President Salva Kiir addresses the nation from the State House on September 15, 2015, in Juba. (Photo AFP/Charles Atiki Lomodong)

 

April 10, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has sacked the army Chief of General Staff, General Johnson Juma Okot barely a year after his appointment, replacing him with Gen. Santino Deng Wol.

Wol was also promoted to a First Lieutenant General.

Okot, according to a presidential decree read on the state-owned television (SSTV), becomes South Sudan’s ambassador to Belgium.

Kiir also removed the Minister for the Presidency, Nhial Deng Nhial, replacing him with Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

Marial, a former Foreign Affairs minister, headed the government’s delegation in ongoing talks with opposition groups under the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA).

Gen. Chol Thon Balok was appointed Deputy Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, replacing Gen. Malek Reuben Riak.

Riak was appointed South Sudan’s ambassador to Eritrea.

The president also sacked the former Director General of the Intelligence Bureau, Gen. Thomas Duoth Guet and appointed him the country’s ambassador to Kuwait.

Meanwhile, the South Sudanese leader promoted the Director of the National Security Service (NSS) Gen. Akol Khor Kuc to the rank of First Lieutenant General. - Sudan Tribune

(ST)

O'level students sitting their national exams recently. Photo The Observer

 

The Uganda National Examination Board (Uneb) has warned senior six candidates against exam malpractices, saying they risk facing a 10-year jail sentence if convicted. 

A total of 98,393 senior six candidates from 2,339 examination centres will next week start their final exams across the country. Dan Odongo, executive secretary, says that the Uganda Advanced Certificate Examinations (UACE) will be conducted under the new UNEB Act 2021 which was gazetted on March 29, 2021.

Under this Act, anyone who is caught cheating in national examinations will be jailed for 10 years or pay a fine of Shs 40 million or both. It also suggested that a similar punishment be given to individuals who have been misappropriating examination registration fees for candidates.

The offences under examinations malpractice have also been increased from six months of imprisonment to five years or a fine of Shs 5 million.

Odongo also rallied members of the public to report any cases of exam malpractices to the police or Uneb on the toll-free number 0800211077. He says that the contact will be available throughout the examination period to monitor the progress.

According to Odongo, Uneb is currently investigating suspected cases of malpractice in the just concluded UCE and PLE exams.

Meanwhile, Uneb says 200 candidates with special needs will sit for the exams, with 55 requiring special support personnel like transcribers and sign language interpreters.

The examinations body will also accord an extra 45 minutes for all expectant and breastfeeding candidates to complete the examination papers, putting them in the category of circumstantial impairments. - URN/The Observer

Vendors arrange copies of newspapers following the death of Tanzania's President John Magufuli in Dar es Salaam, March 18, 2021. Photo Reuters

 

DAR ES SALAAM - Earlier this week, new Tanzanian President Samia Hassan announced that media outlets shut down under her predecessor could reopen.  But the chief government spokesman said Wednesday that Hassan was only referring to online television.  Journalists are confused and not happy with the new administration.

This week, Tanzanian journalists applauded an announcement from President Samia Hassan that media organizations suspended under the late president John Magufuli would be allowed to reopen.

But a day later the mood has changed, as the newly appointed government spokesperson clarified that Hassan’s announcement applied only to online television outlets.

Neville Meena is a secretary of the Tanzania Editors Forum.  He said it appears that the ministry of information is disobeying the president’s order.  

He said that earlier, in his press release about the president’s event, the government spokesperson wrote that among the directives that the president made was to reopen all suspended media outlets. Later he comes out and reversed what he has written. In my opinion, Meena said, this contradiction was created by the same people who were there in the ministry of information for a long time under the leadership of the late John Magufuli. He said these are the same people who participated in denying licenses to media outlets.

Issa Mbura is an assistant lecturer in the school of journalism at the University of Dar es Salaam.

He said, the first question I asked myself was that what do we fear? Why were the statement and the order given out by the person in the top position later being clarified by someone with a lower position?

Information Minister Innocent Bashungwa said the government is willing to meet with owners of still-suspended media outlets and discuss the path to reopening.

Bashungwa said if there are case by case situations with other media outlets, they should go to his office to discuss the issue. He said that if there is another media outlet that wants to reopen besides online television, there were reasons for their suspension, the laws were used to come up with the decision and I believe the law has also given out guidelines to what should be done if those media outlets need to return to work.

Rights activists say there is no partial freedom of the press and it should be granted fully. Anna Henga is the executive director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre in Tanzania.

Henga said if one media outlet is free and the other is not free that is not freedom. Freedom means all people are free and this is the actual meaning of freedom. We take this as the refusal of authorities to implement the president’s instructions. A president gives out instructions and you give them another interpretation -- I think this is not something good for civil servants, she said.

