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The Council decided  that the post-ATMIS Mission must be given a strong political mandate, with scope, size, posture, composition, and duration aligning with existing security threats and Somalia Security Forces readiness and capacity to assume full security responsibilities.

The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council(PSC) has endorsed the establishment of a new AU-led Mission for Somalia to succeed African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

In a communique released after the 1217th meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday, the PSC emphasized that that the new AU-led Mission should focus on supporting Somalia to further degrade the Al Shabaab terrorist group.

The Council also stated that the new mission should further provide security and prioritize the protection of civilians in Somalia.

Further the PSC maintained that the new Mission should prioritise support to the security and political stabilisation of Somalia.

“The new AU-led Mission should also assist the stabilization and security of Somalia, enabling state-building priorities and ensuring a coherent and orderly transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali authorities and increasingly capable security force,” PSC said.

It also tasked the new mission wih establishing of clear lines of communication, joint planning processes, centralized command, control andd co-ordination structure as recommended in the Joint Technical Assessment.

The PSC welcomed  the progress made in Somalia since the deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in 2007 and its reconfiguration to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in April 2022.

The Council decided  that the post-ATMIS Mission must be given a strong political mandate, with scope, size, posture, composition, and duration aligning with existing security threats and Somalia Security Forces readiness and capacity to assume full security responsibilities.

Additionally the council decided  that the mandate of the post-ATMIS mission should respond to Somalia’s political and security realities and provide realistic timelines tailored to Somalia’s requirements and ATMIS aspiration for a smooth, orderly, successful, and clearly benchmarked incremental transition of security responsibility to the Somali security forces.

 

“In this regard, the PSC requests the AU Commission, in consultations with ATMIS, the FGS and all relevant stakeholders, to submit, by the end of July 2024, a Concept of Operations (CONOPs) that proposes a mandate and configuration for the new mission, and clear benchmarks and timelines for the transition from ATMIS to the new mission as well as the duration of the new Mission,” the PSC said.

Further, the Council requested the AU Commission, in consultation with the UN Secretariat, to develop financing options for the new Mission, including through UN Security Council Resolution 2719 (2023) along with establishment of additional complementary financing sources to guarantee financial stability for the mission.

The PSC further said that that it “strongly supports” the submission by Somalia on May 17and 17 requesting a phased approach to the Phase 3 Drawdown of ATMIS, with the 4000 personnel divided into two tranches that will see 2000 troops leave by the end of June 2024 and 2000 by the end of September 2024.

The council noted that that the exit of ATMIS needs to be carefully harmonised with the follow-on mission that replaces it, including the harmonisation of TCCs, to ensure that there is no security gap between December 31, 2024 and January, 1 2025.

“In this regard the PSC, requests the AU Commission to undertake consultations, in collaboration with the TCCS, FGS, and UN and report back to Council by the end of July 2024, on how to ensure a smooth transition to the new AU-led mission without leaving a vacuum,” the PSC stated.

The Council reiterated the AU’s solidarity with the people government of Somalia in their aspirations for durable peace, security, stability, and prosperity, which will they say will benefit the Horn of Africa region and the Continent as a whole. By Bruhan Makong, Capital News

Comedian Eric Omondi is roughed up by anti-riot police officers during the anti-tax protests on June 20, 2024.[Elvis Ogina, Standard] 

After a week of intense protests against one of the most controversial taxation bills of Kenya’s independence, the people and public authorities have to wonder what is going to happen next. Widely understood as a rejection of the Finance Bill 2024, the tensions unmask a systemic problem with public participation, policymaking and policing. 

Anti-tax rebellions are not new to Kenyan history. In 1921, patriots in the Luo community formed the Young Kavirondo Association to challenge onerous hut taxes, joblessness, the kipande system and colonialism. The Kavirondo tax rebellion is one of Kenya’s most iconic struggles for human rights and inclusive governance. It is bizarre that over a century later, the Kenyan State faces an almost identical rebellion.

Historical parallels 

Swop the British Colonial Office with the International Monetary Fund, compare the hut taxes with the digital, car and everything-of-value-to us taxes and the historical parallels are clear for us all. Like their twentieth-century ancestors, the face of the demonstrations that took place across 19 counties this week is very youthful. They are also digitally empowered, women-led and fearless in the face of the police. Oh, and for some of you reading this, politicians and police commanders as well, they are your adult children.

