 on the functions of the President, he is obligated to address a special sitting of Parliament annually.

He is required to table: “report on all the measures taken and the progress achieved in the realisation of the national values, referred to in Article 10, publish in the Gazette the details of the measures and progress made and submit a report for debate to the National Assembly on the progress made in fulfilling the international obligations of the Republic.”

 

The furore of having President Kenyatta, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and the latest Justice Koome coming from one region as opposed to having the seats spread over the seven other regions captures according to some elected leaders, the source of Kenya's ethnic problem.

By law, Muturi, who was last week crowned as the Mt Kenya spokesperson, is third in the pecking order and would act as President in the absence of the President and the Deputy President.

Alongside Uhuru, Muturi, National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, Koome, Chief of Defence Forces Robert Kibochi and Attorney General Kihara Kariuki are also from Mt Kenya.  

 

From the interviews to the debate in the Senate and the National Assembly, the question of ethnic balance across the arms of government came out strongly.

“Does it bother your conscience that if you are recommended by this committee, approved by Parliament and appointed, then all the three organs of government in our great republic will be headed by persons from the same region, commonly known as the ‘mountain’?” posed Kisumu West lawmaker Olago Aluoch.

Supreme Court Justice William Ouko, during his interview for the position of Supreme Court Judge by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), pronounced himself on the matter frankly.

“I really have no prescription, what I can say is that we are very deeply tribal even in this commission. I want to leave it at that,” said Ouko, who has been sworn in. The commission has four of its eleven members coming from Mt Kenya. They are AG Kihara, Patrick Gichohi, Macharia Njeru and Olive Mugenda. 

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala caused a spectacle in the Senate when he listed top leaders holding various posts in the three arms of government, rattling Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi.

“I hope the BBI document will sort [out] the mess in the Public service. Facts are facts. Kindly Senator Wamatangi, today evening when you're free, ask yourself who is the head of the Executive, Judiciary, Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) Speaker (National Assembly), CDF boss, Governor of CBK, Attorney General, Solicitor General, Kenyan Ambassador to the United States, Chair KRA, Director-General KRA, DCI, head of civil servants, state House Comptroller. Where is equity here,” posed Malala. 

He argued, “We cannot lie to ourselves. Ask yourself that question and you will come to the reality that there is marginalisation in this country. Security recruitment across the country, there has never been a Wanyonyi, Wafula or Walubengo as Inspector General of Police (IG).”

Said Malala: “Is it that there are certain people from certain regions that are more qualified than others. It is a shame. Let us not use BBI to hoodwink some of us to pass it and go back to the normal practice. I want to see a day when a maize farmer in Kakamega is treated the same way as a coffee or potato farmer in Kirinyaga.”

Senators Wamatangi and Ephraim Maina (Nyeri) could not let the matter fly, arguing that even Mt Kenya has suffered, including the colonial times. “Let’s not mislead this country by creating preferred or preferential treatment to some areas,” said Wamatangi.

When debating Clause 11 (A) in the BBI in the economy and shared prosperity, Senate Minority Leader James Orengo led colleagues Senators Malala, Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni), Johnstone Sakaja (Nairobi) in calling for a more exclusivity public service.

“Of the last two months’ appointments made, I don’t know if we are going in the right direction. Every institution should reflect the face of Kenya whether Judiciary, public service or the security system. Our objective is to ensure the enabling provision call for the face of Kenya, which is fair than we have had,” said Orengo.

“The report by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) tabled in the House show a large portion of Kenya is red and a small portion is green. There is a verse in the Bible, those who have will get more, those who have little, it shall be taken. This is the true story of Kenya,” Kilonzo Jnr said.

He said there was unfair distribution, with Mt Kenya getting a lion’s share. “It's a fact that there is 2,500km of tarmac roads in Kiambu while Kakamega only has 750km of tarmac,” he said.

Wetangula said they should not let facts be swept under the carpet and urged Maina and Wamatangi not to contradict the president and purport to support him at the same time.

“Uhuru and Raila sat and acknowledge the challenge of marginalisation, unequal development, unequal opportunity in Kenya and many other historical wrongs. When we live a lie, when we live in denial, we will not solve our problems,” he said.