As things stand now, Kwanza TV, an outlet owned by government critic Maria Sarungi, will be allowed to reopen, while four newspapers closed by Magufuli’s government remain closed. - Charles Kombe, Voice of America

KCPE candidates wait to bein the exam at Westlands Primary School in Nairobi on March 22, 2021. Image: ANDREW KASUKU

 

Some 70,000 police officers are sent to man schools during the KCSE and KCPE exams every year, but experts are divided on whether their presence offers safety or instils fear. 

Some experts argue that the presence of uniformed officers is likely to intimidate candidates; others think their presence bolsters security, but another group suggests it is a mix of both.

Nicholas Maiyo, the Kenya Parents Association chairman, said the presence of police is important more so when the school is within an area prone to insecurity.

“Take for example places like Mandera and Lamu that are prone to frequent terror attacks on account of bordering Somalia and Baringo, West Pokot that experiences banditry, the presence of police provides standby response in case of an attack,” Maiyo said.

But he finds it unnecessary to subject the students to the show of uniform and guns.

“It would be ideal if the police were dressed in civilian clothing like the security detail of high ranking officials and elected leaders,” Maiyo said.

He argues that this would assure the safety of the examination centres and at the same time ensure children would not feel intimidated.

Maiyo said that the parents’ caucus will move to call for reforms on the use of uniformed and armed police in schools. He did not specify when it would be done.  

Njagi Kumantha, a psychiatrist and former head of the Mathari hospital, said police presence in schools during the exam may be crucial should an emergency that needs security attention arise.

The uniformed men and women carrying guns and patrolling around during the examination could affect the candidates’ performance negatively, he said. 

He cautioned that no conclusive evidence has been presented on both assumptions so it would be difficult to give definitive answers on the matter. 

Kamantha said students who encounter police at school may be more likely to be criminally charged for infractions otherwise seen as “normal adolescent misbehaviour.”

An advocate who has researched juvenile justice and schools and is also a former prison warden said criminal acts in schools are infrequent and police presence is just a cautionary measure. 

The assignment of police to man KCPE and KCSE exams in schools began in the 1980s and similar programmes were expanded throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

The Education ministry requires that at least two police officers are stationed in every school during the KCPE and KCSE exam period.

Those who sat the defunct O and A-level examination say that there was minimal to no police officers during the testing period. 

“I only remember one policeman who was at the gate when I did my O and A level exams,” a source told the Star.

On normal days, schools only use security guards stationed at the gate and others who conduct regular day-to-day duties but without the powers and responsibilities of police officers.

The school security personnel are unarmed but for a rungu and refer criminal offences to the police for action.

A study conducted in Pennsylvania on the impact of police presence in the wake of mass shootings in schools in the US suggests that the presence of law enforcement officers is associated with increased student arrests and referrals to authorities. 

The study also associates police presence in schools to significant negative outcomes including school drop-out and increased likelihood of future involvement with the criminal justice system.

In Kenya, over 200 students have been arrested in the last five years due to examination malpractice.

Some of those arrested were alleged to have carried mobile phones to class. The devices are outlawed in Kenyan schools and by the examination council.

Wilson Sossion, the Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary general suggested police are likely to take action of offences that would otherwise not be considered criminal. 

He said students are arrested at higher rates for reasons like ‘disorderly conduct', which ordinarily would have been dealt with by school administrators. - Lewis Nyaundi, The Star

NAIROBI, Kenya

Kenya’s Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) announced on Wednesday that 279 people reported suffering adverse effects after taking the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

“All reported serious AEFI [Adverse event following immunization] are under investigations and none of them has resulted into fatal outcomes,” the PPB said in a statement. "Out of the 279 reported cases, 272 were mild and resolved within a short period."

Deputy Director of the PPB Peter Mbwiiri Ikamati, who spoke at a news conference earlier in the day said one person died from an adverse event following immunization.

But the PPB later recanted and said that “there was a misreporting of an adverse event following immunization (AEFI) as fatal.”

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported 1,523 people have tested positive for the virus from a sample size of 7,423.

Total positive cases are now 141,365 and cumulative tests conducted are 1,530,736 in the East African nation that has 52.5 million people.

A total of 616 patients have recovered from the disease bringing the number of recoveries to 97,194. Eighteen deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, all are late death reports from facility record audits. Cumulative fatalities stand at 2,276.

The Ministry of Health announced that 339,893 people in Kenya have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine as of Tuesday -- 99,084 are health workers, 27, 945 security officers, 45,877 teachers and 166,987 are other members of the public, including residents who are 58 years and older. By Andrew Wasike Shimanyula, Anadolu Agency

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