Attempts to brand them as disaffected and jobless looters fell flat as the protestors remained largely peaceful in their thousands. Police arrested close to 400 protestors on Tuesday and released them without charges. Three were brought to the Milimani High Court but with defective charges that couldn’t be upheld. Thursday saw even larger protests across Nyeri, Nakuru, Kisumu, Uasin Gishu (Eldoret), Isiolo, Kisii, Laikipia (Nanyuki), Kilifi, Garissa, Kiambu (Thika), Kakamega, Nairobi, Meru, Kericho, Kirinyaga, Mombasa, Embu, Machakos and Migori.

At least 115 persons have been arrested across the 19 counties with Eldoret (80) and Nairobi (20) seeing the most arrests. About 200 people were injured in Nairobi alone. Chief Inspector David Karuri Maina tragically lost both his arms when a tear gas canister he was preparing to hurl at protestors exploded in his hands. 

Despite statements calling on the police to exercise restraint, the first fatality and #RejectTaxationBill martyr, Rex Kanyike Masai was shot dead in the darkness of Thursday night. It remains to see whether the State will also offer compensation to the family of Rex Masai as they have for David Maina.

The national police command and security agencies find themselves at a crossroads once more. Accelerating the use of lethal force and live bullets, more lives could be lost and the inevitable lawsuits against commanding officers will increase. For the national executive, unlike the cost-of-living maandamano protests in 2023, they do not have familiar faces to deal with. The street leadership is both resolute and leaderless and their demands are evolving by the day. By Irungu Houghton, The Standard

In 2022, ten African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), received almost half of the official development assistance to the continent. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK/Photo Courtesy

Kenya and Tanzania are among Africa’s largest recipients of aid money from rich countries and international organisations, reflecting their reliance on donor funds to finance government expenses.

In 2022, ten African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), received almost half of the official development assistance to the continent, a new report by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation shows. These countries, received between $2 billion and $8 billion in Official Development Assistance (ODA) from rich countries to finance their local government budgets, a reflection of heavy reliance on grants even as the donations begin to dwindle with changing priorities for the donors.

“Between 2013 and 2022, Africa received the largest amount of ODA of any world region in every year other than 2018. However, the total ODA received by Africa fell from $86.4 billion in 2020 to $81.4 [billion] in 2022,” says the report published this week.

Other than the four countries in the region, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Morocco and Niger are also among the top recipients of the assistance funds, with the total ODA received in 2022 by the 10 countries amounting to $37.8 billion, or 46.4 percent of all aid money coming to the continent.

In the region, DRC received $3.4 billion in ODA, Kenya $3.3 billion, Tanzania $3 billion, and Uganda $2.4 billion.

The amount is close to just about the same money the countries seek to raise from additional taxes this year, amidst renewed fiscal consolidation measures aimed at taming soaring debt levels.

 

Read: Africa in debt crisis as donors resort to lending

Curiously, these are also some of the richest countries on the continent, cumulatively accounting for about 45 percent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), based on World Bank’s latest data.

Indeed, ODA is a crucial source of finance for all African countries, but most of it comes with conditions that have to be met and at times leads to unpopular decisions by governments.

For instance, donations and concessional loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – which, alongside the World Bank, is the largest source of ODA for Africa – come with conditions on economic reforms that often lead to fiscal consolidation and efforts to boost tax revenues that most times receive a backlash.

Other top donors, including the United States and the European Union, have conditions relating to political pluralism, market-based economy and sometimes migration conditionality, especially with the EU, the report reveals.

The tough conditions that come with the donations appear to be limiting their absorption, as between 10 percent and 70 percent of the aid money is not consumed by African countries and is sent back to the donors.

“Many countries encounter difficulties in effectively absorbing ODA funds, due to various political and administrative shortcomings in managing investment projects,” the report said.

“According to the OECD in 2022, ODA donor countries actually held on to 14.4 percent of aid, worth over $193 billion, that was intended to be distributed but was not delivered, and around $30 billion was funnelled back to the accounts of donor countries as a result of mislabelling what counts as aid,” the report says.

Besides the tough conditions that often come with these ODAs, another reason they might not be good for Africa is their impact on the continent’s economies.

According to the African Development Bank: “Official development assistance has not met the challenge of getting African economies out of debt, and several countries have contracted the aid curse.”

The continental lender said in its recently published Africa Economic Outlook report: “ODA appears to be positively and significantly associated with the increase in budget deficits and public debt.” By Vincent Owino, The East African 

South Sudan has excluded Abyei from the electoral process, citing its status uncertainty and the prevailing security situation in the disputed region.