Wetangula said it’s a fact there are those with comparative advantage. “Cowards will always whistle in the dark hoping to scare away people. The inequality we keeping crying about is real,” he added. By Roselyne Obala and Jacob Ng'etich,  The Standard

 

Authorities in Magwi County of Eastern Equatoria State say a chief and his son were killed on Sunday in Molujere village of Jebelen in Central Equatoria State.

The area chief identified as Santino Wani was murdered along with his son Elia Santino when unknown attackers stormed their home.

Ochieng David Tokwaro, the Magwi County Executive Officer, suspects the deceased chief was killed during a robbery because his goats were driven away by the murderers.

“The Payam Executive Officer of Agoro told me that the incident happened yesterday (Sunday) in Jebelen in a village called Molujere. A chief was killed, including his son, just because of goats. He has so many goats at home. Then they killed him and his son and the killers drove away with the goats and in fact, this area is under Central Equatoria,” Ochieng said.

Meanwhile, Captain David Kasmiro, the police Inspector in Nimule town, confirmed the incident after getting information from the Criminal Investigations Department officers on the ground.

“That area does not belong to us but I tried to confirm. That area belongs to Central Equatoria but I confirmed from those of CID and they said yes it happened. This is not in Aru but it happened between Jebelen and Kuba, there is a place called Kuba. The chief and his son were killed and they even raided goats or heads of cattle, I don’t know. These are robbers,” Capt. Kasmiro said.

Last week, six people were killed when armed men raided nearly 4000 head of cattle in Achwa, Magwi County of Eastern Equatoria State. - Radio Tamazuj

Martha Koome during her swearing in on Friday, May 21, at State House. PSCU
 
  • The Deputy Chief Justice and other judges have pledged to support you. The counsel has pledged to support you. There is really no worry whatsoever, you will be able to deliver. all you need to do is to cooperate with them,"  stated Maraga.

    He further challenged her to stick to her guns and remind other officials that they need to stay in their lanes. 

    "One important thing CJ, just keep reminding everybody that constitutional power is constrained power so that everybody keeps to his/her lane, we will have a wonderful country," he added.

    While accepting the instruments of power from Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Koome vowed to ensure that no cases stay in the courts for more than three years.

    “My predecessors made efforts to improve the judiciary that wants us to embrace the case management system,” she explained.

    She also promised to expand High Courts across the country to aid in the dispensation of justice in a swift manner and prevent backlog of cases.

    “I understand that some court users sell valuable things to file a case, pay an advocate or even raise bus fare to the courts,” she added.

    While approving her nomination, President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated the new Chief Justice Martha Koome for being the first woman to clinch the position. 

    "It is a great day as we celebrate the confirmation of a new CJ to the republic of Kenya and also for me to be the first president to swear in the first female CJ of Kenya," Uhuru stated.

    Koome was nominated after rigorous interview process and trounced over 10 other applicants for the position.

    Retiring CJ Maraga
    Retiring Chief Justice David Maraga.
 

Photo Anadolu Agency

 

Rwandan forces have killed two rebels, foiling an attack near the southwestern border with Burundi, the military said on Monday.

Rebels with the National Liberation Front (FLN) launched the attack on Sunday between 9.15 p.m. and 9.35 p.m. local time (1915GMT-1935GMT), with one section of the insurgents crossing the Ruhwa River into the Rusizi district, the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) said in a statement.

Advancing approximately 100 meters (328 feet) inside Rwanda territory, the rebels reaching the border village of Rwamisave, it added.

"The enemy assailants were intercepted by a Rwanda Defense Force ambush; two assailants were immediately killed."

The army said they had also captured military equipment from the FLN rebels, including a submachine gun, seven magazines, a tortoise grenade, and two Burundi military uniforms.

"The enemy assailants retreated back to Burundi across River Ruhwa separating Ruhororo zone in Mabayi commune in Burundi and Bweyeye sector in Rwanda and returned to Kibira Forest, where they have bases," it added.

The FLN is the military wing of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change led by Paul Rusesabagina, who is facing trial in the East African country on multiple counts, including terrorism, forming and recruiting into an armed group, directing acts of terrorism and complicity to murder and arson, among others. - James Tasamba, Anadolu Agency

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