The status of Abyei remains in limbo after the two main parties to the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement could not reach a consensus to implement the provisions pertinent to its status in the deal before South Sudan’s secession in 2011.

The lack of amicable settlement had renewed tensions and skirmishes between members of the Ngok Dinka and rival Arabs with whom they contest territorial ownership.

The stalemate persuaded the Ngok Dinka community and its leadership to conduct a unilateral popular referendum In October 2013. The result favoured a return to Bahr El Ghazal in the south from which it was transferred to Kordofan in Sudan which it was annexed in 1905 during the colonial administration.

The vote required acceptance and adoption of the two countries to determine the final status, but neither Sudan nor South Sudan had accepted the outcome.

In an administrative decision appointing the state high committee on June 19, 2024, the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Abednego Akok appointed chairpersons for high election committees in the 10 states.

The appointments for the three administrative areas, including Abyei were left out. The others are Ruweng and Greater Pibor.

There were no reasons to explain why the decision was made.

A press statement announced the appointments of chairpersons for the states. The appointed chairpersons include:  Alphayo Philip Lako for Central Equatoria, Simon Bakama for Western Equatoria, Abdalla Hassan Abididi for Eastern Equatoria, and Joseph Akuei for Northern Bahr el Ghazal states.

Others were  Arkangelo Udo for Western Bahr el Ghazal, Jacob Anei for Warrap, Tuor Majok for Jonglei, Kot Kuer for Lakes, Peter Mayom Pur for Upper Nile, and George Kuong Gattang for Unity State.

Akok explained that Abyei Administrative Area will participate in the December polls as part of the Gogrial in  Warrap.

He did not elaborate on the context in which the citizens of Abyei would participate in the vote as part of the citizens of Gogrial in Warrap.Gogrial is split into two counties: West and East. Abyei shares direct border with the Twic in the south and Aweil east in Northern Bahr el Ghazal in the southwest of the area.

It therefore remains unclear how the region would participate in the elections and the county in Warrap in which they would participate. Akok expressed doubts about the participation of the entire Abyei area due to “insecurity.”

South Sudan and Sudan are disputing territorial ownership of the oil-producing region of  Abyei, which is predominantly inhabited by the nine Ngok chieftaincy and nomadic Arab tribes in  Kordofan in Sudan.

The South Sudan Elections law mandates the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission to appoint chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of high committees in the states. Article 97(4) of the Constitution says the high committees shall be responsible to the Commission in administering and supervising the elections and referendum at the state levels.

The chairperson and deputy chairperson of the high committee work full-time. All other members work on a part-time basis, but may be engaged on a full-time basis as the commission deems necessary.

Each high committee comprises five members, including the chairperson and deputy chairperson.

The tenure for high committee members is six years, renewable once. (ST)

By JULIUS MBALUTO 

Kenyans and especially Gen Z movement mourn the shooting of one of their won, a Kenyan whose crime was to go and protest against the controversial Finance Bill 2024. For the first time in Kenya's history, we have seen peaceful protests across Kenya which if the police went there to protect the protesters all would end as peaceful as it started. The Gen Z protesters have in many occasions reminded the police that they are peaceful and as well, they are protesting against the Finance Bill 2024. 

However, that didn't stop the police from firing teargas and throwing teargas canisters against them. Worse still, the police used live bullets and ended the life of a young man known as Rex Masai whose only crime was to exercise his right to protest. The police must know that the Kenyan constitution guarantees the freedom to protest. They are therefore not allowed to beat, teargas and kill any Kenyan while they are protesting.

Most of the issues Gen Z are protesting against directly affect the police too. If they get confused to serve the interests of a regime out to oppress Kenyans, one day shall come when they will remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller who was a Nazi supporter during holocaust but changed later when it was his turn to face the injustice perpetrated to others during the holocaust.  

First they came for the Communists and I did not speak out, because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me!

Kenyans have a right to protest against any form of injustice they see. No police officer should shoot them when they do so. Gen Z movement has chosen not to wait for someone to speak for them. They know well like in the case of Pastor Martin Niemoller that if they wait, there might not be anyone left to speak for them. Gen Z Protesters want to be the change they wish to see. Political parties have failed them, MPs have sold them to them deep state, the political system in its entirely gives no hope for the future. The future belongs to the youth. They are not your enemies. Listen to them and don't kill them. 

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